Oh, MY. There are so many gems in here.
But the evening ended without an exchange of numbers, partly because Mr. Mapplethorpe, a younger brother of the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, was in a long-distance relationship with a beauty queen — Miss Malaysia 1997.
He mentioned that he’d been coveting something else of Asian origin: a Noguchi coffee table. She asked if she could buy him the table in exchange for the stingray image.
He also had gone through several name changes: First he was Eddie, then Ed, then Edward. At his brother’s request, he changed his last name to Maxey. “Robert told me he wasn’t going to have any kid brother of his riding on his coattails,” Mr. Mapplethorpe.
Mr. Mapplethorpe spent the next year trying, and struggling, to break up his relationship with Miss Malaysia so he could devote himself to Ms. Yun.
He spent most of his early adulthood in turmoil in Manhattan. In the previous decade, he’d lost two brothers, including Robert, and his mother. He moved to Los Angeles, where he saw the dawn and dusk of a heroin habit. (“I was taking care of a girlfriend who had a real drug problem, and then I realized I had a one myself,” he said.) He dated a dominatrix. “Robert introduced us, saying to me, ‘If I were straight, I’d be with her.’ ” In 1993, she died of cancer.
Up until that point, Ms. Yun, the eldest daughter of Chinese immigrants, had led a life that was mostly about gymnastics and dance classes, boarding school and liberal arts college. She’d lived in four countries, studied both French and Chinese, and played the piano, viola, violin and French horn.