Saturday, October 31, 2015

Gay Ghosts, Vampires, Aliens, and Paranormal Bogies

I love the paranormal. Alien abductions, mysterious disappearances, time slips, vampires, ghosts.  Those few paranormal experiences I've had in real life can usually be explained as misinterpretations and exaggerations, but still they're fun, suggesting a world beyond the fields we know.


1. The Naked Man at the Crossroads.  Ok, this happened to my great-grandmother, not me, but it was still a spooky story, especially hearing it in a house trailer in the deep woods of Indiana, late at night, with the wind howling outside.

2. The Naked Man in the Peat Bog.  My Uncle Paul always told us to never go near the peat bog, because a naked man lived there, and he would eat us.  But one day we went to the peat bog anyway, and sure enough, a naked man wearing a weird mask chased us.  Maybe it was Uncle Paul's friend, trying to scare us.  Maybe not.

3. Greg the Boy Vampire gave me my first real kiss.  At least he said he was a vampire.

4. The Naked Indian God.  At the annual Pow Wow in Rock Island, Bill and I saw an Indian youth, one of the dancers, peeing in the woods.  Or doing something else.  When he saw us, he vanished.  Are you starting to notice a pattern here?  Sublimated same-sex desire is visualized.

High School

5. Davenport House, where the first European settler to the Quad Cities lived, has a reputation for being haunted.  When we were in high school, we decided to check.


6. The Ghost Artist in the Basement. I didn't like going down to the basement, where the previous owner kept an art studio.  It hadn't been touched since he died; I kept thinking that he was just upstairs getting a drink of water, and he would be back  One day I saw him hunched over his easel, drawing pictures of naked men.

7. The Bell Tower at Augustana: if a virgin was kissed there, the bell would ring.  I tried to kiss Adam, the bookstore manager, but we were detained.

8. Getting Intimate in the Haunted House. Joseph from the Gay Student Association at Indiana University asked me to help him help clean out his great-aunt's house.  We got intimate in his old room.


9.  West Hollywood was oddly bereft of the paranormal, unless you count my date with Richard Dreyfuss, which was actually more about discussing the paranormal.

10. But San Francisco was overbrimming with ghosts, bogies, and the unexplained, like Kevin the Vampire.

11. And I went home with the Amazing Invisible Boy, who no one could see except me, and who vanished before we can get into the bedroom.  Maybe he just left, but then why was my apartment door locked from the inside?

12, And when David and I were driving home from the Gilroy Garlic Festival, and we saw a UFO.  Or maybe it was the planet Venus.

New York

13.  New York was full of paranormal experiences, too, like the exorcism of the homophobic demon.

14. And the Man in Black who cruised me on Christopher Street.  I still think he was an alien, not a priest.

15. Sometimes you couldn't tell if a guy was a paranormal entity or just eccentric, like the time traveler from the 1930s.

16. And at our 20th class reunion, Erik told me about his encounter with a naked Icelandic god.

17. Ozzie tells how he met John F. Kennedy, Jr. at a bathhouse.  On the day he died.


18. I'm going to count the gay psychic angel, who told me about my past lives. I'm pretty sure he wasn't an angel, just a very cute guy.


19. The Satyr.  Was he just a name-dropping bear with a priapic Kovbasa++++, or a mythical being who transcended time and space?

The Plains

20. The Plains is all windswept prairie, tailor-made for weird revenants.  Like Phil the Truck Driver, #20 on my Sausage List, who looks exactly like my Dad's best friend from the Navy -- 50 years ago.

21. The Hookup with the Hobbit.

15 Bondage Boys

I was fantasizing about tying up guys before I even knew about sex.  Maybe it's the sense of power and control.  Or the extra bulge in his muscles -- and other parts -- as he struggles to "escape."  Or just the spectacle of his entire body spread out before you like a vast unknown continent, waiting to be explored.

The problem is, I'm just into the basic bondage, not pain, humiliation, verbal abuse, and all the other advanced things that BDSM fetishists like.  So whenever I find a guy who admits to being into BDSM, he wants to do far more than I do.  I like newcomers, introducing guys who have rarely, or never, been tied up before.

Here are 20 boyfriends and hookups who were into bondage or other BDSM scenes.


1. In fifth grade, we visited my Indian relatives, and I had my first Indian sausage sighting and BDSM scene.

2. Fred the Ministerial Student.  My first real boyfriend, a ministerial student in the United Church of Christ.  He was into being tied and spanked.

3. My geology professor used to throw handcuff parties for his advanced students.  All boys, a box of handcuffs, nothing beneath the belt.

West Hollywood

4. Within a few days of moving to West Hollywood, I found Mugi, the gay Asian bar, and accepted a date with Huan, who had only been in the U.S. a short time and didn't speak English well.  But he had a closet full of home made bondage equipment.

5. Will, who had a very nice house in Silverlake, and liked kidnapping, POW, and cannibalism scenes. He was obsessed with Sweeney Todd, "the greatest musical ever made."

6. David, the Orthodox Cute Young Thing, who disapproved of Gentile guys.

7. Larry from Nashville.  I helped him find his fetish.

San Francisco

8. The Slave Boy of Castro Street.   I borrowed him from his master for the night.

New York

9. I went home with a cute twink from the New York Bondage Club, and ended up in an all-night session.

10. Blake, the opera buff I dated.  The only black guy I've ever known who was into it.

11. Jared, the first HIV positive guy that I dated, that I knew about.  He wanted to go to the New York Bondage Club for his birthday, and get tied up for the first time.


12. The Boy Who Cried Fabulous, who I introduced to BDSM mostly just to shut him up.


13.  Ethan, the boy in the wheelchair, who wanted to be tied up anyway.


14. Troy, the 23-year old French major, wanted to try being a top, so we found a twink for him to practice on.


15. The boy with daddy issues who wanted to rip my clothes off.

Raul and I Bankrupt the Porn Industry

West Hollywood, November 1986

On November 19th, 1986, my roommate Alan the ex-porn star, who kept trying to steal  my boyfriends, threw me a surprise birthday party. After the present-unwrapping and cake, he introduced Raul and me to an older, balding guy named Scott and asked "What do you think?"  .

"I'll need to see them in action, of course. But they certainly have the right look."

"Um...thanks?"  I turned to Alan for an explanation.

"Surprise! Guess what -- that pocket organizer wasn't your only present.  I set you up to star in  Scott Masters' new movie!"

He was the head of Nova Studios, a major producer of.... I reddened.  "You want me to do porn?"

"Alan recommended you and Raul," Scott said.  "It's a great script: funny and romantic, not just sex.  That's why we want lovers, to add verisimilitude."

"But...I'm not an actor."  I had a brief modeling career in college, but no nudity, and certainly no sex.

"You don't need to act.  Just do what you do anyway.  $800 a day for a guaranteed five-day shoot."  

The money sounded good (my three jobs were't paying enough to cover rent, tuition, and jaunts to Australia and Japan).  And Raul liked the idea (Filipino restaurants don't pay well, either.) So we signed on, and that Saturday we got up at 4:00 am to shoot some exteriors at the San Miguel Mission in San Luis Obispo.

The script didn't require a lot of memorization.  In old Spanish California, Rodrigo (my character), falls in love with Paco (Raul), an apprentice monk at the mission.

But Paco is secretly the kept boy of the homophobic Archbishop "Farwell" (a play on Jerry Falwell). There's a duel that ends with a three-way encounter.

A few days later we drove to a house in the Hollywood Hills to film some of the bedroom and pool scenes (yes, the old Spanish mission had a pool.).  I wondered who would be playing Farwell. Boomer Stryker?  Kip Noll?

I didn't find out until he walked through the door -- Alan!

Was this all just a set-up to trick with Raul?

"Hey, they needed a husky guy, and I'm a preacher, so I have the right vibe."  He grinned.  "Tricking with Raul is just a bonus."

We were going to shoot the Farwell-Paco first.  That meant I had to watch Alan and my boyfriend together!

"They're just acting!" I told myself over and over.  I started thinking of last September, when my date wandered into Alan's bed.  And a year ago, when Alan and I were dating, and he cheated on me with a Norwegian con artist.  And now he was with Raul.  They were kissing...and groping...and kissing...with obvious enthusiasm!

I couldn't take it anymore!

"Get off him!" I ran over and pulled Alan away. "He's my boyfriend!  You always do this!  Every time I meet a guy, you horn in...."

They looked up at me quizzically.

"No ad libbing!" the director yelled.

Flushed with embarrassment and anger, I stumbled away.  "I'll...I'll be waiting in the car."

Raul followed, saying something like "It's just a job, man..."

The aftermath:
1. The film was never completed, but we did get paid for two days of shooting.
2. Alan forgave me: "I know you have hangups about monogamy."
3. Raul and I broke up, but not over that. We stayed friends, and reconciled a few months later, after my celebrity boyfriend dumped me.
4. Nova Studios went bankrupt.  But surely that's not my fault.

See also: Alan's Arrests.

Friday, October 30, 2015

20 Childhood Crushes, Hugs, Gropes, and Sausage Sightings

When I was a kid, no one knew -- or admitted -- that same-sex desire existed.   So when I became interested in a boy, no one, myself included, ever imagined anything but a desire for platonic friendship.

I never noticed -- or admitted -- an obvious distinction in my friendships.  Some boys tugged at me.  I wanted to look at them, touch them, kiss them.  I wanted to see them naked.

Other boys, no.  I could want them as friends because they were nice, or fun, or interesting, or because they had a lot of toys.  But there was no spark.  No interest.

Today I can excavate the erotic and romantic gleamings behind those long-ago friendships.

Here are my 20 most memorable childhood "sparks." I will rate physical moments on this scale of lesser to greater intimacy:
Crush only (looking or incidental touching)
Hug (deliberate hug or arm around shoulders)
Press (where you press your crotches together and feel each other's equipment).
Grope (putting your hand on it)

(All models are over 18.)


1. When I was about four, I climbed out my bedroom window late one night and crossed the gravel alley to follow the boy with the guitar.  Crush.

Hansche Elementary School (Grades 1-2)

2. Uncle Rory, my parents' friend, late 20s, nice abs.  When I was asked to kiss his girlfriend or wife (I don't remember which), I kissed him instead. Hug

3. I married Doug, the boy next door, in an actual ceremony on the beach in Racine. I don't remember much about Doug, but I remember Mom insisting that "boys can't get married."  Hug

4. A Boy Named Twilight took me to swim in the ocean.  What was I doing in Florida, and why was a boy named Twilight?  For years I thought he was a fantasy, but when I was living in Florida in 2003, I looked him up.  He was a neighbor boy visiting my parents' friends. Crush

Denkmann Elementary School (Grades 3-6)

5. Bill, a reformed Mean Boy (left), followed me home from school in February of third grade, and became my steady boyfriend for about three years. Press

6. A redheaded college boy named Nick (top photo) rescued me from the Killer, the Face of Pure Evil, a bully who hung out on the West Side of the school.  He took me out for ice cream afterwards. Hug

7. Every summer the bookmobile came around once a week for kids who couldn't make it to the library downtown. I met Robbie, my first hookup, there. Crush

8. At the start of 4th grade, there was a new boy in class: Danny, who had his leg in a brace.  Thinking that he would be excluded, the teacher asked for a volunteer to be his "special friend."  My hand shot up.  Apparently Danny already had a "special friend," but he gamely accepted my attentions. Crush, but Sausage Sighting later.

9. Matt, my teenage swimming instructor (left),  during the summer after fourth grade, who coaxed me into jumping into the deep end with the promise of mouth-to-mouth recussitation. Press (accidental).

10. Mark, who lured me into a wild night of debauchery during the winter of fifth grade, involving pancakes, a massage (of his teenage brother), and a wiener. Grope

11. Randy the Golden Boy (left), older than me, bigger, more handsome, and more popular, plus extraordinarily nice.  I tried lots of strategies to see him in his underwear. Hug

12. The Sailor named Beau who I met on the train to South Carolina with my grandmother.  He told me a cautionary tale about "sissies," and I fell asleep in his arms. Hug

Washington Junior High (Grades 7-9)

13. Dan, a blond "fairy" who I rescued from bullies in the girls' locker room (left), became my boyfriend for the next two years. Grope.

14. The Boy Named Angel, a slim, shy boy with dark hair and dark puppy dog eyes, who may have been a victim of child abuse, and had a nervous breakdown in high school.  Still, I have three good memories and a junior high sausage sighting.  Crush.

15. Micah, the Bible Missionary Boy who belonged to a church even more conservative than the Nazarenes, and thought I was a heretic libertine.  I wanted to hook up with him, but the most I  got was sitting next to him while we planned a protest of "evil-lution." Crush

16. Brian, who wrote the secret message on the wall of Washington Junior High.  I ended up babysitting him (although he was only three years younger), and in high school I kissed him under the mistletoe at a Christmas party. Hug

17. Phil, the President of NYPS and Captain of the Jump Quiz Team, tall, broad-shoulderd, husky.  I wanted him to go down to the altar so I could help him "pray through to Victory" and do some hugging.  Press (he wasn't aware).

18. The Estonian Wrestling Brothers, George and Kristjan, who invited me to their house one afternoon. Press

19. Scott, the boy Grandma Davis found for me at the Nazarene Camp Meeting, presumably to take the place of Dan after our breakup. Grope.

20. Conrad (left), the boyfriend of the teenage girl next door, who came to a barbecue wet from swimming, and had to use our bathroom to change.  Crush.

The results:
35% crush only
30% hug
20% press
15% grope

How could anyone NOT figure it out?

An All-Nighter at the New York Bondage Club

New York, November 1997

I was fantasizing about tying up guys before I even knew about sex.

Maybe it's the sense of power and control.

Or the extra bulge in his muscles -- and other parts -- as he struggles to "escape."

Or just the spectacle of his entire body spread out before you like a vast unknown continent, waiting to be explored.

So the moment I arrived in New York in 1997,  I joined the NYC Bondage Club,  It met from 8-11 pm on Sunday nights in the basement of a nondescript building in Chelsea, about 10 blocks from Penn Station.

There were three rooms with bondage beds, slings, a St. Andrew's Cross, and jail cells.  Snacks and sodas were provided; you had to bring your own ropes and bondage equipment.  30-50 guys came, mostly middle aged and older, a lot of chubbies and bears, not many twinks.

Most activity considered of ordinary bondage, teasing, and tickling, but there were also guys into heavy BDSM scenes: flogging, whipping, hot wax, electroshock, mummification, water sports, fisting.

But no "vanilla" sex.  By New York law, no oral or anal contact was permitted.

Which many of the guys didn't mind: BDSM scenes were the pinnacle of their erotic experience.  But I would have preferred some body contact.

There was a lot of hooking up after the Bondage Club ended, but I had a problem:  if I stayed overnight in the City, I would have to be up at 5:00 am to catch the 6:00 am train to Long Island for class.

And if I invited someone back to my place on Long Island,  they would have the same problem.

Besides, Chelsea was as provincial as West Hollywood.  If you didn't live in a gay neighborhood, they didn't want to know you.

I would never admit that I didn't live in Manhattan.

So I made do with standard vanilla bondage scenes, tying up guys and fondling them, and then rushing out into the night at 9:45 like Cinderella about to turn into a pumpkin.

Until Dustin invited me home.

He was by far the most attractive of the Bondage Club regulars, a dark-haired, dark-eyed twink with a wide smile and a ready laugh, plus a smooth, hard chest, baseball-biceps, and turtle-shell abs.  He liked moderate scenes, with no pain, just tickling, fondling, edging, and kissing.

"I also like oral and anal sex while I'm tied up," he said, "But of course we can't do that here."

Dustin bottomed for at least two guys per night.  They inevitably asked him back to their place afterwards, but he refused: "I have to get up early for class."

I never topped him, although I tried to join in with his scenes with others.  He was too experienced, exploring subtle nuances of BDSM practice.  My basic interests would be too elementary, kindergarten-ish, inept.

But one night I found him relaxing between scenes, sitting naked on a red couch, drinking a soda.  We started chatting, and then we started kissing  Before I knew it, we had been lying on the couch, kissing and fondling, for almost an hour.

"Why don't we go back to my place?" he murmured.

"Well -- I have to catch the 6:00 am train from Penn Station."

"No problem, I live just a few blocks from a Metro Line that goes directly to Penn.  You'll have plenty of time."

Ok, I was new to New York, I didn't know what a Metro Line was.  I assumed a subway somewhere in the Village.

We left the Bondage Club at 9:30, and arrived at Penn just in time to miss the 9:45 Metro Line.  The next one was at 11:45!

But there were no other trains to Long Island until 6:00 am.  I was in Manhattan for the night.

Back to the Bondage Club, then to a pizza-by-the-slice place.  Then to Penn, where we caught an 11:45 Metro Line that listed cities I had never heard of: Mahwah, Ho-Ho-Kus, Warwick.

"Wait -- don't you live in Manhattan?" I asked.

"Well -- no, not actually," Dustin admitted.  "But you know how guys in gay neighborhoods are.  I didn't want to turn you off.  And it's not far, believe me.  You'll have plenty of time to catch your train at Penn tomorrow."

On the way, Dustin told me that he was studying biology at Fairleigh Dickinson University, planning to become a doctor.  He had always known he was gay, and had his first bondage scene at age 14.

An hour later, at 12:45 am, we arrived in Allentown, New Jersey, about 20 miles away.  Then Dustin drove us about three miles past something called a Celery Farm, to a very large suburban house.

"You live here?"  What college student could afford such a place? My heart sank.  "You don't live with your parents, do you?"

"This is my boyfriend's house.  I actually live in the dorms, but I stay with him on weekends."


" you think that, anytime during the last three hours, you might have mentioned the boyfriend waiting at home?"

"Didn't I mention him?  Sorry -- I guess I assumed everybody knew.  He comes to the Bondage Club all the time.  Except tonight he was too tired.  He said I could bring home someone to share, though."

Back in West Hollywood, Lane and I would often bring home a third person to share.  Becoming that third person was quite a different matter, though. Especially at 1:00 am.

The boyfriend, Stan, was up, watching David Letterman or some such talk show: a middle aged muscle bear, bald, bearded, hirsute, obviously a gym rat.  He enveloped us both in bear hugs, and then dragged us into the kitchen to eat egg salad sandwiches and brownies and drink coffee.  I wasn't at all hungry, but ok....

"So, are we up for vanilla or a BDSM scene this evening?" Stan asked.

It was 2:00 am.  I had to be up in 3 hours.  I just wanted to go to bed.  "How about some plain old kissing and cuddling?" I suggested.

"Oh, we can do better than that!" Dustin exclaimed.  "There's a fully-stocked dungeon in the basement.  You can double team me.  Or you can top us both -- Stan is versatile."

"How about a POW scene?" Stan said.

"Or an incest scene?" Dustin suggested.  "You know, where you humiliate the father by forcing him to have sex with his son?  We just need to set up the roles."

So we set up the roles and the dungeon.  Fueled by caffeine from the coffee and sugar from the brownies, I tied them up, "forced" them to kiss, and then "forced" Stan to top Dustin.  I was too tired to do any vanilla sex of my own.

By the time the scene ended, it was 4:00 am.  "You know what?" I said.  "I'm skipping class mean today.  Let's just go to bed!"

"Um..well, I have to go to work," Stan said.  "And Dustin has to get back to campus.  But we can all go out for a nice breakfast before you catch your train."

We grabbed some pancakes at an all-night diner -- our third meal in six hours!  -- and they put me on the 5:15 am train to Penn Station.

Which arrived just as the train to Long Island was leaving.  I didn't make it home until noon.

See also: My First Indian Sausage Sighting and BDSM Scene; a Hookup with Barry and the Poz Boy.

My First Indian Sausage Sighting and BDSM Scene

Dowagiac, Michigan, March, 1971

Dad always claimed that he was half Indian, from the Potawatomi tribe of southern Michigan.   But he didn't mean by blood: when his big sister Nora married a Potawatomi man (my Uncle Henry), he was sort of adopted by the family.  When I was a kid, we occasionally drove to Dowagiac, Michigan, about four hours from Rock Island, to visit Grandma Rani, a small, brown, wrinkled woman who always said "You've grown as big as a beanstalk!"

One day in fifth grade, Dad told me "We're going out to Michigan for your Grandma Rani's 90th birthday.  All of your uncles and aunts and cousins are throwing her a big party."

Cousins?  Potawatomi boys my own age?

I remembered the naked Indian boy that Bill and I saw at the Pow Wow last summer -- huge beneath the belt.

And Cousin Joe, half Indian -- huge.

Suddenly I was very interested in meeting my Indian cousins.

When we visited before, Grandma Rani lived in a farmhouse in the wild birch woods, but this time she was living with her daughter and her family in a rather rundown gray house on a side street in Dowagiac

There were a lot of people.  Some I knew, like my Aunt Nora and Cousin Joe.  Most I didn't.  We ate cake or pie (not both), leafed through photo albums, and helped the now wheelchair-bound Grandma Rani unwrap presents.

Indian parties turned out to be like every other grownup party, except that you got a piece of cake with a lit candle on it, and an old guy gave a long speech about how "Rani has honored our people," accompanied by a slow, steady drum.

A very long speech.  I asked Mom if I could go out and play.

I wasn't the only one.  There were a dozen kids in the back yard.  I walked up to a couple of guys about my age and one older, almost a teenager.  They had black hair and dark eyes and smooth coppery skin. My Indian cousins were cute!  But were they big?

"Do you like Daniel Boone?" I asked, to break the ice. Then I kicked myself -- I only thought of it because the theme song said "Daniel Boone was a big man."  But it was a Western, about   wild, savage Indians!  Of course they wouldn't watch that!

"It's pretty cool," the older one said.  "I dig his coonskin cap.  I'd like to make one myself, if I can hunt down a coon."

I relaxed.  One faux pas over. Soon the guys -- Javon (13), his brother Rodney (10), and their cousin Mike (9) were showing me around.  Downtown was only a three block walk away -- it had an ice cream store and a newsstand where you could get comic books.

I was full of cake from the party, and I had just spent my allowance on comic books at Schneider's on Monday, but I pretended enthusiasm.  I really wanted my Indian cousins to like me.

I squirmed when I saw Turok, Son of Stone among the comics -- it was about two Indians with feathered headdresses and loincloths trapped in a prehistoric land.  But my Indian cousins didn't seem to notice.

When we finished looking at (but not buying) comic books, Javon said "Come on, let's play in Mill Pond Park"

  My heart sank.  I didn't like playing outside, and I didn't really know how.  "Um...what do you like to play?" I asked.  "Hide and seek?  King of the hill?  Cowboys"

Javon grinned.  "Those are baby games.  Let's play Green Berets.  It will get us ready for the army when we grow up."

The game was basically Cowboys and Indians combined with Hide and Seek.  set in Vietnam.  The Viet Cong (our enemy) capture an American G.I., tie him up, and torture him for information.  Two or more Green Berets (an elite military group) have to find him, subdue the Viet Cong and rescue him.

We ran back to the house, got some rope and toy guns, and set to work.

As the oldest, Javan got the pivotal role, the G.I.  I volunteered to be the Viet Cong officer.

While Rodney and Mike waited, I put a t-shirt on Javon's head as a hood and led him into the woods.  We turned a few times to make it more difficult to find us.  Then I tied his hands behind a tree. He was still wearing a hood.

"So you won't talk!" I exclaimed.

"Not so loud!" Javon said  "They'll find us too soon."

"We'll make you talk."  I whispered.  I carefully unbuttoned his shirt and ran my hand over his smooth, hard chest.  "You won't be able to stand this torture for long."

"You won't get anything out of me!"

"Oh, no?  Not even if we hit you on the wiener?"  I undid his belt, unbuttoned his pants, and slid them down.  I heard a sharp intake of breath.

A little disappointing -- much smaller than my Cousin Joe's.  But I didn't get to see many wieners, let alone touch them.

"We'll see how brave you are when we're hitting you on the wiener!"

I reached out and grabbed it: soft and warm to the touch, with a rubbery foreskin.  Then Rodney and Mike came war-whooping out of the bushes.   Rodney pushed me away with a fake karate move, and Mike shot me with his toy gun.  I collapsed onto the ground, "dead."

In the next iteration, Rodney was the G.I., and Mike the Viet Cong officer.  Then we had to pack up and go home.

I saw my Indian cousins only once after that, at Grandma Rani's funeral.  We haven't stayed in contact.  I wonder if Javon still likes getting tied up.  And by who.

See also:The First Boy I Tied Up; An All-Nighter at the New York Bondage Club; and Cruising in the Navajo Nation.

Sharing the Optometrist's Boyfriend

Bloomington, October 1982

When I arrived for graduate school at Indiana University, 21 years old, fresh from a small town in the Midwest, my gay experiences were so limited that I never suspected Mark, the optometry student who lived down the hall from me in the graduate student dorm.

He was short and compact, with a flat face and a high forehead, cute, a little nerdy, not stereotypically swishy.

 I didn't suspect when he joined me in watching The Powers of Matthew Star on Friday nights, a superhero spoof notable only for teen idol Peter Barton.

I didn't suspect when I knocked on his door one Friday night in October, a couple of weeks after my visit to the adult bookstore where I found the Gayellow Pages, and Mark opened with his shirt disheveled, and I saw another guy with his shirt half off sitting on the bed.

I didn't even suspect when I noticed that the two twin beds in the room had been pushed together to make a double.

But I suspected the other guy -- tall, pale, with a slim, tight chest, blond hair, and a round, pretty face.  Effeminate!  Must be gay!

I grinned at the glimpse of beefcake as he quickly buttoned up.  My first gay guy in Bloomington!  "Hi, I'm Boomer."

Obviously unwilling to make introductions, Mark complied out of politeness.  "Boomer, this is Shaun.  Visiting me."

Mark's cousin was gay!  Did he know, or was he oblivious?

I barged into the room, took Shaun's slim hand, squeezed it, and held it for a moment too long. He smiled. I began to feel flushed -- here I was, flirting with Mark's cousin right in front of him!

 " guys up for The Powers of Matthew Star? It's stupid, but it has Peter Barton in tights."

"No, not tonight, sorry," Mark said.  I didn't catch his look that meant Get lost!

 "I'll go!" Shaun exclaimed.  Mark glared at him.  "Oh, relax.  It will be fun.  That other thing will keep!"

"Ok, then, you guys go ahead."  I didn't catch Mark's angry tone.  "I'll get some studying done.  But don't stay too long -- we don't want to be late for that other thing."

"Sure, sure.  See you in an hour." He touched Mark's shoulder affectionately, and stood, facing me.  Definitely cruising, I thought.  "Which way to the tv lounge?"

Each of the tv lounges in Eigenmann Hall was dedicated to a different channel (back then there were only six).  On Friday night, most residents were out, or watching Benson on the third floor or Dukes of Hazzard on the sixth.  We had the thirteenth floor lounge to ourselves.

Shaun and I sat on a big crimson-colored couch, so close together that I could feel the warmth of his thighs and glimpse his pale hard chest in the places where his shirt was still askew.

In those days you never just came out to someone -- the results were usually unpleasant, and sometimes violent.  You tip-toed around the question.

"So, are you in college?" I asked.

Of course, Shaun was actually an undergraduate psych major at Indiana, on a date with Mark -- this was their fifth date.  They had gone out to dinner, and they were just getting ready for intimacies when I barged in.  But he couldn't tell me that.  He had to stick to the "visiting cousin" story.

 "Oh yes, I'm a junior at Notre Dame.  My parents insisted -- I think they wanted me to become a priest.  Imagine, me a priest!  They about had a heart attack when I told them I wanted to major in music instead.  Voice."

We were good at making up impromptu stories in the 1980s.

"You'll have to sing for me sometime."

"Oh, I'll do more than sing for you."

I felt even more flushed with the heat of anticipation.  "Um...Peter Barton is quite an actor," I said.

"Yes.  I had a big crush...I mean, all the girls in my high school had a big crush on him."

That was out enough for me!  I checked the door to see if anyone was looking, then reached out and took Shaun's hand.  He squeezed it, and then moved it carefully to his lap.  "I haven't met IU yet," I said.

"Me, neither."

There was a gay student organization on campus, and a gay bar in town, but I was afraid to go to either.

"Does Mark know?" I asked.

You never outed a friend in the 1980s, so Shaun didn't say "He's my boyfriend."  He said "Oh, yes, he knows."

"And he's ok with it?"

"Perfectly.  You should tell him that you are -- it would be nice to have a friend on campus, wouldn't it?"  He paused.  "Besides me, of course."

"You'll be going back to Notre Dame soon."

"Oh, yeah.  Right."  The problem with making up stories is, you have to keep them consistent.  "But we have tonight, right?  And the night is young."

I wasn't much for hookups in the 1980s, but Shaun was the first gay person I met on a campus of 40,000, and besides, I hadn't been with anyone for a few months.  "You want to -- come back to my room?" I asked.

Now Shaun had a dilemma.  He had a boyfriend.  He was on a date.  But he  couldn't say so without outing Mark.

So he made a decision: "Let's go back to Mark's room instead."


"He's got that big double bed.  We can really get to know each other there."

"But then he'll find out about me."

"Oh, don't worry.  He won't mind.  I' him to come in here and watch tv for an hour."

The prospect of being with Shaun trumped the fear of coming out to his "cousin," so I allowed him to lead me back to Mark's room.

Mark was sitting at his desk, reading a gigantic optometry textbook.  "Hi, how as the tv?" he growled without looking up. Shaun wrapped his arms around his shoulders and kissed him.

"What are you doing!" he yelled, pushing Shaun away.  "Um...Cousin Shaun, stop fooling around!"

"Yes, well, about that."  He carefully shut and locked the door, then put his arms around me. "I invited Boomer along on our date."


Mark stared for a moment, and then smiled.  "You mean he's....I really had no idea!"

Suddenly both of them had their arms around me. Shaun was unbuttoning my shirt and nuzzling Mark's neck at the same time. Mark was groping me.

"You're not really cousins, are you?"

And we were kissing.

Mark and I "shared" Shaun a few more times before they broke up. But the sharing wasn't as important as knowing that I was not alone at Indiana University.

See also: My First Visit to an Adult Bookstore and The Farmboy Butches It Up

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dating the Preacher's Son

Verne, Mark, and a guy I don't remember
Rock Island, May 1977

During my junior year at Rocky High (1976-77), most guys were obsessed with demonstrating that they were not Swishes (our word for "gay").  The best way was to become a Rock (jock), or be seen in public with one -- they hated men with muscles.

I wasn't on a team -- being an athletic trainer didn't count -- so I had no choice but the only other option: date a Rock.

But most Rocks were very busy, having sex with eight or nine girls in various combinations every night, so they had little time or energy left for boys.

 One day in November, a few weeks after my date with Todd's girlfriend, I was running around the indoor track, when I saw the preacher's son Verne (not his real name) playing one-on-one basketball in the gym be-low. Verne was a senior, so our paths rarely intersected. At school, I saw him only in the locker room after football practice, when he was anxious to get to the showers.

At church, he was always encased in a shell of fawning groupies. Practically our only contact came a couple of months ago, when I helped him Pray Through to Victory at an altar call.

As I ran, Verne finished his game. He guzzled Gatorade from a plastic bottle, then ripped off his t-shirt and collapsed, shimmering with sweat, onto the lap of a girl.  He was hugely tall, with broad shoulders, hard thick biceps, short dark hair, and dark blue, almost purple eyes.  And he was a Nazarene -- no sex allowed!  He would be perfect.

It took a week for me to bolster my courage enough to call. Even then, I dialed and hung up three times. When Verne came on the line, I said, “There’s a gospel concert on Saturday. Um. . .if you’re not, like, busy or anything. . .would you like to go?”

Verne burst into raucous laughter.

“Sorry to bother you,” I said stiffly, my face burning with humiliation.

“No – it’s ok, sorry,” Verne said. “It was just funny the way you asked. I’m busy Saturday, but what about the basketball game Friday? You can do more touching at a game, anyway. I’ll get us a couple of girls.”

I spent the rest of the evening exuberantly calling all of my friends, and wondering why do we need girls?

During the game, Verne and I sat with the girls on either side, so that our thighs and knees sometimes brushed together, and whenever the Rocks scored a point, he enveloped me in a warm, sweaty hug. Next came Alfano's for Canadian bacon and sauerkraut pizza and two pitchers of soda, one for the boys and one for the girls.

We had a lot to talk about.  Verne was taking AP Spanish and French; if it hadn't been God’s Will for him to become a preacher, he would have become a linguist.

When we dropped off Verne’s girl, he walked her to her doorstep “for safety,” but returned almost immediately, complaining that her father had left the porch light on.

My girl came next; her porch light was dark.

When I returned to the car, Verne asked “Did you get any?”'

I assumed that he meant kissing, so I said “Sure. Lots.”  I had kissed her on the cheek.

Verne and me
Verne reached over and punched my shoulder and exclaimed “Awright!” I was disappointed that he didn’t walk me to my doorstep to “get some,” but otherwise I was elated by my success.

During the winter and spring of eleventh grade, we went to a a jazz concert, the spring musical,  an orchestra banquet, two basketball games, a baseball game, hiking, jogging, tennis, and swimming.  That was more enough for us to be “going together,” though no one at Rocky High seemed to notice, referring to us only as buddies.

 Dating Verne summarily ended any suspicion that I was That Way. Even at church, people spoke to me in a civil tone.  It also ended pressure by my Crowd to date girls -- apparently Vikings were dreamy enough.

 Maybe that's why he always insisted on girls for evening dates.  He usually provided them, but twice I brought Becky, my Just Friend, and once I acquired my own, by casually saying: “Oh, and Verne will be there, too.”

At some point Verne always disappeared with his girl for ten or fifteen minutes, and on the way home he had the annoying habit of asking “Did you get any?” But these complaints were trivial; I was dating a Rock!

In May we spent a weekend camping with his friends at Starved Rock State Park at Starved Rock State Park, about 100 miles from Rock Island.

 Though we shared a tent, I avoided any repeat of the scapular incident last summer at music camp. I didn't want to discover that Verne was one of these guys who drops you the moment things get physical.  But I did get a sausage sighting.

20 Nazarene Bulges, Boners, and Sausage Sightings

I spent the first 20 or so years of my life in the Church of the Nazarene, a hardcore fundamentalist church that was against everything, from rock music to Roman Catholics to wearing short pants. AND required us to go to church three times a week, carry a Bible everywhere, pray before meals (even in the school cafeteria) and try to win the souls of our friends, classmates, and perfect strangers.


I complain endlessly about the draconian rules; the utter absence of art and literature; the tedium of Sunday school class; the preacher screaming about God's hatred three times a week; .  But I also remember having a lot of fun. Finding loopholes in the rules, or ways to ignore them altogether, was a never-ending game.  Protesting worldly evil was exciting.

And the homoerotic activity was constant.  There was as much, or more, hugging and fondling going on as in any gay bar in the world.

Here are 20 Nazarene grabs, gropes, bulges, boners, and sausage sightings, plus a few guys that I just crushed on.

Elementary School

1.No Divorce.
    They told me incessantly that my destiny was to marry a girl.  But Brother Hanson married a girl and then got out of it through a "divorce."  Of course, he couldn't be Minister of Music afterwards, but that was a small price to pay for the freedom to live with a boy.

2. No Movies.  We weren't supposed to even set foot inside a movie theater.  But when a cute boy named Gary invited me to a movie, I had to make a choice.  The first of many spiritual crises in my childhood.

3. Gospel Singers.  Sometimes we had guest singers, usually all-male groups that pretended to be brothers, lest anyone suspect.  When the  Sanderson Brothers became our summer camp counselors, I found an ingenious way to get a Sausage Sighting.

Junior High

4. No Premarital Kissing.  Or sex, either.  This was fine with me, but it left the question of what sex involves.  One year at Manville Camp, an older boy named Marty was happy to demonstrate.  Definite bulge, maybe a boner.

5. No Dancing.  Not even in physical education class or "in the guise of folk dancing."  Except at Washington Junior High, we had a required dance every Friday afternoon.  In eighth grade, I convinced a black-haired 7th grader named Brett to dance with me and psych out the teachers.

6. No Evolution.    The Bible Missionaries were even more conservative than Nazarenes, and thought of us as heretical libertines.  I thought it was quite a coups when Micah the Bible Missionary Boy accepted an invitation to my house to fight a common enemy, "evil-lution."

7. Summer Camp.  A week every summer of deadly-dull Bible studies, sports, and endless screaming sermons.  But when our junior high Sunday school teacher, Brother Dino, became our counselor one year, I saw him naked in the shower.  Major Sausage Sighting.

8. The Prospect List.  People who came to Sunday school or church, even once, were put on a special list.  We were supposed to call, write, or visit them regularly to invite them back and try to win their souls. It rarely worked, but one summer I managed to befriend Frank, a boy my age who went to the Catholic school.

9. Olivet.  If we went to college at all, it had to be Olivet, the Nazarene college on the prairie, where all of the boys were training to be ministers, and all of the girls, to be their wives.  While we were visiting during a prospective student weekend, a ministerial student named Rick, kissing his girlfriend on a couch on the other side of the room, became obviously aroused.

10. The Altar Call.  At the end of most services, the preacher invited those who needed to "get right with God" to come down to the altar and kneel, whereupon members of the same sex would grab, hug, and hold them to help them "pray through to victory."  I got a lot of hugging, groping, and bulge-viewing that way, but I especially wanted Phil, the President of the Youth Society, the cutest and coolest boy I ever met.  But he never went down.  I had to get him to sin, so he would go.

High School

11. Vacation.  
You weren't excused from church just because you were on vacation, even though casual visitors were often mobbed by wannabe soulwinners.  One summer in Minnesota, I got on my knees in a cute boy's bedroom.

12. Preacher's Kids.  When you grow up in a fishbowl, scrutinized and judged by the entire congregation, you typically turn into a teenage wild child, staying out late, breaking all the Nazarene rules, and leaving a score of romantic conquests in your wake.  So when I asked out Verne, the Preacher's Son, I was shocked that he accepted.

13. The International Institute.  Every four years, an International Institute was held for select Nazarene youth, to teach us how to win souls for Christ worldwide.  There was very limited sightseeing, but I managed to sneak out of the dorm, go to a bar, and dance with a Swedish leatherboy, breaking eight rules at once.

14.Soulwinning.  Getting strangers to accept Jesus Christ as their Personal Savior was easier in theory than in practice.  I was too nervous to try most of the time, and when I did try, with the gay waiter at Olivet,  he had heard the spiel a hundred times before. And I didn't even get to see his bulge.

15. Afterglow.  After the Sunday evening service, the Nazarene Young People's Society held a special party called "Afterglow."   It was supposed to be a soulwinning device: kids who would never accept an invitation to church might come to a party.  If they didn't mind sodas, snacks, and stupid party games.  Few outsiders came, except one night, Danny, a very muscular boy with a leg brace, who I remembered from Denkmann years before.


16.The Jump Quiz was the Nazarene sport of Bibles and butts.  The object was to get your butt off your chair fast enough to answer a Bible question.  I didn't have a very good record, but when I was a freshman in college, the preacher asked me to be the Jump Quiz Coach.  I had to coach a whole teamful of cute guys.

17. Missionaries.  During the summer after my freshman year, the church asked for volunteers to build a new Nazarene church in Colombia.  I had dropped out by that time, but I wasn't going to turn down a free trip to Colombia.   And I met Marco the Gay Cannibal.


18. The Alabaster Box.   Nazarenes were expected to give 10% of their pre-tax income, minimum, as a "tithe." Additional offerings often took up another 10%.  Plus you kept an Alabaster Box on your shelf for spare change. Brother Byron, the Church Treasurer, was responsible for accumulating and calculating the money.  And, years after I left the church, I dropped in to find out why he never married.

19. Catholics.  Nazarenes hated Catholics.  Innately evil, brainwashed idolators who would kill you as soon as look at you.  So how did the family react when my niece married a Catholic guy?  How about one who had a beard and tattoos, rode a motorcycle, played a guitar, and had the biggest bulge I ever saw?

20. The Church Organist.  We sang all the time in the church, mostly dour funereal hymns from the Victorian era, accompanied by either a piano or an organ -- all other musical instruments were suspect, or downright Satanic.  The Minister of Music was always male, but the pianist and organist were always female.  Any boy who expressed an interest in becoming a church organist was ridiculed.  Even the preacher's son.


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