Saturday, November 7, 2015

Gershom Practices on Me for His Date with the Gentile

West Hollywood, January 1993

In the gay Jewish community of West Hollywood, dating Gentiles was frowned upon.  They would push you to abandon your customs and traditions, and maybe even try to convert you to Christianity.

At the same time, Gentiles were stereotyped as wild, barbaric, sexually voracious, and gifted beneath the belt.

So when Lane and I started dating in 1989, some of his friends grumbled in Yiddish Voz is er azoy gut?, Why is he so great?  

Others squeezed his shoulder and whispered "Congratulations!"

Gershom was one of the shoulder-squeezers.  He was in his 30s, tall and slim, with curly black hair, thick eyebrows, sensual lips, and a scraggly beard.    He always came to Shabbat services at Beth Chaim Chadashim, the gay synagogue, in a suit, even in L.A. heat, and wore a prayer shawl for davening.

One Friday night after Shabbat services, he approached me at the refreshment table. "Boomer, vi geyt es du?" he said.  "Ken ikh fregn ir epes?"

Sometimes people spoke to me in Yiddish to feel me out, see if I was one of them.  But Gershom knew I wasn't Jewish.  What was going on?

"No comprendo," I said in Spanish.



"Sorry, sorry."  He grinned. "I go back to Yiddish when I'm nervous.  Let's take a walk outside, ok?"

Curious, I followed him out onto bustling Pico Boulevard.   "What's up?"

"Well...you know Bernard and I broke up a few weeks ago."

I didn't know, but I nodded.

"We started dating almost the moment I got to West Hollywood.  Eight years we were together, and totally monogamous, no sharing."

Where was this going?  Was he cruising me?

"Well, there are lots of cute guys at the synagogue," I said. "As soon as word gets around that you're available, they'll be knocking on your door."

"That's the thing.  At work there's a new guy, Nathan, a blond angel, so cute I can't stand it!  And smart -- he speaks five languages.  And he's cruising me constantly.  And yesterday he asks me out!  I'm thinking, 'my first date in eight years!'  Where should we go?  What should I wear?  And then I get all ferblunjit." 

"Sounds great.  What's the problem?"

"The problem is, he's goyische -- a Gentile!"

"So what?  You're not prejudiced, are you?"

"Well -- you see I'm not very experienced.  I've only been with four guys before, other than Bernard, and none of them were Gentiles."

How was that possible?  But, I figured, he grew up in Brooklyn's Hasidic community and now lived in the heart of L.A.'s Jewish neighborhood.  He had a job in a travel agency that specialized in flights to Israel.  His entire social life revolved around the synagogue and the Gay Jewish Alliance. How would he meet anyone non-Jewish?


"We put our pants on a leg at a time, just like you.  And take them off."

"Well, that's the problem... you don't get a bris, you're nischt mie -- uncut, right?"  He looked down at my crotch.

I instinctively covered it with my hand.  "Right, I'm uncut, but circumcision is pretty common for Americans.  I wouldn't worry..."

"Boomer, Nathan isn't American, he's French! From Marseilles!"

"Ok, then, he's probably uncut, but what's the difference?  It's still a penis."

"What's the difference, oy -- what if seeing one makes me sick?  Or I gag on it?  Or the foreskin gets caught in my teeth?  The date will be ruined!"  He looked down at the sidewalk.  "Nu, I was wondering, if Lane doesn't mind, could I...well, could I practice on you?"

I was surprised, but not unpleasantly.  "Sure!  We can all get together tonight, if you like."

"Oh, no, I don't have sex on Shabbat. And the date is tomorrow night!"

Wait -- no sex during the 24 hours from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, and then the date begins?  "How will we have time?  Sharing on the first date is a really bad idea."

"No, no, not sharing," Gershom said quickly.  "I have it all figured out.  I invite you and Lane over to have dinner with us.  Then they sit down in the living room to watch a movie, and I say I need help in the kitchen, with dessert.  Nu, while they're busy, we practice in the kitchen.  Then I'm ready for Nathan.  Simple, es iz ams?"

As simple as an episode of Three's Company.  "What if Nathan catches us together during his date with you?  He'll be furious!"

"That won't happen, I promise.  Please -- I really need to practice."

Lane, always up for an adventure, agreed to the plan.

On Saturday night, Gershom prepared a nice kosher dinner of brisket, fried potatoes, cabbage, and cucumbers in a cream sauce.

Nathan was a Cute Young Thing, tall, svelte, in his mid 20s, with blond hair and a handsome, clean-shaven face.  He was new to West Hollywood, a flight attendant who visited L.A. for the first time last month and decided to stay.

"I have not met a Juif before Gershom," he explained.  "Your religion, it is so fascinating.  I want to know everything! Tell me why you do the circoncision of boys.  And how you know when food is kosher."

And indeed, he asked so many questions that the dinner seemed more like a Judaism 101 lecture.  But eventually we moved into the living room, and Lane took over the answers.  Gershom asked me to help clear the table and get the dessert ready.

We went into the kitchen and shut the door.

Gershom tried to unzip me right away, but I said "We have to kiss, or I don't get in the mood."

So we kissed and groped for awhile.

"Feels like an ordinary penis," he said in a strangely disappointed voice.  Had he been expecting some diabolical pointy thing?

After a few minutes, I dropped my pants, and Gershom fell to his knees and got to work.  He did an excellent job.  I finished very quickly.

"Was I ok?", he asked, rising to his feet again.

I zipped up.  "Yeah, great, but we'd better get back out there, or Nathan will get suspicious."

We needn't have worried.  When we went back into the living room with our tray of chocolate mousse and pot of coffee, Nathan was on his knees in front of Lane.

We both stared.  I cleared my throat.

Nathan pulled away and jumped to his feet.  "Désolée, désolée, Gershom.  I know it is our first date.  But I was worry.  I have never before been with a gars who was circoncis, and I wanted to be nice for you later."

"It was my idea," Lane said with a grin.  "Why should Gershom be the only one who gets to  practice in advance?"

We had our desserts and left them alone, to finish their date without any distractions.

They only dated twice -- apparently they didn't have a lot of erotic interests in common --, but Nathan's fascination with Judaism continued.  He began coming to Shabbat services. Soon he was inquiring about conversion.

By the way, Reform Judaism does not require its converts to be circumcized, so he remained uncut.

See also: Scandalizing the Orthodox Cute Young Thing; Lane's First Trip in the Straight World; The One Thing Kerry Wants in a Guy

A Hookup with My Dad's Old Navy Buddy or His Grandson


Plains, October 2014

Last fall, around Halloween, I got an email about the next M4M Party from a guy named Phil: "I'll be driving through town Saturday, and I would like to come."

Unfortunately, the party was on Sunday.

"I must have read the date wrong," Phil replied.  "Can I come by anyway and hook up with you?"

Guys who can't make it to the parties request hookups all the time.  I usually refuse, but Phil sent a very attractive selfie: he was in his 20s or 30s, round face, dark eyebrows, nice smile, and very muscular, with well developed pecs and abs.

But that's not why I agreed to meet him: he looked absolutely familiar, as if I had known him all my life.

On the brisk Saturday afternoon before Halloween, we met at the gay-friendly coffee house a few blocks away from my house.  In jeans and a red t-shirt, Phil looked even more familiar.  I wanted to run up, hug him, and say "It's been a long time!"  Instead I shook his hand and asked "Have we met before?"

"I don't think so.  At least, you don't look familiar."

He told me that his father was a diplomat; he grew up bouncing from Germany to Italy to Sweden, and through a dozen U.S. states.  All that moving gave him wanderlust, so after high school he joined the navy, and traveled to Korea, Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines, and Singapore.


That list sounded familiar, too, but I couldn't figure out from where.

After the Navy, he went to UCLA and majored in East Asian languages, then"bounced around," doing all kinds of things.

"I've been a hustler in Prague, a kept boy in Morocco, a translator in Beijing, a dishwasher in Nepal, a ski instructor in Spain, and an English teacher in Iran.  Have you ever eaten caviar while watching the sun rise over the Caspian Sea?"

No way!  Americans couldn't work in Iran after the 1979 revolution.  Phil was feeding me a line!

Well, I was something of a world traveler myself.

"I picked up a Swedish bodybuilder at a gay bar in Tallinn, Estonia."

"Oh, the Angel Bar, down the street from the Kiek in die Kok Tower?"

"My friend and I tried to start a gay Pentecostal church in Osaka."  

"Osaka!  Have you ever been to Physique?  I used to know the owner.  Very nice guy."

Ok,this guy had swallowed a Damron Gay Guide.  How could he have crammed all that travel into 25 or 30 years?  He must be feeding me a line.

But he was very cute, and he still looked very familiar, so I invited him home.

Phil was affectionate in bed, versatile, and very gifted beneath the belt -- a Mortadella+!  I could believe his tales of being a hustler and kept boy.


"So, does your truck driving job bring you through town often?"  I asked afterwards.  "We could get together..."

"Maybe.  I never know my route in advance.  One week I might be driving to Tuscaloosa, and the next to Anchorage.  I'll let you know...."

Which in gay circles means "It's been nice, but I don't want to see you again."

That night I sat staring at Phil's selfie and going through the old photos on my computer.  Friends from Upstate, Florida, New York.  No.

West Hollywood, 20 years ago?  No, he wasn't old enough.

College, thirty years ago?  No.

Then I remembered!  I texted my Dad.  "That picture of you in the Navy, with civilian clothes.  Could you email it to me?"


An hour later, a photo appeared as an email attachment, Dad in civilian clothes and his 1950s hair wave, his arm around a taller guy with a crew cut.  "Me and Luke, Okinawa."

Different hair, but same face.  Phil, 50 years ago!

That's why he looked so familiar.

Dad always said that his years in the Navy, from 1956  through 1960, were the best time of his life.  He had a whole album of photos of him and his buddies, which his grandson had recently scanned and put on his computer.

When I was a kid, hungry for any evidence of same-sex desire, I was intrigued by the quiet intimacy of the photos.  I stared at them for hours, wondering if Dad had a secret gay life, but afraid to ask.

"Who was Luke?"  I texted Dad.  "What can you tell me about him?"

Dad isn't good at texting, so he called me.  "He was a couple of years older than me, in his late 20s. He took me under his wing when I was stationed in Japan.  And I think we were in the Philippines, too.  I had never been outside of Indiana before, but he had literally been everywhere!  He spoke fluent Japanese!"

He sent me three other pictures of him and Luke together.


 My favorite, one that I found hot as a kid, depicted them in swimsuits on a beach, their arms around each other, cans of beer in their hands.

Dad had a bulge.

"Did you keep in contact with Luke later" I asked.

"Not really.  Last I heard he was in college, studying international relations on the G.I. Bill. But that would have been in the early 1960s. Why so many questions about Luke?"

"Oh...um...I met a guy today who looked exactly like him.  It was spooky."

I sent him the selfie.

"That's the spitting image of Luke!" Dad said.  "Must be his grandson.  Imagine hearing about him again after 50 years!"

Did I hook up with Luke's grandson?




Or with Luke himself, unchanged, eternal?

See also: The Mystery of the "Kiss My Ass" BurroThe Football Player who got unstuck in time.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

20 Shared Friends, Lovers, Roommates, Hookups, and Hot Guys


"Sharing" means a romantic couple inviting a friend or roommate to participate in their bedroom activity.  The custom developed during the first years of the AIDS epidemic, when sex with strangers was frowned upon.

But even in the world where smartphone apps have made anonymous hookups commonplace, sharing has some distinct advantages.

You don't need to bother looking; the arrangement is already made.  Someone else has already screened him to make sure he's not crazy, a criminal, or lacking in basic hygiene. You get to be with someone who would otherwise be out of your league, spoken for, or not into hookups.

And you might develop a polyamorous 3-way romance.

Here are 20 memorable sharing experiences.

College

1. Mark the Optometry Student and Shaun  During my first year in Bloomington, I accidentally intruded upon my down-the-hall neighbor Mark with his boyfriend Shaun, who he introduced as a visiting cousin.  I didn't realize that they were gay or on a date, so I "stole" Shaun away for a date of my own.





2. Viju and Sunan.  My roommate Viju and I often cruised at Bullwinkle's, competing over who could pick up the cutest guy.  One night we competed over a Thai boy named Sunan, who finally came home with both of us.

West Hollywood

3. Alan and the Kept Boy. When I first moved to West Hollywood, I wasn't interested in sharing.  But one night at Mugi, a tall, blond twink named Zack invited himself home with me, and Alan joined in the bedroom activity.

4. Raul and Heinz.  Raul was my on-off boyfriend from 1986 to about 1989, and Heinz was his roommate, an older German guy who had a lot of annoying habits, like requiring us to take our shoes and socks both off before walking on the carpet, and singing "Come away wiz me tu Mal-i-buuu" all the time.  So how did we end up inviting him into our bed?  It was Raul's idea.

5. Derek and Cowboy of Sunset Boulevard.  My housemate Derek, a fitness model turned realtor, never invited me to share.  Until the Cowboy of Sunset Boulevard dumped me for Derek, and felt so guilty that he invited me to share.

6. Lane  and the Teenage Beach Boy.  Lane and I were together from 1989 through 1996 or 1997 (depending on who you ask). We were allowed to date other guys, as long as the date ended with the all three of us in the bedroom together.  We both were interested in Artan, the teenage beach boy, but he broke up with us after the third date because we were too energetic for him.

7. Gershom and the Gentile.  In gay Jewish circles, dating non-Jews was frowned upon and uncommon, and Gershom, raised in an Orthodox household, was more scrupulous than most.  But then he met the Man of His Dreams, who happened to be a Gentile.  He asked to practice on me first, so he wouldn't gag on an uncircumcized penis.

San Francisco

8. David and the Homeless Teenager.
  David, the ex-Baptist minister, came out at 43 and was making up for lost time by cruising everyone in sight.  But I didn't think he would cruise the teenage panhandler...and make a date with him.  We didn't actually share, but there was some fondling going on.

9. David and the Straight Boy.  
David bet me that we could both pick up straight guys at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.  I struck out with mine, but later he went back to the festival, picked him up, and brought him back to the hotel to share.

New York

10. Yuri and Ali.
  After Yuri came out, he was a little nervous, so he asked me to share in the bedroom activities on his first date.

11.  Yuri and the Unhung Hippie.  Yuri's four-point plan for finding super-sized penises went astray when we cruised the unhung hippie.



12. Joe and the Muscle Bear.  The Muscle Bear was my boyfriend Joe's ex, a conservative country guy who was absolutely not into sharing.  Or so Joe believed.

Florida

13. Dick and the Pizza Boy.  When I was in Rock Island one summer, I cruised Jack, a theater major working the counter at the pizza place.  I didn't have time to finish the hookup, so I asked my friend and former bully Dick to take over.  He ended up dating Jack, and later gave me to as a "Christmas present."

14. Dick, Jack, and the Son of Mr. Blowfish.  Sammy, the son of my old speech teacher Mr. Blowfish, invited me to visit him in small-town Iowa, and wouldn't let me leave.  To avoid becoming "the boyfriend," I introduced him to Dick and Jack.  They took him off my hands.




15. David and the Teenage Hitchhiker.  David came to Florida for a visit one summer, and we took a road trip to Key West.  On the way, we picked up a hitchhiker, an 18-year old FIU student.

16. Yuri and Jim the Baseball Player. In Florida, Yuri and I shared each other's boyfriends regularly, but I couldn't manage to get invited to share Jim the Baseball Player.  They were busy, they were too tired, the timing was off, something always went wrong.

Ohio

17. Charlie and Leronne.  
Charlie was one of my two boyfriends, a high school football coach.  One night we shared his ex, Leronne, the only guy who has ever criticized my size.




18. Carlos and the Muscle God.  Carlos had two secrets.  One: when he said he was a little chubby, he wasn't being entirely honest.  Two: his boyfriend was a Hispanic muscle god.

Upstate

19. Troy and the Bondage Boy.  Troy and I were together for about five years.  He was a total bottom and not into BDSM, but one day he said he wanted to try something new.








 Plains

20. Yuri and the Muscle Daddies.  Yuri was always into older guys.  When he visited me on the Plains, he was 40, so I arranged for us to share an older guy I knew.  But he had other ideas.












Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The First Time Yuri and I Shared

Long Island, February 1998

Yuri knows the exact moment he came out: at 7:40 pm on December 5th, 1997, the night of the department Christmas party.  The night he found out why my nickname is Boomer.

We tried to date afterwards, but we were so used to being friends that it was awkward.  So we decided that Yuri should start exploring the gay world on his own.

"For my first date," he said, "My first real date, I want somebody special.  Big."

"What, I'm not big enough for you?"

He laughed and hit me on the shoulder.  "You know what I mean.  Super big!  In Russia we don't have a lot of chernokosnie -- black guys.  Have you been with them?"

"A few."

"How big are they?"

"Well, I can't speak for all black guys, but T, the thug wannabe I dated in West Hollywood, was a Mortadella+."

He grinned.  "Great!  We will go to Manhattan and find some chernokosnie.  Except  for my first time I'm a little...um...scared.  So for the sex, you will be there too, ok?"

I knew all the places to meet black men in Los Angeles, but in New York, I wasn't so sure.  I checked the Gayellow Pages and the Damron Guide, and came up empty except for the Mount Morris Baths in Harlem.


On Sunday afternoon we took the train into the City and checked it out.  But it looked rundown and sleazy, and Yuri didn't want to go in.  We spent the afternoon at the Museum of Natural History instead, and then went to a tea dance at Barracuda in Chelsea.

A sea of white faces.  I was beginning to suspect that Manhattan was as racially segregated as West Hollywood.

We were cruised extensively, but we came to Manhattan to meet a specific kind of guy, and that's what we were going to get.

"What about the Bondage Club you go to?" Yuri asked.  "Do they have black guys?"

"Occasionally.  Not a lot of black guys are into dominance and submission games."


"I saw a club in the Gayellow Pages.  Black and White Men Together?"

"No, that group is for guys already in an interracial relationship.  You won't find a boyfriend there."


We returned to Long Island and tried a search on gay.com.  Eventually we started instant messaging Ali, a grad student at Hofstra University, 25 years old, rather slim -- Yuri preferred older and muscular.  But he was black, and he spoke Russian!

Yuri typed furiously for awhile, and then told me "He always wanted to be with a Russian guy.  He thinks we are big down there."

"Well, you're not small.  Sounds like a date."

 "Sure, sure.  But don't forget, you will be there for the sex."

The next Saturday night I watched tv in Yuri's apartment while he met Ali at an Indian restaurant.  Afterwards they went to the Hercules Pavilion, which houses the figurehead from an old ship.  It was the only public beefcake on Long Island, a favored spot for a first kiss.

They returned to the apartment at 10:00.  Ali was a polite, soft-spoken young man who called me "sir" and shook my hand.

Did he think I was like Yuri's father, inspecting his son's date?

"We can do better than that," I said, drawing him into a kiss.



Soon all three of us were in the bedroom, kissing and groping and pulling our clothes off.  We fell down onto the bed with Ali in the middle.

He was only average beneath the belt, not even a Bratwurst.

I started to go down, but he pushed my head away.

"Sorry," I murmured.  "I guess that's Yuri's job."

I tried to push Yuri's head down, but Ali resisted again.

"It's not that," he said.  "I don't really like oral."

Yuri looked confused.  "No...down there?  I will turn over for you, then?"

"Not without a condom!" I reminded him.

"No anal either," Ali said.  "Sorry."

Now it was my turn to be confused.  "No oral, no anal. That's different.  What do you like?"

"This, mostly."  He started kissing and groping me.

Nothing else happened that night, except between me and Yuri.

Rather an inauspicious first date.

But not to worry, Yuri soon learned to negotiate gay chatrooms and started setting up his own dates. Black, white, big, small, he didn't care, as long as you were attractive and able to hold a decent conversation.

And willing to do things other than kiss.

See also: Yuri's First Boyfriend; Why My Nickname is Boomer


Monday, November 2, 2015

Saving the Nazarene Boy in Indianapolis

Indianapolis, December 2013

For all the misery and deprivation of growing up in the Nazarene Church, there were some advantages.  Three services per week, plus Sunday School, Nazarene Young People's Society, Afterglow, summer camp, revivals, adult and teen choirs, fall and spring cantatas, Christmas pageants, and miscellaneous special numbers -- we spent half our lives singing.

We learned to read music almost as soon as we could walk.  Keys, chords, timbre, arpeggios, adaggio, tremolo, glissando were second nature.

We were accompanied by the piano and organ only.  Other instruments were "not appropriate" for church, and guitars and drums completely forbidden.

And only girls played them.

Boys could learn the piano and organ, to help them with their voice lessons, or if they planned to become Ministers of Music.  But they never played in front of the church.  A boy pianist or organist would have been as bizarre as a girl preacher.

I left the Nazarene church years ago, but my mother and sister still email me regularly, to tell of the going ons,, the squabbles with preachers, the relationships of the children and grandchildren of people I used to know -- and, when they all moved to Indiana in 1995, the children and grandchildren of people I'd never met.

One day she said "I don't know what got into the preacher's son!  He's studying music at Olivet.."

"So what?  Maybe he wants to become a Minister of Music."

"No."  Mom paused, breathless with scandal.  "He's concentrating in the organ!"

I grinned.  A boy organist!  It was as gender-transgressive as a boy wearing a dress!   "I'm surprised they even allow him to major in the organ.  Do they let him play in church?"

"Not yet.  But his dad promised to let him accompany the singers at the cantata."  That was an all-music service that we had at Christmastime.

I thought immediately: "Gay kid!" and "Needs saving from Nazarene homophobia!"

So I drove home for the holidays, and went to the Sunday morning service at the ultra-homophobic Nazarene church

I hadn't been inside an ultra-homophobic Nazarene church, except for weddings and funerals, since college.  I kept close to Mom and Dad so no one would pounce on me as "fresh meat."

The cantata consisted of an adult choir of ten people, a children's choir, and five soloists.  No one wore robes, of course.  They sang the same songs I remembered from countless cantatas as a kid: "His Name is Wonderful," "Do You Hear What I Hear?"; "What Child is This," and a single nod to classical music "O Come, Emmanuel" from The Messiah. 

Simon the preacher's kid was a slim sandy-haired twink, about 20 years old, with a long face and and slim, delicate hands.  He closed his eyes while playing, as if the music was flowing through his fingers directly to the keys.


Definitely gay.

Nazarenes don't have coffee hours for cruising...um, I mean socializing...after church, but some socializing goes on in the foyer as you're waiting to shake the preacher's hand on the way out.  The choir members got effusive praise, but Simon stood by himself, being studiously ignored by everyone except some of the teens.

I walked over and introduced myself, and Simon politely said "Praise the Lord" and shook my hand.  He had a warm, loose handshake.

"I think it's great that you want to become a church organist," I said.  "There's no reason why a man can't be an organist, or a woman a Minister of Music."

Whoops! A controversial statement!  But Simon grinned.  Apparently he was a member of that rare breed, a liberal Nazarene.



Would my superheroic attractiveness to twinks work on a Nazarene?  I decided not to risk it, and went with place-dropping.

"Um....I know a guy in California who's a church organist."

"California!"  His eyes widened.  "I'd love to go there someday!"

"I lived in West Hollywood for 10 years and San Francisco for two."

"Wow!  Weren't you...um...scared of the gays?"

My face burned.  Not gay, homophobic.  But then, I was mega-homophobic when I was his age.  Before I came out.

"Oh, no," I said.  "They never bothered me."

One of the teens -- a boy, I noticed -- whispered something in Simon's ear.

"I'd love to hear about it, but we have to go.  Maybe we could hang out tomorrow?"

"Sure.  I'll come by the parsonage at noon, and take you to lunch."  And a Gay 101 lesson!

Over chiles rellenos at a Mexican restaurant, I started my spiel.  "I knew lots of gay people in California...they were..."

"Older guys always beat around the bush," Simon said, cutting me off.  "I guess you had to, back when you were young.  But nowadays we just ask.  Yep, I'm gay.  And you are, too."

I stared.

"Don't get me wrong.  It was cute, watching you try to bring up the topic without saying it."

"Um...is it ok, being gay at a Nazarene college?"

"I have to keep a low profile, but I'm out to all of my friends.  Some of my professors, too."

"And your parents?"



He laughed.  "Oh, they're not happy with it, but they don't say anything.  They've even met my boyfriend.  Want to see his picture?"  He handed me his phone (top photo).

"They were more upset about his beard and tattoo than about us being a couple."

A preacher's kid and his boyfriend having dinner at a Nazarene parsonage!  My mind reeled.  "Is he a Nazarene, too?"

"Devout Episcopalian.  We met on Grindr.  Wanna see the selfie I used to get him interested?"  He took back his phone and flipped through his photos to find it.  Very cute, very big beneath the belt.

"Impressive," I said.

He dug into his chile relleno.  "What about you? You grew up in the Nazarene church in..what, the 1960s?  The 1970s?  You must have some horror stories!"

Nothing physical happened, but it was nice to meet a Nazarene boy who was out and proud, who didn't need saving after all.

See also: The Catholic Boy's Bulge.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Straight Boy's First Time

Plains, October 2013

I often get requests from guys beginning "I'm straight, I've never been with a guy before, and I want to try it out with you."

No way!  If you're straight, why would you even want to be with a guy?  And if you're bi, gay, on the downlow, or "not into labels," shouldn't your first time be with just one guy, not a group?

They often counter with: "Ok, then, can I try it out with you?"

No way!  Get yourself a boyfriend, not some random hookup.  What if we don't find each other attractive?

But I agreed  to a guy who just went by the initials CJ, mainly because he was so skittish and had so many requirements, I took it as a challenge.

1. "How do I know you're not a cop?"
What would the crime be?  Same-sex activity is legal in this state.



2. "How do I know you're disease free?"
How do I know you are?

3. "I don't want you to know my real name."
Why, what do you think will happen?
"You'll tell someone about me, and he'll know who I am."
Right, I know all your friends.

4. "I don't want you to know where I'm from."
Same town as me, right?
"No, I live far away.  I could never do anything in the town where I live.  Someone might find out."

5. "I don't want you to know where I work."
Why?  Do you have a homophobic boss that will fire you for being gay?
"No, I'm afraid you will come to my job and try to talk to me."

6. "Can I come late at night, so there's no one on the street?  They might see me."
Yes, the "I'm here for a hookup." sign blazing on your chest might clue in the passersby.

7. "I don't want to do anything that I don't want to do."
Huh?


8. "I'll send you a picture, but not a face shot.  I don't want you to recognize me."
He sent me three pictures of him with his face cut out, standing next to other people.  Their faces were still visible.
Thanks, that is so helpful.

By this point, I was pretty sure that CJ was a time traveler from the 1950s.  Who was so skittish about being gay in this day and age?

First meeting: a no-show.  "Sorry, a friend dropped by, and I couldn't get away."

Second meeting: a no-show: "Sorry, there was somebody on the street, so I was afraid to come in."

Usually you just get two chances, but he kept emailing me:  "I really want to do this."  So I agreed.

Third meeting: He showed up an hour late.  "Sorry, I've been sitting in the car, waiting until there was no one around."

CJ was a twink, about as tall as me, very athletic, with a long face, small nose, and dark blond hair.

"Since you don't want to talk about biographical details, let's go right into the bedroom," I suggested.

We went into the bedroom and faced each other.  "I'm really nervous," he said.  "I've never done this before.  I'm straight.  Um...what do gay guys usually do?"

"We start with a kiss."

Soon we were making out vigorously on the bed.

Wait -- straight guys on the downlow never want to kiss.

CJ took his clothes off.  He was very large beneath the belt, a Kielbasa+, and shaved.
Since when do straight guys shave their crotches?  

He started to work on me.  He didn't do a good job -- he sputtered and choked, and kept finding hairs.  "Sorry -- I've never done that before -- I'm straight."

I started working on him.  He was done almost immediately.

"Sorry...no one's every done that before.  I'm straight."

Didn't he know that women were just as capable of oral sex as men?  Or had he never been with anyone before, male or female?

"So, now what?  Do we do anal?"

"If you've never done it before, how do you know you're into anal?"

"I've seen it in porn.  And I've fantasized about it.  One guy at work is huge -- I saw him in the john -- I fantasize about him all the time."

"So you watch gay porn and have fantasies about men topping you, but you're straight?"

"Yeah.  You can't tell that I like guys, right?  I mean, not by looking, like you can tell gays?"

I was a little offended at the "can tell gays by looking" crack, and I'm not much for anal anyway, so I refused.  CJ started getting dressed.  He glanced at my bookshelf: Gay American History, Gay Los Angeles, A History of Gay Literature, An Anthology of Gay Comics.  

"So many gay books!"  he exclaimed.  "Aren't you scared to buy them?  What if you get arrested?"

"Gay books are legal," I said, shocked.  "There are courses in gay literature and culture at most colleges.  You can major in Gay Studies at the University."

He grinned.  "You joking, right?  Who would major in Gay Studies?  They'd get beat up!"

"The Prairie isn't nearly as homophobic as you think.  You have to take a few minor precautions, like not holding hands in public, but other than that, there's really no problem.  I belong to a Gay Men's Group that meets at a different restaurant every month.  We never even get stared at."

"A Gay Men's Group!  In public and everything!  I can't believe it!"

"Come to it sometime.  I'll show you around."

"Do you use real names?"

"Yes. We even know each other's jobs."

"Sounds interesting...we'll see.  I'll email you."  He kissed me and left.

He hasn't made it to a meeting yet.  But he keeps asking questions.  He now knows about Stonewall, the Metropolitan Community Church, Lawrence v. Texas, and Gay Pride Festivals.  It's a start.

See also: My First Grindr Hookup; The Teenager at the Bear Party; a Hookup from Hell on the Plains.

High School Graduation: Getting Down with a Dude


Rock Island, May 1978

My brother Ken wasn't the only one who seemed to "know" in the winter and spring of 1978, my senior year at Rocky High, as I studied for AP exams and filled out college applications.  It seemed that I spent the whole semester protesting "No way am I a Swish!"

1. Darry (below), who explored the ghost of Davenport House with me, gave me a portable chess set for Christmas, with the card saying: "You'll need this for your honeymoon with Xaviera Hollander."

Xaviera Hollander was a New York City madame who told about her exclusive brothel in an autobiography, The Happy Hooker.  She was widely recognized as the most beautiful woman in the world.  Why would I need a chess set for my honeymoon with her?  Obviously because we wouldn't be having sex!








2. My Career Planning teacher assigned the Strong Interest Inventory, which matched you to jobs based on a series of Zen paradoxes: would you prefer to draw maps or feed zebras,  solve people’s problems or drive race cars, chop wood or program computers? When the results came, I was a good match for journalist, chemist, historian, and astronomer.

And female lawyer.  But not male lawyer.

Hot with rage, I stormed up to the teacher.  “This test thinks I’m a Swish!” I yelled.

With the offending score under his nose, he stumbled around for a few moments and finally came up with an excuse:  "Male and female lawyers draw on different sets of skills. The men are more aggressive,  and the ladies are more nurturing."  He looked up at me with watery wounded eyes.  "It doesn't mean that you have homo...homosexual tendencies or anything."


3. After the Sunday evenings service, the teens gathered for "Afterglow," a sort of party with games, Gospel music, and snacks.  Since it counted as a date, the ten or fifteen minutes between altar call and Afterglow was filled with preening, evaluating, and drama.

Church royalty usually had many invitations to choose from, especially Debbie, who was spoiled, snooty, and arrogant.  So I was surprised when she approached me with three of her cronies in tow, pressed her flat palm hard against my chest, and commanded, “You’re taking me to Afterglow.”


When I refused, she stared open-mouthed for a moment, as if she had never heard such nonsense, and then said "Figures.  I knew he was a Swish."  Her cronies giggled with delight.

4. For a skit in Spanish class, my female partner and I pretended to be parked at a lover’s lane. I took her in my arms, and an accomplice cut the lights, giving us time to muss our hair and clothes as if we had been necking. It wasn’t supposed to be funny, but the class roared.

Later my friend Tom, who would invite me to visit him in Los Angeles two years later, explained: “It was just the idea of you with a girl!”

I thought he meant a Nazarene, forbidden anything past first base, but now I realized that he thought I didn't like girls, so the sight of me pretending to kiss one was hilarious.

5. Craig, who went streaking with me in junior high, invited me to his graduation party.  "There'll be mattresses in the basement," he said, "In case you want to get down with. . .um. . .anybody."

Surely he meant "with a girl." He would be shocked and outraged if I used the mattress to get down with a dude.

Wouldn't he?

But he did say "get down with...um...anybody."

No way was I a Swish!

My First Kiss, from Greg the Boy Vampire

Rock Island, October 1969

I'm pretty sure that I kissed the boy next door when we got married  in the first grade, but it was a purely ritualistic kiss, necessary to seal our bond.  My first unscripted kiss was in the fall of 1969, in fourth grade.  But not with my boyfriend Bill

I used to rush home from school to catch most of Dark Shadows (1966-71), the Gothic soap opera about tortured vampire Barnabas Collins. Bill didn't like it -- he only liked science fiction -- so he would sit in the bedroom reading comic books until it was time for Cartoon Showboat, or else come over after.  So I invited Greg, a fourth grader who was taller than me, with brown hair and braces, well-built but preternaturally pale, as if he had never been in the sun.






Greg liked science, like Bill and me, but he was also a fan of the paranormal: haunted houses, Bigfoot, UFOs, fairies, demons.  He had a painting of Lucifer falling from heaven on his bedroom wall.

He first introduced me to Greek mythology by lending me one of his books.  I remember a picture of a hairy satyr with goat legs and horns, his arms wrapped around a muscular teenager who was playing a five-reeded flute. They were both naked. (I think it was this famous statue of Pan and Daphnis.)

One day Greg and I were watching Dark Shadows alone -- Bill was coming over later -- when suddenly he jumped up and ran into the bathroom. He returned with a bath towel tied around his neck like a cloak. He raised his arms like vampire claws and exclaimed “I am Barnabas Collins!"

"You'd better be!" I said.  "If my mom catches you with that towel, you're dead!"

"I am a vampire!" Greg continued.  "See my fangs?"  He opened his mouth to reveal sharp chiseled canines.

Fake fangs! I thought. He must have gotten them from the Dark Shadows game, which came with a set of "real' Barnabas fangs. But they looked real.

“If you’re a vampire, why can you go out in the daytime?” I said, trying to play along, but also somewhat disturbed. Part of me was wondering if Greg really could be a vampire.

“Barnabas goes out in the daytime!” Greg said in an impatient tone. Vampires aren’t magic! They just suck blood.” He flounced atop me and knelt on my lap. “I’m going to suck your blood right now!”



Before I could protest, Greg’s mouth was clamped down against my neck. I felt his lips, the hard plastic of the fangs, his tongue -- and shoved him roughly aside.  "Get lost, Spazz! If you suck my blood, we can’t be friends anymore.”

Pouting, Greg returned to his seat.  “Barnabas sucks Willie’s blood. It doesn’t hurt. It feels groovy – like a kiss!”

“Boys don’t kiss!”

“Sure they do. Like this.” Greg took out his fake fangs, leaned forward and kissed me briefly on the mouth.  It was cool and hard, but still exciting.  My heart was pounding.  My first kiss from a boy!

I pushed him aside and called him a Spazz again.

Apparently discouraged, Greg didn't try to kiss me again, though we continued to be friends until his family moved away, shortly after we visited A Little Bit O'Heaven in sixth grade.

And when I tried to kiss Bill, he always pulled away,  so I got his cheek.  I didn't succeed in kissing anyone on the mouth until junior high.

Teenage Millionaire: The Teen Idol Career of Jimmy Clanton

Have you ever heard of Jimmy Clanton?

I thought I was an expert on teen idols, but I missed this one.

Born in 1938 in Louisiana, he burst onto the charts right after high school, eschewing the usual rock for rhythm & blues.  Between 1958 and 1962, he released six albums, and had three hit songs:

The full post is on Boomer Beefcake and Bonding