On the one hand there is Jack, a little over 60 years old, three marriages and three divorces, a difficult daily life as a craftsman between Nice and Monaco. On the other there is Anthony, thirty-eight, tall, dark and athletic, interior designer (sometimes a photographer, or even an art gallery owner, it depends) financially well off. On dating sites, the handsome Anthony contacted more than three hundred women. Twenty-four of them went to his apartment on the Promenade des Anglais. As soon as they entered (the door was open), many turned around. Others, despite the dirt, the smell of stale tobacco and the mess, obeyed his soft voice that came from the bathroom and told them to pour themselves a glass of wine, to undress, to bandage themselves. eyes and go to the room plunged in the half-light, to experience there what had been promised to them: an eroticism “As in the book Fifty Shades of grey “. So they let their hands tied by this man who had chosen them to love them all night long, and of whom they had finally always dreamed. They surrendered to him and everything turned out as Anthony had said.
But Anthony does not exist. Anthony never existed. And it is not to him that these women offered themselves. When they took off their blindfolds, they discovered that they had given themselves to a man with wrinkled skin, a prominent belly, rotten teeth, a total stranger, a lost old man named Jack, with whom they would never have consented to sexual intercourse. They ran away, bruised, angry, terrorized, or even ashamed.
Some have lodged a complaint.
Jack Sion is his name, his real identity, was referred to the Assize Court for rape. He appealed and was dismissed. But there was an appeal in cassation which confirmed that there had indeed been rape, and the criminal court of Hérault sentenced him to eight years in prison on the charge of “Surprise rape through the use of an electronic communication network“. Jack Sion is appealing against this conviction, because after all these years (he is now 74 years old), he still does not understand what these women are accusing him of. After all, he said, he could have “To be a psychopath or a twisted one who hurts“. However, the evil, he does not see it. Or pretend not to see it. Because he knows very well that in order to gain the confidence of these women, and sometimes their love, he lied to them in every way, he abused them. They didn’t go to his house. It was not him that they wanted. It was not to him that they gave themselves.
Reading this sinister court drama, I can’t help but think of the beginning of Albert Cohen’s book Beauty of the Lord, the exact opposite of this process: the handsome, the rich, the young Solal, to test Ariadne’s love, decides to surprise her, dressed like a beggar: “You don’t know what awaits you, he whispered (…) quickly, disguise. He put on the old faded coat (…). He then put on his miserable fur hat (…). But the most important thing remained to be done. He coated the noble cheeks with a sort of varnish, applied the white beard, then cut two strips of black plaster, pressed them to his front teeth (…) which gave him an empty mouth where two canines gleamed. (…) He was an old Jew now, poor and ugly (…). “
Start at the end, so that there is a beginning. To admit what one will be, to see reality in the face, because a man is that: a body, which before being entirely damaged, damaged to death, obeys functions, if not degrading, of the less annoying, digestive functions, embarrassments, preventing people from loving each other as in childhood tales where the toad becomes prince charming, or the Beast becomes Beauty, and all that we will expect from these two – it will be evoked by the same and cryptic formula: “They lived happily and had many children. “ End of the story.
Albert Cohen wrote the novel of non-love, of the impossibility of love when reality is thrown out, when appearance rules our lives, and an aspiration for physical perfection keeps us prisoners of lies. . The body triumphs. The soul is extinguished. The couple, it is only a mystification. As were the rigged Jack / Anthony ads. Except that in this story, only one person was warned, the other was raped.