Fairy Nice Boys
In a fascinating guide-book entitled Paris With the Lid Lifted by Bruce Reynolds published in 1927, the author makes reference to what he calls ‘Fairy-Nice Boys.’
In the middle of describing all the attractions of Paris, the author dips his toe into the hidden world of gay Paris in 1920s but considers this to be the murkier side of Paris and his comments somewhat derogatory.
With reference to La Petite Chaumiere night spot in Montmartre. He says ‘this is not a nice place, strictly speaking’ and adds ‘The life here is a definite part of Paris and a well-known phase of humanity, but if you are circumspect and intolerant do not visit here.This is a place where men dress as women. Men of a certain degenerate tendency who infest every large city. If however you do want to see these Freaks cavort around and swish their skirts and sing in Falsetto and shout ‘Whoops, my dear,’ this is the place to see them.’
He thought that their displays were ‘excruciatingly funny’ and it was best to take it that way rather than be shocked or analyse it.
He says that the Fairy-Nice Boys (say it right and it sounds right he said) were also ‘thick’ in the following places: Chez Roland (15, Rue Aux Ours), Chez Ma Belle Soeur (47 Rue Caulincourt), La Tribolette (243 Rue Saint Jacques) and also the Angel Bar, Champs Elysees Bar and the Liberty Bar.
This was a good list of the some of the more famous haunts of gay Paris in the Jazz Age.
A strange phenomenon in the 1920s was the production of a series of colour postcards with young men looking rather effete and with make-up. Here are a few that can certainly fall into the ‘Fairy-Nice Boy’ category.