Text by
Michael Bullock
Photography by
Andreas Larsson

I met Xevi Mutane at a party in New York. I had seen him around and always wondered about him. I mistakenly thought he would be a good boyfriend for me and was happy to have the opportunity to meet him. At first glance Xevi could be mistaken for a Chelsea boy — it’s his uniform of tank tops, gym shorts and high tops combined with his perfect, zero-body-fat body — but a Chelsea boy that is actually hot and not just cheesy…

After closer inspection you realize that Xevi is in a territory all his own. The visual clue that sets him apart is how he grooms his facial hair. He has a thin golden mustache that lightly covers his upper lip. His hair is spiked on top with long thick 90210 sideburns. The combination suits the proportion of his face well so that you almost don’t notice how strange it is. Xevi is from Spain, which somewhat explains his style. He has some elements of American gay style but his look was crafted in Barcelona. In our conversation that night, Xevi was shy and soft spoken and the only thing he told me was that he was a photographer.

At the party we didn’t exchange numbers. Luckily Xevi tracked me down and the next day he called me at work. The following Friday we went out on a date. Xevi’s idea of a date was not dinner and a movie. Xevi preferred to meet at The Cock at 11:30, get really drunk together, stay until last call and then go back to his apartment where I would fuck him. In the cab on our way home we realized we were both sexually submissive. For Xevi this pretty much ended the date; he did not want to waste a weekend night with another bottom. I somehow convinced him that we could make it work and he agreed to take me home.

Xevi lived in Coney Island — the cab ride took forty minutes. He lived in a neighborhood of working-class Russian families. He must have been an alien to them. His apartment was not what I expected. He had the whole place to himself but it looked as if he were crashing at his grandmother’s suburban home. We got into bed immediately. We took off our clothes down to our underwear. There was no kissing or groping — Xevi laid on his stomach waiting for me to get aggressive but it never happened. We had no sexual chemistry whatsoever. We sat there, each waiting for the other to take the lead, until we both fell asleep.

In the morning we woke up painfully hungover. We knew little more about each other then we did before, other than the fact that we weren’t sexually compatible. I should have left when I woke up but instead of leaving I agreed to stay and watch a movie. Xevi put on a really creepy Spanish film about snuffing — this group of guys that gets off by killing people and recording their murders on video. He wasn’t trying to scare me off; I think he genuinely thought it was a great movie and wanted me to see it. After the film ended I asked if I could see his pictures to get some sense of who he was. His work was fashion photography with images of all these familiar people shot very elegantly. There was a monotone red image of Hedi Slimane, a bunch of hyper pop images of Kylie Minogue and these funny pictures of Sophie Dahl. It was clear Xevi was a serious photographer.

The next time we met up he told me that his Coney Island apartment was depressing him and, having seen it first hand, I completely understood. I had an extra room available and three weeks later Xevi and I were roommates. Xevi moved in and set up his room like a teenage girl, decorating it with stuffed animals, a giant pillow in the shape of a cell phone, naked pictures of boys, a giant 80s-style neon-lit poster of Marilyn Monroe and thousands of fashion magazines. He stacked boxes floor to ceiling with his photographs. The floor was cov-ered with piles of CDs of every possible pop star in both Spanish and English. In the corner a makeshift library was installed and filled with a surprisingly literary collection of books.

Xevi’s favorite books —
Love in the Time of Cholera
The Hours
To Kill a Mockingbird
Strange Pilgrims
Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Xevi’s bed was lofted, leaving space for a perfect sex den underneath. He furnished this with a shag rug and a giant TV and VCR to watch porn. Condoms, drug paraphernalia, and porn magazines were scat-tered around the bed.

Xevi was a perfect roommate. He was clean and thoughtful and always seemed to be happy. His presence genuinely added a nice feeling to the house. He made clear from the beginning that he had his own routine, and lived as a loner. He always stayed in his room and made no mess in the shared spaces. Xevi’s life was pared down to just three main activities: working out, shooting pictures and having sex. This streamlined agenda allowed for maximal success in every category. The weekdays were about the intense hustling it takes to keep editorial jobs coming in. For someone as shy as Xevi, he was surprisingly talented at pulling in jobs. In work mode Xevi is extremely focused and nothing distracts him. You would never find Xevi going out to dinner with friends or going to a party outside of work-related obligations. Xevi has no inter-est in this kind of socializing. Days of networking and photo re-touching and occasionally shooting were followed by a long, slow-paced workout at the gym.

Back at home, Xevi prepared himself the same meal every night, consisting of an obscenely tasteless combination of tuna eaten directly out of the can and boiled egg noodles with nothing on them. The meal was created partly to compliment his work-out, partly to accommodate a tight budget, but mostly because eating for him is not about pleasure, it is purely about suste-nance. Xevi is not seduced by any of the fancy consumer culture that so many New Yorkers care so much about. Work for him is not a means to some better lifestyle. He couldn’t care less about owning fancier clothes and living in a nicer apartment. In fact if Xevi made more money I think his life would probably change very little from the way he lives now. Xevi is focused on photography because he loves adding his own images to pop culture.

I asked Xevi how he wanted to set his work apart from that of other photographers. He hates talking about stuff like this. He has something specific he is after in his work but it is a struggle for him to put that into words. After thinking about it a while, he explained that he was looking for a way to condense and simplify images, like the perfect pop song. He then cited Eyes Wide Shut as a major inspiration. Stanley Kubrick had no interest in reality, Xevi said; there’s this kind of a caricature that is not too funny or far from reality but just not real. To me Xevi’s work looked like the result of a collaboration between David LaChapelle and Robert Mapplethorpe. The images have a wild style and a baroque pop feel but the figures are isolated, making them God-like statues. It’s funny that he shoots fashion because it seems so far from his personality to care about clothes.

Xevi’s favorite Songs —
I’m Afraid of Americans, by David Bowie
El del Medio de Los Chichos, by Estopa
Electricistas, by Fangoria
Sara, by Fleetwood Mac
Can’t Get You Out of My Head, by Kylie Minogue
Cherish, by Madonna
A Jierro, by La Mala Rodriguez
I’m Not Scared, by Pet Shop Boys
Like a Motorway, by Saint Etienne
Under Pressure, by Queen

Weekend nights are strictly set aside for the pursuits of finding new sexual partners, one for each night. The evenings start with what Xevi calls his “transformation”. This involves two hours of bathroom time with the end result being that Xevi looks the same as if he had just gotten done at the gym. After the transformation is complete Xevi starts drinking, usually a cheap Vodka with Red Bull. Xevi is not a casual drinker, not a beer-after-work type. Xevi handles drinking the same way he handles food: they’re both a means to an end. Being drunk is necessary for him to get over his insecurities and be comfortable enough to pick up guys. Even though Xevi is really good looking, he is still painfully shy when meeting new people. Before we would leave the house, Xevi would fill up his flask in order to not pay for drinks at the bar. Then we would head off to meet his crew at the Phoenix. Xevi has a sort of nightlife-cruis-ing posse that he travels the East Village bars with. Although he is passive with strangers, Xevi is the complete opposite with his close friends and sort of sets the agenda for the night. In this group Xevi acts as Alpha Male, deciding what bars to go to and when to move on. As long as ev-eryone has accepted this ahead of time, it works out fine.

Most of the door people in the East Village know Xevi and let him get in each bar without paying. Every night ends at The Cock. By the time we get there, Xevi is properly wasted. This is when he goes into pick-up mode. He stands in the corner and figures out who the best prospects are from afar without any mingling. He’ll ask your opinion on the looks of his top picks for the evening to make sure the booze hasn’t warped his vision. The mating routine is very Animal Kingdom. When he decides on someone he grabs them and in a primal way, with little or no conversation, he somehow communicates to them that they are going to go home with him. Most of the time the guys are more than happy to comply.

If Xevi didn’t find someone at The Cock, he would end the night at the now defunct Bijou sex club, a grimy underground porn movie theater with cubbyholes for sex. I really love that for Xevi there’s no shame in going to a sex club. I think that may be a European thing, to think of sex clubs as simply a practical, almost even respectable, way to get off. The sex club is supposed to be about convenience, a way not to have to take anyone home. But Xevi prefers to have sex in his own bed, so he would defy the purpose of the club and take his dates home. Most of the men Xevi would bring home were incredibly hot: real working class men that drove trucks and lived in Long Island, Puerto Rican porno actors, homeboys from the Bronx, ruffneck types that could potentially rob you after sex. Our house was set up a bit like a social experiment, with everyone having glass-walled rooms with curtains. Since his bed was lofted above the curtains, each weekend morning you could look up and get a preview of what Xevi had dragged in.

In a way I had a vicarious sex life through him. He would wake up and tell me all the details saying, “Mike, this guy was really great in bed. His dick was eight inches and he was just your type; I can give you his number if you want to call him.” They were amazing for sex but afterwards it was hard to have any lasting connection with them because they were from such different worlds. So Xevi would move through them, usually never inviting them back. As a souvenir, he kept every phone number of everyone that ever slept over. He kept them in an oversized porn box that I think he started when he first began having sex. The box had since become an overstuffed solid brick made up of thousands of bar napkins and business cards.

These days Xevi spends half the year in Spain and half the year in New York. In Spain his career is in full swing. When he got back from his last visit he told me flat out, “I am becoming famous in Spain”. Out of anyone else’s mouth, that would have sounded vulgar. But from Xevi, it was kind of cute. For him, it was just what was happening. He says fame is great because now he gets to shoot all his childhood icons like Javier Bardem and Rossy de Palma. The other reason Xevi is in Spain so much is that he is finally in the process of settling down. Xevi said he met Roberto the same way he meets everyone: really drunk at a gay bar. Roberto is a wiry 23-year-old film student. On their first night they got into a fight on their way home because they are both really passionate about film, and Roberto claimed that the sound in every Almodovar films is terrible. This almost stopped Xevi from going home with him. It was the most ridiculous claim that Xevi ever heard. I asked Xevi what, out of all the guys he has slept with, made him want to stay with Roberto. Xevi told me that Roberto is the best combination: part street-savvy hustler, but combined with the knowledge and sensitivity of an artist. Roberto and Xevi love sex equally and have an open and collaborative relationship. They are perfect opposites so they work well as a team. Roberto is extremely confident and can smooth-talk anyone, and since Xevi is pretty Roberto uses him as bait. Xevi told me that Roberto has the natural ability to relate to all these really cute, hot, confused home- boys, “I guess because he is one himself.” They’re a perfect match, Xevi told me, and he’d probably never sleep with guys as hot as the ones he sleeps with when they’re together.

And here’s Xevi’s celebrated ass again shot in the same hotel room in London. If you have a problem reading the note, this is what it says: “YES, we have cleaned here too.”


Originally published in BUTT 14