FLASHBACK: For the Treiskouroi and the Trophimoi

There’s a bunch of teenaged boys running around in my religion–
how did they get here? But this is their gym, so how did I get there,
middle-aged lady with bad knees and a bad back. Favorinus
of Arles, the Stephen Fry of his age, passes me a beer and says,
“Don’t worry about it: Just admire all this naked beauty.” There’s a God,
and a Hero, and a Sanctus; there’s a bunch of adopted kids–put down
that spear before you put someone’s eye out! It’s all fun and games
till someone gets turned into a tragic flower. Why do their parents
let them out to run around like this, there’s Antinous making eyes
at an older man, Memnon always has a bunch of bloody carcases
at hand, Lucius keeps meeting some odd-looking god with
an animal face and sticky-uppy ears. And the girls bounce around
with the boys and nobody seems to care–isn’t that anachronistic?
Does their mother know they’re out? Favorinus just laughs
at my consternation. “Here, have some chocolate. Have some
apples. Have some grapes. Go have a bath, get yourself
a massage, a good rub-down with olive oil.” Favorinus
never takes his clothes off, but he’s down to a loincloth,
and I’m a fat lady wrapped in towels. Polydeukion comes over
to give me a handful of flowers and a long speech about–
something, delivered so fast and with such mounting excitement
all I can do is shake my head. But the flowers are beautiful,
and they smell of spring. Of youth, and vitality, and a love
that can bloom for eternity.

(Originally posted at Antinous for Everybody in 2015)

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