Friday, March 6, 2015

Fall 1987: My Boyfriend Gets a BFF

Heinz flexes and cooks weiners
In West Hollywood in the 1980s, the boundary between friend and lover was fluid. A friend might invite you into his bed; a lover might cruise someone else. You might have a regular Saturday night date with a friend; you might not see a lover for weeks at a time.

So I'm not sure exactly when Raul and I broke up.

1. Maybe in August 1987, when my roommate Alan moved to Thailand to start a gay Pentecostal church.    I asked Raul to move in to help with the rent, but he refused: "too far from work" (he was now in customer service at a company on Wilshire). So I had to hustle to find a new place, with Derek on Sunset Boulevard.

2. Or in October 1987, when Raul's lease expired, and he moved into an ugly house with a German flight attendant or something named Heinz -- in West Hollywood, only two miles from my old apartment.




Heinz's Horrible House
3. Maybe when Heinz got to be really, really annoying.  He wouldn't let anyone walk in shoes or socks on his white shag rug -- we had to go barefoot.

He listened incessantly to a terrible German pop group -- "Come away wiz me tyu Molly-Byu, tyu Molly-Byu, tyu Molly-Byu."

He forced us to watch the Miss America pageant.  Why would a group of gay men want to watch the Miss America pageant?  "For the outfits!"



And he hung out with women.

In tv and movies, gay guys always have hetero girl bffs.  The writers think they're all feminine, so of course they want to hang out with girls.

But in West Hollywood in the 1980s, most gay men weren't feminine, and -- news flash -- preferred the company of men.  (Besides, a female friend would confound the fluid boundary between friend and lover).  So when Heinz started coming around with female friends, tongues started to wag:

He was trying to pass (Passing, pretending to be straight, was an unpardonable sin.)
He suffered from internalized homophobia.
He had been brainwashed to believe that men were incomplete without women.
He was secretly straight.

4. But most likely when Raul, following Heinz's example, got a female bff.  Gina from work, a secretary-aspiring actress who did two commercials and guest starred on a sitcom.

He brought Gina to Heinz's house several times, then to my house, to the bars, and to the French Quarter Restaurant, where the waiter asked if they were a couple (come on, this was West Hollywood!).

My other friends stopped inviting me places -- guilt by association.

But the last straw came in December, when their office had a Christmas banquet. Gina invited Raul. To be her date.

I was furious.  "Doesn't she know that we're a couple?  Or does she not care?  Gay relationships are meaningless, right?"

"You know I'm not out at work," Raul said.  "Going with Gina would be better than going alone."

"Surely you're not considering it?" I asked, aghast.

He was considering it.

I hate the holidays.

The story of Raul continues here, when my ex-boyfriend Fred visits West Hollywood with a Cute Young Thing.



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