Monday, May 22, 2017

"My Uncle's Queer": Joel's Transformation from Choir Boy to Punk Rocker

Rock Island, December 1999

I am in grad school in New York, visiting Rock Island and Indianapolis for the holidays, staying with my brother Kenny in his rundown, rambling house downtown.  The house is crowded with Kenny's four kids, his new wife, and her three kids, plus a huge assortment of dogs, cats, hamsters, and parrots.

It's easy to miss Joel, Ken's youngest son, in the crowd: he's thirteen years old, short, slim, a quiet, polite Johnny Nazarene.  But a talented singer: he's toured in Iowa, Minnesota, and Sweden with the Moline Boys' Choir.  We go to their Christmas concert and hear his solo in "Come, O Come Emmanuel."

December 2000

Yuri and I are visiting Rock Island for the holidays. My family practices a "don't ask, don't tell" policy, so they don't know if we're friends or boyfriends or lovers.  Most of them probably don't even know that we are gay.  But Joel figures it out.  Although he claims to be straight, he asked us to teach him and his friend Max "how gay guys have sex."

Yuri and I teach him about gay kissing.





August 2001

I've completed my Ph.D., and I'm visiting Rock Island for a few days just before moving to Florida.  Joel is a cute 15 year old with short black hair, pale skin, and nicely rounded biceps.  Nazarenes aren't allowed to listen to "the devil's music," basically anything with guitars, but he likes Weezer, Nickelback, and other groups that I never heard of, but sound loud.

Oddly, Ken doesn't forbid it.  "It's his life," my brother says.  "If he likes the devil's music, that's on him."

Joel asks why I didn't bring Yuri.  "You guys are, like, hot together, aren't you?"

Ken glares at me, accusing me of outing myself to his son.  "Boomer has a lot of friends, all kinds," he explains.  "Black, white, Jewish, Muslim, gay, straight.  He's so liberal, it hurts."



December 2001

Joel is a surly 15-year old, dressed all in black, who protests the "capitalist spending frenzy" of Christmas.  He spends most of his time in the room he shares with his brothers, listening to metal music.  He emerges to eat a bowl of Lucky Charms instead of Christmas dinner, and to ask "So, Uncle Gizmo, are the beach boys hot down in Florida?  I bet you get tons of action."

In front of the whole family, including relatives I wasn't out to!

"Um...well, I do ok," I stammer.

Later I ask Kenny if Joel is gay.

"Nope, nope, nope!" Kenny exclaims.  "He's totally hot for girls.  He's got a little gay friend, but that doesn't mean a thing."


June 2003

Maybe Kenny is angry about my accidental outing, or maybe he's just busy, but he doesn't invite me to Christmas in Rock Island in 2002. I don't visit again until June 2003.

Joel has just turned 17.  He has long green hair, earrings,  and a pierced lip.  He gives me a hug and calls me "Beach Boy,"

He just got back from Hardcore Fest, where he heard Walls Of Jericho, Suicide Note, Saved By Grace, As We Speak, Provoke, How It Ends, Devastator, Preacher Gone To Texas, Blood In Blood Out, Too Pure To Die, For Death or Glory, Wings Of Scarlet, Uphold, Begin Again, King of Clubz, Pound for Pound, Undo Tomorrow, Haunted Life and Butt Lynt.

"Sounds like a great lineup," I tell him.

And naturally he's the lead vocalist in his own punk band, The Dead Eunuchs.

June 2004

Joel has a bright red mohawk, and his group, the Dead Eunuchs, has been performing all over the Quad Cities.  Tonight they have a gig at the Rusty Nail in Davenport.

"You should come," Joel says.  "We play a great set."

Well -- I'm not much for punk music in noisy heterosexual bars. "I don't think..."

 "You'll like one of our songs.  It's called 'My Uncle is Queer.'"


My face begins to burn.  Is Joel outing me in front of roomsful of drunken heterosexual rednecks?  "Queer?  Sounds homophobic!" I exclaim.

"The Dead Eunuchs are opposed to racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, fascism, capitalism, brutality, and the police state," Joel recites.  "It's right there on our MySpace page. Come Saturday night.  You'll find out."

It's a small club with a bar and grille and a little stage.  About 20 people in the audience, some rednecks, but mostly bohemians of all shapes and sizes.  The Dead Eunuchs, five guys in their late teens or early 20s, perform in mohawks, shirtless (nice abs), with lots of crotch-grabbing and pretending to lick each other.

Their songs are the standard punk "life is meaningless" shtick, until they come to "My Uncle's Queer."

As far as I can tell from the screeching, the lyrics are:

My uncle's queer, you heard me right!
He won't tell Dad, he's scared to fight!
Break the system, break the wall,
Press your cock against my balls.
We're all dying from the fear
Inside out, everybody's queer!

Not very complementary, but at least it's inclusive.

Guitar riff, and then the second verse:


My sister kissed a dyke for [?],
My brother sucked a stud for Jesus
We all got cocks, we all got balls,
We all got faces pressed to the wall.
I am queer!  You are queer!
Hear that preacher, the world is queer!

"Nice inclusive message," I tell Joel later as he sits, shirtless and sweat-soaked, at my booth eating a hamburger.   "But not entirely accurate.  I'm out to your Dad.  He was the first one I told, back in 1978."

Joel grins.  "The song isn't about you.  It's about everybody who's afraid to be who they are."

I hesitate about asking if Joel is really "queer" or not -- it would be contrary to his message of solidarity.

And no, he never invites me to "press my cock against his balls."  But I do get a sausage sighting.

See also: We teach my Nephew the Gay Facts of Life.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Glory Hole in the Library Bathroom

Plains, May 2017

Last Friday the campus was deserted.  The secretary in the main office was gone.  I walked down hallways so empty that the motion-sensor lights were off.

The food service was closed, so I had to walk all the way across the street to get lunch.

The campus gym was closed for remodeling, so I would have to go to the YMCA later.  But I had a more pressing problem: I had to use the bathroom.

When I have to sit down, I don't use the restrooms in my building -- they're heavily used, and so rather gross (a surprising number of college students don't know how to flush), and not at all private.  I use the one in the campus gym -- closed! or the one upstairs in the Business Building -- out of order!


Ok, Performing Arts, second floor.

Ocupado!

The only other secluded, non-gross restroom I could think of was on the third floor of the library, quite a walk, but...I had no choice!

I climbed the stairs to the third floor.  There were three students in the study area, at separate tables: a girl, a cute Hispanic guy, and a young-looking Middle Eastern guy.

I was curious about the cute Hispanic guy  taking notes from a book -- classes were over! So I walked past and took a peek: pharmacology.  He must be working on a late paper.

He looked up as I passed and stared at me suspiciously.  He was slim, with a round face, prominent eyebrows, and sensual lips.  Long, thin arms, square hands.

The Middle Eastern guy was working on his laptop: all I saw was black hair, a thin eyeglassed face, and a red t-shirt.  He looked very young.  I wondered if he was a newly-admitted student on a tour, taking a break in the library?

 I didn't want them to think I was there just to use the bathroom, so I crossed the room and headed for the PQ Section, French literature.  I browsed through Medieval, Renaissance, 19th Century, and turned the corner to a dead end with 20th Century.

I almost tripped over a guy sitting on the floor, reading an old book.

"Oh, excuse me!"

"No problem," he said, looking up briefly.  He was tall and thin, with black hair and a serious tan, wearing a purple university shirt and jeans.

I was already in this corridor, so I had to pretend to be looking for something.  I picked out a book on Gide and walked past the floor guy again, through the quiet study area.  I put the book down on one of the tables and headed to the restroom.

It was a long, narrow room.  You walked past the sinks into a little alcove with thick, heavy walls, for the urinals, and then another alcove with two very large stalls.  I chose the farthest one and sat down.

Then I heard the far door swing open.

I'm gunshy -- I can't do anything with someone else walking around outside, not even a boyfriend.  I would have to wait for him to urinate, wash his hands, and leave.

He didn't urinate.  Was he just standing there, admiring himself in the mirror?

Maybe he didn't realize that there was a guy in here!  I coughed to let him know.

Now he walked toward the urinals -- and past them.  He stood outside the toilet stalls, as if trying to decide on one.  I was invisible -- he wouldn't know mine was occupied.  I coughed again, to let him know.

He opened the door to the other one, went in, dropped his pants, and sat down.  I saw his tennis shoes and jeans, and a little of his tan socks.

Great -- now I would have to wait until he finished his business.  I pulled out my cell phone and waited for the sound of...you know.

No sound.

He must be gunshy, too.  So we would play the waiting game.  I tapped my foot impatiently..

Suddenly he shifted position and knelt on the floor, facing the wall between us.  I saw his cock under the stall, very thick, uncut, maybe a Kielbasa.  He was playing with it...

Was this...tea room trade?

But this was the University library!  I was a faculty member!  Besides, I had an apartment.  I could go on Grindr.

He was aroused: not a Kielbasa, a Bratwurst, but thick as a beer can, and close enough to touch.

I reached down and wrapped my hand around it.  He moved forward until his cock was sticking out from under the stall.

I got on my knees, crouched on the cold linoleum floor, and started licking the head.  He pushed it through even farther, arching his back.

I went down on it, steadying myself against the wall.  It was an uncomfortable position!


This is silly! I thought.   Invite him home!

I thrust up and down.  He was breathing heavily.  I reached out and stroked his balls, licked the huge mushroom head.  He arched his back farther.  Some more thrusts, more tongue action.  Soon he let out a little cry and pumped out his load.

He stood, pulled up his pants -- he was still partially aroused -- and left.

I returned to the toilet seat, flushed with erotic satisfaction.  I finished my business, washed my hands, and returned to the quiet study area.  Hispanic and Middle Eastern guy and the girl were still occupying their tables. Floor guy was gone.

Which of the three did I go down on?  I couldn't tell by the skin color, size, shape, or any other factor.

I sat down and read my book, trying to make eye contact with one of the guys, or both.

Middle Eastern guy looked up and smiled.

That's not proof positive, of course, but...

I might have to use the restroom again on Monday

See also: A Glory Hole at a Rest Stop in Arkansas 

A Crush on the Girl Next Door's Boyfriend

Rock Island, August 1975

When I was a kid, I was pretty aggressive.  In fifth grade, I was dating Bill and inviting cute guys to sleepovers; plus I gave a massage to a high school boy, strategized to see Randy the Golden Boy in his underwear and the Sanderson boys naked, fell asleep in a sailor's arms, and felt three wieners.

But during puberty, it was no longer a vague, amorphous wish to be close to him or see him naked.  I wanted more than that, to touch, taste, and fondle.  The desire was intense, immediate, and overtly erotic.

So I became shy and circumspect, especially around adults.

During the summer after ninth grade, we moved to a new house, only a few blocks away from our old house on 41st Street, but bigger, with a double yard where my parents could do their beloved outdoor entertaining.  They immediately became friendly with the neighbors.

The family next door had a teenage daughter, Julie, who was majoring in business at Augustana College.  We didn't socialize much -- I tried to avoid talking to girls as much as possible, since my parents interpreted the most trivial "hello" as evidence that I was smitten.

 And Julie, though all smiles around my parents, had no use for kids.  Every morning we left our houses at the same time; she swept past me without a word, scowling like the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz.

You could almost hear "Da-da-da-da-da-daaa," the music that plays when the Witch comes on stage (it's called "Miss Gulch," composed by Herbert Stothart).

Ok, she wasn't that bad.  But I wouldn't have socialized with her at all except for her boyfriend Conrad.

He was an education major at Augustana, tall and slim, with a handsome square face and a bright smile.  Brown hair, a severe military haircut -- unusual in the shaggy-haired 1970s.   A little shy and quiet, always deferring to Julie.  But he always had a smile for me and my younger brother, and he always tried to engage us in conversation.

They went swimming several times a week, and Conrad picked her up wearing his swimsuit.  A smooth, tight chest, lightly tanned, an "innie" belly button, and an enormous bulge!  I was desperate to ask if I could come along, but of course they were too old for me to hang out with.

One Saturday in August 1975, about a week after I learned about oral sex in the church parking lot, Mom and Dad held a barbecue for their friends and neighbors.  There were about 30 people on five picnic tables in the side yard, eating hamburgers and hot dogs from paper plates, drinking sodas and lemonade from plastic cups.

The family next door was there, but not Julie.  Or Conrad.

Then, when we were about ready for dessert, they came rushing into the back yard, wearing swimsuits, carrying beach bags.  "Sorry -- we were at the pool and we lost track of time," Julie told Mom.

"No problem, there's lots of hot dogs left, and some potato salad and chips.  Go and change clothes, and come back."

  "Great, thanks.  We'll just pop next door and be right back."

Mom frowned, realizing that they would probably be changing in the same room, and see each other naked!  "It will save time if Conrad changes in our house," she said.  "Boomer, show him where the bathroom is, ok?"

"Um...sure, sure."  My heart started to beat faster, and I felt uncomfortably warm.  I was going to get a sausage sighting!  Maybe Conrad would even let me...

Trembling with anticipation, I led Conrad through the back door and into the kitchen, where one of our neighbors was cutting cake into squares, then through the hallway to the bathroom.  What excuse could I use to go in with him?

The bathroom door was shut.  I knocked.  "Occupied!" someone yelled.

"Um...that's ok, you can change in my room," I said, thinking fast.  "This way."

Back through the kitchen and up the stairs to my attic room.  I sat down on the bed.  Conrad put down his beach bag, turned his back to me, and dropped his swimsuit.

No!  I was too close!  I glanced around the room.  What could draw his interest?  "Hey...see the poster over my bed?  That's Mark Spitz.   He won 7 gold medals at the 1972 Olympics in Munich."

Conrad turned to look.  He stood in front of me, naked.  A gigantic cut Kielbasa, five inches from my face!

"Nice," he said with utter nonchalance.  "I didn't think you were into sports."

"I'm not.  I just like swimmers.  I mean I like swimming.  Or swimmers who are swimming, I mean."

Conrad stood there, immobile, a frown on his face, as if he was trying to figure out a hard math problem.

He's waiting for me! I thought.  Reach out and touch it!  Go down on him!  But I froze.  "Um...um...I took swimming lessons ever since I was a kid.  I have some Boy Scout training manuals, if you'd like to see them."

He was still standing there.  Waiting for me!  I stood and brushed past him, being careful to "accidentally" brush against his penis with my hand.  "Oops, sorry."  I walked, so shakily that I thought I would fall, to my dresser, opened the top drawer, and pretended to rummage around.

"Maybe later -- right now I'm really hungry."  I heard Conrad fumbling around in his beach bag.  Pulling up his pants.

"You ok, Boomer?"

I turned.  Conrad was buttoning up his shirt.

"Yeah," I said, managing a weak smile.  "I can't find my training manuals, is all."

"Let me know when you find them.  I'd be interested in seeing them."  He put his trunks into the beach bag, slid on his sandals, and walked past me to the stairway.  "Ready to go back downstairs?"

"Oh, I have a couple of things to do.  You go on."

"Ok.  Thanks for letting me change up here."  He touched my shoulder.  "I'll see you soon, ok?"

I stayed in my room for the rest of the afternoon.  When my brother came upstairs to see where I was, I told him I had a stomach ache.  Later Mom brought up some chicken soup and told me I shouldn't have eaten so many hot dogs.

When the fall semester started, I was in school all day, and rarely saw Julie -- or Conrad.  Around Christmastime, I asked about him, and Julie said that they broke up.

See also: I Learn About Oral Sex in the Church Parking Lot; Going to Bed with the Boy Next Door.