Bathhouse Beauty

“You can look,” says Super Hot/Sexy French Writer. “But don’t touch.”

A critical darling of the literary world, Moroccan writer Taia is working that whole  early 90’s, ACT UP queer look. Then there’s his enchante! (French) accent and those very (very) large, chatty, gay hands.

But big as Taia’s hands are, they are tiny in comparison to his gianormous ego. Recently, Taia was interviewed by one of our smartest gay novelists, Dale Peck, during the recent PEN/World Voices Festival. During the interview, Taia spoke about growing up in incestuously close quarters, and laughed while nervously explaining why he no longer dated:

“When I first arrived, I met a man in the subway (and) I fell in love not with him, but his mother, Simone. So I stayed with him a year and a half, and then I said, ‘bye-bye.’ …. The people I lived with, when I was sort of in love, the more I slept with them, the more they [were] in love with and the less I was in love with them. I had to leave. And of course when you leave someone – he needs, or she needs – to hate you, or destroy you. Since maybe eight years, nine years, I’m living with no one … I always ended up being that heartless, Moroccan boy.”

Tai’s frank admission about his too-damn-hot-for-you status was somewhat surprising given that publishing is known for its self-effacing studs. Jonathan Franzen, Charles Bock, and Dave Eggers being the current shaggy dude ideal(s) of Ivy League straight girls who swoon for Men Who Wield Big Pens. Basically, if you have a square chin, close-set eyes, and lots of feathered hair, you’re literary beefcake. (Think, Jim Palmer, the baseball cum Jockey briefs underwear model and you get the idea.) Being a literary stud is something said stud knows – and everyone else knows – but which nobody ever actually talks about at least, not out loud.

Maybe Taia’s performing a public service by withholding himself from all his fans and potential lovers. Poet Sylvia Plath bagged fellow poet, square jawed (& uber literary stud) Ted Hughes, but became so depressed when he left her for another woman (who also killed herself) that she killed herself, head in gas oven, towels along the kitchen floors of W.H. Auden’s apartment. So maybe Taia’s celibacy has saved more literary hearts than we know.

Regardless, to Abdellah we do bequeath one blue ribbon you can wear for what’s left of the year – and with pride: Superstar of the Bathhouse, 2011.

Tomas Mournian is the author of the novel, Hidden, available at and great online bookstores everywhere.

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  • Brandon H

    Sounds like a player to me. And a pompous ass. Thanks for breaking down stereotypes.

  • andreatitty

    who is this???

    it probably doesn’t matter

  • seaguy

    Who is this arrogant ass and why should we care? This is a lame article that wasted my time.

  • Cam

    1. Did he pay for an article to be posted about him?

    2. He doesn’t sound hot, he just sounds mixed up and crazy.

  • George412

    not cute.

  • russ

    Thank you for including this wonderful conversation on your site.
    I found Taia to be humble and serious minded, not arrogant or narcisstic.
    He’s obviously dedicated to his family, his culture and to establishing him voice as a presence in the contemporary intellectual world.
    He’s also a young man in his 20’s who wants to have casual, not permanent, relationships at this
    point in his life. That’s unusual ?

  • Americanfitch66

    really…he’s not even attractive.

  • Jeffree

    Taïa is sort of a rising literary wunderkind of the French publishing industry.

    He’s quotable, (in French more than English!) and satisfies some of the Parisian desire to celebrate “the excluded” in popular culture: in this case he’s the winning trifecta: Foreign, Young, Gay.

    I think he’s handsome, but then again I have a soft spot for scrawny guys with accents !

    BTW, @Tomas M, his accent is probably better described as “charmant” than “enchanté” which means “delighted,” but that’s close enough.

  • pj

    did you watch the clip? he is interesting and intelligent…you might think so if you listened to what he said. plus hes hot

  • queertypie

    I found this interview to be very enlightening. Do we in USA know what it’s like to be LGBT in Morocco? Well, this man does and he wrote about it. Everyone’s life story is valid and not everyone has the chance to speak about it. Why are people fixating on his physical look?

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