AN AMERICAN IN NORTH AFRICA, CA. 1943-76
The following account of the sexual liaisons of an American with boys in North Africa is from Chapter 9, “The Impact of Other Cultures” of Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys (USA and London, 1976). This chapter of Dr. Rossman’s book, introduced here and intended to show how pederasts from repressive countries were changed by their experiences in accepting ones is a primary source for the history of Greek love, drawing on his interviews of the men involved.
The period covered is between the presence of American forces in Tunisia during the Second World War (1943) and the time of writing (1976).
An American in North Africa
A businessman, sixty years of age, reported that since his twenties he had been aware of a strong desire for sexual contact with boys, but until ten years ago his pederastic experience had been limited to his imagination, except for one fleeting incident when he had been with the American forces in North Africa during World War II. His memory of an evening on a beach with a young Tunisian boy had so haunted him across the years that when he was divorced he resolved to return to North Africa for his first vacation. He said: “I went with Mac, a British friend, who a number of years ago had met a beautiful lad who, wearing only a bikini, was dancing in front of a jukebox in Tangiers. He took the lad home and met the kid’s widowed mother, who said she could no longer support the boy and quite literally gave him to Mac. He paid the boy’s school fees, fixed his teeth and supported him for several years until the lad went into the army at the age of seventeen. The mother understood the arrangement to be sexual, for when Mac would arrive on a visit, she would say: “I’ll go visit the neighbors so you can go right to bed.” Mac showed me the love letters the boy had written, always with a picture of a rose clipped from a magazine, since the rose “is the flower of love.” Mac had so enjoyed the experience that he wanted to search for another lad like that.
“Mac has gone to North Africa so many times that he has dozens of interesting stories to tell. One time a friend of his was awakened in the middle of the night by the police, when he was in bed with a young boy. The police asked if they could borrow his car to chase a thief, apologized for interrupting his sex play and wished him a good time as they left. Another time he was talking to a lad on the street when a policeman called him aside to warn him that the boy was a blackmailer and undependable. The policeman then introduced him to another boy who, he said, “is more your type.” Mac said that the real danger a pederast faces in North Africa, even though the police are vigilant in enforcing the law, is from older teenagers who are also interested in the younger boys. They can be insanely jealous. For example, Mac and I rented a car and drove south, stopping at a town where it had been common for pederasts to pause to employ youngsters as companions for their journeys. When we sat in a park we were immediately joined by a delightful boy of fourteen who looked more like twelve. He told us his father was chief man at the mosque, and asked us if we would like to meet his father, which Mac understood to be a sexual invitation. I didn’t think it likely, as he was a well-dressed schoolboy, so I asked him questions about tourists stopping in the village to pick up boys to go traveling. He said that the police no longer allowed that, even with written permission from parents, because some boys had robbed the tourists and others had been left stranded far from home. He called some friends over to meet us, and we sent one lad to buy refreshments. He came back with small green oranges and honey cakes. The boys asked us if we would like to stay to teach them English at their school, as boys who could speak English could get better jobs.
“We walked over to see their school, whereupon we were met with a hail of rocks from a young man who was jealous, so we were told later. The youngsters fled, but when we got back to the car, the first one we had met was there waiting to say goodbye. We felt bad about the rocks, so we gave him some money and a coin for each of the others. Then he whispered: “If we go in the car I can show you a good place to make love.” We didn’t take him, however, as we were afraid of the young man with the rocks. Mac said I would like Fes better, anyway, for “the Fassi boys are scandalously loving.’ When we got to Fes I set off by myself to look for the swimming pool. I soon attracted swarms of street boys, amateur guides, shoeshine boys, young prostitutes. I sat on a curb to talk to some of them, and soon two handsomely dressed schoolboys, about fourteen years old, paused to watch. When I smiled, the younger of them said to me: ‘They’re niki-puts (whores). Do you like dirty boys like that?’ I said No, that I was interested in love, not sex; so they pushed the street boys aside and sat down, one on each side of me. We talked about their school, and the older boy introduced me to his 26-year-old lover, who then took him off on a motorcycle. Raymond, the younger — not a very Moroccan sounding name — whispered to me: ‘What do you like to do in bed? I said I wasn’t interested in going to bed with anyone unless I liked him very much, and then I would do whatever pleased him. Evidently this was the right thing to say, for he then took me to a private place to kiss me, whispering: “Wouldn’t you like to meet my father? He would let me go traveling with you, because I have a passport.” When we stopped by my hotel to get my coat for the evening, the doorman looked at Raymond and said to me: “You are very lucky, monsieur.” He was right. Instead of dirty experiences with money-grubbing street boys, I spent several delightful days with an intelligent boy who considered sex play to be as natural a way to spend time with a friend as eating or talking. All my fantasies were fulfilled with Raymond, and I came to understand and accept myself and my sexual inclinations. It was as if I had for the first time in my life looked into a mirror, to really see myself and approve of what I saw.”
These two pederasts rented an apartment in Tangiers when they returned from Fes. The American was curious to learn more about the sexual attitudes and culture of young adolescents in that part of Africa, which was so different from what he had experienced elsewhere. His tale continues; “When Mac left to check out a call service that had replaced Morocco’s last boy brothel, I stood at the market, leaning against a car. I was astonished at the number of well-dressed schoolboys who stopped to talk, to ask for a cigarette or to introduce themselves. I quickly discovered that the secret of my popularity was the expensive sports car — not mine — that I was leaning against. As a result of this experience I resolved to get acquainted with more such lads, instead of the shoeshine boys that interested Mac. With the help of a student I invited large numbers of youngsters from good families, a few at a time, to our apartment for coffee and cakes. I began each conversation by telling them quite frankly that I wanted to know what they thought about foreigners who came to their country looking for sex play with boys, and asked them to tell me about their own attitudes and affairs. They were astonishingly frank. One lad admitted that he had gone to bed with a jeweler, to try out for a job as apprentice. Older boys told me how they courted younger ones, and sometimes brought their 12- and 13-year-old lovers around for me to meet. They told me that if a youngster in their neighbourhood accepted a ride on the back of an older boy’s motorbike, for a ride into the country, he knew it was for niki; and if they had a quarrel, the youngster would have to walk home, with sometimes the older boy even taking his shoes so that he would arrive home with sore feet. The younger lads were wooed with little gifts, but few of them could resist motorcycles and automobiles.
“One young lad kept returning to our apartment to get something he had forgotten, and he always forgot something else so as to have another excuse to come. When I didn’t invite him to bed, he brought around his bicycle, saying he needed a few dollars to have it fixed. I had seen him at the beach with his family, so I was sure he wasn’t short on money, nor could I find anything wrong with the bicycle. When he was gone, the student who had introduced him to me asked how direct I expected the lad to be? To ask for a loan was the only honorable way a lad from a good family could hint at his desire for sex. So I sent him a note asking if he would like to go for a ride in my car. I found him to be frantically passionate, for he was used to regular sex with an older boy, who at that time was in Europe as a student. I think he would have come twice a day to our apartment had I encouraged him. At one of my coffee hours I found that I had in my apartment a leading revolutionary politician’s 15-year-old son who, indeed, was a bit shy and embarrassed. When I asked him what he thought about foreigners coming to his country for young boys, he grew angry and very indignant, saying: “It’s terrible! Tourists give boys alcohol and drugs, corrupt them with money, abandon them. Certainly I would never go to bed with any foreigner!” Then he added, “Except of course with a gentleman like you to whom I had been properly introduced.” This explains why I am addicted to North Africa, and spend all my vacations there.”
 The derivation is presumably from the North African Arab word, for “anal intercourse” plus the French word for “whore.” [Author’s footnote 13]