Friday, September 11, 2015

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 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.

"Oh...um...excuse 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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