In the fall of 2008, I was living in Upstate New York, dating guys from the Gang of Twelve, who had all known each other for years and talked to each other about everything. Especially their hookups, dates, and boyfriends.
The Rich Kid set me up with the Truck Driver, and then, without telling me, his ex-boyfriend, the Rapper. Days after they broke up.
Date #3: The Rapper. The photos he sent with his introductory email were amazing. He was in his 20s, African-American, short, muscular but tending to fat, and super-sized beneath the belt. Exactly my type!
He grew up in the City, and came Upstate to study music management at SUNY Cooperstown. Now he was working in an insurance agency, but hoped to launch a rap career.
On our date, the Rapper took me to a program of African dance and music at the university, and then back to his apartment, where he performed one of his rap numbers
Of course, I spent the night. In the morning, over breakfast, I told him about my dates with the Rich Kid and the Truck Driver.
"The Truck Driver!" he exclaimed. "That's my ex! Figures that the Rich Kid would fix you up with both of us, and wait to see the fireworks!"
I stared, feeling stupid. How could I have gone through dates with both of them and not noticed?
"He was exactly my type, " the Rapper continued. "I'm into tall white dudes with muscles and an extra-big package. Man, he had everything!"
"Well, I don't like to brag, but..."
He grinned. "Don't get jealous on me, man. You have everything, too."
"Do you think the Truck Driver will mind us dating?" I asked.
"Well, it's kind of soon after the breakup, so don't tell him, ok? Or the Rich Kid. Not for awhile, anyway."
But there were only a small number of gay-friendly venues Upstate, and the guys in the Gang of Twelve. all talked to each other.
The next morning we were getting ready to go to breakfast, when the Truck Driver banged on the door.
"You don't waste any time, do you?" he yelled in his cute British accent. "How long did you wait before cruising the New Kid? Twenty minutes?"
"You had a date with him before I did!" the Rapper exclaimed.
"But nothing happened! We just talked. But not you -- you sent him X-rated pictures before you even met!"
"How did you find out about that?" He glared at me. "Not much for keeping secrets, are you, New Kid?"
"I didn't say anything!"
No third date. But other members of the Gang of Twelve were waiting for their turn.
Date #4: The Grabby Male Nurse. In his 40s, formerly muscular but now a little paunchy. On our date, we went shopping at some of the antique shops in town.
For all his interest in secrecy, the Rapper gossiped as much as everyone else in the Gang of Twelve. He gave the Nurse notes: "can't keep a secret"; plus moment-by-moment accounts of our two nights together.
So the Grabby Male Nurse was expecting a porn star.
He was a sleazoid, one of those obnoxious guys in the clubs who keep leering and groping regardless of how much Attitude you display. Of course, in public, he had to leer and grope subtly, when no one was looking. Which made it all the more annoying.
Plus he turned everything I said into a sexual reference.
"I taught in Dayton for three years."
Wow, hot college boys! How many of them did you offer a little...um....extra credit in your office? Leer, leer.
"I grew up in Illinois."
Ooh, Chicago! I bet you got a lot of action there! Leer, leer.
"My grandmother studied art."
I see -- Grandma liked painting those nude male models, did she?" Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!
Yet the Nurse acted like he was in a cruise bar, trying to grope me, leering at the male patrons. He knew the waiter -- an Asian guy named Chad -- and openly flirted with him, even asking him an inappropriate question about the size of the Asian penis. I gave him an extra big tip to make up for the embarrassment.
Then the Nurse suggested that we go back to his apartment.
I was done. "Sorry...my favorite tv show is on."
"You can watch it at my place." He grabbed my crotch. "Or we can watch porn. Your choice."
I disentangled myself and ran home and hid.
The Nurse sent notes to the rest of the Gang of Twelve: Nice guy, but all he can think about is sex.
I saw Chad again during Date #5: The Satyr and his Boy Toy.