Roman Hanak

Interview and photography by
Steve Marais


Roman Hanak is a 29-year-old man with an infectious smile and a big cock. For a living, he engraves tombstones. We met a few years ago at a gay resort in the South of France where Roman was employed as a receptionist, cleaner and masseur making guests very happy. He now lives in a small village in the Czech countryside. When I arrive at his home after a long train journey, he makes a fire and pours me a glass of wine. I think to myself – this is love. Too bad he has a boyfriend and his dad lives next door.

Steve: So, first of all, please introduce yourself. Who are you?
Roman: That’s a big question. I have no idea. My name is Roman. I’m 29 years old and I was born in South Moravia, in the Czech Republic.
How would you describe your childhood?
My childhood was pretty normal, but around the time I turned eight, my parents divorced. They fought all the time and made living at home very uncomfortable. I ended up escaping to Prague to study at the international conservatory. Singing, acting and dancing.
Sounds like a great place to meet boys!
(laughs) Yes, but I ended up dating an older man for almost three years.
How much older was he?
Oh, he was…I don’t know. I forget. But I do know that he was younger than my mother. (laughs) Let’s say 36. And when we started dating, I was only 15, which is crazy if I think about it now!
Are you still in touch with him?
No, because he probably hasn’t changed. We’ve met once since we broke up, after seven or eight years, and it was the same story – he had some young boy and he paid for everything, like whitening his teeth, blah blah blah. Still the same bullshit.
What does love in a relationship mean to you?
What’s love for me? (laughs) Now that I’m getting older, I’m starting to understand what real love is, or I hope so. Love is when you know someone is there for you. And not only in the good times.
I must say that I agree with your answer. I think the same. And what about your relationship with your family. What community would you say your family belongs to?
We’re Roma, but you can call me Gypsy. I don’t need to specify whether Gypsy or Roma is correct. I prefer Gypsy because it’s more international. Honestly, I don’t care, you know? I don’t have any problems with my ethnicity. I’m proud.
What does it mean to be gay and Gypsy?
You probably want a different answer, but it’s been totally okay for me to be both. Many, many gay Gypsies have to live part of their life in secret, since a lot of the community is more traditional and religious. But my family doesn’t live within a tight-knit Gypsy community and they don’t believe in God. My grandfather doesn’t understand me, but it’s not because he’s Gypsy. He’s just old and communist. Even in my small village, I’m totally relaxed when I walk with my boyfriend down the street.
So, you’re not single?
No, I’m definitely not single, or at least I hope I’m not… Maybe I am? My boyfriend might be listening. I’ll let you know in an hour. (laughs) We’re pretty serious
Tell me a bit more about where you live, about your village.
My village has around 4000 people. It’s called Uherský Ostroh, and it has a really rich history. It used to be a very wealthy town, but after the Second World War, everything changed. Fifty percent of our city was Jewish and they all disappeared during the war. Almost every business was gone. Terrible.
You still live next to your family, right?
Yes. I live in the smaller half of our family house, which my father bought 15 years ago. My father and I are renovating it ourselves, step by step. It’s a work in progress, and maybe a bit dangerous. (laughs)

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Luckily there will always be business in the funeral industry.

What’s the end goal?
Nobody knows! He’s just, you know, Gypsy, so he has this fire inside him. He bought this little piece of land for very cheap. He’s impossible! He just said, ‘Let’s build something!’
How is it to live next door to your father?
Fuuuck! Next question. (laughs) I have my own life and I’m happy to at least have some privacy, which is very, very important to me. I no longer feel like I have to escape to Spain or France to be independent. Although, I still want more experiences beyond little Uherský Ostroh. But now, for the first time in my life, I have a regular job in my hometown. It’s changed how I think and I’m feeling more and more like a grown-up.
What do you do for a living?
I work with gravestones, tombstones. And I do something very specific and difficult – the engraving. My father worked in a cemetery for eight years and told me there’s a lot of potential in this business because not many people can do the kind of work that I’m doing now. In the end he was right.
Where did you learn this skill?
On the internet. YouTube. I did take some lessons from this retired engraver, but mostly I learned it on my own. In my country, there aren’t any schools or many masters that teach this skill anymore.
Okay, so it’s a special skill?
Yes, it’s very special.
How do you find clients?
I just go to the cemetery and ask people, ‘Do you need an engraver?’ It’s maybe a bit unusual and it’s not always a comfortable task, but I need the money. Sure, I could make a website and find clients that way, but I know for sure that if I go to the cemetery, I’ll always find customers.
Is it easy for you to talk to people who are grieving?
Not always. It’s the most uncomfortable if someone is grieving and they don’t have enough money. They need me, but because they cannot afford everything that comes with a burying their loved ones, they become very prideful and not very nice. I understand their situation and maybe it’s a bit selfish on my part, but I look at it like work and nothing more. I don’t take it personally and try to help them the best I can.
Are you scared of dying?
That’s a very difficult question. (silence) No, but sometimes I get scared thinking about how it’ll happen. I’m also afraid of my dreams. Many people, including myself, have a strong intuition and sometimes, I’ll have a dream and then it happens in real life. Not always, but for example, about a year ago, I dreamt that I got syphilis. Then, in the morning, a guy texted me, saying that I should go get tested. Everything came back negative, but can you imagine?
Do you think Gypsies are especially psychic?
Gypsies don’t have many possibilities. Throughout history, they’ve had to find something, a job, a skill, or scheme that could make them money.

I just go to the cemetery and ask people, do you need an engraver?

Let’s talk a little bit about how you and I met. Do you remember?
Of course, I remember! We met in France. I was working at one of the most popular gay guesthouses in Europe.
What were your duties?
Everything. Although, I didn’t do, like, the business side of things. But I did everything else.
I definitely remember that you were a masseur. How did you get interested in massage?
My grandmother, she also did massage and when I was a kid, she taught me this skill. But I will say, my interest really began when I lived in Prague. You know, I had this very spiritual period in my life and I met some people who introduced me to tantra. I had a boyfriend who loved massages and he’d always tell me, ‘Roman, you are REALLY good.’ After that my interest in massage went deeper and deeper, and then even deeper and deeper! Oh, my God… (laughs) Then a friend sold me a massage table. I thought it’d be more professional – for the boys. And then I started to ask for money. Let’s say it was my second job. When I moved to France, I did these kinds of massages at the guesthouse and the guests loved it!
Did you ever have sex with the guests?
A few times, but I wish I did it more. They were guests so it was a difficult dynamic. You know, I had to behave myself. Although, I always had a good “touch”, and I never felt like I was a piece of meat.

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Come on in! Roman in front of his newly renovated house.

Can you recall any funny situations?
There was this one couple that wanted me. Badly. (laughs) There were a few different times when they were fucking like crazy with their room door wide open and I’d be sweeping the terrace and see everything. I would’ve joined them, but I had a little “health problem” at the time. (laughs) I really wanted to.
Sounds like your life in the South of France was quite different from your life now.
Absolutely. It was one big holiday. But I don’t want to live that life again. I’m very happy now in Uherský Ostroh. I’m standing on my own two feet. I just want to be in control of my own life and write my own story.
Is there anything you miss about France?
The nude beach at Cap d’Agde. Oh, I wanted to go there every day. Every fucking day. During this period of time, I was absolutely out of control. I was like, you know, a dog in a butcher shop, wanting to touch every fucking dick! And after six orgasms, I’d get so tired. Salt and sand and dick… Oh!
Do you like showing off your body?
Yeah! I work pretty hard on it. Sometimes I think I might be an exhibitionist. It’s also because God gave me a big dick
How often do you work out? Your body is amazing.
No, it’s not! (laughs) Like, sometimes I work out three times a week, sometimes I don’t go for two weeks. Most of my training comes from all the manual work I do with my father, like lifting stuff in the garden, and moving lumber and stones and concrete.
What’s your favorite part of your body?
I don’t think I have one. Although, if I have to say, my hands. My fingers. They’re the only part of my body that’s manly. Boys like that. But, to be honest, if I’m thinking about myself, there’s something feminine inside of me. But I tend to push it down because I prefer to look more masculine. Maybe when I’m 50 and I have an old, awful face then I’ll get some plastic surgery. I’ll get, you know, everything. Even some big tits! (laughs)
What do you like in bed?
I need to pee. Give me a sec.
I need to pee too! Let’s pee together.
(five minutes later)
So, where were we? Oh, yes – what do you like in bed?
You know, I love to be passive! I love to suck cock especially, and I have a real addiction to balls. I think it’s the most important part of a man…
What do you like to do with the balls?
Everything! Lick them, suck on them… Everything. And also, I love piss! Oh, my God! I miss it. I love it when a boy pisses on me. Especially in my mouth. I’m starting to get hard.
Good. (laughs) You’re into piss, but do you like to cuddle?
I love it. But my boyfriend, he’s like hetero. He’s a very strange guy. Can you believe I still have to ask him for a kiss? He never kisses me on his own.
He doesn’t like to kiss?
Never on the lips. Only on the cheek. But but but…he puts his dick in my mouth, so why would I need to kiss?
Alrighty… I feel like we’ve covered a lot. Is there anything you’re looking forward to?
Recently, I bought this big machine to start making urns – designer stuff that fits with my work at the cemetery. Hopefully it’ll be a good business. Who knows? Maybe it’ll work. It doesn’t really matter what I end up doing, I just want peace.
Okay, that sounds like a good plan.
But I still like the idea of becoming an actor. It’s a very big ambition. It’s crazy and stupid, but it’s still on my mind. Sort of like when little girls dream of being a princess, you know? I can imagine myself on the big screen.

Originally published in BUTT 32