Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sausage Sighting of the Crazy Bodybuilder Downstairs

Upstate New York, June  2010

When I was living in Upstate New York, I had a third floor apartment, directly above a crazy bodybuilder named Richard.

He wasn't really a bodybuilder, but he had a respectable physique, big biceps and a thick, hairy chest, and he never wore a shirt.

Sounds nice so far, except he was crazy.  Whenever he saw me get Chinese, Thai, or pizza, whenever he saw me with a Price Chopper shopping bag, he went into a tirade.  That stuff was destroying the world!

Chickens were tortured to death so we could eat them!

Bananas were grown by slave labor and transported through gas-guzzling, ozone-depleted trucks, with the truckers denied access to health care!

I should only eat free-range, free-trade, gluten-free, locally grown, organic, tie-dyed vegan goop.

He had a girlfriend who was even worse.




His apartment was full of free-trade, world-saving, garbage-into-art drek: bowls made of saris by women rescued from human trafficking in Bangladesh, pillows made of discarded brown rice bags by orphans with tuberculosis in Nicaragua; planters made of gun casings by wide-eyed children forced into military service in Zaire.

Plus about a thousand palms, bonsai lemon trees, rubber trees, paduratas, ficus, and ferns.  It was like walking into a rain forest.

With those ghostly, whistling Peruvian panpipes, flutes, tambors, and ocarinas playing constantly.

Richard could be nice -- he looked after my cat when I was out of town, and when I was sick, he brought me a green-tinted mung bean casserole (that looked so gross, I got even sicker).

And he was gay-positive.  Gay rights was one of his pet causes, along with fracking, whaling, animal rights, women's rights, child labor, water conservation, and free trade.

But he was still annoying.  When I ran into him at the mailboxes or in the common area, I gave him a brief "Hi-how-are-you" or flashed a smile and rushed on, to avoid the harangue about the sins of kung pao chicken, Diet Coke, plastic bags, leather jackets, newspapers, Nike shoes, basically everything I used, wore, or enjoyed.


My balcony had a floor of bare wood blanks which looked directly down onto his balcony, where Richard ate all of his meals, from his first sip of free-range, organic, locally grown, free-trade tea in the morning to his final mung-bean-compote nightcap.  In the summer, when the windows were open, I could hear everything he said or did.

But one night I heard something different: Richard and his girlfriend giggling.

They were always deadly serious, moping around over the oppression of animals, the carcinogenic properties of plants, and the forthcoming carbon-emission destruction of all life on earth. Why giggling?


Curious, I walked onto the balcony and peered through the floorboards.

Flickering candles made of locally-grown, free-trade bee's wax.

Richard was lying on a pile of blankets woven from the fibers of free-range linen by children freed from sweat shops in Madagascar.   The girlfriend was kneeling beside him.  They had stopped giggling.  Now they were kissing.

Naked.

Wait -- what was that, illuminated in the dim orange light?  Was it his leg?  Or was he holding a baseball bat?

It took a moment to realize what I was seeing.

Enormous!  Gigantic!  Kovbasa++++!

I was mesmerized.  I stared until eventually he initiated sexual intercourse, and it vanished.

After that I made a point of stopping to chat with Richard, inviting him to church and to the gym, asking to borrow some of his books on why I should feel guilty about eating cows and using kleenix.

If he wondered why I suddenly became so friendly, he didn't let on.

See also: my top 15 Sausage Sightings.

Friday, October 16, 2015

"He was Looking at Me!": Assaulted by a Naked Man in the Locker Room

Philadelphia, Fall 2012

I always try to join a gay gym, so I don't have to deal with heteronormative comments and lady-gawking, and so no one minds if I do a little gawking of my own.

During my terrible year in Philadelphia, I joined the 12th Street Gym, only about half a mile from my apartment.

It was an older facility, kind of musty, but crowded with cute gym rats.  Unfortunately it was "gay friendly" rather than "gay."  About half of the clientele consisted of gay men, and the rest straight men, who varied in their degree of comfort about being gawked at.

Some put on a show, swirling and wiggling their equipment.  Some were completely nonchalant.  Some were careful to turn their backs and wear towels, or avoided taking showers altogether, worried that to be seen and desired by a gay man would mean that they were gay, too.

 But after seven years in the straight world, I was adept at subtle glances.

I don't remember even glancing at Duane that day (I never got his real name.)  It was around 7 pm, and the gym was packed with the after-work crowd.  I finished my workout, undressed, and headed to the shower room, which was also packed.   You had to wait for a turn at the shower heads.     

Mindful of the crowd, I showered quickly without paying much attention to the other guys around, toweled off, and walked back into the locker room.

Just as I unlocked my locker and opened the door, I heard a man yell "Stop looking at me!"

I turned -- everybody in the locker room turned.  Duane was rushing across the bare floor.  He was in his 40s, tall, black, bald, not terribly muscular.   Naked, dripping wet from the shower.

You notice weird things at a time like that.  His penis swaying from side to side.  The wet marks his feet made.

"F*** fag, stop looking at me!"  

Homophobic language in Philadelphia's gay neighborhood?  And a straight guy who still thought of a gay man's gaze as a horrible insult?  I was shocked.  

The other guys were shocked, too.  They stared, motionless.  One said "Hey, now..." 

Wait -- Duane was rushing toward me!

His fists clenched, his face contorted with rage, prone to attack.

But..I hadn't been in a physical altercation since the Mean Boys of grade school.  Surely such things didn't happen anymore.  We were adults.  This was a gay neighborhood...

It only took a few seconds to cross the locker room floor, and Duane was....

Tackled by a tall slender guy: in his twenties, pale skin, smooth chest, curly brown hair, wearing only white briefs.  He must have been dressing.  Later I discovered that his name was Curtis.

Duane was knocked to the floor, his arm twisted behind his back.


Struggling wildly but subdued, he yelled "That fag looked at me!"   

"Yeah, dude, we're all looking at you," Curtis said.  "Now are you going to play nice?"

"But..."  

Curtis pulled him to his feet.  We faced each other.  I saw that his eyes were filled with tears, and his lower lip was trembling.

"But he looked at me," Duane whined.

"I didn't..." I began.

"So what if he did?  It's a compliment -- means he thinks you're hot. Now you gonna apologize, or do I put my black belt in karate to work?"

By now the club manager had appeared, so I didn't get my apology.  He waited for us to get dressed, then took us into the office and listened to our stories.  After some insulting questions about whether I had touched Duane inappropriately or "stalked" him, he told Duane to be "more tolerant" and let us go.

Curtis was waiting for me in the foyer.  He was wearing a white shirt and tan pants, with a photo nametag.  

"You ok, sir? That must have been quite a shock."

"I'm more shocked that Duane wasn't banned from the club."  

"Yeah, that kind of thing is...well, not common, but it happens.  When you mix gay and straight guys, you gotta expect it.  Not everybody is enlightened."  He paused.  "Can I buy you a drink?"

In case you were wondering: average beneath-the-belt gifts, top, bisexual, with a girlfriend.

And I didn't go back to the 12th Street Gym for a month.


Sausage Sighting of the Baptist Boy

Naperville, Illinois, March 1982

When I finally managed to drop out of the Nazarene church, during my freshman year of college, my parents told me, "You don't have to be a Nazarene, but you can't be a heathen!  Find another church to go to!"

So I started going to my boyfriend Fred's church. They thought that was ok.   A little too liberal, but ok.

After Fred and I broke up, I tried Catholic, Lutheran, and Russian Orthodox churches.  My parents were ok with that, too, as long as I didn't tell their Nazarene friends.

During my senior year at Augustana, I joined the Baptist Student Fellowship.

My parents were horrified!

Nazarenes thought that Baptists were the ultimate evil.  At least the Catholics and Lutherans were open about worshipping idols and tearing apart the Bible, but the Baptists pretended to be Christians.

They believed the "once saved, always saved" heresy -- once you were saved, you could do whatever you wanted, from going to movies to dancing to saying bad words, and God wouldn't care.  Disgusting!


When I was a kid, the older boys at church whispered that since Baptists had no morals, they would "put out" for anybody.  So if you wanted a "sure thing" on a date, ask a Baptist girl.

I didn't join the Baptist Student Fellowship to upset my parents; I wanted to see if Baptist boys were also "easy," willing to "put out" for anybody. Especially me.

They weren't.  At least at first glance, they seemed nearly as strict as the Nazarenes, exhorting each other to "stay pure" and "resist their urges."  Like the Nazarenes, they taught that God hated premarital sex, same-sex activity, masturbation, any sexual act that wasn't intended to make a baby.

Our main project was putting on a  musical about a guy who makes obnoxious come-ons to every girl in sight, until one of them invites him to church, where he gets saved and vows to "stay pure" until his wedding night.  I only remember one song:

The Devil is alive and well on the Planet Earth.
The Devil is alive and well, and he can make you feel like hell....

Feel like hell was code for Having erotic desires or giving in to them.  But church elders disapproved, so we changed the line to "send your soul to hell."

Beginning around Christmastime, we performed for youth groups at various Baptist churches in the area.  Not only in Rock Island, but in Kewanee, Galesburg, Princeton, cities up to an hour's drive away.

Then one Sunday in the spring, we were booked by a church in Naperville about three hours away -- too far to get home after the evening youth group.  So we car-pooled on Sunday afternoon, and after our performance, church members gave us dinner and put us up for the night.

The four boys in the cast stayed with an elderly couple whose sons had grown up and moved away.


I got one of the twin beds, and Chuck, a rather buffed business major, the other one.  A slim, blond chemistry major named Jens slept on a sleeping bag between us and beneath a large window, and the fourth guy, whose name I don't recall, received a cot on the other side of the room.

Just like a sleepover when I was a kid, except I was 22 years old, knowledgeable about cruising, and anxious to convince the Baptist boys to try some same-sex activity.

After we stripped down to our underwear, prayed, and started talking about "girls! girls! girls!," it occurred to me that I had no idea how to go about it.

Grab the guy next to me?

Pull out a gay porn magazine?

Say "Hey fellows, does anyone feel like hell??

Completely frustrated, I put a pillow over my head and tried to drown out the other guys' conversations about "girls! girls! girls!"



Eventually the conversation gave way to mild snoring.  I peeked out from under my pillow.  If I turned my head slightly, I got a perfect view of Jens.  He had kicked off the covers and lay on his back, wearing only cotton briefs, his slim pale body bathed in moonlight.

I could see him bulging and...and..well, nothing else.

I continued my vigil, half watching and half drowsing, until, about half an hour after the conversation ceased, Jens began to tent.  Then slowly he began to give in to temptation.

He worked slowly, deliberately, listening for any sound: any shift or creak from the beds around him, and he dove under the covers again.

Regular sized, cut, nice mushroom head.

After about a half hour, he finished with an exhaled breath and grabbed a wad of kleenix that he had evidently prepared in advance.

One down, two to go.  I turned my attention to Chuck, also lying on his back in the moonlight. I had a clear view of his shoulders and chest, but anything below was lost in shadows.  But I persevered, and sure enough, a few minutes after Jens began breathing evenly, I saw a slow, rhythmic movement that must have been Chuck giving in to temptation.

It was under the covers only, but from the tent I'd say it was a Bratwurst.

The motion became quicker and quicker, and then Chuck, too, finished with an exhaled breath and a wad of Kleenix.

The third guy was too far away to make out in the darkness, but no doubt he waited for the others to finish up, then started on business of his own.

I imagined it happening every night, in bedrooms and college dorm rooms all over the world.  Thousands of Baptist boys and men waiting for the midnight silence, then beginning an act that they believed God hated, that they couldn't admit even to their closest friends, that made them feel guilty and unclean.  Perhaps begging for forgiveness and promising themselves that they would never do it again.  But, being overpowered by their desire, night after night.

It was a little sad.

But it definitely helped create my fetish for religious guys.

See also The Bible Boy in the Locker Room; Yuri Cruises at a Russian Orthodox Seminary

Thursday, October 15, 2015

18 Bear and Daddy Dates, Boyfriends, Hookups, and Sausage Sightings

Guys who are over 40 (called Bears or Daddies, depending on their shape) have a lot to offer.  They are comfortable in the gay community, not newly out and scared.  They have cars, swimming pools, theater tickets, all the material possessions that turn a date from mediocre to spectacular.  And they know their way around a bedroom.

But when I lived in West Hollywood, it was against social norms to be seen with anyone more than about 5 years older or younger.  And after I turned 40 myself, I was cruised by so many twinks that the older guys were sort of left out of the equation.

 But still, I've had some memorable boyfriends and hookups who were 20+ years older than me.

Augustana College
1. Dr. Burton, who taught palaeontology at Augustana and held regular "handcuff parties" for his advanced students.  We became "friends with benefits," though I didn't interpret it that way at the time.  23 years.



Indiana University

2. During my first year at Indiana University, I visited a Metropolitan Community Church in Kentucky, and afterwards went out with the minister, Brother Reid, and his boyfriend Terence.  While spending the night in the guest room, I wanted to hook up with Terence, but got Brother Reid instead. About 25 years.

3. My First Creepy Old Guy. One night at Bullwinkle's I was offered a drink by a distinguished older man who turned out to be rather wealthy.  He took me back to his house, where we sat in a gold-and-white drawing room next to a grand piano, and he called his lover to brag about his luck in picking me up.  He said "At this stage of the game, we're mostly business partners anyway."  34 years.

4. Also at Bullwinkle's, I met a Nigerian guy who had hundreds of books on witchcraft and a tattooed penis.  About 20 years.




5. And a professor of political science from Egypt who said "You got what you wanted, now give me what I want."   About 25 years.

Texas
6. My most embarrassing hookup, a guy I picked up in a bar who thought I was a hustler.  About 20 years














West Hollywood

7. My on-off boyfriend Raul moved in with Heinz, a crazy German senior citizen who was into drag queens, watched the Miss America pageant,  and sang "Come away wiz me tu Malibuu" all the time.  Really annoying.  So why did we hook up? It was late, I was tired, he had a Bratwurst beneath the belt.  35 years.

8. Jasper was a preacher at a Baptist church in Gardena, not out to his congregation ("but I'm working on it"). He believed that the Bible prohibited anal sex, but not oral, so we were free to engage in all the oral we wanted. One date was enough. About 20 years.

9. Oscar, the retired set designer from Des Moines who claimed to be the ex-lover of President Ronald Reagan.  He came to visit me in West Hollywood.  I tried every way I could think of to get rid of him, including offering to help him reconnect with his old lover, Ronnie.  46 years!






10. After I started dating Lane, he introduced me to a whole coterie of older guys, including Randall, who lived in Long Beach and had pierced nipples and a pierced penis.  23 years.

San Francisco

11. Karol, the Polish artist who had been living on Castro Street since the 1960s, who cruised my friend David every day and finally "whipped it out."  Ok, he was David's hookup, but still memorable.  31 years.











12. Santa Claus, aka Bearnard, a writer of fantasy books who lived in a completely Medievalized apartment in the Castro. It was actually more of David's hookup than mine. 25 years.


New York

13. Kalle, the Swedish bodybuilder with the face like a serial killer that Yuri met in a bath house in Estonia and insisted we share.  About 20 years.











14. At a bath house in Montreal, I met James, an older guy with a nondescript physique who invited me to share his friend -- a muscle god.  Why was he acting as a wing man?   About 30 years.

Florida

15.  Barney, an ex-bodybuilder who ran a gym.  My housemate for four years.  We sometimes shared.  19 years.













16. Gerry, the Georgia boy who had come out 2 years ago at age 65.  Once his hookup lived too far away to meet, so he asked to meet halfway, at my house.  I agreed, but only if I got to "share."  25 years.

Upstate

17. The Satyr, one of the Gang of Twelve who had known each other forever and dated each other on and off.  He was a name-dropper: he had dated John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Quentin Crisp, and everyone in between.  He had an enormous Kovbasa+ and used it to his advantage.  16 years.







Plains

18. My Last Daddy (to date), who comes to the M4M Parties. Upper 70s, built, body by Michelangelo.  I hope that I will look that good in 25 years, at age 79!
.







Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Adam and I Sleep Together, Sort Of


Madison, Wisconsin, July 1981

When I was in college in the early 1980s, gay people were never mentioned in class or on the quad.  They never appeared on tv or in movies.  There may have been a few gay people around, but they never came out willingly.  To find them, you had to look for clues.

How about Adam Horowitz, manager of the Student Union bookstore?  You never saw him with a girl.  When pressed, he claimed to be in love with an icy Hitchcockian blonde, but gave no more details.

Of course, you never saw him with a boy, either.   We had a "date" in March 1981, with a thwarted kiss under the Bell Tower,  but that was the only time I saw him away from his counter in the bookstore.

Until the summer of 1981,  when the Film Club took a road trip to Madison, Wisconsin, about 3 hours away, for an Italian Film Festival, two days of Fellini, Antonioni, Pasolini, and Zeffirelli. Though Adam wasn’t a member, not even a student, he asked if he could tag along. The president gave her eager consent, obviously planning an aggressive seduction – she was a senior, with less than a year until graduation, and landing a mature “older man” who owned his own business would trump even a Fratboy.  But Adam ignored her and spent all of his time with me.

On Saturday night, after Pasolini’s Canterbury Tales, we had a late dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Casa de Lara, and then the others suggested that we drop into the nearby Whiskey River Saloon for a beer – but I wasn’t 21 yet, and besides, I was still too Nazarene to stomach such places. As I weighed my choices, enduring the disgusting hospital smell of a saloon or being abandoned on the street, Adam wrapped a paternal arm around my shoulders and pushed us off into the night.



We strolled jauntily through the crowds on State Street, talking of Pasolini and then of  A Many Colored Land by Julian May, which had just been published to delirious acclaim among science fiction fans. We browsed through a record store and a hippie bookstore, where I bought a copy of Allen Ginsburg’s long beat poem Howl.

When we finally arrived at the hotel room that four of us were sharing,  Adam did endless sit-ups in his underwear while I lay atop his bed, watching.

"How should we arrange this?" I asked.

"What?"

"The...um...sleeping arrangements."  My face began to burn. "Um...maybe we should bunk together.  Then Bruce and Lars won't wake us up when they come in.”

“They’ll probably be back any minute, though."

“It'll be easier," I insisted.

 "I guess."  We climbed into bed.  Adam pulled the covers up only as far as his waist, so if I glanced casually over I could see his belly, hard and flat and xylophone-ribbed, his thick chest just brushed with hair, his heavy, blue-veined arms and shoulders. He continued to talk, desperately, of underground comix and Scrooge McDuck and Isaac Asimov and The Prisoner, while I waited, so close that I could feel the heat from his skin.

"Did you know that Allen Ginsberg is gay?"  I interrupted.

Adam turned on his side, so he was facing away from me.  "No, I didn't.  Well, goodnight."  He turned off the light.  And, a moment later, Bruce and Lars arrived, rowdy and joking.


Adam permitted some touching and fondling during the night, but attempting anything more got me rudely shoved away.  I couldn't tell if Adam was inhibited because Bruce and Lars were in the next bed, because I wasn't his type, or because he was straight, so I gave up.  And next day, after Pasolini's Arabian Nights, we drove back to Rock Island.

Later in the summer, Adam went to a comic book convention in Chicago, where he met and fell in love with a graduate student in art history from Ohio State University.  He returned to pack some things and lock up his bookstore -- the college later sold the stock cheap and turned it into a tv lounge -- and move to Columbus, without ever naming his...girlfriend?  boyfriend?  or using a pronoun.  I got one postcard, stating how deliriously happy he was.  And then silence.

Internet research reveals that Adam is now a newspaper editor in a small town in the Midwest, still deeply involved in comic book fandom, and...gay, straight, bi?  Asexual?  I still don't know.

People of our generation were trained to keep silent.  I imagine Adam is sitting in his newspaper office right now, thinking "Was Boomer gay, straight, bi?  Asexual?"


See also: Kissing Adam at the Bell Tower.


Spying on the Uncle of the Biggest Guy on My Sausage List

Dover, Delaware, May 2001

The Biggest Guy on my Sausage List was Jermaine, a political science major at Harvard with a spectacular Kovbasa++++.  We hit it off when I went to Boston for a job interview in February 2001, but since we lived four hours apart and planned to graduate and move even farther away at the end of the semester, the relationship remained casual.

Our only other "date" was in early May, when Jermaine invited me to spend the weekend at his Uncle Titus's house for his fiftieth birthday party.

"Are you sure?" I asked.  "It sounds like a family affair."

"Absolutely! I used to visit Uncle Titus every summer, and I brought friends along all the time."





I was definitely interested -- not only to spend a weekend with Jermaine, but to see if I could get a Sausage Sighting.  Maybe his super-gigantic Kovbasa++++ ran in the family.  Maybe Uncle Titus was even bigger!

Uncle Titus was an engineer, and Aunt Emily (who died a few years ago) worked for the Dover school system. They had no children of their own, so they "adopted" Jermaine and his brothers and cousins, taking them on ski trips and bike trips and tours of historic sites, having them for week-long visits at Christmastime and during the summer, in pairs and groups.

A houseful of young African-American men, showering, hanging out in their underwear, sleeping three to a bed!  The mind reels with erotic possibility!

On Friday, Jeremaine drove down from Boston, picked me up, and drove us south four hours, past Philadelphia to Bowers Beach, Delaware.

A small town near Dover, on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Murderkill River.

Murderkill?

"Sounds gruesome, doesn't it?  There's even a local legend about some settlers being murdered by Indians here.  But it was originally Mother Kiln.  I guess they made pottery."

"So, what did you do during your summer visits?"

"Oh, it was great.  Uncle Titus and Aunt Emily had a boat and two canoes.  We went swimming and fishing."

My heart sank.  I hated activities requiring you to leave dry land.  "I guess it's too early in the year for that sort of thing."

"Oh, no, we go out year around. We'll go out tomorrow morning before the party."

We pulled up to a big yellow house only half a block from the ocean.  I shivered in the cold wind.

Unfortunately, it only got colder.

1. There was no romping with roomsful of young, muscular African-American men.  All of the other party guests drove up from Baltimore or Washington DC for the day, so Jermaine and I had an upstairs bedroom and bathroom to ourselves.  It was ungodly cold.   Uncle Titus was a fresh-air nut, and left all the windows open all the time.

2. We got up early to go for a boat ride, shivering in the cold as salt air whipped in our faces.

3. The party was held on the beach, with Uncle Titus opening presents and being toasted with champagne as salt air whipped in our faces.

4. I was the only white guy and nearly the only gay guy among the 30 or so party guests. Almost everyone was friendly and accommodating, but I got frosty glares from an uncle and a cousin who didn't like white people, or gay people, or both.

5. We went out to dinner at 7:00 pm at a place called the Wharf, which was actually on the wharf.  You ate outside.  In the cold and the dark, with the sound of seagulls and crashing waves.  Then we walked home.  In the cold and the dark.

6. It was pleasant to sleep under a thick quilt, with Jermaine snuggling against me, but sheer torture to get up in the middle of the night, tip-toe naked into the bathroom, and sit down on a frigid toilet seat directly beneath an open window.

7. On Sunday morning, Uncle Titus woke us at dawn.  "How about a nice swim before you head back  up north?

Are you kidding?  I thought.  The water must be like ice!

"Um...I didn't...I didn't bring a swimsuit."

"That's ok.  No one is around at this hour.  We can go in the buff."

"Buff?" I repeated, shocked.

Jermaine patted my back.  "No big deal.  My cousins and I do it all the time!"

Thinking I was shy, Titus said "Don't worry.  I'll go naked too, if it will make you feel more comfortable."

I agreed, thinking that I could finally get that Sausage Sighting, find out if Jermaine's huge endowment ran in the family!

So we went to the beach and stripped down.  I saw only Uncle Titus's backside as he and Jermaine ran into the surf and started splashing each other.

I only made it ankle-deep.  The wind was whipping through me, and the water made my feet numb.

But it was worth it when they turned and ran toward the waiting towels, Jermaine's spectacular beneath-the-belt gifts swinging between his legs, and Uncle Titus's....

Perfectly ordinary.  Even a little small.

Of course, it shrinks in cold water.  Maybe I should try again in a sauna.

See also: The Biggest Guy on My Sausage List


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My 12 Christmas Boyfriends

After my 15 Reasons to Skip Christmas post, you may think that I've had nothing but dreary, depressing, heterosexist holidays.

Actually, only about 30% of the Holiday Seasons I recall have been traumatic or otherwise unredeemably awful: getting sick, getting dumped, being bored to death, hearing that "Merry Little Christmas" song a thousand times, my dad yelling at us, the year my sister gave me office supplies.  50% have had a few redeeming moments, and 20% have been rather pleasant.

My top 12 have all involved boyfriends.









1. Dan.  In junior high,  Dad gave in and let me buy a naked man for Christmas.  Actually a statue of a naked man.  My brother got me pile of new comic books. Dan came over in the afternoon to help me read them.  Best Christmas ever!

2. Verne.  On the Christmas Eve my first year in high school, the Nazarene youth group went caroling all night, ending with a big breakfast at the church.  It was my first time staying out all night, and a lot of fun to be dashing through the snow with high school hunk Verne, who I would start dating soon.  The only problem was, my brother and sister were angry at having to wait until I got home at 8:00 to start opening presents -- usually we started around 4:30.

4. Brian.  In twelfth grade, Brian, who I used to babysit, showed up at my brother's Christmas party.  I kissed him under the mistletoe, then gave him a ride across the bridge to Iowa, hugged him, and asked him to call me.  Back home, I told my brother that, kiss or no kiss, I wasn't a "swish," then went upstairs and listened to the BeeGees on my clock radio.  At the time it was rather traumatic, but since it's become one of my most iconic memories.

5. Fred.  My first date with my first real boyfriend, Fred the Ministerial Student, was on December 21st of my sophomore year in college.  You'd think that would be too late for Christmas presents or to "meet the family," but no, he invited me to his parents' farm in Aledo, about 30 miles south of Rock Island, on December 26th.

6. Viju.  When I was in grad school in Bloomington, my friend Viju came home with me.  I had never actually had a "coming out" conversation with my parents, so I was nervous about how they would handle a rather flamboyant gay guy in the house.  But when we brought our suitcases upstairs to the room that I used to share with my brother, I saw that they had pushed the two twin beds together.  They not only "knew," they were fine with us sleeping together!

We weren't actually dating, but so what?

7. Dick.  During my deplorable year in Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas, I went back to Rock Island for the holidays, and ran into my old bully.  Back in grade school, he made my life miserable with poundings and punches and a constant stream of slurs: "Wuss! Sissy!  Fairy! Girl!"  Who would have thought that he was struggling with same-sex desire of his own?  Or that, all grown up, he would apologize by inviting me back to his house.  Or that he was so...um...gifted.

8. Lane.  One year I had a job that didn't give me much time off for Christmas, so I couldn't make the trek cross-country.  Lane and I stayed home in West Hollywood.  We went to a Hanukah party and had latkes and Hanukah gelt.  We went to a bear party, with 50 naked hairy guys eating Christmas cookies and then wandering downstairs to the maze.  We went to Midnight Mass at a gay-positive Catholic church, and then stopped for breakfast at the French Quarter. And I didn't hear the "Merry Little Christmas" song once.  Best Christmas ever!

9.-10. Yuri and Jaan. My first year in New York, I brought Yuri to the departmental Christmas party.  He was still claiming to be straight, but I expected him to at least dance with me.  He refused, so I said "Look, I bought your ticket, so you either get up on that dance floor now, or get into my bed later."

He picked the bed.

Suddenly I had two boyfriends, Yuri and Jaan the Estonian Mountain Climber.  Best Christmas ever!

11. Mickey.  When I was living in Florida, I returned to Rock Island for Christmas, and my brother said that my old Sunday School teacher, Brother Dino, had two sons who were working as strippers.  I went to the show, and  got a kiss from Mickey.

Ok, he wasn't really a boyfriend, but my list, my rules.

12. Troy.  Born and raised in small-town Upstate New York, Troy has an extended-extended-extended family.  He usually goes to Christmas dinner at the home of his grandmother's cousin and her family, but one year Lisa, his grandmother's cousin's son's ex-wife, invited us all to her house.  There must have been eighty people there, and Troy was out to every one of them; no awkward "so who is this?" questions.

She sent us home with presents plus care packages full of leftovers for later.

The only problem: some kid kept playing the "Merry Little Christmas" song over and over and over.

See also: 15 Reasons to Skip Christmas.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall 2012: Brandon and His Angry Inch

Philadelphia, Fall 2012

During my terrible year in Philadelphia, I didn't go out a lot.  I remember only three hookups, and they were all crazy.  Like Brandon and his angry inch.

Meeting: I see Brandon's picture on a gay chat site.  Muscular, deep tan, dark curly hair, short beard, dreamy.

His profile: 21 years old, shorter than me, ftm transman, t for 2 years, post-op torso sculpting 14 months.

I've never been with a transgender person, but I'm not opposed to the idea. And the torso sculpting sounds nice.

I start a chat: "Congratulations on transitioning at such a young age."

He's a math major at Ursinus College, about 30 miles away, sharing an apartment with two friends.  He doesn't know any other trans people. I mention three that I know Upstate, and offer to put him in contact with them.

I don't suggest getting together; I never cruise younger guys.  It's their job to cruise me. But he doesn't.

I see him in the chatroom a few times after that, but he never contacts me.

Musical Appointment Calendars:

A month later, Brandon sends me a message out of nowhere.  "I'm coming into Philadelphia today, and I have the afternoon free. Want to fool around?"

Sounds like a desperation hookup, but ok.

I don't see the message until that night.  I try to reschedule for Thursday.  He agrees, but cancels at the last minute, saying a friend is in the hospital.  So dinner Saturday night?  He agrees. Then on Saturday morning he says he can't make it, can we get together now?

Ok.

The Hookup:

Brandon comes to the door. He is even more extraordinarily cute in person.

 I plan on sitting him down, asking if he wants a beverage, playing it cool, but we immediately start kissing and groping.

I don't feel anything when I grope him, but I figure he's just very small.

Our shirts come off.  He has a hairy chest, nice muscular pecs.  He unzips me.  I slide my pants off and push him onto the futon for more kissing.  He fondles me.

I unbuckle his pants and slide them down to his knees.

Ok, this is weird.

He has a very large pubic mound, shaped like a a Pacific island atoll.  A long narrow trench.  And Inch High Private Eye.

Is that as good as the doctors could do?  It doesn't look anything like male body parts.

"Um...you're going to have to show me around down there," I say.  "I've never been in this type of territory before."

He shows me.  He's an aggressive top, driving his equipment into wherever on my body he can find.

Afterwards, we kiss and cuddle for awhile, and then he's ready for more.  And more.  And more.

The session only ends because he has somewhere to be.  I suspect that he could keep going all day.

The moment he's out the door, I call Chad, my friend Upstate, and tell him about Brandon's unusual equipment.

He checks Brandon's profile on the chatroom website.  "You dope!  Did you even read his profile?  He's taking testosterone, and he's post-op for torso sculpting.  He hasn't done any transitioning beneath the belt!"

"You mean...those were just ordinary lady parts?"

"Yup."

Suddenly I'm very embarrassed.  All afternoon I thought I was dealing with special transman parts, and it was just a regular vagina and clitoris, like everyone born female has!

"Ok, I've taken sex ed, and I've seen naked women in movies, and I know they don't have Pacific Island atolls and angry inches."

"The testosterone probably caused some masculinzation."

"Just ordinary lady parts," I repeat.  "No wonder he didn't want me on top of him. There was a vagina down there."

Chad is silent for a few minutes.  Then: "Sounds like you had a nice time, even without a penis.  Are you going to hook up again?"

"I'm not sure."

I do some research that afternoon.  Many transmen can't afford penis reconstruction, or don't want it.  Why is a penis so essential to manhood?  They're men, with or without.

Besides, no one will know the difference except their sexual partners, and any sexual partner so worried over 1" versus 6" isn't worth bothering with.

And Brandon is very cute and very, very enthusiastic.

Still, I would really like a penis.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Haldor and I Compete in a Dating Contest

Rock Island, December 1980

At the start of my junior year at Augustana College, I liked a member of the Bookstore Gang named Haldor (his real name, he was Swedish), tall, muscular, with a cute nerdish quality.  So I was pleasantly surprised when one day he took me aside and said, "You never date girls, and I never date girls, so why don't we team up?"

"Um...what?"   I assumed that Haldor never dated because he was too busy with the radio station, writer's club, and trying to read every science fiction novel ever published.  Was he gay?  Did he want to date me?

No such luck.  "Like a contest, to give us an incentive.  We make a list, and we each ask out every girl on it. Whoever gets the most dates by the end of the quarter wins."

The last thing I wanted was a date with a girl. I was busy cruising at the levee and spending occasional nights with Dr. Burton and his handcuffs. But I wasn't out at all.

But lots of guys who would never go out with you alone would eagerly agree to a "double date," with girls as a buffer between you. So I agreed.

With one proviso: we compile the list scientifically, not based on the girl's looks (no discussions of female pulchritude).

We got a campus directory and wrote down every female English or Modern Language major at Augustana, presuming that a shared major would lend us some compatibility.

Carefully worded inquiries and cross-checks of club memberships allowed us to eliminate girls who were seniors, in sororities, loose, who already had boyfriends, or who "one of us" had asked out before.

The research was a lot of fun. Calculating, cross-checking, tabulating at a little table in the student union snack bar, drinking coffee, my knee accidentally brushing against Haldor's, clapping him on the shoulder when he came up with an important fact.

Then we weighted in our own attractiveness on the dating market.

Augustana girls did not go on dates for fun.  They were trolling for husbands who could provide them with big cars, dinners at Jumer’s Castle Lodge, diamond watches, designer shoes, theater tickets, and vacations trips to the Greek Islands. So they evaluated potential suitors according to a strict hierarchy.

1.  Were you a fratboy? This trumped everything.  A girl would cancel a date with another boy instantly, even drop a long-term boyfriend, just for the chance to meet a fratboy in the Student Union for a coke.

If you weren't a frat boy, they evaluated you based on:

1. Are you rich, able to afford drop-dead-from-envy dates with Daddy's allowance (50 points)

2. Do you have a "gold mine major" will lead to wealth in the future, like business or computer science (40 points); a practical major like social work or psychology (30 points); or a "head case" major, useless, only for lunatics, like English or history (20 points).

3. Do you have any of: a car, an off-campus apartment, flashy disco moves, a wild-and-crazy personality, an arrest record, a Robert Redford smile, a Sylvester Stallone physique, or an awe-inspiring penis (5 points each).

4. Do you have any of: a menial part-time job, still live with parents, regrettable leisure pursuits, a shy-and-quiet personality, goody-goody morals, a clock-stopping face, a fat belly, or a "Danish dick" (- 5 points each).

When a non-fratboy asked you for a date, you scored them (-70  to 130 points) , then decided if you should settle or wait for someone better.

Haldor and I figured that I was a 45 and he was 80 (being rich and living in the dorms pushed him over).  So  in order to win, I would need 1.5 times the number of dates Haldor got.


We also made rules about when to ask (not Friday night -- that was reserved for Dr. Burton), and the activities we could suggest.

Then Haldor started at the top of the list and I started at the bottom, and we spent two evenings in November in my dorm room, calling and asking out 23 girls.

The results:
Wanted to be just friends:  Boomer 6, Haldor 10

Had to wash their hair that night: Boomer 4, Haldor 6

Holding out for someone better: Boomer 6, Haldor 3

Just began dating someone else a few minutes ago, darn the luck: Boomer 4, Haldor 1

Laughed and hung up: Boomer 0, Haldor 2

Agreed, but wanted to bring their boyfriends: Boomer 3, Haldor 0

Agreed: Boomer 0, Haldor 1

We decided to count the girls who wanted to bring their boyfriends as .5 dates.  So my final score was 1.5 and Haldor's was 1.  I won a heterosexual dating contest!

But as a consolation prize, I invited Haldor along on my "dates" with the three girls who were bringing their boyfriends.

If dating always involved a girl who was just a friend and two other guys, I was all for it!

And sure enough, at the end of one "date," a muscular fratboy named Brandon invited me back to his room to do...well, what heterosexuals do while thinking about girls.

See also: My Professor's Handcuff Party; Erik and the Naked Nordic God.


Picking Up the Cowboy of Sunset Boulevard

Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, fall 1988.  A small town of tree-lined streets.  Small shops, restaurants, and bars where gay men and lesbians gathered in search of freedom.

The Sunset Strip, only five blocks north, still technically West Hollywood, but big, blaring, glaring, crowded with cars and the clubs where hetero glitterati snorted cocaine.

Five blocks, actually only two blocks up the hill from the house that I shared with Derek, but we never went there.  It was as if there was an invisible force field keeping gay people away.

The Strip was relatively uncrowded during the daytime, the easiest way to get to Hollywood, Silverlake, and sometimes Downtown.  But I didn't even like to drive through: I always felt like an interloper, passing through a wild, alien territory.

Eight years ago, on a visit to Los Angeles long before I moved here, my friend Tom and I drove down Sunset, and stopped at Book Soup, where I bought my first gay-themed book.  Now I passed it with a little frisson of dread.

But one Friday afternoon I thought, "What's the big deal?  It's just a street.  I'm going to Book Soup."

So I walked over to Cynthia, up Hammond, past the West Hollywood School and some apartments, until I came to the Coldwell Bank Building, and Sunset Boulevard.

It was even more disquieting as a pedestrian, walking through an alien world of skyscrapers and gigantic billboards, past the Whiskey A Go-Go, the Viper Room, the Mystery Pier, places that were not famous but infamous, dens of sleaze, vice, and hetero excesses.  Then Book Soup.

It was, to my surprise, small, sedate, with black bookshelves stocked with indie fiction and literary criticism, out of place across the street from the Viper Room.  The used books and gay sections were gone.  There was a lot of hetero indie fiction and hip hetero essays.

I started feeling out of place again, but I bought No One Here Gets Out Alive, a biography of Jim Morrison of the Doors, mainly because he was shirtless on the cover.

There was a cowboy by the front door, drinking the free coffee.  Mid-20s, my height, muscular, maybe a little chunky.  He had a bright, open, very handsome face.  He was wearing a cowboy hat and a lumberjack shirt unbuttoned to reveal a smooth chest, and very tight jeans with a silver belt buckle.

"Jim Morrison!  Excellent!" he exclaimed.

"Are you a fan?"

"My band covers the Doors sometimes.  We do mostly country, as you can see, but we do some rock, too."  He paused, an unmistakable gleam in his eye.  "So, you live around here?"

Wait...was I being cruised?  Mario cruised me at the Different Light last year. But this was a straight bookstore on Sunset Boulevard!

"A few blocks away," I said suspiciously.  "Well, nice talking to you.  Bye."

I walked out the door and headed west on Sunset.  The Cowboy followed.  "Hey, what are you doing now?"

Down on Santa Monica Boulevard, this type of approach would mean "trick"  -- a sexual encounter before you got to know the guy.  Very risky, frowned upon.  But did he mean a trick?  This was a whole different world, with its own rules and protocols.  "I'm...I guess I'm going to get some coffee."

"Great!  I know just the spot!  Too early for music, of course, but they have great burgers and fries."  He pointed to the Whiskey A-Go-Go.   A dark, seedy, intensely heterosexual nightlclub -- a semi-naked lady on the marquee!  Besides, my Nazarene instincts recoiled at the word "whiskey."

"Let's...let's head down to Santa Monica," I said.  "I know a good place."

"Down the hill?"  He stared down Larrabee.  "I don't like it down there.  Too...too...um, crowded."

He meant too gay.  This guy was a closet case, gay but afraid to be seen among gay people!

"Don't worry," I said.  "If anybody tries anything, I'll be here to protect you."

"It's not that.  They'll think I'm...you know, gay, too."

The Cowboy was going to get the full West Hollywood treatment!  I just hoped that his anticipation of getting into my bedroom was enough to keep him from running away.

5:00 pm: Coffee at the Abbey, where the waiters were all cute and flirtatious.  The Cowboy's eyes bulged. When I tried to put my arm around his shoulders, he jumped a mile.

"Relax, that's ok here," I said, trying again.  He flinched me off.

His real name was Calvin.  He wasn't actually a cowboy -- he grew up in Van Nuys, and he was studying music at Cal State L.A.  He lived in a house with three roommates, all straight. In fact, everybody he knew was straight.

 "You can't be a gay musician.  So I don't tell anybody,  and I don't go to gay places.  I never went down the hill before, cause guys always tell me that's where the gays hang out."  He looked around.  "But, you know, you could never tell.  It looks like any straight place, except it's all guys. Ok, go ahead and hug me."  He grabbed my knee under the table.

6:00 pm: Different Light Bookstore, where I browsed while the Cowboy stood outside.  He looked skittish, like he was going to make an excuse and bolt, so I called my housemate Derek, who had just gotten home from work, for reinforcements.

Derek picked us up and drove us to:

7:00 pm: The French Quarter, where the waiters were equally cute and flirtatious.  A former fitness model with a spectacular physique even by West Hollywood standards, Derek could turn every head in the house.  The Cowboy was obviously impressed as a vision of "sharing" danced in his head.

8:30 pm: Gold Coast, a faux cowboy bar where they played country-western music.  The Cowboy had assumed that all gay bars were overwhelmed by disco music, so he was impressed again, in spite of the rather small crowd.

When I leaned in for a kiss, the Cowboy pushed me away.  "Not in front of your roommate!" he whispered savagely.

"Oh, go ahead," Derek said.  "I've seen Boomer kiss guys before.  I've seen him do more than that!  Here, try it with me."

He drew the Cowboy into a kiss, which became so passionate that I tapped him on the shoulder.  "Hey, roommie, I haven't had the honor yet."

Embarrassed, Derek broke away.  "Sorry...forgot who was on a date with who."

I shrugged and drew the Cowboy into a kiss.

10:00 pm: Home.  Derek kept his distance for the rest of the evening, and when we got home, he said goodnight and vanished into his bedroom.  The Cowboy and I sat talking and making out for awhile, and then went to bed.

In case you were wondering: very passionate, average beneath the belt gifts.   Top, but open to other activities as well.  His only annoying habit was that he kept talking: "I'm going to f*** you!  I'm going to f*** you!"

Well, yes, that's rather obvious, isn't it.

7:00 am: Breakfast.  Just bagels and fruit.  Then the Cowboy got our phone number (there was just one phone per house in the 1980s), and I walked him back to his car, parked in a lot just off Sunset.

Climbing up the hill to Sunset still felt like entering a hostile alien world.

The next weekend Derek talked the Cowboy into coming down the hill again.  They ended up dating for about three months.

Sorry, ran out of room before I got to the sharing.  That will have to wait until next time.

Next: Three-Way with Derek and the Cowboy

See also: My Date or Trick in the White RoomMy Date with Richard Dreyfuss