Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Blake and His Boyfriend: Are All Opera Singers Gigantic?

Manhattan, June 2009

A few days after I moved to the East Village in 1998, I started dating Blake, who lived in my building.  An ideal boyfriend: in his 30s, black, muscular, religious (devout Episcopalian), with a Mortadella beneath the belt.  BUT he was pretentious, elitist, an opera buff, and always had a glass of wine in his hand.  After a few months, I pawned him off onto Yuri, and they dated for about three months.

He and Yuri stayed friends.  Sometimes when Yuri came to Manhattan for the weekend, he got all of us tickets to Broadway shows and operas.  I generally dislike operas, but the performers often wore bulgeworthy tights, and afterwards we often went to parties with big name celebrities in attendance, like Andrew Lloyd Weber.

Apparently Yuri stayed in contact.  When we came back to New York for a visit in June 2009, he suggested that we spend a day with Blake.

"And the night.  He's the ex-boyfriend for both of us, so it's polite to ask him to share."

"But he'll invite us to the opera!" I protested.

Yuri shrugged.  "You can live through an opera, if you look at the bulges."

Fact: all opera singers are huge beneath the belt. 

"Ok, w'll call him."

We met Blake and his new boyfriend, Kris, just after lunchtime on the Saturday of our visit.

After living in the straight world for four years, I was anxious to immerse myself in the gay world of the Village, pay my respects to Christopher Street and the Oscar Wilde Bookstore, go cruising at Boxers, with its outdoor patio.

Instead, after dropping our stuff off at Blake's apartment, we went to the Guggenheim and the Frick Museum.

Yuri and I had already been there!

Instead of dinner at a gay restaurant in the East Village, they took us to a place on 45th Street, near the New York Public Library.

Godawful, pretentious, all light and glass, with tiny $35 "plates" of broche cavatappia roule.  Lots of cocktails on the menu.  $5 for a Diet Coke.

And all female servers.  Half the fun of going out to eat is gawking at the hot waiters!

I wasn't in a good mood.

I nudged Yuri.  "Hot dogs later.  And cruising."

In the 8 years since I'd seen him last, Blake had gotten a little gray around the temples and chunky around the belly, but he was still quite attractive.

His boyfriend Kris wasn't bad, either.  A chubby twink, late 20s, with deep-set blue eyes, a short beard, and a hairy chest.  Except he outdid Blake in pretentious snark.

"Upstate New York?  All cow tipping and tractor pulls!"

"Television?  I watched that once.  It was dreadful."

"No, I don't work out.  Who wants to spend an hour sweating to narcissistic gym bunnies?  You know they're all swishy queens anyway!"

His only good quality:  he was an opera singer.

Fact: all opera singers are huge beneath the belt.

After dinner, I suggested going to a cruise bar, but Blake said he had a surprise for us.

Please, not the opera! I thought.

Fortunately, the New York opera season was over.  Instead, Blake took us to Blithe Spirit, a Noel Coward comedy, starring gay actor Rupert Everett, Angela Lansbury, and Christine Ebersole.

A gay playwright, a gay star -- you can't go wrong with that!

Except the play was entirely heterosexist.  It's about a man being haunted by the ghost of his ex-wife, which causes problems with his current wife.  Not a hint of beefcake or buddy bonding.

Afterwards, "drinks" -- another $5 Diet Coke -- at a straight bar.  With Rupert Everett, who proved even more pretentious than Kris, and borderline homophobic, bashing:

Gay subtexts: "Don't you hate dreary queens who think everything should be about them?"

Gay marriage: "A dreadful idea!"

Gay sex: "Be honest, doesn't it seem just a little silly to put your penis down a man's throat?"

I hoped Rupert wasn't planning to spend the night with us -- I was tired, hungry, upset, and not at all in the mood to put anyone's penis down my throat.

Thankfully, the evening soon came to an "early" end, around 1:00 am, and we stumbled back to Blake's apartment for a "nightcap."

My fifth Diet Coke of the day.  I anticipated getting up every hour all night.

"Now, about the bedroom arrangements," Blake said.  "There certainly isn't room for four of us in our bed, but I'm anxious to see -- and feel -- my ex-boyfriend again.  So, if you're amenable to it, I'll take Yuri into the master bedroom, and Boomer, you and Kris can have the guest room."

"Is it ok?" Yuri asked.

Kris leered at me.

Well, maybe I was up for having a man's penis down my throat after all.

"Sounds great," I said.  We gathered for a group hug and fondle, and then Kris took my hand and led me to the guest room.

Where I discovered three things:

1. Not all opera singers are huge beneath the belt.

2. Kris was an anal bottom.

3. Who didn't like cuddling.

See also: The Opera Buff and The Roommate Switch; Yuri and the Sausage Size Contest

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

10 Upstate Vacation Hookups

I lived in Upstate New York for four years (2008-2012), twice as long as in San Francisco, but with far fewer dates and hookups.  It was a very small town, with a limited number of gay men, so you found a partner and held on.

Sharing and sex parties were unknown; I tried to introduce them, with little success.  There was a bath house about 2 hours away, but small and not very busy.

Gay men of an earlier generation fled from the oppressive homophobia of London, Paris, and New York for sex holidays in the Middle East, where same-sex desire was open and accepted, and nearly every man was available.  I fled to the Gay World as often as I could.

Here are my top 10 Upstate vacation hookups:

1. Indianapolis.  I visited once or twice a year to visit my parents and sister, who actually about a 45 minute drive away.  A full gay neighborhood with bars, restaurants, organizations, and two bath houses, lots of guys, but the most memorable was my ex-boyfriend Fred's son.

2. Cleveland.  A good stopping-off place between Upstate New York and Indianapolis, with the Flexx Club, one of the best sex clubs anywhere, a huge facility with two swimming pools, a disco, a restaurant, two saunas, several video rooms, and mazes of private rooms.  An an outdoor patio with a nice view of downtown.  In 2012, Troy and I hooked up with Lester the Shy Boy, whose friends told him that he couldn't leave until he had been with five guys, or one guy five times.

3. Dayton.  If you spend the night in Cleveland, you're in Dayton about noon, perfect for having lunch with old friends and "sharing" with their boyfriends du jour before taking th next two hours to Indianapolis.  And if I timed it right, I could go to Rode's M4M Party and hook up with Shawn, the winner of the Biggest Penis Contest.

4. New York.  Upstate was only about four hours from New York City, but that meant two hours through narrow, winding country roads in the Catskills and two hours of wall-to-wall traffic, so I only visited a few times.  My favorite visit was with Yuri; we reunited with Blake the Opera Buff, the ex-boyfriend of both of us, and "shared" his boyfriend, an opera singer.

5. West Hollywood.  Thomas Wolfe said you can't go home again, but whenever I made the six hour flight back to West Hollywood, it was warm, comfortable, and inviting.  As long as you skipped the twink bars: my friends, all in their 50s and 60s, disapproved of dating younger guys.  But what was a twink magnet to do?

6. Philadelphia.  There for a conference in November 2009, I hated it.  My hotel was shabby, the sightseeing was mediocre, and the hookup options were very limited.  How did my friend David from San Francisco have so much success there?  My only hookup was with a tourist from Omaha.

7. Washington, DC.  I love DC, with its gutsy Dupont Circle a stone's throw from the White House, but when I went there for a conference in November 2011, I was concerned.  My last visit was with my friend Alan, who died in 2005.  Would I be seeing his ghost everywhere?  Actually, I ended up channeling his enormous joie de vivre, and his uncanny ability to attract Asian guys.

8. Amsterdam,  I used to go every year, timing my visit for the weekend, and the Sunday night meeting of the Horseman's Club, for guys with 8" or more (and, recently, their admirers).  In June 2011 I took Yuri, and we hooked up with a guy who was actually rather small.

9. San Francisco.  Gay Heaven, the friendliest gay community in the world.  Every gay person should visit at least once.  I was lucky enough to live there for two years.  When I went back for a visit, I tried my hand at street cruising, and ended up on a date with a "mechanical man."

10. Montreal.  My favorite city in North America, and only a six-hour drive from Upstate.  Lots of good Montreal stories, but the best is in October 2009, I took Troy to his first video booth, and we hooked up with a buffed, hairy-chested French Canadian farmer.

My Date with the Grooms' Grandson at a Gay Wedding

Salt Lake City, Utah, September 2015

One day in the summer of 2015, a few weeks after the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S., I get a wedding invitation in the mail, and a request to be in the wedding party!

Heterosexuals complain that they're constantly going to weddings, as their friends one by one tie the knot.  I've never had that problem.  Until recently, gay people were not permitted formal, official ceremonies, and they rarely had informal ones.  The boundary between boyfriend and partner was too fluid, and besides, your parents and the other heteros often didn't know that you were with someone, sometimes didn't even know that you were gay.

A gay wedding!  I can't wait.

Besides, it's from Lane, my ex-partner, so all of my West Hollywood friends will be there.

I've only met his partner Ben once, when I flew back to West Hollywood for a week-long visit.  A week was way too long!

He was in his early 60s, tall, rather buffed -- he spent every afternoon at the gym -- with greying salt-and-pepper hair and a moustache. Attractive, but elitist, conservative, and a bit crotchety.

No sharing, no parties, no going out to the bars to cruise.  I couldn't even invite a guy over to spend the night with me.

I pointed out that Lane and I went to every bath house in Europe, plus bear parties and sex clubs, and nearly every Saturday night we were at the Faultline or Basgo's, looking for someone to "share."

Lane shrugged.  "I grew up."

Grew up, or got stodgy under Ben's tutelage?

And when I was asked out by a 20-year old, all hell broke loose:

"What are you doing dating a guy young enough to be your son?"  Ben exclaimed.  "Stick to guys your own age!"

"Um...I'm a twink magnet.  I can't help it."

"Nonsense.  You just like twinks because you can't handle the responsibilities of a grown-up relationship."

I almost walked right out the door, but I thought, this is Lane.  You've been friends for nearly twenty years, and Ben will probably be out of the picture in a few months.

Guess he's still in the picture.

I check the invitation again.  It's not even in West Hollywood.  It's at Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Salt Lake City, Utah

A gay wedding in Salt Lake City?  Homophobic redneck country?  Whatever for?


I arrive at Salt Lake City International Airport at 3:00 pm.  Lane picks me up and drives me directly to the church for the rehearsal.

"So, why are we in Salt Lake, and not West Hollywood?" I ask.

It seems that Ben grew up Mormon in Bountiful, a suburb of Salt Lake.  He married, had two sons, and remained faithful to the church until he started trying to deal with his gayness in the 1990s.  Saint Mark's was where he first felt accepted as a gay person, so it's got a special significance.  Besides, his ex-wife, one of his sons, and many other relatives are still in Salt Lake.

Heterosexuals are invited to a gay wedding?  I figured they'd be picketing and thumping Bibles, or Books of Mormon.

The wedding party isn't divided into bridesmaids and groomsmen, like in a hetero wedding.  There are six people: Ben's sons and grandson, a lesbian couple, and the ringbearer, his five-year old granddaughter.  And me, feeling out of place.

After the rehearsal, the wedding party and their husbands, wives, and kids are all going out to dinner at an Italian restaurant.  "You're riding with us and Jan and her wife," Lane says.  "It will be a little cramped..."

"Hey, Grandpa Ben, I'll drive him over."  It's Brandon, the grandson, tall and thin with thick brown hair and "wholesome" movie star looks: blue eyes, dimples, a cleft chin.

Ben glares at me, probably thinking that I'm going to try to seduce the boy, but consents.

"I heard you lived in New York," Brandon says when we get in the car.  "That must have been great, Broadway shows every night."

"It wasn't really like that.  You spend so much on rent and food that there's not much left over for shows."

"Still, you were in New York!  I'm moving there soon.  I graduated from U.U. in May, and right now I'm doing choreography for Fiddler on the Roof at the Pioneer Theater.  I've been interrogating Lane about Jewish folk dances.  He was really into it, back in the day."

My gaydar goes off.  "So, your church doesn't have any objections to Ben and Lane getting married?"

"Please!  I haven't set foot inside a church since I was ten!  I'm just Mormon for the culture  -- and to get a starring role in The Book of Mormon!"  He reaches over and grabs my knee.

Is this boy cruising?  I know I'm a twink magnet, but...a friend of his grandfather? 

I imagine flirting with one of Grandpa Prater's hunting buddies...and burst out laughing.

Brandon quickly moves his hand away, frowning.

"Sorry, I wasn't laughing at you.  I just thought of something funny."

At the restaurant, Brandon tries to sit next to me, but Ben says "You're up here," and places me between him and one of the lesbians.

During dessert, Brandon comes up again and presses against the back of my chair.  "Have you ever seen Temple Square at night?  It's really breathtaking..."

Ben presses my arm.  "Sorry, we need Boomer to talk over some details of the ceremony."

We drive to the hotel.  To my surprise, I don't get my own room -- I'm sharing with Ben and Lane.

"The wedding is tomorrow at noon, and then after the reception we're leaving for our honeymoon," Ben says, "So this room will be all yours tomorrow night, for cruising or having orgies or whatever."

"And this will be the last time we see you until you visit again," Lane added.  "So I thought we should share?"

"Really?  But..."

"It's a special occasion."

Ben has a very nice uncut Bratwurst.  He offers to top me, but I refuse, going down on him instead.  Then he does interfemoral with me while kissing Lane.

I rarely finish more than once in an evening, but tonight it's two, then three times, and Ben is still ready for more, his mouth and hands everywhere.

The night before his wedding, he is way over-exuberant with another guy?  Something is off here. Is he trying to tire me out so I won't "seduce" Brandon?


In the morning I'm too exhausted to go to the hotel's exercise room.  We meet the lesbian couple for breakfast, have a brief tour of the city, and then go to the church.

Brandon catches me in the foyer.  "Did you have a good night?"

Yes, I went down on your Grandpa! "It was busy," I tell him.  "You'd be surprised how many details have to be ironed out."

"Um...." he begins, then stops.  "Um...I was thinking, if you don't have any plans for tonight, you should see Fiddler.  It's a great show.  I'll be backstage, but we can hook up afterwards and have dinner."  

"Sure, that would be great."

"Ok!  I'll reserve the ticket, and pick you up at the hotel at 6:30."  He looks around to see if anyone is watching, then leans in for a brief kiss.  "I can't wait!"

It was a great show.  Lane reads this blog, so I'm not going say what, if anything, happened afterwards.

But, after all, Brandon is not my grandson.

See also: 21 Surprising Facts about Lane; Cruising My Cousin's Son at a Funeral