Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Paul, the Boyfriend Who Was Too Good in Bed

Dayton, September 2006

Would you like a boyfriend with such a prodigious sexual appetite that he wants to have three rounds of vigorous bedroom activity every day, morning, mid-afternoon, and evening (more if his interest is aroused in the most trivial way possible, like seeing a cute guy in bicycle shorts pass the apartment).

How about if each round of bedroom activity lasts for an hour or more?

Sound good?

Maybe not.

In the Straight World of Dayton, Ohio, most guys are very, very closeted, taking ladies to office functions, insisting on driving an hour out of town for your dates, never inviting you back to your apartment lest their roommate "find out."

Therefore you don't see boyfriends often, maybe once a week.  On other nights they are busy with family or work functions that you are not invited to, or just skittish about being seen.

So I dated Paul, the office drone/aspiring writer, for six months without noticing anything unusual.  Sure, he was very passionate, and extremely eager .  When he spent the night, I never got any sleep: hour-long sessions at bedtime, in the morning, and sometimes in the middle of the night.

But I figured, he was young -- in his 20s -- and really, really into me.

Besides, isn't everyone like that when you first start dating?  You always have to meet him at the venue, because if he comes to your apartment, or you go to his, you'll never leave.

I didn't think anything of it until my second boyfriend, Charlie, turned out to be Paul's roommate -- each thought the other was straight.  He moved out in embarrassment, and Paul needed a new roommate.

"Why don't we move in together?"  he suggested.  "We've been dating for six months -- it's about time."

"Won't people suspect?" I asked sarcastically.

"Oh, no, we'll move most of your stuff into the second bedroom, and introduce you as my 'roommate.'  It's a perfect plan!"

I still had six months left on the lease on my old apartment, so I just moved some books and clothes, and some mementos, like the armoire from India and the tapestry from Paris.  I assured Paul that the rest would be coming at the end of July.

We settled down into domestic bliss.

Sort of.

 Picture this:

1. I got up at 6:00 am so I could work out for a couple of hours before my first class.  But he required an hour of sex first.  No time to get to the gym.

2. We  took turns cooking dinner.  Preparation usually took about an hour, and I liked to eat at 6:00.  But Paul got home at 5:30, and required sex the moment he walked in the door.  So preparation didn't begin until 6:30, and we ate at 7:30.
"Paul, I get low blood sugar if I eat so late."
"So eat a snack.  I can't wait."

3. He wouldn't go to the theater in Dayton -- we had to drive to Columbus, an hour away, which means leaving at 6:30, or 5:30 if we wanted dinner first. But Paul got home at 5:30, and had to go into the bedroom right away.
"Can't it wait until later?  We've already done it for like 3 hours today already."
"Nonsense!  There's plenty of time!"
 No theater.

4. I was in the midst of the season finale of Ugly Betty, the scene where Santos is shot just as his son, Justin, is performing in West Side Story, when my hand accidentally brushed against Paul's lap.  He said, "We have to go into the bedroom now."
"Are you kidding?  I want to see if Santos lives."
"You can watch tv any time.  Let's go!"

5. I went out jogging, and came home soaked with sweat, ready for a shower.  Paul said "Good, you're home.  I saw a cute guy on the street, and I'm ready to go in the bedroom."
"Can it wait until I shower?  I'm soaked."
"No, I've waited too long already.  Let's go!"

6. I got dizzy and collapsed onto the floor, accidentally brushing against his butt on the way down.  He exclaimed, "I'm calling an ambulance!  But we have to go into the bedroom first!"
Ok, I just made that one up. 

Refuse, you say?  "No" means "no"?

I tried that.  Paul got hurt feelings.  "Don't you find me attractive anymore?  You like that tv more than you like me!  Why can't you be more understanding?"

Or else he would satisfy his longings himself, which took twice as long.  Still no theater, and dinner at 8:30!

After a dozen missed plays, concerts, tv shows, and workouts, about fifty late dinners, and who knows how much soreness. enough was enough.  I moved my stuff back into my old apartment.

First time anybody has ever been dumped for being too good in bed.

See also: Dating Two Guys At Once.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Seeing My First Gay People: The Fairy at the Court House

Rock Island, November 1976

Up until my junior year in high school, I had no idea that gay people existed.  I knew about fairies, boys who had the audacity to pretend that they were girls (bad at sports, good at schoolwork), and swishes, monstrous beings who conflated masculine and feminine. But I never associated these beings with same-sex desire or acts.

No one did.  Everyone I knew dismissed same-sex desire as something else, hero worship or friendship, and same-sex acts were simply beyond the boundaries of what could be imagined.

Even though I engaged in some at music camp during the summer after my sophomore year.

Still, I didn't figure out that gay people existed until that fall.


1. September 29th: On TV, Alice met an ex-football player (Denny Miller, left), who said that he was gay.  So of course he has no romantic interest in her.  But all men, I was told, spent their lives in passionate pursuit of the feminine.  Who was this exception?  What was "gay"?

2. October 6th: in Rolling Stone, Elton John stated that he was "bisexual."  Nowhere in the article was the word defined, but I knew"bi" from "bisect" and "bicentennial": divide into two.  Did he have "two sexes"?





October 9th: On TV: a  new patient (Howard Hesseman) joined Bob Newhart's therapy group, and the others were horrified to discover that he is gay.  Elliot Carlson (right) is particularly worried about...something.  But what?

November 1st:  On TV, Phyllis dated a man who did not find her attractive.  He explained that he was gay.



November 10th:  Mr. Manary's Political Science class car-pooled down-town to the County Courthouse to see a real criminal trial in progress.

The case was about a shooting that took place outside the Hawaiian Lounge, which we all knew was a fairy hangout.  Sure enough, a swish was called to the witness stand: tall and gaunt, with long, greasy hair and mascara-ed eyes. He explained that he was parked across the street at the time, so he saw everything. The attorney wanted to know why he was parked in downtown Rock Island on a bitter cold January evening.

“We had just come from the Hawaiian Lounge, and we were deciding where to eat.”
“Who was in the car with you?” the attorney asked.
He named two men and a woman.
“Why was there a woman with them?” I whispered to my friend Darry. “Swishes hate women.”
“Maybe it was two of Them and a normal couple,” he whispered back. “Maybe it was two swishes on a double date!”

This made no sense. Swishes hated women, so how could they date. ..unless he meant. ..but they couldn't possibly date each other! They were both boys!

But if you don't find women attractive, maybe you find men attractive, so you want to date....

November 14th: in the public library, researching prisons (for the same civics class), I was leafing aimlessly through a book, when I happened upon a black and white photo (not this one).

It took a long moment for me to comprehend what I was seeing; it simply didn't make sense.  Two male prisoners were standing in front of a chain link fence, with their backs to the camera. Holding hands.

I stared for a long time, thinking “No, this is impossible.” Only little kids, parents and children, and boyfriends and girlfriends held hands.. Men didn’t even touch each other’s hands. If their hands met by accident, they would jerk away, too disgusted for words.The caption talked about the “problem of homosexuals in prison.” So fairies  -- swishes -- homosexuals -- gays dated each other, held hands.

Suddenly embarrassed, as if I had been caught viewing pornography, I slammed the book shut.  Darry looked up at me quizzically.

November 15th: On TV: Maude's husband (Bill Macy) dreamed that he kissed a man, and worried that he might be gay.

So gays not only dated and held hands: they kissed!  Maybe they reached under frilly sweaters to feel each others' powdery marshmallow bodies.  Maybe they even had sex.

But I still didn't connect gays holding hands with the boys holding hands among the candles in the Don Grady song.  Or gays dating with my dates with boys.  Or gays having sex with me and Todd spending the night together at music camp.

I wouldn't make the connection for another year and a half.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Date with Richard Dreyfuss

West Hollywood, March 1988

In the fall of 1987, my roommate Alan moved to Thailand in yet another attempt to start a gay Pentecostal church among cute Asian guys (he tried in Japan in 1986), so I needed a new place to live.  I ended up moving in with Derek, a fitness model turned realtor.

He was deeply involved with Eastern philosophy, and I had been a fan of the paranormal ever since my aunt in Indiana started telling me ghost stories.  So nearly every weekend, we went to the Bodhi Tree Bookstore on Melrose Boulevard, which specialized in New Age books, everything from natural foods and aromatherapy to Buddhism, Hinduism, and the occult.


It got very crowded on weekends.  We often saw actors, mostly the semi-celebrities who starred in tv shows a few years ago and were still recognizable.  Often browsing in the witchcraft section, trying to find a spell that would hasten their success or prevent their decline.

One Saturday afternoon, when I was browsing through the paranormal section, there was a short, rather husky guy hogging the shelf I wanted, immersed in a book.  So I glared at him, cleared my throat a few times, and eventually he moved away.  Derek immediately clomped over.

"Did you ask him out, or what?" he demanded.

"Who?"

"You didn't even talk to him?  Do you know who that was?  Richard Dreyfuss!"

I hadn't even noticed.

Richard Dreyfuss was not a semi-celebrity: everyone had seen the 39-year old star in  American Graffiti, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and The Goodbye Girl. Jaws was the most profound gay romance I had ever seen.

In the fall of 1987, he was appearing in Stakeout and Tin Men, and he had just wrapped up filming Moon Over Parador.

The next Saturday, same section, same short, rather husky guy, immersed in a book about vampires. This time I looked closely.  Yep, it was Richard Dreyfuss!  "I got my first kiss from a vampire" I said, as an icebreaker.

It didn't work.  He moved quickly away.

He wasn't there the next Saturday, but a couple of weeks later, I saw him in the paranormal section again.  I said "Hello," from one regular customer to another, and to my surprise he responded.  Soon we were chatting about Benjamin Bathurst, the British diplomat who arrived at an Austrian inn, walked around the horses, and vanished forever.

After that, we chatted regularly.  He was friendly, and I thought, a little cruisy, always paying special attention to the cute guys.  Could he be gay?  And more importantly, interested?

Important Clue #1: Cruising cute guys.

 I had already been in a relationship with a closeted celebrity.  I didn't need another. Besides, I was dating Raul, kind of. But still...he was Richard Dreyfuss!

One day I got enough courage to invite him to the Abbey, a gay restaurant on Robertson, for coffee, and he consented.

Important Clue #2: Consenting to go to a gay restaurant.

 I told him about the Naked Man in the Peat Bog and the naked Indian God at the Pow Wow.

"You're lucky that all of your ghosts were hotties," he said with a smile. "All I saw was a little girl, wearing a pink dress and horn-rimmed glasses, when I was in the hospital after a car accident."

Important Clue #3: The word "hotties." .

I decided to play my trump card.  "My ex-boyfriend saw ghosts all the time," I hinted. "And UFOs.  I felt so jealous."

"My wife is the same way.  I wish I was more attuned to the spiritual world."

Touché

Ok, not gay, not interested -- but super gay-friendly, especially for 1987.

We stayed "chatting at the bookstore" friends through 1988.  Once I invited him to a barbecue at Derek's house, but he didn't come.  Then, after I got back from Turkey, he didn't come to the bookstore anymore.

Maybe he walked around the horses and vanished.

Or maybe he moved to New York.

I never got his phone number.

See also: Derek and I Share the Cowboy of Sunset Boulevard.