Manfred Exquisite

 exquiste002.jpg posted Saturday May 28, 2005


Architectural analysis of the door frame molding,
stair wood, and two-toned paint around the stairway to the second floor suggests that this photograph was taken in front of a roadside motel on or near Route 66 in the Midwestern United States. The door to the
subject's left reads "1F," indicating there are at
least 6 rooms on the first floor and another 6 on the second floor (1A, 2A, 1B, 2B, and so on.) [SS]
Dossier on Manfred Exquisite

"Oh how I love that man! Loved him then and all the years since then, and will until the day I die. I still remember receiving that photograph in the mail. It was quite a shock, but something as silly as that could not begin to break the attraction he had for me. I'm not even sure that was him in the photo, I can't imagine Manfred striking a pose like that, and the legs look slightly unfamiliar, not that I'd seen his naked legs at any point, of that you can be sure. They just didn't look like I'd imagined his legs might look and he didn't favor that kind of shoe. He might have been getting a friend to pose as him, just to shake me loose. Maybe that young man Federico that he was always telling me about. He was always trying to throw me off his trail, I know, I understood that. In spite of his antics here at home, I had it all planned, a fine future for him and I. He didn't want to be a farmer, that's all there was to it. Then again, none of us did. I tried to direct his creativity into cooking, but that didn't satisfy him either, although he developed a taste for quinoa and yogurt with cucumbers during that time. After a few months of the most exotic meals and indigestion like I'd never felt before or since, he took off. I think he ended up somewhere in Europe, or maybe Asia, although he could have been right around the corner in Evansville. We communicated for quite some time by letter, but his mail was always forwarded from a stranger in the City. I was going to track him down some day, I swear I was, I'd make it all up to him, and we'd pick up right where we'd left off. As soon as I felt well enough to leave the house, I'd find him. That hasn't happened yet, but hope springs eternal." This was Pearl speaking. [CE] Archivist questions about above (Pearl-001).
"I was that stranger. I was instructed by Manfred to mail letters, postcards, and packages when necessary. I did it gladly because I wanted to serve him to prove my love for him. I have known Manfred for my entire life. In fact, Federico is my brother. I met Manfred due to this connection. The three of us have had many grand times together. Wandering here and there, looking for the nearest party, or just stealing a seat on a quiet stoop to talk were all a part of our weekly agenda. What can I say? I too loved him, though he never reciprocated. I was his lackey. He knew I adored, admired, and adulated every step he took. He used that. He used me. Now I realize he didn't value my opinions or me. He ignored my advice most times. That day when he decided to go "out," I told him to wear different shoes. I even offered him a very stylish pair of my own. He ignored me then too. Such a pity it was. I cringed as he walked out the door that day! I may not be the best judge of men. However, I do know my shoes!" [WW]

On the other hand, some analysts, through evidence generated by photographic enhancement (see right), believe that the markings on the door might very well be the word "IF" and suspend definitive judgment on the matter until the emergence of some corroborating evidence or supporting documents. [CT]

The second level of steps - which the subject stands in front of - limits the number of motel possibilities -- the lower
steps may have been added when soil surrounding the motel eroded due to flooding, which suggests quite definitively in my mind that this picture was taken somewhere in or near St. Louis, Missouri. [SS]

"Oh, I am sorry! I forgot to introduce myself. My formal name is Luigi (younger brother of Federico). However, I still to this day go be the name Manfred gave me. He called my "Little LuLu". I hold that moniker close to my heart. It is the only thing he ever gave me.


As I said before, I have known Manfred all my life. He lived next door to my family on Bleecker Street. My family was small. Our family simply consisted of my mother, Federico, and myself. We are Italian at least on my mother's side. I knew very little about my father. Whenever I asked my mother about him, she would either shush me or fall into tears. Federico told me he knew our dad was a traveling photographer who would come around the neighborhood to shoot family portraits. Zelda provided this information. She was the nosey, old woman down the block who stayed at her window and watched the street like a crouched cat stalking her territory. I doubt my father was Italian though. Along with my blue eyes and freckles, the sandy red hair with blond tendrils tells me something else is going on in my bloodlines. In fact, other kids in the neighborhood would tease me and occasionally call me "Mc LuLu" just to get on my nerves. 


As for Manfred, I can't say much about his family. His bunch seemed very secretive. In fact, Manfred was the only one to make his presence known in the neighborhood. His bold bravado and gregarious personality made up for the cloistered nature of the rest of his family. The picture tells it all and captures Manfred's authentic spirit. However, I do wish he would have opted to borrow the snappy, blue strappy numbers with the big blue flowers that bounced atop of each foot. They would have gone so well with his checkered dress. He nixed the idea of adding them to his ensemble because they would reveal his toes. He always thought his toes were ugly.


Let's for the date of the photo, it must be early forties. I know it was after Gloria's was raided. (That place was a hoot! Even though I was just in my mid-teens at the time, Manfred would sneak me in the back door late at night. He knew the bartender and we all partied thinking there was no tomorrow.) It wasn't long after that the police padlocked the door. I would say the photo must have been shot around 1944ish. It had to be that year because shortly after this picture was taken, Manfred was hustled off into the new "Readjustment Program" run by the Quakers. He was one of their first guinea pigs, opps...I meant clients. That didn't last long though. Manfred wasn't into counseling and left in the middle of the night. I have never seen him around the Village since." [WW]

1940 New York City, US: A bar called Gloria's goes to court to fight being closed down, citing recent scientific studies and arguing that "there is no rule or regulation" preventing a "sex variant" from being served at a bar. Courts reject the argument, however, allowing the State Liquor Authority to continue closing bars frequented by gay men and lesbians.

<>1945 New York City: The Quaker Emergency Committee meets to work for the establishment of a center where young people arrested on same-sex charges can go for assistance and counseling. The Readjustment Center that results from the Quakers' efforts is believed to be the first social welfare agency for gay men and lesbians in the US.