Thursday, July 23, 2015

Spending the Night (and the Day) with the Emo Boy

London, June 2007

This is the continuation of the story of my visit to Yuri and Michael in London in 2007.  You remember that I hooked up with a South Asian emo boy named Nehal at an Indie bar.

Saturday night
Turns out that Nehal is not interested in frontsides, and for backsides, he's strictly a bottom. Unfortunately, Michael doesn't top anyone but Yuri, and I'm not really into it at all.  After some perfunctory kissing, Nehal is reduced to sitting on the side of the bed, watching.

Afterwards Nehal and I move onto blankets on the living room floor, where he won't take "I prefer the frontside" for an answer.  What the heck -- finally I give in, borrow a condom from Michael, and top him.  

I am awakened by Nehal trying to sit on me.  In the cool light of dawn he is slim, soft, androgynous, even girlish, not at all my type.  We kiss.  I reach for his...sorry, no frontsides. He turns over on his stomach.

No way!  "Sorry, I'm a little tired this morning."

"No worries, we have lots of time to get your motor running, don't we?  How long will you be in town?"

"Um...I'm leaving for Paris tomorrow morning."

"Well, we'll have to make today count.  We should go to a tea dance this afternoon, and then George and the Dragon for their Sunday night drag show, yeah?"

"Actually I was hoping to spend the day with my friends."

In other words: Get out!

"Oh, I'm sure we can find a way to squeeze them in."  He kisses me, then bounces into the bedroom to awaken Michael and Yuri.

Londoners don't really do brunch, but we go out to the Breakfast Club, a campy dive diner with a bright yellow exterior.  It serves bacon-and-egg sandwiches called "butties", beans with a poached egg on top, and salmon and eggs on multigrain bread.

Nehal monopolizes the conversation, mostly talking about London's music scene.  Garage beats, UK funky, electro house, grime, bassline.

"Um...I Madonna."

"Dinosaur music, innit?  Don't matter, though -- we won't be listening to music, will we?"

"Today we have a surprise for you," Yuri says. "Hiking in the North Downs.  It's 30 kilos away -- 20 miles."

"Takes about two hours to climb to the top," Michael adds.  "It's rather rugged, actually."

"Don't feel obligated to go with us," I tell Nehal.

In other words: Get out!

"No, sounds like fun, honestly.  Just let me pop by my Mum and Dad's to pick up a change of clothes, and that."

Yuri and Michael glance at each other anxiously.

On the way to Nehal's house in Deeley Road, we stop to pick up someone else.  

Turns out that they have arranged another surprise: a date for me.  Their friend Justin, a graduate student in Urban Studies at the London School of Economics, short, dark-skinned, exactly my type.

"Sorry, I didn't know that there would be four of us," I tell Nehal.  "You don't have to..."

"No worries," Nehal says, visions of another topman dancing in his head.  "The more the merrier, right?"

As we climb to the circuit of Box Hill, with its view of the Downs, Justin and I talk about Chaucer, Madonna, and gay neighborhoods from a sociological perspective.  

Or try to, anyway.  Nehal keeps pushing between us to leer and make dirty double-entendres in incomprehensible British slang.

Justin is completely hot, totally my type, and actually interesting to talk to.  Nehal...not so much.

We arrive back in London around 4:00 pm. No way am I letting Nehal horn in on dinner, and another uncomfortable backside-only night.  Especially with Justin in the picture!

"It was great that you came along for the hike," I tell him, "But I'm sure you have other things to do tonight.  Maybe we could meet for breakfast tomorrow, before my train leaves."

In other words: Get out!

"Oh, no, mate, I'm free as a bird!"  He links arms with me and Justin.  "Deal with me as you will."

"Why doesn't everyone go back to his own place to shower and change clothes?"  Michael suggests.  "Then come back to our flat for dinner at 7:00.  Yuri's cooking moussaka." 

"Mum and Dad are a bit far," Nehal says.  "Can I come back with you?"

 "Four of you -- that's a lot of hot water," Justin says with a grin.  "Why doesn't Boomer come to my flat and shower there?" 

"Boomer and Nehal, you mean?"

He looks disappointed.  "Yeah, sure, mate."

So the three of us head to Justin's flat on Cromer Street, near King's Cross Station.

Nehal showers first -- very quickly, in and out.  Justin and I barely have time to kiss and grope.

Next is my turn.  I shower, towel off, and go into the bedroom, expecting to see Justin and Nehal naked there.  No, they're sitting in the living room, talking quietly as Nehal gets dressed.

Now it's Justin's turn to shower.

As soon as he shuts the bathroom door, I ask Nehal, "What's wrong? No chemistry between you two?"  

Nehal puts his old clothes into a knapsack and zips it up.  "It's not that.  I just have to be running along.  Paper due tomorrow, right?  Give my best to Michael and Yuri."  He practically runs out of the apartment.

Soon Justin returns, wearing a towel.   A little slim, but nicely toned, with a smooth chest and an "outie" belly button.  "I thought you'd be in the bedroom waiting for me," he says, sitting on the couch and putting his arm around my shoulders.

"Looks like you scared Nehal off."

"Yeah, mate, sorry.  He's nice and all that, but the aggressive bit is something of a turn-off, and apparently he's a total bottom.  How are we supposed to go about shagging?"

My heart sinks. Is everybody in London a bottom?  "You mean you..."

"Eh, backsides -- when I do it, I'm a bottom, but it's really not my thing, you know?  The frontside -- that's what I like!"   He takes off his towel.

See also: Yuri and I Meet the Emo Boy of London

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

15 Simple Rules for Gay Cruising

"Cruising" is my generation's word for "hooking up": searching for a sex partner as a form of recreation.  No ongoing friendship or romance is expected, although one might develop, and the hunt is nearly as much fun as the act itself.

Cruising has a bad rap.  People complain that it's an addiction.
But any activity can be addictive if it takes over your life.

It's meaningless, leading nowhere.
Who said that sex always has to lead to something? 

It's dangerous, leaving you open to robbery, violence, and HIV.
Not if you follow a few simple rules.

There are different rules for cruising in real spaces like bars, and online. Real spaces first.

1. Select your cruising venue carefully.  You can cruise anywhere -- a bar, an organization meeting, a shopping mall, a gym, a museum, the beach -- but it should be a place where there are a lot of gay men who have enough time to stop and chat.

And someplace within an easy drive of your apartment.  Nothing is worse than meeting someone you like and having him say "I live only 45 minutes from here."

2. Cruise early.  The best hours are between 2 and 4 pm in public places, and between 9 and 11 pm in bars.  If you haven't met someone by that time, give up.  When it gets late, you start getting desperate, and you are more likely to go home with someone inappropriate.

3. Cruise with a buddy.  Cruising alone makes you seem creepy, especially if you are over 40.  Besides, everyone looks more attractive in a group, and your buddy can help you judge potential partners.

4. Do not drink while cruising.  Or drink only in moderation.  The same thing with drugs.  You need a clear head to judge potential partners.  If you are drunk or high, you will make mistakes.

5. Gather information.  When you see someone that you find attractive, strike up an ordinary conversation. Talk about the music at the bar, the exhibits at the museum, the food at the festival.  Move on to questions about jobs, leisure interests, family, and so on.  If he is hesitant, or if his story has blatant contradictions, move on.

6. Don't discuss sizes or sexual acts.  Oddly, talking about sex makes you seem less sexy.  If he asks, be brief and noncommittal.  If he wants details, chances are he has no intention of following through with a meeting.  He just enjoys thinking about sex.

But what if we're completely incompatible?

No such thing.  Two people who are attracted to each other can always find something to do in bed.

7. Word the invitation carefully.  You are obviously attracted to each other, so where do you go from here?  A friendship, a romance, or a hookup?

If you invite him to do something specific  -- get coffee, go to a movie -- you are suggesting dating and romance.
If you invite him to vaguely get together at some future date -- you are suggesting a friendship.
If you invite him to vaguely go somewhere right now -- you are initiating a hookup.

8. Invite him to your place, if possible.  You are more relaxed and in control when it's your own space.  Agree to his place only if it's closer, and bring your buddy.

9. Take your own cars.    Never get into a car with someone you don't know well.

10.  Make sure that someone knows where you are.  Have your roommate in the house.  Have your buddy follow you. Don't just disappear.

11. Clean your apartment in advance.  Nothing spoils the mood more than dirty dishes in the sink, an unmade bed, and an overflowing clothes hamper.

12. Hide your valuables.  Leave your wallet in the car.

13. Bring condoms.  Safe sex practices only!

14. Don't kick him out afterwards.  If it is a daytime hookup, etiquette demands that you offer him coffee or a snack afterwards.  If it's a night time hookup, spending the night is customary.

15. Don't pretend that you want a relationship.  I've had one-night stands who made a big deal of giving me their number, and it turned out to be fake.  Hookups sometimes become friendships or romances, but it's perfectly ok if they do not.  Of course, you may want to go farther -- in that case, ask him for a date on the spot.  Otherwise, just say "Thank you for coming over," and add him to your list of memories.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sausage Sighting of the Korean Muscle Bear

Rock Island, August 1981

One of the most interesting of my Sausage Sightings was the Asian muscle bear.

When I was growing up in Rock Island, you were white or black. There was one Chinese kid in my junior high, and my judo instructor was Japanese.  And that was it.

So I was surprised, during the summer after my junior year in college, when a Korean family moved into the house next door: Mr. Kim, an engineer in his 30s, his wife, who worked in a bank downtown, and two young daughters.

Mr. Kim was a surprisingly buffed muscle bear.  He often mowed his lawn or played with his dog with his shirt off and sometimes he sat in a kiddie pool in the back yard in a swimsuit, reading a magazine.

Very hot.  I wanted to get to know him better.  Of course, he was married with children, but so were many of the guys who cruised at the levee.

I took a class in East Asian Civilization at Augustana.  Unfortunately, we barely touched on Korea, but I tried an opening on Taoism, the Way of Non-Resistance.

Mr. Kim cut me off.  "I don't know anything about that stuff.  I'm a Presbyterian."

Ok, so how about Korean history?  The Joseon dynasty that threatened Tokugawa Japan?

Cut off again.  "I don't know anything about that stuff.   We moved here when I was five."

The Korean language, maybe?  "Annyeong  haseyo! Good morning."  

"Sorry, I don't know much Korean.  I took Spanish in school."

"Tengo una verga grandissima para ti!"  Ok, I didn't say that.

By this point it was obvious that Mr. Kim was not particularly interested in buddying around with the teenage boy next door.

But there's more than one way to get a Sausage Sighting.

My brother and I shared an attic room with windows on each end.  His bed was beside the south window that looked out on the lawn, and mine was beside the north window that looked out a very narrow side yard and then Mr. Kim's house.

I could lie in bed and look down into his kitchen.

It usually wasn't very interesting -- people cooking and getting things out of the refrigerator.  But sometimes late at night I was awakened by the light coming on from next door, and I saw Mr. Kim making a snack.

In his underwear.

And one night, something more spectacular happened.

The light came on about midnight, just after I went to bed.  I peered down, as usual, to see Mr. Kim talking to his wife.  He was gesturing, pacing, so maybe it was an argument.

The underwear was off!  Mr. Kim was completely naked!  His impressive Bratwurst was swinging in and out of view as he paced back and forth.  His backside, too.

His wife was wearing a bathrobe.  She started making tea.

Eventually they sat at the kitchen table, and the Bratwurst was hidden from view.

The nude kitchen stop was never repeated.  A few months later, the Kims moved away.

Recently I read somewhere that the Korean penis averages 3.8 inches, the smallest in the world.

If Mr. Kim was small, I'd like to see big.

See also: 6000 Words for Penis

Monday, July 20, 2015

We Look for a Gay Comic Book

Rock Island, December 1976

At Christmastime in my junior year in high school, shortly after I caught Cousin Joe in the act, I caught the flu.  I lay in bed for a week, missing the District Jump Quiz Tournament, unable to concentrate on books or comic books, unwilling to make the arduous trek across the room to turn on the portable tv atop the dresser, I mostly listened to KSTT on my clock radio. Boston sang "More Than a Feeling" about a thousand times; their only competition seemed to be "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing," by Leo Sayer.  I know what he made me feel like doing.

Once I heard a song called “Walk on the Wild Side,” about a man’s  descent from Acting like a Girl to Fairy to Swish: “he shaved his legs and then he was a she.” But I was puzzled by the line in which the Swish “goes to see Apollo" (I had never heard of the Apollo Theater in Harlem).  What did the Greek god, the epitome of muscular manliness, have to do with a sinister, soul-destroying walk on the wild side?

On December 29th, I was feeling a little better, so I asked Darry to bring Robert Graves' massive two-volume Greek Myths, and read up on Apollo.  In one story, he and his friend Hyacinth were playing with a discus.  The wind Zephyr became so jealous of their love that he blew the discus off course, and it hit Hyacinth in the head, killing him. The distraught god created a flower from the bloodstained grass, the hyacinth, with petals that spell out ai, alas!

“Zephr was jealous of their love,” I read. “How can you be jealous of a guy? You can have hundreds of buddies. You’re only jealous of girls.”

“Maybe Apollo and Hyacinth were girls, sort of,” Darry said. “You know. . . .” he flashed a loose wrist.

“Don’t be ridiculous! They couldn’t be gay.  There weren't any swishes in ancient times, and besides, they were like, built!”  Everybody knew that gays were thin, wispy things who hated muscles.

“How do you know how built they were? There aren’t any pictures in the book.”

Slightly embarrassed, I told him about the comic book that my boyfriend Bill gave me long ago, with Casper the Friendly Ghost making a mystical ascent to the Island in the Sky. Darry wanted to see it, so I asked him to find my box of old Casper comics in the closet. The Island in the Sky comic was missing!

Thinking it was misfiled, we sorted through my boxes of Disney, Tarzan, Archie, and superhero comics. Nothing. We even crawled into the attic  crawlspace to look through a box labeled “Boomer," leftover from our move two years ago.  It contained old toys, puzzles, coloring books, cartoon kits, Viewmaster slides, birthday party photos. No comic books.

Exhausted by the effort, I clomped back to bed and collapsed. Darry pulled the covers over me and went downstairs to fetch some orange juice. When he returned, he said, “Don’t get all obsessed. Your fever-addled brain probably invented it. A bad acid trip about Casper the Friendly Ghost, imagine that!”

“No, I’ve read the comic book – lot of times.” I remembered every detail. I remembered when I first read it -- a hot summer night, my boyfriend Bill asleep beside me, breathing softly, and Casper flying to the Elysian Fields to meet Greek gods.

 It was an essential part of my childhood, like Chekhov and Sulu smiling at each other or Robbie Douglas singing about boys holding hands.

“So, tell me all about the story you dreamed up. . .I mean, that you read in that mysterious vanishing comic book.  Casper goes to an island in the sky."

“And he meets Apollo, Pan, Bacchus, and some others. All men, no women. Muscular physiques. They live together. It was like heaven.”

Darry laughed. “Sounds like the Hawaiian Lounge to me! Nothing but fruits, on double dates with each other!  Except for the muscles, of course.”

“Waste your time doing something else!” I exclaimed, scandalized. “Nobody was gay! It was a kid’s comic!”

When Darry left, I huddled beside the space heater, trembling.  First the secret message "Brian gives free LBJs," and now the Island in the Sky.  Why did all of my most cherished childhood memories involve swishes?

It would take me another year to figure out why..

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Catholic Priest in My Bed

Akron, Ohio, April 2007

In the spring of 2007, I was teaching at the University of Dayton, and dating Paul, an aspiring writer who had just graduated from Ohio Dominican University. He had four of the characteristics I find attractive: short, husky, gifted beneath the belt (Bratwurst+), and religious (devout Catholic).

Devout Catholic.

1. He got his name by being born on June 29th, the Feast Day of Saint Paul.  Lucky he wasn't born on June 30th, the Feast Day of Saints Clotsindus and Ostianus.

2. He went to Catholic schools and a Catholic college.

3. His older brother was a priest.

4. He wore a scapular around his neck, except at the gym.

5. He had a little basin of holy water in his apartment, which he used to cross himself.

6. When he spent Saturday night with me, he insisted on going to Mass the next day.

7. And fasting before, so no Sunday brunch.

Being closeted, Paul didn't want anyone to know that we were gay.  He wouldn't take me to his regular church in Huber Heights, or go to a church near me in Fairborn, where someone might recognize.

We often drove all the way into Columbus to find a relatively gay-friendly Catholic church.  If not, we went to Holy Family, the most conservative church in town, where statues outnumbered people, and elderly nuns sat in the front row with rosary beads, and priests still heard confessions.

The nice thing about conservative churches is that it's easy to be closeted.  It never occurs to anyone, ever, that a member of the congregation -- or a visitor -- might be gay.  Paul and I could sit together, hug, answer questions as a couple, and everyone just assumed that we were heterosexual friends, or father and son (I was 45, and he was 25).

Besides, one of the priests was very cute.  Father Christopher, 26 years old, a new graduate of the Pontifical College Josephinum.  Tall, dark-haired, with glasses and a hint of a respectable physique, who threw references to Harry Potter and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy into his homilies.

I have a thing for clergy: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim.  There's something about the juxtaposition of the physical and the spiritual, the erotic thoughts that leak into sacred spaces, the penis hidden beneath those gaudy robes and black cassocks.

No chance that we would ever hook up!  He was a graduate of the most conservative seminary in the U.S., and a priest at the most conservative church in Ohio!

Just looking was enough.

One Sunday Father Christopher announced an upcoming spiritual retreat, centered on the contemplative works of Thomas Merton.  Participants would car-pool to the Loyola Retreat House, near Akron, Ohio, about three hours away.

I liked Thomas Merton, and I really liked Father Christopher, so I signed up.  Paul couldn't make it.

A group of 10 of us drove up in three cars, leaving at dawn and arriving just in time for lunch.  Then an afternoon of meditation workshops, book discussions, lectures, free time for contemplation, dinner, and Mass.  It was like a Nazarene camp meeting.

The next morning, we had another Mass, followed by breakfast, more workshops, discussions, and lectures, lunch, and more free time for contemplation.  Then we headed home.

I got to spend a lot of time with Father Christopher.  My life story had to be strictly closeted, of course, but I still managed to complain about the Nazarene church of my childhood, and share lots of stories about how much they hated Catholics.

 He was shocked -- he had believed that everyone loved and respected the Catholic Church, even Protestants.

But the best part was bedtime.  Since Father Christopher and I were the only non-couples at the retreat, we were assigned to share a room.

I didn't intend to try anything, of course -- the last thing I needed was to be ejected from a retreat center a three hour drive from home.  But I was hoping for a Sausage Sighting.

Father Christopher changed into his pajamas in the bathroom, then climbed into bed with rosary beads.  "Hail Mary, full of grace," he began.  "Oh -- Boomer, I hope this won't disturb you?"

"Not at all."  I waited..

No chance of seeing any autoerotic activity later.  I looked it up: Catholics consider masturbation "intrinsically evil," like being gay.

But sometimes the penis has a mind of its own.  Especially when you lack a regular sexual outlet.

I watched.

Father Christopher finished his rosary, kissed it, put it aside, and crossed his arms over his chest like a vampire.  Soon he began to snore. 

I watched.

After about half an hour, it began to rise.

It stood at full attention.

I didn't dare touch it, but...could I move off the covers, and get a peek?

I reached over and carefully tugged at the covers.

Father Christopher murmured something, and I retreated.

It was still standing at full attention.

I tried again.

It stood, peeking out of his underwear, ready for action, a Bratwurst with a mushroom head.

Eventually he turned over.  He hadn't awakened, or even touched anything.

Later I discovered that the average person has about 5 dreams per night.  10% of those dreams have sexual content, and 5% of the sex dreams result in a spontaneous orgasm.

So if you watch most men all night, you have a 1 in 40 chance of seeing a spontaenous orgasm.  But since Father Paul didn't have an access to an ordinary sexual outlet, my chances were probably like 1 in 10.

Still, my luck was amazing.

In the morning Father Paul showered and changed, and we continued the retreat.

I don't think he even knew that his erotic life came alive every night in dreams.

See also: Barry and the Creepy Old Guy; and Paul Gives Up Men for Lent


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