Saturday, August 24, 2019

Fred and the Icelandic Photographer

New York, August 2000

"Boomer, guess what!" Fred said breathlessly, in those days before texting overtook the telephone.  "I got a new job, in Bemidji, Minnesota!"

Last I heard, my ex-boyfriend Fred and his partner Jester -- a blind guy who taught high school history -- were in Sandusky, Ohio, where Fred was working as an assistant pastor at a congregational church. Granted, a step down for someone with a doctorate in theology and ten years of pastoral experience, but Sandusky was a gay resort town.

What in the world were they doing in Bemidji, Minnesota?

Population 14,000.  Near nowhere at all (3 1/2 hours to Minneapolis, 4 1/2 hours to Winnipeg).

Famous for nothing in particular except a statue of Paul Bunyan, which isn't all that impressive.

One mixed bar, a campus gay organization, and that's it.

What else?  A job.

"I'm Protestant chaplain and director of Religious Life at Bemidji State University!"

Granted, a step up, but Bemidji, Minnesota?  Farther from the gay world than even Fresno.  What did Jester say?

"He's on board with it," Fred said curtly.   He never discussed his relationships unless forced, and then only briefly, the product of years of being closeted at work.

I was very busy during my last year in grad school, working two jobs, finishing my doctoral dissertation, and applying for every job in a gay neighborhood I could find, so I didn't contact Fred much.  Then in the spring I saw an ad for a job at Bemidji State University!

It might not be so bad.  Fred, Jester and I could start a gay political group, or maybe a weekly bear party like the one on Long Island.  And Minneapolis was close enough for weekend trips.

So in April I flew out for the interview.

Bemidji, Minnesota, April 2001

I soon discovered that the department were just inviting me so they could congratulate themselves on being so liberal.  They would never hire someone who researched gay topics, or as one interviewer called it, "sex education."

After dinner on Thursday night, they dropped me off at my hotel, and Fred picked me up for dessert at Rudy's, followed by cruising at the mixed bar.

Sitting beside him in his car was not Jester, but a Cute Young Thing I had never seen or heard of before.

He was  tall and skinny, with shoulder-length hair, a moustache, and a hard smooth chest.  There was a map of Iceland tattoo on his arm.

He introduced himself as Stefan, from Iceland, an art major at Bemidji State.

Where was Jester?  

"Oh, Jester is back in San Bernardino," Fred said dismissively.  "He came out for a couple of months, but then decided to go home."

"I can understand that.  It's hard for blind people to adapt to new environments, and I'll bet teaching credentials don't transfer from state to state.  He'd have to go back to school in order to teach here, right?"

"No, he just didn't like the cold weather," Fred said.

"And he missed the California beach boys," Stefan said in fluent English, with a little lilt in his voice.  "Never anything on his mind but sex, sex, sex, all day and all night!"

That didn't sound like Jester.  Time to change the subject.  "I love Iceland!  I visited when I was in college.  Reykjavik is beautiful."

"Reykjavik is too big and noisy.  Gritty.  Have you ever been to Akureyri?  It's still quiet, no tourists.  You can hear yourself think."

"  I've just been to Rekjavik, and to a hot springs about an hour away."

"If you have been to Iceland," Stefan continued, "You must learn the Icelandic language.  It is the most pure of languages, unchanged since the days of the sagas.  No modern influences.  Ég vil sjá hala þínum, I want to see your penis."

Ruby's was an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that served tin roofs, black cows, and phosphates.  Stefan talked about the Old Icelandic sagas and the travels of Norse kings.  He was actually sort of interesting.  But he wouldn't eat anything -- "I don't want to turn into a fattie, like the Americans."

"Where have you been in the U.S. besides Bemidji?" I asked.

"Minneapolis, and a few days in New York."

"I live in New York.  Great, isn't it?"

"What a dump!" Stefan spat.  "It smells like a garbage can, and the people do nothing all day but watch the television.  How can you live in such a place?"

Ugh.  Stefan was as elitist as Fred's ex-boyfriend Matt.  I hate elitists, but apparently Fred couldn't get enough of them!

The mixed gay-straight bar was dark and rather seedy, with scary-looking guys propping up beer bottles like phalluses.

"Trolls!"  Stefan exclaimed.  "In Iceland, trolls are big, clumsy fellows who eat people.  Here they are just ugly and smell of armpits.  But we will dance, Boomer, ok?  Fred won't dance with me."

There was no one dancing.  "No, thanks," I said.

"Americans are so in the closet!  No one will shoot us if we just dance together!"

But I continued to refuse, and Stefan sat pouting for awhile, silent as Fred and I caught up on old friends, except for an occasional rude interjection:

"Lane just lives on his mother's money?  Is he handicapped?  In Iceland everyone must work."  

I didn't really feel like sharing this elitist jerk, but it had been about two years since I was in Fred's bed, so I consented to go back to his apartment.  The moment we came through the door, Stefan ran to the bathroom -- "I can't use the sickening, dirty bathroom at the bar!"

Fred nudged me.  "Isn't he great?  So cosmopolitan!  We'll be together for the rest of our lives, I guarantee.  I've never met anyone like him before!"

"Really?"  He seemed exactly like Matt, in his Cute Young Thing days, before he turned down the sarcasm and started trying to be friendly.  "Stefan doesn't remind you of any of your old boyfriends?"

" one comes to mind.  Well, he does remind me of Jester in one way."

"His interest in history?"

"No."  He grinned.  "Something else."

"So, are we ready for the sharing?"  Stefan walked out of the bathroom, already naked, a Kovbasa++ just as big as Jester's swinging between his legs.

I stared.

"Don't just look.  Who wants to go down on me first?"

You're probably wondering about the mechanics of going down on a guy with 11".  It works best with two guys, one working on the head and the other working on the shaft.  Unfortunately, Fred was a top, and not really into giving oral, so I had to handle the entire job.  Not that I minded.

After that night, Fred never mentioned Stefan again.  No doubt they broke up.  His job at Bemidji didn't last long, either.

See also: The Naked Nordic God of the Icelandic Hotsprings; The Tacher with Sixteen Inches

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Mario's Date with Rob Lowe

West Hollywood, September 1987

When I first arrived in West Hollywood in 1985, Rob Lowe was an androgynous prettyboy who took off his shirt a lot in Brat Pack classics like The Outsiders (1983), Class (1983), The Hotel New Hampshire (1984), Oxford Blues (1984), and St. Elmo's Fire (1985).

His fire faded a bit during the late 1980s, and his career almost fizzled out in 1988, after a tape surfaced of him and friend Justin Morritt having sex with a woman in a hotel room the night before the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta (there were actually two women there, but one doesn't appear on the tape).

Such shenanigans didn't ruin his popularity with gay fans, or the belief that he was probably gay himself. Even though he, and his Brat Pack buddies, made some of the most horrifically homophobic movies of the 1980s.  Even though he married Sheryl Berkoff in 1991 and had two children (Matthew and John Owen).

We still figured he was gay.  Why else would he star in the gay subtext-filled Bad Influence (1990) and The Finest Hour (1992), as  the psychiatrist treating the dead gay guy's sister in Suddenly Last Summer (1993), and as the mute, angelic, asexual Nick Stavros in The Stand (1994)?  Why else would he appear at so many AIDS Walks and AIDS benefits?

Why else would half the guys in West Hollywood claim to have dated him?

During my 10 years in West Hollywood, I heard about a dozen "my date with Rob Lowe" stories.  The one that sounds the most believable is from Mario, the wannabe actor who picked me up at the Different Light Bookstore.

He was black, rather feminine, thin and willowy, wearing gold rings, bracelets, and necklaces -- an immediate turnoff.  But he was also shorter than me, dark skinned, with glasses that gave him a studious look.

During dinner at the Greenery, I told him about my Celebrity Boyfriend, who dumped me for Alan the Pentecostal Porn Star.

He said, "Honey, forget those minor teen idol wannabes. You gotta start at the top.  Take me: I was in town about a month before I had a date with the super-hung superstar Rob Lowe!"

Hollywood, Spring 1981

Mario was 18 years old, a transplant from Richmond, Virginia, living in a tiny apartment off Selma with a drag queen named Esther Dicks, and eager to break into acting,   So far he had danced in a shoe commercial, and played basketball on a episode of Saved by the Bell.  

Then he got a starring role in a tv movie starring Vicki Lawrence (Mama's Family) as the owner of a hip jeans store.  He played the best friend of her son, Tucker:

A 16 year old actor named Rob Lowe.

Rob was a junior at Santa Monica High School, a handsome prettyboy with incredible eyes and a bulge that wouldn't quit.

Although he had starred in A New Kind of Family (1979-80) and an Afterschool Special, and had a few articles in teen magazines, Mario didn't know him.

He didn't come out, of course -- he invented a fake girlfriend back home in Virginia.  Rob said he hadn't dated much -- he was "shy" around girls.

"Uh-huh, honey, you know what that means."

They bonded during filming.  Rob invited him to a weekly basketball game that Garry Marshall (Laverne and Shirley) held at his house in Tarzana for every cute boy he could find.  Vince Van Patten and Ralph Macchio were there.

"So, Garry Marshall is gay?" I asked in surprise.

"Ain't nobody in Hollywood who's not gay, once they get a few beers in them."

One night Rob invited him over for dinner at his house in Malibu  -- "It wasn't no palace, by a long shot.  It looked like somebody air-lifted it from Wichita, Kansas. They didn't even have a swimming pool!"

Afterwards they went up to his room and watched Magnum, P.I. and drank beers they sneaked from the refrigerator.  They discussed whether Tom Selleck was gay, and whether he was hung.

"He's got nothing on me!"  Mario exclaimed.  "Why, when I get going, the honeys all be screaming 'It's too big!  It's too big!'"

They sat together on the floor, their knees touching.  Mario saw Rob starting to tent.

"Well, I'm not one to let an opportunity like that slip by!  I took the bull by the horns, by which I mean I fondled him until he pulled it out and let me go down on it.  Gigantic, baby!  8 inches!"

It took him a long time to finish -- not that Mario minded! But, Rob didn't reciprocate; afterwards he zipped up again, and they continued watching tv as if nothing had happened.

They got together a few more times after that.  Oral only -- Rob wouldn't go down on Mario, or even kiss him.  And when the filming ended, they moved on to other projects, and didn't stay in touch.

Evidence that Mario's story was accurate:

1. Rob Lowe did star in a pilot for Garry Marshall, Mean Jeans, with Vickie Lawrence as the owner of a hip jeans shop. He says it was in early 1980, not 1981.  His character was named Tucker.  That information was not readily available in 1987.

Here's a picture of his best friend -- I can't find the name, but he looks a lot like Mario.

2. Mario got other details right: living in Malibu, the "shy around girls," the basketball games at Garry Marshall's house, the size of his penis (before the sex tape made it common knowledge).

Evidence that he was exaggerating or making the whole thing up:

1. Wouldn't Mario remember that his first major acting job was in a tv pilot, not a movie?

2. A tv pilot takes about a week to shoot.  How did they have time to bond, play basketball, have dinner, and become intimate several times?

3. Rob Lowe doesn't mention any same-sex intimacies in his autobiography, Love Life, but he does say that he was into "experimentation" in high school.

See also:  Rob Lowe

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Naked Man in the Bathtub

West Hollywood, February 1990

When I started dating Lane, I slept over almost every night in his apartment.   I was home in the evening perhaps two nights a week, and my rooommate Derek was never home during the daytime, so we rarely spoke.

So I didn't hear much about his dates, club activities, or visiting friends.

One Saturday Lane started coughing and feeling feverish, so I went on a chicken-soup-and-orange juice run and left him alone for the evening.  I went to the gym, browsed at Different Light, and then headed home to order Chinese delivery and watch Mr. Belvedere, Mama's Family, and The Golden Girls.  

When I walked into the apartment, I heard the water running in the bathroom -- Derek taking  a shower -- but I had to go badly, so I knocked on the door and yelled "Hey, mind if I pee?"

"No, go ahead!"

That didn't sound like Derek's voice.  But  I jumped into the bathroom, pulled up the toilet lid, and unzipped.

Only then did I notice the naked man in the bathtub, just letting the water run to fill it up.

Not Derek.

That wasn't surprising in itself.  Derek dated, he had friends from out of town visit, his friends brought boyfriends.  There were often people I didn't know wandering through the house.

But Derek was a 40-year old former fitness model (you can see him in a 1980 issue of Mandate).  His friends were all 40-year former fitness models and middle-aged gym rats.

And he only dated slim, androgynous twinks.  No one over 30.  Facial hair and chest hair were turn-offs.  No bodybuilders, bears, or chubbies.

The naked man in the bathtub was a bear: older, maybe 50, chubby, with a beard and a hairy chest.  Nose ring and nipple rings.  Average endowment.

Not one of Derek's usual friends.  Certainly not a date.

" me."

"Not a problem," the bear said, smiling as he checked out my package.

"I'm Derek's roommate, Boomer."

"I'm Panther, his ex, visiting for the weekend."

Ex?  I finished, zipped up, and moved to the sink.  "How long ago were you together?"

"Oh, eons and eons. Where were you in '72?  He was still married to Ellen, a scared little gym boy peeking into the Gold Coast for the first time.  I took him under my wing, showed him the baths and the cruising trails in Griffith Park -- this was before AIDS, mind you -- and oh my Goddess!  Did he blossom!"  He stood, dripping wet.  "I was going to take a nice long soak, but you look like you're more fun.  Towel me!"

I handed him the guest towel.  "Where is Derek, by the way?"

"Oh, he took Tyler -- that's my boy as of last month, which is six months in twink years -- they're on a tour of West Hollywood.  They'll be back soon, and then we're all going out to dinner, and then cruising."  Minimally toweled, he approached.  "Up in San Francisco, we say hi to our brothers with a hug and grope."

I obliged.

We didn't do anything but hug and grope, of course -- we had just met, and there was no roommate or or mutual friend around.  We sat on the couch, talking and joking and looking at porn magazines, until Derek and Tyler returned, about an hour later.

Tyler was short, dark, muscular, Chinese-American.  Exactly my type!

I tagged along for dinner at the French Quarter.  Panther monopolized the conversation, telling me about L.A. in the 1970s, his relationship with Derek, and his life now -- he lived in San Francisco, where he worked as an organist in a Catholic church, of all things.  Tyler was one of the parishioners.

"I grew up Nazarene..." I began, to establish a connection.  But Panther moved on.

Tyler glanced over and smiled at me.

There was no way I would see him naked tonight -- any sharing would take place with Derek -- so when we went to Mugi, I redoubled my efforts to find someone, and ended up kissing and groping a guy from Singapore.

I glanced over and saw Tyler smiling at me.

Of course, I couldn't pick him up -- hooking up was frowned upon in West Hollywood in 1990.  But it was nice to get a little action, since I knew what would happen when we got home.

Derek, Panther, and Tyler said goodnight and disappeared into the bedroom.  I disappeared into my bedroom.  I heard shuffling and talking, then squeaking.

I went to sleep.  Anyway, I turned off the light and lay there, feeling left out and miserable.

A while later, I was awakened by the sound of the door opening and closing, then the pressure of someone climbing into bed with me.  I reached over and felt Tyler's hard smooth chest!

"I didn't wake you up, did I?"  He took my hand and pushed it down past his belly.

"No, of course not."  I drew him into my arms.

A while later, the door opened again.  I saw Panther's roundish form shadowed in the light of the hallway.

"Playing musical beds, Tyler?" he said with a laugh.  "Count me in.  I saw what Boomer had to offer earlier in the bathroom, thank Goddess!"

He climbed into the bed on the other side, so I was nestled between him and Tyler.

You probably can guess what happened next.  Derek appeared, naked, in the doorway.  "So this is where everybody went.  Am I invited to the party?"

Panther raised his head.  "Well, Boomer is a little occupied, but I have a free body part or two.  Grab ahold."

In the morning,  I called Lane to see if he was feeling better.  "Sorry for blowing you off," he said.  "It must have been a pretty boring night for you."

"Just an ordinary Saturday night in West Hollywood."

See also: Threesome with a Fitness Model and a Cowboy


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