Saturday, October 10, 2015
We arranged to meet up at 11:00 pm. If one of us struck out, the other would "share" his hookup. If we both met someone, we played mix-and-match in the bedroom.
Since the Faultline was for older guys, bears and daddies, and Mugi specialized in Asian twinks, it made for some diverse evenings.
One night I struck out at Mugi, but when I got home, Lane was sitting on the couch with an Asian guy. At least I thought he was Asian. Short, bronze skin, round face, military hair cut, shirtless, wearing a leather vest and nipple rings.
"This is Arnie," Lane said. "He's up for sharing."
"Boomer. Pleased to meet you." I took my place on the couch next to him.
"My legal name is Joseph, but when I came out, I took the name Arnie, short for Arnauyq, It means 'gay,' in my language, or really 'man who imitates woman.'"
"Inupiaq. What you call Eskimo."
"Great," Lane complained. "Boomer is a language nut. Now you're never going to get him off that couch and into the bedroom."
"No, no." I reached over fondled Arnie's hard, smooth chest. He smiled and moved my hand to his crotch. "But...I thought there were only a few native speakers of Inupiaq outside of Greenland."
"I love Inuit words. They seem to go on forever."
"Yes, you can keep adding suffixes forever. Do you speak Inupiaq? is one word, Inupiaqtituuhuunguvin."
Lane started playing with his nipple rings. "I went to Hebrew school," he announced. "Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav, l'hadlik ner shel Shabbat."
That was probably the first time anyone said the Sabbath prayer while playing with someone's nipple rings.
Arnie was very hot, very muscular, and when I groped him, I felt impressive beneath-the-belt gifts. But I wanted to hear about Inupiaq.
He was on his high school wrestling team.
But there were also dog sled races, spearing fish from a kayak, hunting on the ice, the polar bears walking through downtown, and Inupiaq lessons at the Community Center.
Who wouldn't want to hear these stories instead of jumping into the bedroom right away, regardless of the size of the guy's package?
Lane, apparently. "Shouldn't we be starting the sharing?" he asked.
"Sure, let's go," Arnie said.
"Oh, your butt will keep. It's not even midnight yet. Tell me about the Yupik."
So Arnie kept talking. Eventually, tiring of kissing and fondling his chest, Lane unzipped him and started going down on him.
Defeated, Lane said "I'll be in the bedroom if anybody needs me," and vanished.
"Um...I think we're being summoned," Arnie said. "We should get in there. He's my hookup, after all."
"Lane likes to read for awhile before bed anyhow. We have plenty of time."
Fortunately, Arnie liked to talk.
But eventually he got tired and lay his head back against the couch. "Ok," he said, eyes closed. "Now we have to get in that bedroom, before I get too tired to care about hooking up."
We walked into the bedroom, where Lane was lying naked in bed, reading Rendezvous with Rama. "Have we met?" he said sarcastically. "You look almost like some guys I used to know, a long time ago."
"Sorry. We were just talking." Arnie leaned over the bed, took the book out of his hand, and kissed him.
He spent the rest of the night exploring every inch of Lane's body and all but ignoring me.
I guess I deserved it.
But let's face it -- you meet hot guys every day in West Hollywood. How often do you meet an Eskimo?
See also: Our date with the teenage beachboy; cruising in the Navajo Nation
When I was growing up, my church deemed alcohol the worst possible sin, worse than murder or reading the Sunday newspaper or talking to a Catholic. We couldn't eat food that once contained alcohol, like "beer batter shrimp." We couldn't set foot in a bar, a restaurant that sold alcohol, or a grocery store with a beer section. Some Nazarenes wouldn't let the doctor swab their arms with alcohol before giving them a shot.
I've overcome many of the strictures of my childhood, but to this day I can't bring myself to drink anything alcoholic. I've never had wine. I've had only one and a half cans of beer in my life.
Why one and a half?
It was 1983, my second year at Indiana University, and my friend Viju and I had just moved into an apartment together. On the Saturday before Halloween, we invited several of our gay friends and their dates to a party. We provided homoerotic snacks like penis-shaped cookies, plus Cokes and Sprites (and some of the guys brought beer). We planned some double-entendre laden party games, an erotic Chamber of Horrors in Viju's bedroom, and finally the Halloween costume contest at Bullwinkle's.
I was going as Pan, the Greek god, with shaggy leggings and horns, Viju was a cop, and Jimmy the Bodybuilder on Crutches said he was coming as a vampire, Joseph from the Gay Student Alliance was a shirtless Zorro, Terry from Eigenmann Hall was a drag queen witch, Mark the optometry major was Superman, and his date, a shy but extremely cute undergrad named Scott, was a gymnast.
My jaw dropped. His "date" was his friend Tony, who was straight, and didn't know that Jimmy was gay.
Apparently Jimmy hadn't realized that it was a gay party.
In the 1980s, you simply did not come out, to anyone, except maybe your family and closest childhood friends, and then only after extensive preparation. But in a moment a straight guy would be in our tiny living room with six gay men who weren't closeting their behavior.
Thinking fast, I yelled at Tony, "Where's your girlfriend?"
Straight guy! Closet time! Mark and his date, Scott, immediately slid apart. Joseph grabbed the tray of penis-shaped cookies and rushed them into the kitchen, Terry took off his wig and earrings to transform his costume from witch to Uncle Fester, and Viju ran to slam the door to the erotic Chamber of Horrors. Someone turned on It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
Tony helped Jimmy through the door. "I don't have a girlfriend," he said, glancing around the room, probably thinking "whoa, sausage fest." "I was hoping to meet some girls here."
Glaring at Jimmy for being such a dope, I said, "Sure, sure. We're going trick-or-treating in the girls' dorm later."
You're probably thinking: why bother to closet ourselves? It was seven against one. What could he possibly do?
We soon found out.
Tony asked to use the bathroom. I pointed the way.
A moment later, I heard his shrill voice: "Boomer, get in here!"
Apparently he had opened the wrong door. He was standing in my bedroom, where there was a replica of Michelangelo's David on my desk, and the wall by the bed plastered with pictures of naked men torn out of In Touch and Mandate.
"Where are the girls?" he asked.
For a moment he just stared, speechless. Then the tirade began. "Are you trying to tell me that you're queer? Don't you know that this lifestyle spreads diseases? Don't you know that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because they were homos?"
Suddenly he became more conciliatory. "Look, it's probably not too late. You could rethink your decision."
Rethink your decision! I was already angry with him for forcing my party into the closet, and this was the last straw. "Oh, gee," I yelled, "I had no idea. Thanks for the heads-up! I'll turn back to straight right away!" I tore down some of the pictures from my wall, wadded them up, and threw them at his feet.
Then I ran back into the living room. "Boobs!" I grunted. "Boobs and football and...um, beer!" I grabbed a can of beer, popped the top, and guzzled some. It tasted horrible.
Tony followed, no longer conciliatory. "Did you guys know that Boomer is a homo? He probably wants to take you back into his little chamber of horrors and do nasty, perverted things to you."
Um...yes, I was counting on it," Joseph said.
Of course, we should have shown him the door. But we were not "out and proud." We were coming from the dull despair of the 1970s Midwest, where gay people, when mentioned at all, were portrayed as utterly despicable. Some of us were still working through feelings of guilt and shame, the nagging doubts: What if we really are sick? What if God really does hate us?
"Count me out, I just turned straight," I said, roiling with rage. "Boobs! Football! Beer! Hey, turn the game on! This show sucks -- Charlie Brown is a fag!" I drained my beer -- it still tasted terrible -- and started another.
Viju glared at Jimmy, "Hey, psychology major, maybe you should tell your buddy something?"
Jimmy hung his head.
"Oh, no, not Jimmy, too!" Tony exclaimed. "He's handicapped! Couldn't you perverts leave him alone? Stick to the schoolyards!"
"Hey, I've never done it in a schoolyard! Schoolbus, maybe!" The room was starting to spin. Was this what it felt like to be drunk? "When I was six I married the boy next door."
Tony ignored me. "How can you do those...those disgusting things?" he continued, this time addressing Mark and Scott. "Do you hate yourself that much, or are you trying to get back at your parents, or do you just hate God?"
Scott the shy undergrad looked like he was about to cry.
Enough was enough! I walked over to Tony and calmly poured the rest of my beer on his head.
That's why I've had only 1 1/2 cans of beer in my life.
Surprisingly, Jimmy and Tony stayed friends. It wasn't Jimmy's fault, after all, that he had been "brainwashed" by a pack of "perverts."
And as my reward, I got to spend 7 minutes in the Chamber of Horrors with Scott the shy undergrad.
See also: Sharing the Optometrist's Boyfriend; Joseph and I Get Intimate in a Haunted House.
When the three guys sharing a house are all actively dating and hooking up, you never know who is going to be at the breakfast table in the morning, or wandering around at 2:00 am looking for the bathroom.
Maybe someone you like better than the guy in your bed.
But the Gay Code strictly forbade "stealing" a friend or roommate's date. You might ask to "share," but otherwise it was strictly hands off until they broke up, and then only with their permission.
Until that night in December 2004. I always get depressed at Christmastime anyway, and I had just gotten dumped, so I was even more depressed.
"Come out to the Club with me," Yuri said. "You will feel better when the hot guys start cruising you."
"I'm not in the mood for hot guys, sorry. I just want to watch tv and go to bed early."
I actually put on my bathrobe and sat down to watch tv, but after awhile, I said, "Yuri is right. I'm going to a club." I walked over to the Filling Station, and soon got cruised by Tye. Not really my type: a little too tall and pale, in his 30s but going bald on top. But he kept going on about how hot I was, and when I groped him, I felt a substantial Bratwurst+, so when he invited me to get coffee, I accepted.
We sat down on the couch. He insisted on turning on the tv to check the scores of the game.
A few moments later Yuri came in with a hookup! A guy who had 3 of the 5 traits I find attractive: shorter than me, muscular, and dark-skinned. He was in his 20's, black, with a firm, compact frame, and extraordinarily cute.
Yuri stared at my date. "You said you were not going out."
"Oh, I changed my mind. This is Tye, insurance guy and all-around sports nut My housemate Yuri and...um..."
"Howard," Yuri said. "We talked online before, but tonight is the first time we met. He studies at Emory University. Theology."
Theology! Religious, #4 on my list! Now he just needed to be gifted beneath the belt, and I'd be all set to fall for him. Except he was Yuri's date, and I had a lunk sitting next to me.
"Pleased to meet you." We all shook hands.
But instead of excusing himself and herding his hookup to the bedroom, like a dutiful roommate, Yuri plopped down next to Tye on the couch and started interrogating him on tonight's game. I had no choice but to go over to the loveseat where Howard was sitting and ask him about theology.
"This is my first year at Emory. I'm going for a Master of Divinity, so I can get ordained in the United Methodist Church."
"They don't allow gay ministers, do they?" I asked, surprised.
"We're going to change all that. I'm the president of the Atlanta chapter of Affirmation, for gay and lesbian Methodists."
We talked like that for awhile, while Yuri and Tye discussed sports, I assumed. Suddenly I wasn't hearing anything -- I looked over. They were kissing!
"Yeah, they've been busy for awhile now," Howard said. "I think your date might have jumped ship."
I should have been incensed -- Tye was with me! But instead I said, "Well, when in Rome," and grabbed Howard and started kissing him.
After awhile we all went into Yuri's bedroom, where we mixed-and-matched hookups, a mini Bear party.
In case you were wondering, Tye really did have a Bratwurst+, but Howard was just average, maybe a little small.
Not that I minded.
Eventually four people in Yuri's bed got a little crowded, so I grabbed Tye and took him into my bedroom for the night.
In the morning there was a flurry of scribbling telephone numbers, while Barney, our other housemate, eyed us suspiciously. Then Tye and Howard left together.
"That was different!" I exclaimed. "Barney, guess what -- Yuri and I shared hookups last night!"
"Howard wasn't my hookup," Yuri said. "I talked to him online for a long time, and I find out that he is your type exactly, so last night we meet at the Manor, and he comes home with me to share, because you are home without anybody and sad."
"Wow, how thoughtful! What did you think when you came in, and I was already with a guy."
"I knew you do not like him, you are just with him because you are depressed, so I def...what is the word...deflect?"
"You deflect him by taking him for yourself."
He grinned. "It worked, right? You spent the night with Howard, who you really like."
The Gift of the Magi.
See also: A Naked Baseball Player in My Kitchen.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Guys who are young or newly out have usually been brainwashed -- I mean socialized -- into the heterosexual ideal of monotony - I mean monogamy. Rejecting all others, sharing your life, heart, and body with just one person til death. Which can't come soon enough.
So when I started dating 23-year old Troy in Upstate New York, he was not amenable to the idea of bringing in a third person to "share."
I pointed out that he went down on me and the Pitcher at the same time, and no one seemed to mind. (See The Satyr's Sinister Scheme.)
"That just happened. I didn't plan on it. But now we're together, and I should be enough for you."
"You're great, but there are a lot of cute guys out there. I want to experience as much masculine beauty as I can."
"What about marital fidelity?" he asked, repeating a buzz word from his childhood.
"That whole mythos was based upon economics. There was only way for a man to ensure that the children he was paying to raise were his own: forbid his wife from having sex with another man. Men don't get pregnant, so why not go for it? Seize the day!"
"Ok...but...I want to warm up first, get used to this whole idea of fooling around on the side."
No, that would be too weird.
Hooking up with a stranger?
A stranger in my apartment? Too risky!
How about a Sex Party? Twenty guys, no waiting.
No. Too many young guys. I'm only into older.
A bath house? There's one in Albany, and....
There weren't a lot more options.
You know what I've always wanted to try? A glory hole. Where you're on one side of a wall, and he's on the other side.
You only see his penis -- he can be anybody you want.
A glory hole? I had tried them at bath houses. Uncomfortable, annoying, and a disembodied penis is not very erotic -- I like to see the guy I'm with, or at least feel him.
But ok. The only place I knew of with such facilities was a video store on the Rue Ste. Catherine in Montreal, so we drove up for the weekend, and ignored the bars, bath houses, and sex shops.
Although we did see the Bonsecours Market and Centre d'histoire de Montréal, which seemed to be rather too inclusive of local celebrities from the 1970s.
Troy wanted to try out the glory hole at 10:00 pm on Saturday night, when most of the gay residents and visitors were out on dates, or at the bars, bath houses, and sex shops.... who was left to go to an adult video store? Trolls, druggies, hustlers, closet cases...
We wanted into the brightly-lit front room, browsed among the gay videos and porn magazines, and then headed for the back, where there was a lounge area and two rows of small booths.
There were about a dozen guys standing or sitting in the lounge, waiting for someone attractive to show up. As I suspected, a rough crowd. A lot of rumpled clothes, unshaven faces, and sallow, haunted looks. Some guys were just trying to get out of the cold.
Definitely bottoms. They wanted to be on the receiving end. Troy wasn't going to get a lot of action tonight.
The booths were about the size of a telephone booth. You went in, sat down, deposited a loonie (a Canadian dollar coin), and got to watch 5 minutes of a porn movie. Another loonie, another 5 minutes. You could also deposit $5 for 30 minutes, or $10 for 60.
This could get expensive.
We opened the door to an unoccupied booth, and saw that it had two glory holes, connecting to the booths on either side. Both were deserted.
"I'm a little nervous," Troy said softly. "What if the guy isn't my type? I only like older guys, with muscles and chest hair."
"That's the point of the glory holes," I said. "Disembodied cocks, no body type needed. But tell you what -- I'll wait a few minutes, then go into that booth." I gestured at the one on his left. "Then you can pretend you don't know who it is, so it will be like going down on a stranger."
He smiled. "Ok, let's try that for starters."
I left him alone. The door shut, and the "Occupied" light came on. I went back out to the entry area and scanned the video titles and got cruised by a scary-looking guy in a green trenchcoat. To discourage him, I went out to the front room and browsed among the sex toys.
Then I returned and went to the booth to the left of Troy. Scary guy followed, and went into the booth next to me. His mouth immediately appeared at his glory hole. I ignored him, unzipped, and squeezed through the glory hole into Troy's booth.
He ignored me.
I swayed a little bit.
He ignored me.
I pulled back in, knelt, and looked through the glory hole -- at the back of a guy's butt.
"Ahem!" I cleared my throat and pushed through again. I felt a hand giving me a desultory squeeze.
"Ahem!" I zipped up, went over to Troy's booth, and opened the door. He was on his knees in front of a beefy Bear, in his 40s, wearing a cowboy hat. Why hadn't I seen him in the lounge area?
"Occupé!" he growled.
"Enchanté!" Max grunted, obviously miffed at the coitus interruptus.
"You exchanged a lot of information through a glory hole!'
"He just opened the door to the booth, and we started talking. It's a lot better than a disembodied penis, isn't it?"
Max pulled Troy to his knees and zipped up. "Ta chum ne se souci pas?" Your boyfriend doesn't mind?
" Bien sûr que non! Il était son idée!" It was his idea! He enveloped Max in a long kiss. "Do you mind if Max comes back to the hotel with us?"
That was the end of Troy's insistence on monogamy, although he backslid a little when I made a teenage Friend with Benefits.
See also: Troy's Wild Ride in Hell-fer-Sartain and The Shy Boy at the Bathhouse.
In West Hollywood in the 1980s and 1990s, hooking up was unheard of. You dated -- you met someone, then planned a full evening of social activities five or so nights later.
Even when you were partnered.
One Friday night in September 1992, Lane went to Shabbat services at Beth Chaim Chadashim, the gay synagogue, and returned gushing over a Cute Young Thing he met at the refreshment table.
Artan, 19 years old, a sophomore at Pepperdine University, still living with his parents.
West Hollywood culture was rather strict about age differentials: anything more than 5 years older or younger caused raised eyebrows and snide remarks. I was 31 at the time, and Lane had just turned 36 -- Artan was 12 and 17 years younger!
"I know they'll make fun at me at temple and the Zone -- but he's so cute, I couldn't resist!' He went on to describe a blond, tan beach boy, with broad shoulders and a hard chest. Plus he was studying English. He wanted to become a writer. Plus he was a science fiction fan. And Jewish. Practically perfect in every way.
"Anyway, in 20 years we'll all be Daddies," Lane continued, planning ahead. "Our date is Wednesday night. And you're invited."
It was rare to let a partner tag along on a first date -- the infatuated gushing made you feel like a third wheel, no matter that you would all be sharing a bed soon. But I was curious about this guy who had Lane on Cloud Nine, so Wednesday night we met Artan for dinner at Killer Shrimp in Marina del Rey.
There was one thing on the menu: shrimp. It came in a bucket, with bread on the side.
Artan was as extraordinarily cute as Lane said, and not as shy and quiet as most Cute Young Things. In fact, he took over, quizzing me on the first date essentials with the ease of a news reporter, yet not for a moment leaving Lane out of the conversation.
Yes, I noticed the incongruity of two Jewish guys at a shrimp restaurant, but I didn't mention it.
After dinner we went to the Change of Hobbit, the premier science fiction bookstore in California, probably the world. Lane was 300 times the science fiction fan that I was, yet Artan managed to draw us both into discussions of our favorite authors.
In case you were wondering: hard, smooth body, tan line, good kisser, average beneath the belt gifts, and extremely energetic. We were both dozing while he was still going strong.
It still seemed weird to be going out with someone so much younger, especially when he had to leave at 11:00 because he told his parents he was studying at the library.
Still, best three-way date ever.
In West Hollywood, the 48 hours after a first date were traumatic. You were flushed with the heat of desire, thinking about him, fantacizing about him, yet you couldn't call, lest you appear too eager and scare him off.
You had to wait at least 24 hours, but no more than 48.
Our date ended at 11:00 pm Wednesday, and 11:00 pm Thursday was too late to call, so Lane had to wait until Friday and call him from work. He got the house phone -- no one had a private telephone in those days -- and left a noncommittal message.
Artan finally returned our call at 10:30, half an hour before the 48 hour waiting period was over.
The second date was his idea -- to the Santa Monica beach tomorrow at noon!
In all my years in West Hollywood, I was only at the beach twice. A few years ago, Alan dragged me to the nude beach for cruising. And this time.
The scenery was breathtaking, but the water was too cold for swimming, the sand was gritty, and we felt quite out of place among the heterosexual couples with children and presumably heterosexual surfers.
We splashed around a bit, then dried off, changed into our street clothes, and, anxious to be among gay people again, went to the Different Light and then had dinner at the Greenery.
There were a few stares -- what are those two doing with a Cute Young Thing? A friend came over and asked "Is it past your bedtime?" But no major resistance.
We began thinking about a three-way romance, having Artan move in with us, meeting his parents, signing our party invitations "plus Artan."
He was, again, very attentive and very affectionate in the bedroom, even though he had to leave at 8:00 pm because he was meeting some of his school friends. He wasn't out at school, see, and....
Still, the second best three-way date ever.
Artan answered. "Yeah, I'm sorry, I'm a little busy this coming week. But we'll definitely get together again soon. I'll call you."
That's West Hollywood speak for "I have to wash my hair."
We were disappointed, but figured the age difference was just too much for him.
A few months later, we ran into Artan again at the French Quarter. His tan had faded a bit, and he grew his hair out, but he had the same broad shoulders and impish smile.
He was having brunch with an older man. Way older.
Lane knew him -- Isaak, who sometimes came to Shabbat services at the gay synagogue. A newspaper reporter in Poland before World War II. A concentration camp survivor.
In his 70s.
We said hello and retreated to another table. Artan followed.
"Hey, I'm sorry we never got to the third date," he said. "I had a lot of fun with you guys, but it was exhausting!"
"You..were exhausted?" I repeated, shocked.
"Isaak is more mature, settled down. Not running around all over creation all the time. You know we did last night? We ordered Chinese, watched tv, and fell asleep in each other's arms! No sex! How romantic is that?"
"We like to order Chinese, watch tv and fall asleep without sex," Lane protested.
He laughed and rubbed Lane's shoulder. "You firecrackers? I don't think so. But I'm into sharing -- just give me a few days advance warning, so I can rest up!"
He left. Lane and I stared at each other.
Years later, when I turned 40 and became a twink magnet, I started to understand.
See also: The Teenage Lawnboy and Sharing the Orthodox Jewish Boy.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
If you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of their biceps or bulge.
If you're very lucky, you'll see them outside of class, maybe with their shirts off.
If you're very, very lucky, you'll get to do more than look.
Through high school, college, and grad school, I've had over 50 male teachers and professors. I've had hookups, sausage sightings, or bulge sightings with 15.
1. Mr. Davis (Math). Everyone thought he was my uncle, and I was surprised myself to find Davises in the world that I wasn't related to. Black hair, sharp features, and big, expressive hands. Years later, someone told me that he was a fixture at the Hawaiian Lounge, Rock Island's gay bar, so I looked him up.
2. Mr. Barker (Gym and Health). Short ruddy complexion, wrestler's build, gigantic biceps that strained against the fabric of his white polo shirts, and, when he walked, a bulge that visibly shifted.
3. Mr. Peterson (Science). Black hair, blue eyes, always smiling, always wore a white shirt and tie. He caught me and Dan drawing a satiric picture, and said "If you have so much free time on your hands, you can stay after school and help me wash test tubes." Afterwards he bought us hamburgers. Best detention ever!
4. Mr. Manary (History). Young, hip, insisted that students call him by his first name, Tall, thin, clean-cut, tight-muscled. He was the one who made the most homophobic statement I ever heard, years later.
5. Mr. Blowfish (Speech), pretentious, prissy, sarcastic, condescending I didn't hookup with him, but years later, I dated his son, Sammy Blowfish.
6. Mr. Hart (Music). Slim, red-haired, horn-rimmed glasses, with an amazing bulge, led the orchestra, kept hopping up and down, his Kielbasa+++ visible. He kept pushing me to excel in music, signing me up for contests and competitions.
He even gave me instruction in music theory in a pre-dawn "special class.
7. Dr. Morrow (Music Cultures of the World). The only black teacher I had to that point, very, very solid, muscular physique. I'm not usually into backsides, but whenever Dr. Morrow turned his back to the class, my interest was piqued.
I was the only white student in the class, so he may have gone out of his way to make me feel welcome. And he did! He invited me to a concert of Indonesian music in Iowa City, where we had to spend the night in a hotel.
8. Dr. Burton, the muscle bear who held end-of-the-semester handcuff parties at Augustana, but he doesn't really count, since I knew him before I registered for his class.
9. Dr. Singer from Indiana University, who Viju and I competed over, and two more.
10. Dr. Kirtis (Russian Folklore). Hungarian. Coolest guy in the world. Invited the whole class over to his house for a pool party, where I saw him in a swimsuit cooking on a grill. He asked, "Boomer, can I serve you my Bratwurst?" I looked at his crotch and said "Sure!"
University of Southern California
11. Dr. Bertan (Augustan Literature). Graduate of Harvard and Princeton, spoke in extremely precise English, always wore a suit with a bow tie and carried a briefcase. Corrected our papers in a precise pen, in red ink. Impossible to imagine him being intimate with anyone, or even taking his clothes off. That's what made him attractive.
12. Dr. Chester (Sociology of Sport), a former professional wrestler. I never took any of his classes, but I saw him in the hallway, and at department functions. One day I saw him in the bathroom,unwrapping his gigantic faculty member, easily a Kovbasa (see My Top 15 Sausage Sightings).
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Besides, I spent my childhood trying to avoid football, pick up trucks, country western music, hunting, fishing, and beer Why would I want to hang out with someone interested in those things?
Still, country boys are often attractive, perhaps due to their hard iconic masculinity.
And the gay ones are so unexpected. What causes someone to resist the siren call of West Hollywood and spend his life amid the vast fields?
Here are my top 12 country boys dates and hookups.
1. Ole Miss. On my way south from Rock Island to my horrible year in Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas, I stopped in Oxford, Mississippi, and in one of my few experiences in street cruising, picked up a University of Mississippi undergrad named Elmer (really)
2. Carl the Cowboy Cop. Texas had fewer country boys than one would expect, though lots of guys pretended to be. Carl was 6'8, lanky, blond, and from a ranch near Abilene. On our first date, he bought me a pair of cowboy boots and took me country-western line dancing.
3. The Cowboy of Sunset Boulevard was actually a college music major from the San Fernando Valley, but he pretended to be a cowboy, and hit it off on my Montana-born roommate, Derek.
4. Frozen Custard and Gay Bashing. During my semester in Nashville, I got a date with a country boy who wanted to go through my photo album, insisted that we didn't do it in the bed near the open window. And smoked.
5. The Country Western Singer, also in Nashville. At least, a singer. Adter I crammed Country-Western into my brain to impress him, he turned out to be into pop.
Nebraska Cornhusker, a former football player who now worked as a college recruiter, and had three of the six characteristics of Country Boys.
7. The Honest-to-Goodness Cowboy of Missoula, Montana, another highlight of our He made his living in rodeos.
8. The Bear Who Wasn't into Sharing. My boyfriend Joe's ex, a carpenter who lived in rural Rhinebeck, New York. We thought he wasn't into sharing, and he thought Joe wasn't, until two of his friends convinced us otherwise.
9. The Football Player Who Got Unstuck In Time, Carey the Alabama Farm Boy who was going to the University of Alabama, and got lost on a field trip to New York, either in 1939 or 2000.
10. The Florida Cowboy. Did you know that there were ranches in Florida? The ranchers are called "cowhunters" or "crackers." But the tall, buffed guy that Yuri and I shared actually worked on an alpaca ranch.
11. Tucumcari Two-Step. When I was visiting Larry in New Mexico, I met a guy from Tucumcari, on old Route 66. He had never heard of the tv series.
Not a lot of country boys in Ohio.
12. The French Canadian Farmboy. When I took Troy to Montreal to go to his first glory hole, he hooked up with Max. Troy was impressed that he was an actual, honest-to-goodness farmer.
13, The Dakota Boy. When I went to a Pow-Wow, I expected to meet a member of the Dakota Indian Nation, but instead I got a farmboy of German ancestry. Cute, though.
Ok, I didn't really have a date with Jack Kerouac -- he died when I was eight years old. But Jurgen came close.
During my freshman year at Augustana, I often saw him sitting by himself in the Student Union lounge -- in his twenties, tall, husky, bearded, with wavy brown hair and brown chest hair sneaking up over his lumberjack shirt. He would smoke a pipe, of all things, drink coffee, and read a book or scribble into a little spiral notebook. Too old to be a student -- we didn't have any "nontraditional" students at Augie -- but certainly not a professor. Was he a townie who for some reason liked the ambience of the Student Union at a small Lutheran college?
Athat point I hadn't met any gay people yet, and I didn't know how to go about finding any, so I figured: he's not with a woman, he dresses oddly, must be gay.
So one Tuesday afternoon I got a cup of coffee myself -- even though I hated the stuff -- and sat down in the chair across from him.
"What are you writing?"
He looked up and smiled. "Just a poem I'm working on. 'Tucumcari Two-Step: Heat in the Year of the Drought.'"
"Cool. I want to be a writer. I'm going to take the Creative Writing class next spring."
"Who are your favorite authors?"
"Oh...um...Isaac Asimov, of course. Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton,..."
"Sci fi -- that's for Adam's Bookstore Babies!" He gestured at the bookstore where Adam sold science fiction and comic books. "You need a real man's literature. Hemingway, Kerouac, Miller. Here -- try Wallace Stevens."
Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds
I had no idea what the poem was about, but a muscular guy with a big...um...cigar was far superior to anything in English class.
Jurgen (not his real name) was a student after all, an English major, 28 years old -- he was drafted right out of high school, then "bummed around" Southeast Asia for a couple of years, then hitchhiked from Los Angeles to Rock Island (where his parents lived) to go to college.
In all his life history, he didn't mention women. He must be gay!
The next day I had to work, but on Thursday I hung out with Jurgen again Neither of us came out, or said anything about gay people; it was the Student Union, after all, crowded with students who might overhear us.
But we didn't mention liking girls, either.
That was enough to endure his conversations about horribly depressing novelists and poets. His favorite was:
While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening, to empire and protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the mass hardens, I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth.
That wasn't even a poem! But at least it had a gay reference:
Boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man
I even started writing poetry the way Jurgen did:
As we drove down from the Eggishorn into the Wilerwald, I saw lights like stars floating in the darkness and thought heaven was below, not above, where men are strong and know about love.
We "dated" like that for a few weeks, talking over coffee in the Student Union for an hour or so after my Tuesday and Thursday Spanish class. We didn't hug or kiss, but sometimes when I sat next to Jurgen on the couch, our knees brushed together, and sometimes when he handed me a book, our hands touched.
That counts as dating, right?
Our knees touched as we sat astride on the green couch, yet only the fabric of our denim drawers knew the strength of our longing.
Not bad. Better than Robinson Jeffers anyway.
I kept waiting for Jurgen to invite me to dinner and a movie, or to his house, where we could talk about gay topics openly -- and get intimate!
Finally I made the first move. "Do you know about the Quad Cities Writers' Club? They meet once a month at the Hauberg House."
"Oh, no, it's all kinds of writing. In fact, I'm going to read some of my poetry at their meeting on Thursday night. Do you want to come and listen? We can go together, and go out to eat afterwards."
"Can you pick me up?" I hinted. "My car isn't working."
"I don't actually have a car at the moment."
No car? I imagined that Jurgen drove a cool 1965 Jaguar, or a motorcycle. "Oh...um..ok, I guess I can borrow my mother's car."
I told Jurgen that I would pick him up at 6:30. But I arrived at 6:15, figuring we could get some intimate time in before leaving.
He lived only a few blocks from the Hauberg, in a big white Victorian that had been chopped up into apartments.
Nervous but eager, I knocked on the door.
A woman answered!
In her 30s or 40s, rather plump. His mother?
"I'm Sally, but you can call me Sally," she said incongruously. "Jurgen's still in the shower, but he'll be ready in a moment."
I watched as Jurgen took off the towel and put on underwear, jeans, a lumberjack shirt, socks, and shoes.
Very big, definitely a Bratwurst!
But all the while I was thinking "Sister? Cousin? Friend?"
"Isn't she great! She's funny and sexy both at the same time!"
We went back out into the living room. "Don't keep Jurgen out too late, now," Sally said, putting her arms around him. "My baby needs his beauty sleep."
They kissed. I looked away.
Sally was his live-in girlfriend!
Cohabitation, unmarried heterosexual couples living together, was still scandalous in Rock Island in the 1970s. In fact, you would be expelled from Augustana for cohabitating just as quickly as for being gay.
So Jurgen and I were both keeping secrets.
At least I got a Sausage Sighting out of it.
See also: Why I'm Not a Novelist; and The Dwarf at the Post Office