The Eroticism of Fat Men
It is clear from Byron’s correspondence of this period that one of his main motives in setting out on extended travels in 1809-10 was his hope of homosexual experience. In Greece and Turkey, sex with boys was more or less accepted as the norm and he found willing partners. There was Eusthathius Georgiou, the volatile Greek boy with “ambrosial curls” whose parasol, carried to protect his complexion from the sun, made Byron’s valet cringe. There was the Franco-Greek Nicolo Giraud, with his limpid eyes, who taught Byron Italian in Athens, taking a whole day to conjugate the verb “to embrace”. By the end of Byron’s stay in Greece he was boasting to his Methodist friends that he had achievedmore than 200 “pl and opt Cs”, their code for unlimited sexual intercourse, taken from Petronius’s Satyricon “coitum plenum et optabilem”.
Guardian, Saturday 9 November 2002