A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Damion Invites Me To Tea
Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The first Chinese person I have memory of was a girl in my class at the American Grammar School in Buenos Aires. We were both in the fourth grade and she was the top math student and tops in just about anything else. Since she was the only Chinese person I had ever seen she was as exotic as any person could possibly be. She must have had an older sister or brother that my mother taught at the American High School as we were invited for dinner one weekend. The family must have been part of the diplomatic corps. I don’t remember much except that we sat at a table that had bowls and those wonderful “modern art” swoops that a Chinese spoon has always been for me. I was not an adventurous eater but I managed to stuff it all in without asking what it was.

When we arrived in Vancouver in 1975 I got my first real taste of cultural diversity. I marveled at the men in turbans and the bustle of China Town.

In the late 70s I began to frequent the Drake Hotel. I had become a fan of ecdysiasts. The profession had little ethnic variety. It did not go any further than, as an example, English Ana (as we called her) or “Emma Peel” which was her stage name. The one truly exotic exotic was Damion. She was a Canadian Chinese. Why she had chosen the profession I never did ask.

Romans and Greeks were noted for their noble noses and we can single out beautiful legs, large eyes and flowing hair in persons. But when it comes to singling out such bits as breasts, even when they are beautiful we must keep our mouth shut or be labeled sexist.

Damion had beautiful breasts and a flowing dance style. She used her long black hair for strategic cover during part of her performance.

I photographed Damion in her living room sometime in the 80s. Her house was on Marine Drive by the Knight Street Bridge. Somehow the noise of the trucks outside was ameliorated by the cozy situation of her living room. I took 20 pictures of her. I studied every one of them under a loupe today before I scanned one. To my dismay I had not taken one single one in which her nipple was not showing! But thanks to the “censorship tool” of Photoshop, Damion, once again, strategically covered that which must not be shown here.

The next day after our portrait session, Damion woke up with chest pains. She was rushed to the hospital and was, right then and there, subjected to open heart surgery to save her life. I never saw her again.


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