Monday, July 27, 2015

Hit on by a High School Boy

Fairborn, Ohio, April 2008

A warm afternoon in April.  I am jogging in Fairborn Community Park in Fairborn, Ohio.  The jogging path is about mile long, through woods, over Beaver Creek, and then past the high school. 

I occasionally see high school and college boys passing me, going the other direction.  Sometimes they sprint past me.

Suddenly there is a boy jogging beside me beside me.  He doesn't pass -- he keeps pace.  Shorter than me, slim with brown hair and dark eyes.  He's wearing a green-and-yellow University of Dayton t-shirt and yellow jogging shorts.

"Hey, U. of D.!" I exclaim.  "I'm a professor there."

He looks over and smiles.  "Cool."

"What year are you in?"

"Sophomore."

"I never saw you here before.  A long way from campus, isn't it?"

"I like the woods."

We chat as we jog, the boy giving short, cryptic answers. I learn that he lives with his parents, and he wants to be a writer.

When a group of college-aged joggers approach, he looks alarmed, says "See ya!" and rushes off.

He appears again the next day.  This time no group of college-aged joggers interrupts us.  I learn that his name is Austin, he plays on the junior varsity football team, he has an older brother in the air force, and he hates zucchini.

At the end of the jog, Austin asks "Where are you going now?"

"Home to take a shower, I guess."

"Cool.  I could use a shower, too.  Can I come? You can drop me off here later."

I stare in surprise.  I get hit on by younger guys all the time.  It wasn't hard to recognize the shy, reticent way they express interest.  But they don't usually make such blatant propositions!

"Um...well, you know, my apartment's a mess."

"I don't care.  You should see my room!"

"Maybe another time, ok?"  I reach out my hand.  He squeezes it hard.  

On the third day, Austin ups the ante: he has his shirt off, displaying a slim, smooth chest, solid but not muscular, with nice abs. And I'm can't be sure, but it looks like he stuffed a sock into his pants.

"How did you know I was gay?"  I ask.

"I just figured.  You jog here every day, and there's never a girl with you."

"There's never a girl with you, either.  Or a guy."


"Oh, the guys at school are jerks.  I like older men."

"How many older men have you been with?"

"Only one.  I was jogging, and he sat in his car in the parking lot watching me, and one day he offered me a ride home.  He was way old, though.  Maybe 40!"

"I'm 46."

"Yeah, but you work out!  And I bet you got a big one!"

At the end of the jog, Austin asks, "Can I come over for that shower now?"

"Tell you what -- tomorrow's Friday.  How about a real date?  Dinner at Thai Nine, out to the bars, then we'll see what happens."

"Cool.  Meet me here at 5:00.  I have a 10:00 curfew, just so you know."

"No problem, I'll get you home before that."  We clasp hands again, and I drive home, wondering "What college student has a 10:00 curfew?"

Every since my "date" with another 15 year old in West Hollywood in 1992, I have learned to check the guy out if there's any doubt.  I go onto the University website.  There's no Austin listed on the Junior Varsity Football team.  So I google "Austin," "Fairborn, Ohio," and "football."  

Austin Alvarez.  There's a photo of him in the newspaper, sitting on Santa's lap. A little kid.  Five years ago.

He went to a junior high tennis camp. Two years ago.

This year, he was on the junior varsity football team -- at Fairborn High School.

Austin is fifteen years old! Sixteen, tops!

No way is this date happening, for obvious reasons: 
1. The age of consent in Ohio is sixteen.
2. I don't want to key into the myth that gay men are folk devils, out to seduce children.
3. He's a kid!

Back in Florida, I dated an eighteen-year old, and it was dreary.  We had nothing in common.  This would be much, much worse!

But I don't want to abandon Austin altogether.  Gay kids grow up in a world of silence and fear.  They don't know any gay people.  They have no way to learn about gay history or culture.  They have no idea that "it gets better."

Friday I don't go jogging.  I meet Austin in the park at 5:00 as scheduled.  He's wearing a nice button-down shirt and pants.  He looks like one of those kids you see on tv who are all nervous at the beginning of a heterosexual date, while their parents take pictures and coo "My son is growing up!"  I'll bet no one took pictures tonight!

"I don't know how this works," Austin says as he climbs into the car.  "Should we, like, make out?"

"Traditionally you start with dinner."

We have dinner at Thai Nine, as promised, and I tell Austin about the gay neighborhoods of West Hollywood and Wilton Manors.  He didn't know that such things existed. 

He doesn't say much.  He's busy trying to hide the fact that he's a sophomore in high school, but a few tell-tale signs give him away.  Like he hates his algebra teacher.  College students have professors, and typically take calculus, not algebra.

After dinner, we get back into the car and drive into the warm Ohio night.  Austin gets very quiet.

But I don't take him home.  We drive to a small, non-descript building in downtown Dayton.  The LGBT Community Center.

"What the..." Austin begins.  "Is this one of those sex clubs?"

"It's the Zone, a safe space for LGBT youth, aged 14 to 21.  They have games, videos, discussions, dances.  A great place to meet gay guys your age.  I think tonight is game night."

"You knew?  Well...don't you want to go home anyway?"

"Give it a try.  I'll pick you up in two hours.  If you still want to, we'll talk."

When I pick Austin up at 9:00, he is bubbling with excitement over the guys he met.  He even knew one from Fairborn High!"

"Total nerd.  Into The Big Bang Theory! Always got a portable chess set with him, if you can believe that.  Wants to be a chemist."  He pauses.  "Cute, though.  I invited him to see a movie tomorrow night."

"Your first date.  You must be excited!"

"Second date.  This one counts, even though you were sneaky about it."  He leans over and kisses me on the cheek.  "I'm ready to go back to my house now, if that's ok."  

We continued to jog together occasionally during the spring and summer, until I left for Upstate New York.

See also: My Date with the Teenage Lawnboy;  The High School Bodybuilder; David is Cruised by a Kid

2 comments:

  1. Nice story _ I know the park well as I drove past it everyday on my way to work at Kroger's.

    ReplyDelete