“I wanted people to look at it and be like ‘This guy’s alright,’ and then scroll over the next photo and be totally terrified because I have my fist up my ass or something.” Dominic J. Fournier, aka A Bearded Boy, is telling me about the ethos behind his ultra-popular Tumblr site of the same name, and it’s perhaps the most fitting artist statement I’ve ever heard. Since its debut, visitors to Dom’s site have indeed followed his unbelievable adventures, from piss play in public toilets to riding a massive horse cock dildo while wearing a (redundant) pig mask, to his recent documentation of his first dick piercing. If I didn’t know he was real I might think he was a character cooked up by John Rechy, a homespun Canadian Samuel Steward, chronicling his sexual exploits for the whole world to see. In person though, Dom’s a charming, wide-eyed, upbeat small-town boy at heart.
Last year, I flew up to Toronto to talk Dom into appearing in a music video I directed for the indie-band Holopaw called “Dirty Boots,” which premiered today Vice.com. When we met initially, he told me about his then-current polyamorous relationship with a Daddy and five other boys, who all engaged in mutual play with each other, even while many of the boys, including Dom, had primary partners separate from the arrangement. To coincide with the release of the video, which draws inspiration from this part of Dom’s life, I rang him this weekend to talk about his sexual awakening, family, and what he thinks about people who want to be like him.
Dom: You know they did a piece on The Sword a while ago about jizz on my face. It was cool. But it got me banned from Facebook for a week.
Adam: You’re getting banned from Facebook a lot now.
Whatever. I don’t care. People hate me and they love to report me. It’s so funny how people were reporting my written posts about getting my dick pierced. I was like, ‘You guys are fucking stupid.’ There’s no way Facebook is going to remove a written post. I can say what I want to say. Facebook sent a message that somebody had reported my written post and then I posted a picture of that message and somebody reported that picture! It was hilarious. I guess somebody really didn’t want to hear about my pierced dick. I don’t really care though.
You’ve been doing this a long time. Someone’s clearly obsessed with you. Maybe you rejected them in a bar or on Grindr or something.
Yeah. That’s actually likely. Or I didn’t reject them but then I didn’t call them back.
Right. Are people aggressive in how they approach you sexually based on their perception of you from Tumblr? Like “Oh he’ll just take anybody, I don’t have to work too hard.”
Sometimes. I remember I was in this bar in Montreal and this guy just came up and threw himself on me. I think he was drunk though and felt he could do what he wanted and say what he wanted and it was just funny. I was with Scott and a couple of friends and this guy came up and was like “I know who you are. I follow your blog. We should have sex.” I was like “uh that’s not how it works.” Some people just don’t get it. But most of the time people will just be walking by and be like “Oh hey, I love your blog.” But nobody has ever put themselves really forward other than this one guy. But I mean it happens that people know who I am.
I think you’re kind of a superstar on Tumblr, though. Casting you in the music video we did was one of the first times in a while that I recognized an obsession and followed through on it and quested to get it.
Like the trip to Toronto? You were here for your movie right?
Yeah but you were the real reason. Two birds, one stone.
I think it’s great that you did that though. I’m super happy with the outcome.
Were you always living your life for the public even when you were younger? Were you an attention seeking kid?
I didn’t have friends growing up. It was very solitary. That forced me to focus on myself, how I saw life and trying to define my own person. When sexuality came into play at a certain point I started following that. I learned not to compromise on what I want because I know what it’s like to live your life not going for what you want and I don’t see the point in that. There’s always gonna be somebody who’s not into that but that doesn’t matter. I’m not that somebody.
Can you tell me about a time when you didn’t go after what you wanted?
In my earlier years I felt a lot of shame about what I wanted and liked in sex, and the kind of sex I was into but at a certain point I just stopped being afraid of what people would say and what would happen to me and started living the life I wanted to live. I realized I was gonna die of something someday and from this point to that point I’d rather do what I want to do.
Was Tumblr the first time you put yourself out there for people?
No. I had online profiles before on Guys4Men and DudesNude. That was really the first time I put myself out there. I really identified with the online community because I knew there was someone who would understand me at some point, even if it wasn’t around where I was, it was somewhere in the world. Somebody would respect me for being who I wanted to be. That’s how I met most of my boyfriends, really. Before I just communicated who I was through my profiles. I always found it really important to identify who I was, and who I’m looking for and who I’m not looking for. I got annoyed at how a lot of the people around me in Montreal were saying they were into specific things and then were just not and it was hard to find positive role models in sex. So I decided to cut the crap and show people that somebody could be super proud about who he was and what he liked.
That’s an interesting point that you really want to show people your — no pun intended — insides and outsides. I think that’s the core of what I find fascinating about your work, it doesn’t feel like there’s any limits to what you will or won’t put out there.
I’m not ashamed of trying things and I’m not ashamed to put myself out there, and I want to inspire people. So many people message me and say “Oh my god I wish I could do what you do.” And I don’t realize why they can’t.
Does any of this ever come up with your family or do you ever attempt to talk about it with your parents?
My mom sent me a birthday card which was really weird which said “Dear Dominic, Whether you’re a porn star, a nude model or just a bartender, I still love you and I miss you.” And I don’t know where that comes from, I don’t know how she found out or if she found out or if she heard things. I guess my brother saw my photo on a website — certain websites will steal your photos and have them in ads and stuff — I guess one of those pop-up sites popped up, and I guess he spoke to my dad about it and my dad mentioned it to me over the phone with this condescending attitude like, “I hope you’re not doing porn.” I didn’t admit to anything but I did say that first of all I’m an adult and I can do what I want to do, and I don’t feel like this is disrespecting you guys, I’m not involving you guys in this at all, in whatever I’m doing. And I was like “I wouldn’t mind doing porn” and that was the last I heard of it from them. And then my mom send me that card which was really weird.
Switching topics, I want to ask about your relationship with your boyfriend Scott? Why do you think it works?
Basically when we kind of got together he messaged me online, and we were both kind of looking for the same thing and both of us were feeling really lonely when we met, and he didn’t really know why it would work either until I suggested that we both knew exactly the kind of people we were into. We were both primarily into older-younger relationships and we were both typically into the same sexual position, but at the same time we were both tired of being alone and not having companionship, so we decided to form this relationship where we would both be each other’s primary love and respect each other for the people that we are. He’s my companion, he’s my lover and he’s my partner. I can share my life with him. But at the same time I get to have the sex I want to have and so does he. We basically just allow each other to live life exactly as it presents itself to us without kind of wanting to stop the other person from doing anything and I think that’s why it works so well.
You also have a daddy and you were one of six boys –
Not right now, but I’ve had one.
You don’t still live in the house with the other guys?
I never lived with them. I always lived with Scott. I was part of the relationship but I never lived with them.
Why don’t you have the daddy/son relationship anymore, that’s a change from the last time I saw you?
Well that was my first time actually practicing polyamory instead of just talking about it and figuring it out. We were together for a good six months. But we were six in total and that was probably the catalyst for it to end. It definitely made me realize that I was someone who was polyamorous and I want someone in a mentor or teacher position that I can look up to and learn from, and I appreciate having a parent that I can also learn about sex from too… I don’t know if that makes sense. But being six, that’s a lot.
Just to explain, you were with a daddy who had five boys?
We were five boys — his partner identified as a boy as well. So those two and then four of us and we just kind of functioned as a family and a support group and sexual partners for some of us. Not all of us but some. One of my brothers and my dad and I used to have sex all the time. Two of the others were together. Within ourselves the relationships functioned as support and people I can look up to. And I still do. People who can slap me and tell me “pull your shit together.” Or people who recognize when I need a tap on the back and give me some praise, just people who aren’t going to go the first time I fuck up. Family is more about sticking it out and providing support and it’s kind of that different kind of connection that I seek in life. I realized I just need one person who’s a mentor to me, not a whole family. I didn’t need six people and not all of them identified as being family type people and polyamorous and that open. It was a learning experience for me. I was entering into something where the relationships had been formed for years. The first relationship between my dad and his partner had started 14 years ago. There was a lot of history rolled into it. For the people who were involved that dynamic wasn’t what I was looking for. But it made me realize I wanted a partner and another partner who serves as a mentor.
Cut the family in half.
Pretty much. I don’t want the whole family. I’ve already got my companion and best friend and lover in Scott.
Going back to your photos — are you always the one taking your pictures?
I’d say 80 percent of the time I’m taking the photos. I use an app called PhotoApp which has a timer. The other times it’s people who are there who want to participate, or other times I’m in a group setting and they’ll send me the photo and I’ll ask if I can use it on my blog. But usually it’s me and I know my angles and I have the fun I want to have and that’s how it happens.
Are you taking hundreds of shots and then picking out one to use or what?
Well sometimes they’re blurry and sometimes not. I take a couple and pick the best. I have a high standard and I want to put up work that really speaks to what’s happening.
Do you have a favorite photo of yours?
Oh, um. I don’t know. Maybe the header — the one that’s the main one on my blog. I like the color orange so I like that photo. I like that my photos — when I look at them I just see me.
Adam Baran is a filmmaker, blogger, former online editor of Butt Magazine and co-curator of Queer/Art/Film. His short film JACKPOT, about a porn-hunting gay teen, won Best Short Film at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and was recently featured on The Huffington Post, Queerty, and Towleroad, among others. He is a features programmer at Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival and NewFest in New York. In his spare time, he complains about things to his friends. “Fisting for Compliments”, his weekly musings about the intersection of sex, art, porn, and history, will appear every Monday on TheSword. You can contact him at Adam@TheSword.com and follow him on Twitter at @ABaran999.