Thursday, November 23, 2017

Derek the Fitness Model and the Teenage Cowboy

West Hollywood, September 1988

In West Hollywood, almost no one lived alone.  It was too expensive, and besides, we moved here in the first place to find community.  So we lived with a partner (we called them "lovers"), a roommate, or both.

There were two types of roommates.

Alan and I were Close Friends: We ate meals together, went out together, moved in the same social circle... and invited each other to "share" boyfriends.

When he moved to Thailand in the fall of 1987, I moved in with a fitness model-turned-realtor named Derek, a tall, muscular, hairy guy in his 40s, and his lover Chazz, a slim, androgynous twink.

They lived in a small but very nice house on Hilldale, just off Sunset.

Derek and I turned out to be Just Roommates: We scheduled different hours for cooking and eating meals.  We were invited to each other's parties by default, and on Saturday afternoons we went to the Bodhi Tree on Melrose to browse for New Age books, but otherwise we rarely socialized. We had different social circles.

And he never invited me to "share."

It was rather frustrating listening to the activity on the other side of the wall, and never being asked to join in.

Did I mention that Derek's physique was spectacular even by West Hollywood standards?  And that I saw his beneath-the-belt gifts in one of his old layouts in Mandate?

A few months after I moved in, Derek broke up with Chazz (who soon moved out).  He started bringing dates home.  Mostly slim, androgynous twinks.


Ok, now's my chance! I thought.  Maybe he was monogamous with Chazz, but he certainly won't mind sharing a boyfriend!

But he never asked, and when I invited him to share my on-off boyfriend, he gave me a weird, sad smile, and said "No, thank you," with exaggerated politeness.

What, not into sharing?  Or not into Raul?

Or not into me?

Impossible!  Everyone was into me!  I was never rejected -- except by Derek.

Then I met Calvin, the Cowboy of Sunset Boulevard, who was skittish about going down the hill to the gay part of West Hollywood, where someone might think he was...you know.  I invited Derek along on our date, figuring that the promise of two guys in his bed would trump Calvin's fear of "somebody I know seeing me."

It backfired: Seems that Derek was from Wyoming, grew up around cowboys, and had played one in a photo shoot for Playgirl.

They were so busy talking that I felt like I was tagging along on a date between Calvin and Derek.

So I wasn't completely surprised the next morning, when I got back to the house after walking Calvin to his car, and Derek asked "Are you going on a second date?"

"Probably not.  He was very passionate in bed, but we don't really have a lot in common."

"Then, do you mind if I ask him out?"

I sort of did.  Calvin was my project -- a shy, closeted young cowboy.  I drew him out of his shell, introduced him to an out, proud gay community. What had Derek done, except flex his biceps and talk about Wyoming?  But I said "No, not at all.  Wait a couple of days, of course."

In West Hollywood, the 48 hours after the first date was a tense waiting period.  Either of you could ask for a second date, or not.  What if one asked, and the other wasn't interested?  What if you saw each other on the street before you were ready to call?  If  48 hours passed without a request for a second date, you could relax and move on to other people..

 "Great, thanks!  I'll wait a week, just to be on the safe side.  Wouldn't want anybody to think I was rustling on your ranch, would we?"

But when I got home from Muscle and Fitness on Monday afternoon,  there was a message from Calvin on our machine.  He had called Derek exactly 48 hours after our date ended!

Derek wasn't really a fan of the Old West -- at least, I never heard him mention bronco busting or cow poking -- but he orchestrated a Western-themed date for Saturday night: dinner at a Mexican restaurant, followed by Oilcan Harry's, a bar in Studio City that specialized in country-western line dancing.

I snippishly decided to be home, watching tv in the living room, when they returned, about 11:00 pm.

"Have fun, guys?" I asked.

"Oh, it was great," Derek said.  "Really nice crowd at Oilcan Harry's."

"Well, come on, sit down and tell me all about it!"

Derek glared at me, as if to ask, Are you deliberately making this awkward?  Another West Hollywood rule: at the end of the date, your friend or roommate is anxious to get into the bedroom, so keep the conversation to a bare minimum.

He murmured "I have to make a pit stop," and disappeared into the bathroom.  Calvin sat down on the couch next to me.

"Hey...um...I want to apologize about blowing you off for your roommate."

"No need for apologize" I said, surprised.  "We only had one date -- we weren't in a relationship."

"Well, I feel bad anyway.  You're really nice and all, but Derek and me, we just have a lot more in common.  Did you know he was in a rodeo when he was a teenager?"

"Hey, who am I to stand in the way of two cowboys in love?"  That came out more sarcastic than I intended.

"I don't want to go into to the bedroom with Derek, and have you out here, all lonely and upset..."

"Well, if you'd rather I not be here, I can go to the Rage for an hour or so."

Calvin scooted over and put his arm around me.  "Or you could spend the night with us.  I'm sure Derek won't mind."



Derek appeared, wiping his hands on a towel.  "I won't mind what?"

"Inviting Boomer to spend the night with us."

He stared with deer-caught-in-the-headlights horror - but he said: "Um...um...sure, that would be great."

I'm still not sure why he agreed.  But we ended up in his bedroom with Calvin between us, taking turns kissing him and working beneath the belt.

Then we both topped Calvin.

I got only limited access to Derek -- no kissing, just a little fondling.  But it was fun seeing him in action.

They dated for about three months, and I ended up sharing their bed many more times, always with passionate attention from Calvin and some basic fondling from Derek.  

That was enough.

See also: My Date with Richard Dreyfuss; The Naked Man in the Bathtub; Derek and the Pop Star

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