Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Great Redneck Roundup: 20 Hookups in 20 Days

Summer 1995, the Wild West

When Dad turned 62, he and Mom retired, sold their house in Rock Island, and moved back to their home state of Indiana.  They told me that I had to come out by August to pick up any of my stuff that was still in the house, or it would go to Goodwill.

I wanted my desk, two chairs, a couple of books, two paintings, and some other mementos.

And Lane had never been out of California, except for flights to New York, Israel, and Europe.  Time for a road trip!

The only problem is, after a lifetime in West Hollywood, even Ojai seemed intolerably homophobic to him.   And we would be driving through some of the scariest, most conservative, most homophobic states in the country.

But we could see the sights, I told him.  The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore...and Rednecks, hairy-chested guys with farm-hard muscles and gigantic Mortadellas, who didn't like gay people but on Saturday night, after a few beers, happily went down on the guys they met at the tractor pull.

"Well...I do like cute redneck farmboys."

"Why not make a game of it?" I suggested.  "We'll see if we can hook up with a cowboy or redneck every day, bring a little same-sex action to the straight world.  How about it: 20 days, 20 sausages?"

Lane agreed to the Great Redneck Roundup of 1995:

Day 1: Phoenix, Arizona

This one was easy.  We stayed with a couple Lane knew, transplants from the gay Jewish community in Los Angeles, who took us on a tour of Phoenix's gay neighborhood and later invited us into their bed.  Sausage Count: 2

Day 2: Flagstaff, Arizona

After seeing the Grand Canyon, we drove down to Flagstaff to spend the night.  At a gay-friendly bar, we hooked up with a young Hispanic guy who worked as a waiter. Sausage Count: 3

Day 3: Provo, Utah

The heart of the Mormon world.  We were getting cocky, figuring that we could pick up a guy anywhere in Redneck Country, like on the campus of Brigham Young University.  Bust.

Day 4: Laramie, Wyoming

In a few years, the murder of Matthew Shepherd would make Laramie famous as haven of homophobia, but in 1995, we were just thinking cowboys.  We went to the campus of the University of Wyoming, visited the Art Museum, and the Museum of the Plains.

Nobody in Laramie, but on the road: when you go to a rest stop at dawn, there are always a lot of trucks parked, where the drivers spent the night.  Curious, I walked among them.  One of the doors was open, and the driver was sitting inside, legs spread, waiting for a passerby to strike up a conversation -- and be invited into the cab.  He turned out to be from Chicago, into kissing and oral. Sausage Count: Boomer 4, Lane 3

Days 5-6: Denver, Colorado

After four days in the Straight World, it was a relief to get to Denver, with its strong, well-organized gay neighborhood.  And meeting guys was easy. A South Asian guy named Ravi took us back to his apartment.

On Day 6, we toured the Museum of Decorative Arts and then met Ravi and his friend Jason for dinner.  We all went to a ballet at the Opera House, and then back to Ravi's apartment again. Sausage Count: Boomer 6, Lane 5

Day 7: Omaha, Nebraska.

I wanted to see the old places I knew from my month in Omaha with Fred.  And found that saying "I'm from West Hollywood" attracts guys as readily as saying "I have a gigantic penis."  We hooked up  with a Cornhuster, an extremely buffed former University of Nebraska football player who now worked as a college recruiter.  He was an anal bottom.  Sausage Count: Boomer 7, Lane 6

Day 8: Des Moines, Iowa.

Thomas, the gay Episcopalian priest who took me to my first Gay Rights Rally in 1981, was still living in Des Moines, a Silver Daddy who still managed to attract Cute Young Things.  We "shared" his latest boyfriend. Sausage Count: Boomer 9, Lane 8.

Days 9-11: Rock Island, Illinois

Along with visiting my parents and brother, packing up and shipping my stuff, and going to my old haunts, we had time to hang out with my old friend Dick and his partner.  I also sent Lane out to JRs by himself, so we would be even.  Sausage Count: 11

Day 12: Sioux Falls, South Dakota

We saw the famous Stave Church and went to a gay bar downtown, hoping to hook up with a Viking.  Instead we hooked up with a black guy on the downlow, whose wife was an English professor at the University. Sausage Count: 12

Day 13: Rapid City, South Dakota

We were so tired from driving and seeing Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument that we forgot to cruise.  Bust.

Day 14: Billings, Montana

We ended up in Sturgis, South Dakota, during the famous Sturgis Bike Rally.  Hundreds of hot motorcycle guys riding around shirtless, beer in hand.  But there was no place to stay in town, so we had to drive on to Billings, Montana.  Again, too tired to cruise.  Bust.

Day 15: Missoula, Montana

We loved Missoula.  A very nice art museum, historic churches, antique shops, bookstores.  I saw one of the most beautiful men on Earth fishing off a bridge, a cut-off t-shirt revealing enormous biceps.  Lane stayed at the hotel, saying I could hook up by myself, so I went to a country-Western bar and met Jared, a real, actual cowboy (or so he said).  Sausage Count: Boomer 13, Lane 12

Day 17: Spokane, Washington

It was scary driving through Idaho, where the anti-sodomy law brought a maximum penalty of life in prison.  But then we arrived in Spokane, Washington, a little gay mecca, drawing gay guys from all over the redneck states.  They were low-key, closeted; no "real" gay bars, but lots of gay-friendly bars and restaurants, and a lot of "street cruising."  But we didn't pick up anyone.  Bust.

Day 18: Portland, Oregon

A gigantic gay mecca, with a bathhouse that took up nearly a city block and a nice country-western bar.  We did some cruising separately at the bathhouse (3 guys for me, 4 for Lane so we would be even).  Sausage Count: 16

Day 19: Redding, California

Two days left, 4 guys to go.  We pulled into Redding, a town of 90,000 near the Oregon border and Mount Shasta, where Bigfoot has been sighted.  There was only one, small gay bar, and it wasn't very active.

"We can pick up the rest in San Francisco," Lane pointed out.

"Sure, but we're supposed to be getting guys in the Straight World, cowboys and truckers and rednecks."

I went up to the bartender and asked "Do you know of any clubs where you could meet several guys tonight?"

He told me about a bear party going on that night in a place called Happy Valley, where we got our remaining four!  Sausage Count: 20.

Day 20: San Francisco, California

When you drive into town from the north, you go over the Golden Gate Bridge, an iconic San Francisco moment.  We were too overwhelmed by being home, in the heart of the gay world, to bother with cruising.  But we had already had 8 dates or "sharing" experiences, 4 bar hookups, 1 public encounter, and 7 guys from bear parties or bath houses, for a total of 20 sausages in 20 days.

Oh, and we saw the Grand Canyon, too.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Picking Up Men in Bookstores

Quick -- you have the choice of spending an hour in this guy's apartment, or in this bookstore.  Which will you choose?

I'm going with the bookstore.

Pecs, abs, and cocks are great, of course, but there's nothing like browsing through the stacks of a used bookstore.

Not new bookstores, with their coffee shops, rows of junk "bargain books" and bestsellers, and history sections devoted entirely to war.  Those are depressing.

Used bookstores, where you can wander amid the books of yesteryear.  Penguins with the old covers. Ace science fiction doubles.  The qui-sais-je series of small French paperbacks.

The first thing I do when I visit Paris is browse at Shakespeare and Company.  In New York, the Strand. L.A. used to have a great used bookstore, the Cosmopolitan.

The Book Trader in Philadelphia.

The Book Exchange in Amsterdam

Powell's Books in Portland.  Sigh.

They are also good places to pick up guys.

Surprisingly, the gay/lesbian section is not the best place to meet gay guys.  Many used bookstores don't even have a gay section, either because the owner is homophobic or because there aren't a lot of gay-themed books before the 1980s.  And when they do have one, it's in the same stack as "sexuality," which means books about how heteros have sex.

Most gay men give it a miss.

Theater, art, and music. Star biographies. It's a stereotype that gay men are all into the arts, but it's a stereotype that everyone knows, so if he is interesting in meeting someone, that's where he will hang out.

And it gives you an easy way to determine if your target is gay: ask if an artist, musician, or celebrity was gay.

It doesn't matter if he was or not; gay men will know the answer, or pretend to.

The foreign language section is another good bet. At least, it works for me because it allows for easy conversation starters:

"Have you studied Polish?  When I was in Poland a few years ago..."

"What is the difference between Hindi and Urdu?"

"I studied Mandarin for about a semester, but it got frustrating because I kept accidentally saying dirty things."

You can also try picking up the bookstore owner.  90% of the owners of the bookstores I have been to are quiet, shy, reclusive middle-aged men who live alone and rarely date anyone, ostensibly straight but open to suggestions.

Play with the bookstore cat, compliment them on their selection, let them vent about how young people don't read books anymore, and they're inviting you back to their apartment.

Of course, most of them don't exactly look like Tom Ellis, but every guy looks hot surrounded by books.

Well, almost every guy.

Drake on His Knees in Tony Curtis' Dressing Room

San Francisco, November 1996

Gay parties are different in San Francisco than they were in West Hollywood: dinner is out at a restaurant, not at someone's apartment, and there are no celebrity dating stories: there's no actor colony here, so most guys don't have any opportunity to meet celebrities.

But this is my birthday, so I have to tell the story of my date with Michael J. Fox.

David and Corbin, the gym rat with the Mortadella+, counter with our four-way with Brad Pitt.

My sort-of boyfriend Kevin the Vampire tells about his hookup with Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, who was actually a "very nice guy."

Not to be left out, Drake the Teddy Bear artist tells us "When I was a kid, I hooked up with Tony Curtis!"

Tony Curtis, the famous actor who went in drag for Some Like It Hot (1959) and had a gay-subtext scene in Spartacus (1960)?  He's had five wives and six children, but how could anyone straight fill so many of his film roles with so many gay subtexts?

"Is it ok if I was slightly underaged at the time?"  Drake continued.

"California didn't repeal its sodomy law until 1976, so you were both committing a felony," Kevin the Vampire points out.  "Go for it."

Hollywood, November 1955

Drake's father was Georges Bruggeman (1904-1967), an actor and stuntman who appeared in over 200 movies stretching from the 1920s to the 1960s, including such classics as The Wizard of Oz (1939), Rio Bravo (1959), Spartacus (1960), and The Graduate (1967).  A bodybuilder, a winner of the AAU "Most Perfect Body" title in 1928, he doubled for beefcake stars like Buster Crabbe, Johnny Weissmuller, and Richard Green.

"Forget Tony Curtis!" David exclaims.  "Did you ever see your Dad naked?"

Drake grew up among celebrities.  He car-pooled to school with David and Ricky Nelson.  Buster Crabbe and Cary Grant came over for dinner.  He had free run of the studios, especially Universal, where his father worked most often.

"Did you get a sausage sighting of David Nelson?" I ask.  "I heard that he was enormous."

"Nope, sorry.  David was older than me, and Ricky younger, so we didn't really hang out."

Drake loved watching the beefcake stars like John Saxon, Rock Hudson, and Troy Donahue.

As they got to know him, they joked around with him, or sent him on little errands.  Sometimes they even invited him to help them change costumes.

He got a sausage sighting of gay actor Rock Hudson, but didn't hook up with him.

One day when he was about 16, Drake met 31-year old Tony Curtis, who was starring in the circus acrobat love story Trapeze, about a crippled trapeze artist (Burt Lancaster) who agrees to teach a young recruit (Tony) the trade, while they compete for the affection of Lola (Gina Lollobrigida).

Tony had black curly hair, soulful eyes, a feminine pout, and a tight physique, with a smooth hard chest.  He was a fey prettyboy who everyone thought was queer, except he was married and had lots of girls on the side.

In Hollywood since 1948, he was contracted to Universal Studios, cast mostly in  Westerns, film noir, and historical romances, anything that would allow him to pout for the camera, take his shirt off, and crush a damsel in distress into his arms.

Drake started hanging around Tony, mooning over him, as they said when he was a kid.  He loved Tony's half-smile, the wiggle in his walk, the way he had of looking at you like you were the most important person in the world.

Once as the walked across the studio, Tony put his arm around Drake's shoulders.  Overwhelmed by the warmth and strength of his touch, Drake walked more and more slowly, so it would last longer.

Finally Tony said "What's the matter, Drake?  Legs giving out on you?"  He then pulled Drake into his arms and carried him like a damsel in distress in a Medieval movie.

He was just joking, but Drake fantasized that night about being rescued by Tony and carried off in his arms.

He fantasized a lot.

"You needn't use euphemisms," Kevin says.  "We're all adults here.  You beat your meat while thinking of the prettyboy."

One day Drake found something he thought Tony would like -- he didn't remember what, an article in a magazine, maybe.  He was so excited about it that he burst into Tony's dressing room without knocking.

Tony had his pants down.  There was a boy on his knees, going down on him while fondling himself.

Drake recognized him as Jimmy, another studio hanger-on who sometimes took walk-on parts.

The moment he saw Drake, Jimmy jumped up with a shout, covered himself, and ran out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

Tony stood there, aroused, glaring at Drake.  "There's a new fad all the kids are doing.  It's called knocking."

"I'm...I'm...sorry," Drake stammered, staring at Tony's aroused penis.

"How big was it?"

"Bigger than me, and I have a Mortadella!  It was beautiful.  Long, thick shaft!  Enormous mushroom head!"

"You interrupted Jimmy's job," Tony said sternly.  "Now you finish it."

Drake had gone down on guys before; some of the older boys at summer camp used to pay him a quarter for each blow job.  But none of them were nearly as big as Tony!

He knelt, opened his mouth as wide as he could, and got the head in.  The shaft entered easily after that.  Tony thrust his hips, pushing it in and out in rhythmic strokes while murmuring "Yeah, that's it.  Do it nice.  Chicks just don't know how to do it right, do they?  It takes a man."

Drake was pleased at being called a man. He began to fondle himself, and finally pulled it out.

"Getting off on my rod, huh?" Tony murmured.  "That's the way I like it.  I want the queer to have a good time, too."

It didn't take long for Tony to spurt into Drake's throat.  Drake finished a moment later, spurting all over Tony's shoes.

"You should wash that up, kid," Tony said, pushing his penis back into his pants.

Drake was a little annoyed.  Was he a man, a queer, or a kid?

"Well, since you probably scared off my usual guy for good, want his job?" Tony asked.  "It pays $2.00 per load if you swallow, $1.00 if you don't.  He pulled two dollar bills from his wallet and pressed them into Drake's hands.  "That's for today."

Drake stared in astonishment.  But...this was a job?  He thought that Tony liked him, wanted to be friends and do things together.  Found him attractive, found him a man.  Would anybody with a willing mouth do?

", thanks," he stammered.  "I'm kind of busy."

He never went back to the set of Trapeze, but he did make out with Rock Hudson at a gay party in 1961.  Still no hookup, though.

Was Drake Telling the Truth?

1. Trapeze was filmed in France, not at Universal Studios, and George Bruggeman was not in it.  But he was in Mr. Cory (1957), with Tony Curtis as a busboy turned gambler.  A sixteen-year old actor named Jimmy Karath had a minor role. Maybe Drake mixed up.
2. In 1996, Drake told us that he was 53.  That means that in 1955, he would have been 12 years old, not 16.  Of course, older guys often knock a few years off their age.

3. This basket shot seems to indicate that Tony has an average-sized penis.

4. But Tony Curtis was definitely bisexual. In an interview for the gay magazine Out Smart in 2002,  Tony  said that during the 1950s he got "more action than Mount Vesuvius: men, women, animals.  I loved it.  I participated where I wanted...I've always been open about it"   But by the 2010s, he was rather homophobic.  He refused to see Brokeback Mountain due to its gay content.


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