Friday, July 3, 2015

The Brazilian Twink

Wilton Manors, March 2002

You probably know my top 10 turn-offs: tall, thin, long faced, wearing jewelry, alcoholic, sports nut, and so on, until we reach #10: feminine traits.

Politically, I'm a strong supporter of your right to be as butch, femme, or androgynous as you want to be.  I won't blink an eye if you sashay across the room in bedazzled couture, stanking up the place with your Chanel #5, and call me "girlfriend."  But it's not likely to get you the key to my bedroom.

So how did I end up going home with Miss Chita Taboo?

Well, I didn't know about Miss Chita Taboo.

One night in the spring of 2002, Yuri dragged me to the Manor, the twink bar in Wilton Manors, and I was cruised by Victor, a slim, smiling twink from Brazil (this isn't him).

He had three of the five traits I find attractive -- shorter than me, dark-skinned, and religious (devout Catholic).  And he had only a few feminine mannerisms, the sort that twinks get when they grow up in a super-macho environment where every hint of androgyny is punished -- they tend to go overboard, and sashay a bit.  Not a big turn off.

Besides, he was very persistent.  He taught me how to say "I want to kiss you." in Portuguese.

Eu quero te beijar

So I accepted the date.

I thought something might be up when I got to Victor's apartment, which was large, elegantly-furnished, and so close to the beach that you could hear the waves.

In his living room, instead of a couch, there was an enormous pink daybed with a zebra canopy and a photo of Madonna behind it.

"Who's the hunk?" I asked, pointing to a framed portrait of a very attractive older man, shirtless, with a hairy chest, gigantic pecs and delts.


"Oh, that's my Michael, my ex-husband," Victor said.  "Bodybuilder -- he went to Barney's Gym, where you go.  We broke up a long time ago.   We're still friends  -- we can share sometime -- but don't worry, you have no competition!"

Gay men did not call their partners husbands in 2002, unless they were modeling their relationships on heterosexual boy-girl models.

Ok, Victor was way too feminine for my comfort zone.

But I already agreed to the date -- I couldn't back out now.

We had dinner at a Brazilian restaurant, and then walked hand in hand along the gay beach.

"How can you afford that swanky apartment?" I asked.

"Oh, Daddy is the mayor of Belo Horizonte, He sends me money every month so I stay away from Brazil.  I embarrass him.  And I make money from my entertaining, too."

I didn't ask what his entertaining entailed, but I got an idea from the rest of our conversation, mostly about pop music.  Victor was a big fan of Jennifer Lopez, Vanessa Carlton, Lane Ann Rimes, Brandy, Pink, and Aaliyeh, but he also liked the classics.  He had just been to a Cher concert, and he had a copy of Madonna's first album (1983), which had her all-time best number, "Lucky Star."  He began singing it for me, right on the beach, complete with hand gestures.


You may be my lucky star, but I'm the luckiest by far....

Getting serenaded by Madonna songs by moonlight is quite an experience.

Still, this guy was way too feminine.  I decided to excuse myself and go home without the obligatory kiss. Then Victor cozied up to me and said, "I have a surprise for you. Bolo de rolo, guava cake.  A special Brazilian dessert.  I made it myself."

He already made the cake.  It would be impolite to refuse.

We sat in Victor's elegantly furnished kitchen, eating small slices of the very rich, spicy cake and drinking coffee.  I tried to steer the conversation away from popular music.

How about the gym?

"Oh, I do jazzercise every morning.  I keep my girlish figure."

Movies?

"Oh, I want to see the Powerpuff Girls movie so bad! I love them so much -- Girl Power!  Which one is your favorite, Blossom, Bubbles, or Buttercup?"

"Um...do you have any interests that involve men?"  I asked.

"Horny already, you naughty boy?  Wait a minute...I'll be back...."  Before I could say anything, he vanished through the bedroom into the bathroom and shut the door.

Oh, no -- he thought I was interested in bedroom activities.  I had to turn him down fast!   I followed to tell him I was going home.

The bedroom contained:


A gigantic bed with a black bedspread and red plush pillows.

A chair shaped like a high-heel shoe.

A vanity desk cluttered with jars, vials, chalices, styluses, Eau de Parfum, nail polish, polish remover, lipstick, sponge applicators, brow gel, eyeliner, toner, moisturizer, bronzer, mascara, hair gel, moisturizer, pink razors, tweezers, powder.

And a framed photo of an elegant drag queen.

"Who's the drag queen?" I asked through the door.

"That's me -- Miss Chita Taboo.  I've won Miss Gay Fort Lauderdale twice!  I could go on to Miss Gay Florida last year, but that Yvette DeLong beat me out!"

"Oh,.,that's very interesting," I said.  "I'm not..I mean, I support your right to do drag 100%.  I just like men who are a little more...you know...masculine."

No answer.

"I think I'm going to be going.  But thanks for the rolo de bolo.  It was very tasty."

No answer.

Had he collapsed?

"Victor?  Are you ok?"

No answer.

Was he sobbing over the rejection?

"Miss Taboo?  Are you still there?"

The door breezed open.  "Sorry, I didn't hear you with the toilet running."

Victor stood in front of me, naked, smiling.  Hung.

Bratwurst+.  Maybe bigger.

"What did you say, babe?"

"Um...um..I said I'd love to see your act sometime."

"How sweet!  But why are your clothes on still!"

Well, I never turn down a Bratwurst+.

See also: The Pitcher with the Secret Move; and My Sausage List.


David Pulls It Out

San Francisco, March 1997

When I was living in San Francisco, my friend David and I walked down Castro Street every day on the way to and from work, even though it was strictly not necessary, to immerse ourselves in the heart of the heart of the gay world.

The Castro Theater -- Orphan Andy's -- Almost Home -- All American Boy -- Twin Peaks -- even the Walgreen's on the corner of 18th and Castro were icons of home.

I liked the morning best, when the street was quiet and calm, empty except for an occasional gym hunk on the way to his workout.

And the barfly.

Every morning, we passed a little bar -- now it's the QBar -- with big French doors open to the street, and in the darkness inside, a single guy, alone on a barstool, gazing out into the world.

He was older, white haired, rather well dressed for the denim-and-leather crowd, wearing a white shirt and a tie.  I couldn't tell what he was drinking, but it wasn't beer.

Who would be in a bar at 9:00 am?

"Drunks," David said with a disapproving scowl.  A former Baptist minister, he was vehemently opposed to alcohol.  "Has to get his fix."

Every morning, day after day, the barfly sat at the bar, looking out at the world.  Sometimes he nodded or waved at us as we passed.

I got so used to seeing him that when he wasn't there, I waited for a few minutes to see if he'd show up.

In the evening, when we passed again after work, the bar was usually packed with the Happy Hour crowd, but the barfly was still there.

In the same spot, as if he hadn't moved.

Who would stay all day and all night in a bar?  Didn't he have other things to do?

Gay people are very territorial.  They've been battered around the straight world so much that when they find a home, they stay.  Maybe this guy couldn't bear to leave the heart of the heart of the gay world, that one block of Castro Street between 17th and 18th.

But no one could spend their life on that block.  There were restaurants, bars, clothing stores, a drug store, a theater, and a hair stylist, but no gyms, bookstores, post offices, grocery stores, or banks. Or jobs.

For weeks David and I passed, morning and evening, and the barfly was there.

One evening, without warning, I headed into the bar.

David grabbed my arm.  "Wait -- don't tell me you're hot for that barfly?  He's cute and all, but he's a drunk!"

"I just want to hear his story.  Maybe he's lonely.  I could take him to a meeting of SAGE, the gay seniors group."

"He knows how to use the phone book!"

"Hey, I went with you to cruise in the men's room at Macy's.  The least you can do is help me cruise the old guy."

Grumbling, David followed me into the bar.  We sat on barstools on either side of the barfly and ordered cokes.

The barfly turned to David, grinning.  "What took you so long?"

"What?  Er..."

He held out his hand.  "I'm Karol.  Not a drag name -- it's Polish for 'Charles.'"

"David...and this is Boomer."

"Hiya," he said over his shoulder.  "I've been coming to this bar morning and night for weeks, .  I was about ready to give up."

"So...you don't spend all day here?" I asked.

Karol laughed.  "I don't think my clients would like that!"

It turns out that Karol was a graphic designer.  One day he stopped in at the QBar for a Bloody Mary on the way to work, and he saw us pass by.  He was so entranced that he made a point of coming to the bar at the same time every morning and evening, in the hope that David would stop and say hello.

"I should have chased after you, but I didn't want to be that Creepy Old Guy, you know."

"Come on, you're not that much older than us," I said.

"I'm over 40, by a few years.  I remember Poland before the War -- World War II, not Vietnam.  And I remember the Summer of Love -- I bet you were still in diapers."

"So you don't drink?"  David asked.

"A Bloody Mary now and then, and maybe a vodka and tonic.  But I don't drink a lot, no."

Then Karol turned to me, his back to David -- the guy he had a crush on.  What was his game?

He told me about growing up during the War, coming to America to find work as an artist, marrying, having kids, and then coming out and finding his way to San Francisco.

"I was here before AIDS, before Gay Liberation, back when Jose Serria was doing drag shows at the Black Cat Cafe."

Suddenly I glanced down -- while he was talking, Karol had been groping David, unzipping his pants, and now he had pulled it out!

You heard me.

Right out in the open.

This was my cue to leave!  "Have fun, guys," I said.

Later that night, David called me.

"So, how was the date with your secret admirer?"

"Well, that's just it.  You know how, when you finally get a guy you've been fantasizing about for a long time, the reality is always disappointing? Plus when you get older, things get more difficult.  And Karol had been drinking...."

"His mission was a failure, huh?"

"And that embarrassed me so much that my mission was a failure, too.  Big bust all around.  So...you want to go to the Bear Party?"

The next morning Karol was not on his usual bar stool on Castro Street.

See also: A Hookup in the Restroom at Macy's and Waking Up to a Straight Boy in My Bed.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Thug from Catch One

Los Angels, February 1986

I had been in West Hollywood for about six months, and I was starting to notice that it wasn't all heaven.
Con artists, hustlers, pickpockets.
Poverty, homelessness.
And racism.

You rarely encountered Men of Color in West Hollywood; it was Anglo-white in all directions, as far as the eye could see.

And when you did see someone black or Hispanic, the clerk in the story was eyeing him suspiciously. Or the bar was charging him a cover charge of $10 ($1 for white guys).  Or you overheard casual comments like "What's he doing here?"

Even my ex-boyfriend Alan, the Pentecostal Porn Star, chimed in: "I'm not racist, but I wouldn't date a black guy.  I like to be the dominant partner."

 So bedroom positions are based on race?  Really?

I decided to educate Alan by dragging him along as I cruised for African-American men.

He agreed, but only if we went to Mugi to cruise for Asian men afterwards.

He told me that there were three "black gay bars." in Los Angeles.  White guys went to the Study or the Zone, and Jewel's Catch One was black only.

So naturally, I wanted to go to Catch One.

But white guys couldn't get in, Alan protested.  Or they were forced to pay an outrageous cover charge.  And if you made it inside, you got such severe Attitude that you ran away sobbing.

Besides, it was in a "bad neighborhood," near the corner of Pico (bad) and Crenshaw (worse).

That settled it -- we were going to catch one at Catch One!

The evening started out fine: We weren't turned away at the door, and there was no enormous cover charge.  There was no more Attitude than you would get at the Rage or the Gold Coast.

We walked through a lounge area and two beautifully decorated bars, one with a dance floor.  The music was all R&B, all female black vocalists: Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Dione Warwick, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle.


We got our Cokes from a very cute bartender and found a place to prop up the wall.  

After awhile, I said "Well, time to work the room!", yelling to make myself heard.  When you cruised with a friend, you always split up to "work the room," or people would think you were a couple and refuse to make eye contact.

"No way!" Alan yelled into my ear.  "You're not leaving me! We're the only white guys here!"

That came out startlingly loud. Everyone standing nearby overheard.  One guy turned to stare at us: very tall, very muscular, shirtless, glowing with sweat from dancing.  There were gold chains dangling around his neck.


He approached, and faced Alan, glaring. "Does yo' mind if I ax yo' boyfriend to dance?" he asked, in a stereotypical black accent.  I saw that he had a tattoo on his chest, a rarity in 1986.

Alan paled.  "Boomer's not...he's not my boyfriend."

He turned to me.  "Does yo' wanna get down, white boy?  The name's T, as in Thug."

I gave him my best cruising grin.  "Sure, T!"

He stared in surprise.  Obviously he had been expecting a rejection.  "Um...ok,  Let's go."

We danced to "Rhythm of the Night" and "That's What Friends Are For," and then moved into the lounge for drinks and kissing.

"Sorry about the 'white boy' stuff," T said, dropping the accent. "I figured you were out looking for thugs, and I'd give you what you came for.  T is actually short for Thomas."

"I kind of realized that you were putting us on."

He grinned.  "So, how about dinner Thursday night?  You and Alan can come down to my house, if you're not scared of South Central."

Alan didn't want to go.  South Central was notorious for its gangs, drugs, and drive by shootings!  We'd never make it out alive!

So  I drove down by myself.   8 miles to USC, and then 8 miles south on the 110, an hour's drive in rush -hour traffic, to  Manchester Avenue, a neighborhood of small houses with square fenced-in yards.  Other than the bars on all the windows, you'd never know you were in a high-crime area.

T lived with his mother, who introduced herself and then retreated to her room as he cooked and served chicken gumbo, a green salad, and a perfectly horrible bread pudding.

Then we sat on his couch, watching The Cosby Show, Cheers, and Night Court, and talking about his job -- I forget what it was now -- and my graduate school coursework, and his childhood in South Central and mine in Rock Island.  Eventually we made it into the bedroom.

T was very nice, and extremely hot, but we didn't really have a lot in common, at least not enough to entice me into another hour-long drive in rush hour traffic.  So we didn't see each other again. But we stayed in contact.  He's now married to an Asian guy.

By the way, in case you're wondering: Mortadella+.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Junior High: 77 Signs that You're a Fairy

In my junior high, the worst possible fate was to be a "fairy."  Not a boy who was interested in boys -- we didn't have the slightest inkling that same-sex desire existed, anywhere in the world.  A boy who suppressed his natural masculine instincts and  pretended that he was a girl.

We didn't know why fairies pretended to be girls. Malice, stupidity, sheer perversity?  But they were in deadly peril.  Most obviously, every boy's sole reason for living was to get girls, and girls only liked real men.

But there was another, more sinister peril that the older boys whispered about: if you pretended to be a girl long enough, you might actually turn into a girl, or rather a swish, a nightmarish he-she creature.

Fairies had to be convinced to stop it! and act like boys again, by any means necessary.  Friends tried gentle persuasion; enemies, catcalls and jeers; mean boys, public humiliation, and if that didn't work, pummeling in the schoolyard.

Teachers rarely intervened.  After all, it was for the fairy's own good.  He had to be convinced to stop it! and act like a boy again.

There were dozens of signs that you were a fairy, or in danger of becoming one.  Here are the top 77:

Clothes
1. A shirt with a little loop in back (called a fruit loop)
2. An undershirt.
3. A green shirt.
4. A turtleneck sweater.
5. "High water" pants that revealed your socks.
6. Pants with buttons instead of a zipper.
7. Glasses
8. A bow tie.
9. Buttoning the top button of your shirt.
10. Jewelry, especially rings.
11. Being excessively neat.

Language and Deportment
12. Wiggling hips
13.  Hand gestures.
14. Wrist movements
15. An enthusiastic voice (it must be angry or a monotone).
16. Using too many adjectives.
17. Using correct grammar.

Before and After School
18. Talking to/ walking with girls.
19. Carrying books home with you.
20. Carrying a violin case home with you.
21. Refusing to fight when challenged.
22. Fighting ineptly.
23. Crying for any reason.
24. Telling a teacher or parent about bullying.

In Class
25. Carrying a pencil case.
26. Sitting in the front row.
27. Volunteering the answer to a teacher's question.
28. Not referring to the teacher by her last name only ("Mrs. DeSmet" instead of just "DeSmet")
29. Taking French (a fairy language) instead of Spanish.
30. Using a protractor.
31. Having neat homework assignments.
32. Getting good grades on purpose (saying "I studied hard", for instance)
33. Worrying about/asking about grades.

Gym/Sports
34. Not going out for a sport.
35. Pretending to be ignorant of the results of last night's game.
36. Pretending to be ignorant of a player's statistics.
37. Calling gym "p.e. class"
38. Not being able to play a sport adequately.
39. Being selected last for a team.
40. Wearing a towel around your waist on the way to the showers.
41. Having insufficient muscles.
42. Having an insufficient penis.
43. Having insufficient pubic hair.










Leisure/Extracurricular Activities
44. Belonging to an academic organization (Spanish Club or Chemistry Club)
45. Participating in student government.
46. Playing in the band or orchestra.
47. Performing in student plays or musicals.
48. Studying dance.
49. Studying art.
50. Going to libraries, museums, art galleries, or concerts.
51. Not going bowling.
52. Watching The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, or any variety show.
53. Not watching Adam-12. 
54. Listening to David Cassidy, the Captain and Tennile, or Elton John.
55. Not listening to The Eagles.
56. Reading teen magazines.
57. Not knowing about cars.
58. Not knowing about guns.
59. Disliking hunting, fishing, and camping.
60. Having never been on an airplane.
61. Having to be home before dark.
62. Calling your parents to tell them your whereabouts.
63. Hanging out with girls.


Lunch/Food
64. Sitting with girls in the cafeteria.
65. Carrying a lunch box instead of a paper bag.
66. Eating grapes.
67. Eating jello.
68. Drinking chocolate milk.
69. Using a napkin instead of your sleeve.
70. Depositing apple cores in the trash instead of on the ground.
71. Eating in an excessively neat fashion.
72. Knowing how to cook.

Dating/Sex
73. Being a virgin.
74. Having sex with fewer than five girls per week.
75. Being attracted to athletic girls.
76. Dating a girl who is overweight or wears glasses.
77. Walking hand-in-hand with a girl.

Bonus (for Rock Island only)
78. Coming in through the back entrance of the school (past the girls' locker room).
79. Going to Little Caesar's (a pizza place next to a hair salon).

See also: Slow Dancing with Boys

Monday, June 29, 2015

How Blind Guys Handle Sausage Sightings

Dayton, March 2006

In gay communities, there is heavy competition for men who are disabled: blind, deaf, on crutches, in a wheelchair.    

Maybe being physically different makes you stand out in the crowd and seem more attractive.

Or guys fantasize about being your "knight in shining armor," protecting you from the bad things in the world.

Or they are hung up over their minor imperfection, such as belly fat or acne scars, and they believe that you will be more accepting. 

But however many guys clamor to go home with you, few are willing to stick around the next day, begin a romantic relationship, and participate in your daily struggles with accessibility and visibility.

So disabled guys tend to be a little leery of romantic overtures.  They may even try to scare you off by describing their daily maintenance routine on the first date.

That may have been a problem with my date with Tommy the Blind Guy.

I saw him at the Columbus Metropolitan Community Church one Sunday morning in March 2006:  In his 20s, shorter than me, pale, with short brown hair and a solid, muscular frame -- plus religious!  Three of the five traits I find attractive.  He walked arm-in-arm with a friend, so I assumed he was taken.  But during the coffee hour after church, the friend, Marcus, left him eating doughnuts by himself to cruise someone on the other side of the room.  Therefore, single!

How do you go about cruising someone who can't see you?  I went with a strong handshake and a deep voice, and it worked!

The next weekend, we saw The Libertine (yes, blind people go to movies), followed by dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant.

You would think that Tommy would be tired of being asked questions about "what it's like to be blind," but he told me in detail how he ate, how he shaved, how he found his way around a strange room.

It turned out to be less a date than a lecture from Blind 101 class.  The only interesting part was how he judged a guy's physical characteristics without having to reach out and touch them:

You had a strong handshake, so I knew you had nice biceps.
That doesn't really....

The angle of your voice when we're talking tells me your height and weight.
My height, maybe.  But my weight?
He guessed it within 10 pounds.

I can figure out how hung you are by listening to you in the bathroom.


Doesn't sound possible, but we went into the bathroom, and he did it!  Something to do with the force of the splash.

Other than the few magic tricks, I was a bit bored.

After dinner, we went back to the apartment he shared with Marcus.

Tommy was certainly passionate in the bedroom, but a romantic relationship requires more.  Did this guy have any interests, hobbies?

The gym?  There have been several blind bodybuilders, like Greg Rando  Not really.  I do a little jogging.

Pets?  Seeing eye dog?  No.  I get along fine with a cane.

Religion?  I go to MCC for the companionship, but I'm not really into it.  

Paranormal?  You believe in that nonsense?

Literature?  Dickens?  Stephen King?  I don't read a lot.

Um...politics?  Not really.

Music?

That got a rise out of him.  Oh, I love Cher, Madonna, Barbra Streisand...


Oh...I don't really listen to pop music.  It's so heterosexist, all about girl! girl! girl!

Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson.

Any classical in that mix? A little Mozart here and there?

Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez...

Opera? Jazz?  I'll even take show tunes...

Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, Beyonce...

Ok, how about a male performer?  At least somebody for me to look at -- Justin Timberlake, maybe?

The Pussycat Dolls, Ciara, Fergie...

We didn't have a second date.