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11 January 2017

A village on the Loire, 1950.

SC, a "faithful" reader, has pointed out a passing reference in

Simone de Beauvoir (ed. Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir): A Transatlantic Love Affair: Letters to Nelson Algren. The New Press, 1998: 379.

On 15 Octobre 1950, de Beauvoir wrote:

'It is an average village...on the banks of the Loire...she was upset to discover that the landlady and her cook, were two lesbians. I saw pictures of them: aged, huge, full-breasted, full-buttocked women; strange to think of anything like love between them...they told there were three couples of peasant women, oldish women all clad in black and church going, who lived the same way. One is married, lot of children, and goes every week to the next town to meet her true love. Then, there is in this village a married father of three children who is the head of the village orchestra and likes just one thing: dressing as a woman. His wife is as bald as an egg, wears scarf on her naked skull and dresses in a nondescriptive way. But he takes care of himself lovingly. He has long hair, paints his face and lips, wears a silken open shirt, pants, but high-heeled woman's shoes and silken stockings. They say his buttocks and breast are fake. Yet, they accept him; it is no fault of him, they say, his grand-father was lame, his father had a hunched-back, so it is and hereditary disease. He never sleeps with boys, just dresses like a woman. He is a tailor and sews daintily all day long...village where they can accept anything from a native.'

See also The Railwayman's Wife, incidentally discovered in a village in Gloucestershire in the 1960s.

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