Jan 19, 2013

Ancient Egyptian Beefcake

Ancient Egypt seemed familiar from my earliest childhood, due to the Biblical stories of Joseph and Moses and the Pharaoh, and to the movies of the mid-1950s Egyptian craze that kept showing up on late-night tv: : The Egyptian (1954), Land of the Pharaohs (1955), The Ten Commandments (1956). Yul Brynner, the bisexual star of The King and I,  played Pharaoh.

I bought this copy of Mika Waltari's The Egyptian (1945) at a garage sale in the late 1960s, because. . .well, how could you not?

It was too hard for me, but there were lots of children's books about ancient Egyptian boys sticking together: The Golden Goblet (Eloise Jarvis McGraw), The Great Pyramid Mystery (Morgan De Wolfe), Shadow Hawk (Andre Norton), Hawk of the Nile (Robert James Green).

One day my grandmother invited me to pick out any toy in the toy store.  I chose an ancient Egyptian play figure set.  "Are you sure you wouldn't rather have a bicycle?" she asked.

But I already had a bicycle, and besides, I never turned down beefcake.  Even if the figures were wearing makeup.

In May 1977, some students from my high school went to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago to see The Treasures of Tutankamun, an exhibit of Egyptian antiquities, and I got a statue of the boy king (long gone, but it looked like this one).  I was 16 years old, so he was too young for me, but nudity is nudity.