I always gave myself completely to the men that I loved and I sacrificed for them and so sufferings became my profession. But I made a profession out of everything: writing, loving … My loves! The name of all my lovers could be an important part of an encyclopedia: Sandeau, Liszt, Merimee, Leroux, Flaubert, Musset, Chopin … Chopin: always so passionate, so combustible, so feverish, I had to give up everything in order to save his genius. I described very well this generous tragedy of mine in “Lucrece Floriani”. I could as well write a novel on which of them, but I haven’t had the time: I had to put so much tenderness, care and kindness into my loving so that I had so little time for myself. Especially when a woman has to be always so pure and dignified, just like the immaculate white of the sheets.
What is bashfulness? It is the conscience of mystery, the secret of flesh sexually speaking. Anatole France once told me “only ugly women are bashful…” I was born under Aphrodite’s’ sign and so my body, about which anybody who had seen it said that it was unique, was meant for love and passion.
My family, “an exotic family, composed of harmless lunatics”, and me came from America to Europe and we stopped in Greece, the country of grace, art and love. I was driven by one single thought: living the harmony of past in the middle of Acropolis’s ruins. That’s why I defied everyone (especially the police) and danced naked on the Parthenon marble. All I wanted was to decipher the love secrets as an art and the art of love without limits – and I believe I found them.
I loved a lot of men, all of them sincerely and generously, like somebody once said, “in the moral and physical nudity of my beauty”. I was never hypocrite: I gave myself to a man unconditionally if I really liked him. Maybe this is why I loved Esenin so much and all he gave me back was suffering. And also, amazingly, a drop of passion.
I was born in Millet though I spent my whole life in Athens. I was a dancer and a musician at first and I loved being surrounded by young and beautiful women. One of the famous Athenians that were visiting me told me that my conduct and my diction are so perfect that I should open a … rhetoric school. Which is exactly what I did. There were a lot of famous men coming to my gallantry lessons (men who admitted sincerely that they had a lot to learn from me), and also brilliant matrons (foe whom pleasure was the key to conjugal happiness), as well as girls from the higher parts of society (who were eager to initiate themselves into the art of making a man happy). Thus a lot of my … students became courtesans only because they wanted to be like me.
I married Pericles after he divorced Chrysila because he says something about me that I loved, “This woman is not only beautiful and elegant but she is a lot more genial than all Athenian wise men put together.” So he became my husband and was never jealous even when he went to the Senate and left me alone with Socrates or the handsome Acaridae. One day I heard Plato whisper in one of his student’s ear, “Aspasia’s relations with Socrates and Phidias are more super lubricated than philosophical.” And he was right, I wasn’t the follower of platonism. I proved this especially during the Samos and Megra wars, when I followed Pericles with the whole group of girls and I distributed them in the camps, being myself an example for them.
I was the Emperor Claudius’ wife and Britanicus’ mother (not even I know who his father is). It is not easy to say that but this time I will only say the truth. The fire of Hades burns inside me from as long as I remember and no one can put it away. Maybe because the Emperor is too busy with his public concerns and when he is coming back, late at night, he is so tired that he simply falls asleep. It is true that lately I was helping Morpheus by putting opium or laudanum in my husband’s drink. When I am absolutely sure he is asleep I disguise and leave the palace along with a servant to go to the bawdy house at Rome’s outlying district where I do my “job” under the name of Lysisica. And I am not fastidious at all: my door is open for everybody, plebeian, tribune, slave or gladiator. I come back to the palace at dawn and as I’m still … hungry I wake Claudius up. He looks at me gently and says, “May some talk for nothing, I can’t believe them… You are the best Roman Empress in the history. Even if you go to public places you never interfere in public business. ”
CATHERIN II THE GREAT
Though I was the daughter of a duke I never wanted to be the wife of Czar Peter III. That’s because he was always ill, ignorant and braggart, plus he loved one-eyed or hunchbacked women. I felt like I needed a new life. I realized that when I got to rule by myself in 1762. It’s true that no one could do anything to stop me when I wanted a man, not even my mother-in-law, the Czarina Elisabeth. My first lover was the chamberlain Soltikoff. But only because Elisabeth wanted Peter to have heir; and I tried to give it to her. Then it was Stanislas Poniattovski, the future king of Poland (whose great and mad pleasure was to take off my manly clothes that I had to put on when I went to see him). But the one that I really loved was Grigore, Grigore Orloff. He was also the one who helped me to get rid of Peter. My life was a lot easier then and I gave Grigore an apartment inside the palace and 12,000 roubles a month as pocket money. It gave me such pleasure to pay my lovers… The most expensive one was Wisenski (a young officer who posed as a doctor when coming to me). I gave him 180,000 roubles; while lt. Alex Wassikikoff thought that 20,000 was enough. A lot more costed me Potemkin, the one that I made a count, supreme chief of my army and great admiral of the Black Sea fleet. I appreciated him for his discretion in organizing a little “men harem” for me that had also an Ukrainian priest, a Serbian and a Tartar…