I was asked if there were any platonic friendships in the gay communities of the 1980s and 1990s. Any guys you hung out with but never saw like this?
Not many. Some acquaintances at church and the gym, some "friends of friends" you met at parties.
But your friends, the people you called on the telephone, invited over for dinner, went out with, were mostly guys you had dated, along with their current boyfriends, whom you were invited to share.
Sometimes you made friends without dating first, but you still shared boyfriends and, by the time I got to Florida, hookups.
There was hardly anyone who moved from acquaintance to friend without bedroom activity.
Guys who were celibate? Not many of those.
Guys in monogamous relationships? They mostly kept to themselves and stayed acquaintances.
What about guys you weren't attracted to? It was considered impolite to refuse sharing, so unless he was literally repugnant, you at least did some desultory groping.
When I moved Upstate in 2008, I found sharing uncommon, either due to changing times or the culture of the Straight World. The Gang of Twelve had all dated each other, but at different times. I had to introduce Troy to the practice.
And when I got to the Plains, I even met guys who expected friendship without a bedroom.
Hank was in his 50s, a tall redhead with nice abs, a moderately hairy chest, and a gigantic Mortadella+ beneath the belt. He worked as an electrician.
Ten years ago, they were both married with children, seeking secret partners on the downlow. They met at an outdoor cruising site, but the anonymous hookup soon turned into dating and romance. They divorced the wives, moved to the nearest big city (this was a big city?), and came out as a gay couple.
I invited them to the Metropolitan Community Church -- they hadn't known that gay churches existed.
When they invited me over for dinner later that week, I naturally assumed it was for dinner and sharing.
They lived in an old farmhouse out in the country that they were having "fun" remodeling: the whole upstairs was still unfinished.
While Wayne finished cooking, Hank gave me a tour of the rest of the house: living room, dining room, study, and two bedrooms in colonial American style, with tall chairs, an antique secretary desk, an old cupboard to hold the tv, and framed portraits of dour Puritan ancestors.
It was all rather boring, especially when Wayne went into detail about how they imported 9' grills for the grillwork, and redid the wainscotting around the landscaping and added .4 inch recessed bludgers with special prehensile bars and anodized aluminum pistons.
You've seen them at the gym, I told myself. They're worth a little boredom.
"This is Jimmy," Hank said. "He's renting our basement room in exchange for helping us remodel."
"I'm a professor at the University."
"Cool, I'm a student. I'll sign up for your classes next semester. Maybe you can give me some...you know, extra credit assignments."
I've only heard that one about a thousand times before. But -- Hank, Wayne, and Jimmy? This evening was getting better and better.
But Jimmy didn't join us for dinner. "Oh, he doesn't want to hang out with us grandpas," Wayne explained. "He's a young guy, into dance clubs and bath houses, all that stuff we did 30 years ago.
Anyway, there was still Hank and Wayne.
No one ever has soda, so I brought Diet Coke, and had to listen to Wayne pontificate about how phenylalanine and aspartame would kill me.
Meanwhile Hank described how they built or refurbished the furniture with prehensile oak tachyons and tapestry lining from an old anchor basting wobble he got in an estate sale.
Toto, I don't think we're in Oz anymore.
Maybe we just needed the young guy as a catalyst. I invited them over for dinner, and specified "be sure to bring along that cute roommate of yours."
The three of them showed up with homemade cookies that Wayne made using a new recipe of grated fruit rind, plus molasses substituted for sugar and some peach pits that he got at a farmer's market last year dusted with nutmeg and cardamon, with a few dashes of coriander and spliced pecan buds for flavor.
After dinner, I invited them into the living room, where Jimmy sat next to me on the couch, and the other guys chose armchairs. We chatted, drank coffee, and Jimmy fondled my knee. I put my arm around his shoulders, pulled up his shirt, and ran my hand across his chest and abs. We started kissing.
I looked up. Hank and Wayne were putting their shoes on. "It's about time for us to be going," Hank said with a broad grin.
"Oh, don't worry," Wayne said. "Jimmy brought his own car, so he can drive home in the morning. Thanks for a nice evening."
And, having fixed me up with their roommate, they were gone.
"I thought they'd never leave!" Jimmy exclaimed, looking at me expectantly.
"Don't you ever...um...share with them?"
He laughed. "Are you kidding? I mean, I'd like to, but those guys are like in bed by 9:00 pm with warm milk. No sexual interest at all. I don't think they've done anything but cuddle for years, even with each other....so, want to take a shower?"
Dating a 21-year old does have some advantages.
See also: Yuri and the Muscle Daddies.; My Date with the Star of "Wizards of Waverly Place," and Ricky with a Y