Thursday, June 4, 2015

Yuri and I Hook Up with A Swedish Bodybuilder in Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia, June 1998

In 1998, Yuri and I were competing over Jaan the Estonian mountain climber, and accompanied him home for a visit, only to discover that he already had a boyfriend.

We were scheduled to spend seven days in Johvi, Estonia, ending with the Jaanipaev, the Midsummer Festival, but there wasn't a lot to do except visit old churches and go to Russian movies, especially with Jaan off with The Boyfriend and his parents interrogating us about when we were planning to find girls and get married.  So we decided to spend three days exploring Tallinn, the capital, about two hours away by train.



It turned out to be my second-favorite city in Europe (after Paris), with an Old Town full of quiet cobblestone streets and Hanseatic red-roofed houses.  Interesting museums, naked statues of national hero Kalevipoeg, and monuments like "Kiek in de Kok Tower" (which means "Peek in the Kitchen").  No gay saunas, but several bars with "dark rooms," an area separated from the main bar by a thick curtained doorway.

On our second night in town, we were in the Angel Bar on the aptly-named Sauna Street, a few blocks from the Kiek in de Kok Tower, when an older guy came in, probably around 50, very tall (a big turn-off), but muscular, nearly a bodybuilder, with a hairy chest visible beneath his thin white t-shirt and  a blatant bulge in his worn jeans.

He looked exactly like a serial killer who was in the news back in the U.S. (I forget his name), so I said "Best keep away from that guy!" But when he went into the dark room, Yuri foIlowed.

Other guys went in and out, so I figured they were ok until, after about ten minutes, the tall guy left abruptly and practically raced out the door. Was there a problem?  Was Yuri lying on the floor, stabbed to death?

I went back into the dark room, felt around until I found Yuri -- not stabbed to death -- and dragged him out.  "Well, what happened?"

"I'm in love!"  Yuri exclaimed with a beatific smile, spreading out his hands as if he was measuring a fish.  "But I don't forget you.  We are having dinner with him tomorrow night."

"Who is he? What's his name?"


Yuri shrugged.  "How do I know?  We don't do a lot of talking back there, right?"  But he held out an address scribbled on a scrap of paper in the dark: Texas Honky Tonk, Pikk 43, 20:00 (8:00 pm).

"Wait for tomorrow -- tomorrow, we will share, ok?"

You didn't really "share" a first date -- too many things could go wrong.  Besides, a tall, stern guy who looked like a serial killer -- maybe he just wanted to get us alone to strike!

 But it beat spending the night alone.

The next night, we showed up at the Texas Honky Tonk, a restaurant with American and Texan flags outside and a live band singing Estonian versions of Mexican mariachi songs.  Maybe Yuri's date wasn't a serial killer, just gauche.

He was waiting in the foyer, wearing a ruffled white shirt and blue slacks, much less gaunt and scary than before.  I could see myself hanging out with this guy.  "Oh -- I didn't know you had someone," he said with a frown.

"Oh, yeah, Boomer came to Europe with me.  We visit our friend Jaan in Johvi.  He wants to join us, ok?"

He said "How do you do? My name is Kalle." Politely, but obviously displeased with my interference.

As we ate our quesadillas, sopa de buca, and fajitas (with pickles and marinated onions), Kalle ignored my questions.  He said only that he was in Estonia "on business," and he often traveled through the Baltic states and Russia.  He didn't say what business.  But he asked Yuri detailed, complicated questions in a mixture of English and Russian, about weather inversions, hurricanes, cyclones, and climatic patterns.

Wait...wasn't Kalle a Swedish name?  "I had a date with King Carl Gustaf," I said tentatively.  "That was before he got married, so everyone thought he was gay."

Kalle stared at me, then turned to Yuri.  "On siniy?," he asked in Russian, assuming that I wouldn't know siniy = blue = gay.

"Natural'no!"  Yuri exclaimed.  Yes, of course!

With a chuckle, he reached over and put his arm around Yuri and pulled him close. "I didn't know!," he told Yuri -- not me.  "I thought we had to be cautious -- Americans are crazy about that kind of thing, you know!"

From then on, Kalle was all smiles, but he continued to give me Attitude (pretend that I wasn't there).  I tried to pique his interest by talking about growing up in a Swedish community, attending a Swedish Lutheran college, reading Nils Holgersson, Miss Julie, and Dag Hammarsjold's Markings.

Nothing worked.

One thing I have learned:  if intellectual conversation doesn't work, penises do.  So I talked about my nude modeling career and porn movie.  But Kalle merely nodded politely and asked "How do you measure the Coriolis Effect?" while fondling Yuri's leg.

By the time we got to the flan (Mexican custard, oddly flavored with ligonberries), I gave up.  "Why don't we all meet for breakfast tomorrow?" I suggested.

"What?" Kalle exclaimed, startled. "You're not coming back to the hotel with Yuri and I?"

"Well, I thought...I mean..."

"Come now, don't be a crazy American...join us."

In the morning we had a huge Estonian breakfast of black bread, herring, fried eggs, and some kind of porridge.  "There are lots of jobs in Stockholm for men who speak English and know statistical software," Kalle announced.  "Maybe you will send me your resume."

"I'm an expert in SPSS..." I began expectantly.  But he was back to ignoring me to gaze lovestruck at Yuri.  He pressed a card with his telephone number and email address into his hand.

Back in America, Yuri and I both emailed Kalle our resumes, but he never responded.

See also: Yuri Teaches the Gay Bears About Sharing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

104 Naked Men

On The Mary Tyler Moore Show back in the 1970s, Mary Richards complains that she's 36 years old. She started dating at age 16, and she goes on about two dates per week.  That's 2,000 dates, and she still hasn't found Mr. Right.

She's horrified by the waste, but I was intrigued.  2,000 dates.  What's wrong with going to movies, concerts, plays, museums, and dinners 2000 times?

She had a fiance for four years (400 dates), and assuming 10 other long-term boyfriends (50 dates each), and an average of 3 dates with the rest before dumping them, that's 377 men.  What's wrong with talking to 377 men, discussing books and movies, hearing their stories, getting to know them?

And seeing them naked?

Ok, in 2009, when I met Troy, I was 48 years old.  By the time Mary Richards got to that age, she would have dated 576 men.  Let's see how I stack up:

I'm going to count a "date" as a preplanned evening event involving a meal or entertainment with an individual who is recognized as a current or potential romantic partner.  That excludes daytime activities, evenings with friends, informal "hanging out," parties, sharing, and hookups.

High School and Before: 0.  None of the guys I went out with recognized that we were current or potential romantic partners.

Augustana College. 8, including Fred the Ministerial Student, Brian, Mickey (the Russian guy I met at the Des Moines Gay Pride Parade), and Bob (the Greek Orthodox priest with the pushy mom).  I'm going to count Professor Burton, the guy with the handcuff parties, too.

Indiana University: 5, including Jimmy the Bodybuilder on Crutches, Scott the Shy Undergraduate, and the assistant to the attorney general of the State of Indiana.

Hell-fer Sartain, Texas: 2.  A lot of hookups, not many dates, just the Cowboy Cop on my Sausage List and a crazy New Age guy.

West Hollywood: 23.  Long-term relationships with Raul and Lane, several boyfriends, including Alan and my celebrity boyfriend, plus the Bulgarian Bodybuilder, Marcus with the Beneath-the-Belt Mystery, the Most Conservative Professor on Campus, the Thug on my Sausage List, and the Cowboy of Kangaroo Island, Several from Mugi, including guys from Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.  A few more celebrities.

Nashville: 3. I only spent a semester there, but I dated three guys, including the Medieval Knight, the Country-Western Singer, and Larry, who discovered that his fetish was being spanked.

San Francisco: 4.  Long-term relationship with Lane and a steady boyfriend with Kevin the Vampire didn't leave much time for dating.

New York: 16.  When I turned 40, every twink on Earth started pushing and shoving to get into my bedroom.  Two long-term boyfriends, Blake and Joe.  Yuri (we dated twice before we started being just friends).  Jaan, Nastiest Guy in the World, the other Joe, Avi, the Biggest Guy on my Sausage List, the Filipino on my Sausage List, and the guy who got a demon exorcised out of him.




Florida: 18.  The twink trend continued in Florida, with Matt the Security Guard, the Frisian Bodybuilder, the Comic Book Guy, Randy (Hurricane Party), the High School Bodybuilder, Fabian (for whom everything was fabulous!), and several more.

Dayton: 12. Paul, Charlie, the Linguist who wouldn't shut up, Carlos who had a secret, the Blind Guy.  And I'm going to count my Friend with Benefits, since we had dinner.

Upstate: 13.  Nine dates with members of the Gang of Twelve, plus a few miscellaneous dates before I started dating Troy in the fall of 2009.

Total: 104!  




Why so few?

1. In gay communities it is considered vulgar to date several guys at once.  It's one, then see if it works out, then another.
2. You tend to give relationships more time, dating for several months before going on to the next.
3. There are no clear-cut divisions between boyfriends and friends. You can go out with a friend, and spend the night afterwards, but not classify it as a date.
4. There are many more social activities that aren't classified as dates.  Spending time at home, in pairs or groups, having brunch or lunch, having people over for dinner, cruising together, going to bear parties and to the beach.
5. Breaking up with a romantic partner does not mean that the relationship, or the sexual activity, will end.

Or maybe heterosexuals are more promiscuous.

The Truth about the Formosan Penis

Montreal, July 1998

My doctoral program in New York (1997-2001) was not only about studying sexuality.  I spent a lot of time seeking out ethnic groups with legendary penises:

The Basque, reputedly the largest in the world.

The Bushman, reputedly always in a tumescent state.

And the Formosan of Taiwan.

When I first moved to New York in 1997, I had to live in a grad student apartment, where I was assigned 3 roommates: Max, the most obnoxious guy on the planet; a beefy Turkish guy who mostly kept to himself; and a Taiwanese guy named Huang, who also happened to be a fellow grad student in the Sociology Department.

Huang was not nearly as muscular as Max, but also not as obnoxious.  His only faults: he occasionally had a girl over to giggle in his bedroom, and he called his family back home every Saturday at 4:00 am.

In each case I could hear him quite clearly through the wall.

My Mandarin was limited to Wǒ xǐhuān zhōngguó rén, "I like Chinese men,"  but at least I could recognize the language.  And when Huang spoke to his family, he wasn't speaking Mandarin.

Turns out that he was fluent in Mandarin (and Hokkien, French, and English), but his native language was Paiwan, from the Formosan family, related the Tagalog of the Philippines and the Javanese of Indonesia.

There are about 400,000 Formosan aboriginals in Taiwan, about 2% of the population, mostly living in the mountainous south.

"We get discrimination," Huang told me.  "The Chinese think yuánzhùmín are uncivilized, barbarians.  Like the Indians in America."

There are statues of muscular, half naked Formosans all over Taiwan, like the statues of Native Americans in the U.S.

The Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Park in Yuchi, about 150 miles south of Taipei, invites Chinese tourists to see aboriginals performing traditional arts and native dances, like the pow wows in the U.S.

"But the Chinese woman like us," Huang added with a grin.

"Oh, why is that?"

"Yuánzhùmín men are bigger than Chinese men." He pointed to his crotch.  "Dá jībā!"  Apparently that meant big penis.  

I reddened, shocked that a straight guy would be comfortable enough to discuss his penis size with me.   Or maybe he was bisexual, and expressing interest.  "Well -- I'm sure some of the Chinese men like Formosan dá jībā, too."

"No, they are jealous."

Not bisexual!

"When you tell a woman you are yuánzhùmín," Huang continued, "She always ask if the stories are true, and she want to see it."

"Well - are the stories true?"  I asked.  "Can I see it?"

"No, no, not for gays." He giggled. "Just for women."

I'm not usually deterred so easily, but after Huang's startling display of confidence, I felt guilty about plotting any complex schemes to get a glimpse of his jībā.  

Maybe I could see it by accident?

No -- he didn't go to the gym, and he didn't strut around the apartment in a towel.

When I moved out of graduate student housing to a place in Manhattan, I lost hope of ever finding out if the stories about Formosan men are true.

But my hope was restored in July, shortly after I returned from my trip to Estonia with Yuri and Jaan.  Some of the sociology students drove up to Montreal for the International Sociological Association World Congress, and Huang and I shared a hotel room.

Surely he would change clothes in front of me, or sleep in revealing briefs.

No -- he changed clothes in the bathroom, and slept in pajama bottoms.  Not even a bulge was visible!

One night I was planning to go to the Keynote Speech, then "out" (actually to the Oasis, where I met the Muscle God and his Wingman).  I told Huang I would not be back until after midnight.

But after the Keynote Speech, I realized that I had left my jacket in the hotel room -- it was rather chilly in Montreal -- and rushed back upstairs.

I slid the key card through the slot and pulled the door open.

The first thing I noticed was cheesy 1970s music.

The second was the heterosexual porn playing on the tv.

The third was Huang lying on his bed, naked, doing what heterosexual men do when they watch porn.

He yelled and pulled the covers over himself.  But he was still tenting.

"I forgot my jacket," I said, stepping forward to grab it from the coat rack.

"I'm sorry...I'm sorry....I thought you are not coming back until very late."

"Don't worry about it.  By the way, you're right -- it really is a dá jībā."

I'm certainly not going to make a joke about Huang and hung, but he was.

See also: The Secret Identity of the Elevator Hookup

Sunday, May 31, 2015

My Job as an Athletic Trainer

Rock Island, August 1975

When I was a kid, I hated sports -- who would willingly submit to having hard round projectiles hurled at them? -- but my parents wouldn't believe me.  "You're a boy!  Boys like sports!" they kept insisting as I unwrapped Christmas presents of basketballs and baseball bats.

Denkmann Elementary School didn't offer gym classes, so they insisted that I choose something from the Parks & Recreations Department "Kids Sports" program.  So I took judo lessons for three years, stopping only when the dojo moved to Davenport.

Washington Junior High offered a full range of team sports, so they began pushing me toward baseball, basketball, or...shudder...football. I compromised with wrestling, but dropped out after an unfortunate penis incident at a tournament.

In the supper of 1975, when I was about to start tenth grade at Rocky High, home of the Rocks, the litany began again: play a sport, play a sport, play a sport.  With even more urgency, since a boy with an aversion to athletics might be a Swish.  My Dad even forced me to try out for junior varsity football!

Noticing my dismay, my gym teacher, who was also the football coach, came up with another idea.  He asked if I had my Red Cross First Aid certificate.  I did. Then he suggested that I might like a job as an athletic trainer.

What do they do?

1. Run tape measures over athlete's muscular bodies to measure them for uniforms
2. Make sure the cups are snug but not so tight that they squeeze their extra-large sex organs
3. Massage their muscles if they get a cramp
4. Watch them carefully in the locker room after games to make sure they're feeling ok
5. Pass out towels as they walk naked toward the showers.
6. Tape and splint their muscles if they are injured.

Um...there are jobs like that, and not just in gay fantasy novels? Why didn't anybody tell me about this before? Sign me up!

Oh, and you get to watch all of the games from the sidelines.

Well, every job has its drawbacks.

I've often wondered why the coach thought of me for the job.  Was there a special sparkle in my eye as I looked at the first aid kits?  Or maybe I spent so much time gazing at muscles that he figured I'd get a kick out of working with them.

See also: The Naked Goldenboys at Football Tryouts