June 1997

It is with great reluctance that I now drag the fair name of Mr. Bell through the mud of these diaries, but I force myself to do so to show that I am following his orders and have not chosen to describe myself or my adventures as a form of soliciting the world for immoral purposes. I say this because recently I have received telephone calls from strange men with foreign accents inquiring about my private life. Not vaguely, not generally, above all not romantically, but crudely and in detail using the shortest words forthe longest things.

I hate to do this because it is rude, but could not be embroiled in such obscenities. There is also a lot of hostility. Someone telephoned me recently to say, "The will to be a star coupled with self-hatred is pathetic." Or perhaps he used a worse word, is obscene or is revolting or something. He then rang off leaving me no opportunity to explain or excuse myself. I do exhibit the will to be a star, it is my only means of survival. I came to this country when I could bear England no more at 72 years of age with very little money, it would have been ludicrous to look for a job at that advanced age. So I became a shameless freeloader. I tried to give good value for the money that kind strangers spent on me by posing as a celebrity. It worked and so became my profession.

I apologize.

Self-hatred, which in other countries is regarded as a virtue, I could not foresee it to be regarded in America as a vice. In England, I was accused of self-love — that I spoke to hear the sound of my own voice — that I lavished on my appearance as much time as if it were a work of art. So I was bewildered by the reception my behavior has enjoyed here. There is also an added confusion that my dislike of sex which I would have thought was a personal matter has been construed as a political posture.

How did sex become political?

These accusations have been hurled at me between visits to other states — Minneapolis where in a closed car advertising Homo Heights, a film in which I play a small part, I rode through the streets in a howling thunderstorm between ranks of sopping wet fans cheering and waving. In San Francisco I met another phenomenon — books with crumbs in them. I liked this phenomenon. A visit to a library is usually a scholastic pursuit, where the only greeting received is "Shhh!" In San Francisco reading is a social past-time. A cup of coffee and a bun, and a book — all obtained in the same place make reading into a pleasure. I think this is a good thing.

I originally thought that writing my diaries on Internet might be fun, but I have now revised my opinion. It has led to several very nasty conversations with strangers. I have explained that I do not have a sex life and have not had one for 50 years. Why the strangers asked? Because of the expense, I replied. The fact this answer causes him some bewilderment, shows that he is not a homosexual man but is eaten up with curiosity on the subject. In the end he asks if do I still believe in homosexuality. I say that it is a predisposition not a religion. After a while I realize that he wants me to say the filthy words to describe the filthy practices and I ring off.

I do not like being homosexual, this is the cause of another kind of conversation. I am regarded as hating homosexuals which is not true. I hate nobody, not even the people who hate me. But surely dislike even revulsion from certain sexual practices is purely a personal matter. So I shall not write my diaries on Internet unless I can be guaranteed some freedom from this harassment. I find this disturbing and never dreamed that this would happen.

Thank you.

Quentin Crisp.

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