Saturday, January 2, 2016
I Hook Up with a Dakota Indian Boy, Sort of
3 million people in the U.S. identify as Native Americans. That's about 1% of the population.
But I've had rather poor luck trying to meet some.
1. The Teenage Indian God at Smoky Mountains National Park was actually white.
2. So was the only guy I met while cruising the Navajo Nation.
3. And the museum guard I picked up at the Eiteljorg Museum of Native American Arts.
That leaves the Eskimo who I shared with my partner Lane in West Hollywood and the Dakota guy I met in Fort Lauderdale. And maybe a few other guys that didn't volunteer their race, and I thought were Hispanic, like this guy in L.A.
In 2013, I moved to the Plains, home to some of the biggest Native American tribes in the U.S., like the Sioux (185,000), the Chippewa (115,000), the Cheyenne (23,000), and the Dakota (20,000). They held pow-wows (wacipi) and other celebrations almost every weekend from June through September.
So I started going to pow wows. I wandered the stalls where they sold embroidery, jewelry, capes, books, and artwork, as well as scary conservative political slogans. Many Native Americans are hard-core Republicans.
I listened to long speeches and watched processions, dances, and ceremonies.
There were a lot of cute guys around, but none of them cruised me. They barely made eye contact.
I figured that Wacipis were mainly for connectiong with your cultural heritage and socializing with Indians from other parts of the country. Outsiders were welcome, but meeting them was not a big priority.
Well, I'm Indian, sort of. My father was adopted into the Potawatomi tribe, so I had Indian cousins and a grandmother, and my mother traces her ancestry back to Charles Renatus Hicks (1767-1827), an important Cherokee chief.
So I bought a t-shirt reading "Ask me about my tribe" and went undercover.
I got more eye contact and smiles when I wore my tribal t-shirt, and even a cruisy gaze from a hot teenage dancer, but I managed only a few very brief conversations.
Maybe everyone was too busy to meet new people.
Or else too attached to mothers and fathers, wives, cousins, and friends to respond to a same-sex cruise.
Wacipis are very family friendly (read: gay people erased and ignored).
One day in August 2014, at a pow wow in Sioux City, South Dakota, I stopped by a booth that advertised "Five Cousins Roshineers."
Roshineers is Midwestern for "roasting ears," roasted corn on the cob eaten as a snack.
There were only three cousins at the booth, two young teenagers and a very muscular twink with black hair and a smooth brown chest. His t-shirt said Tyler.
"Where are the other cousins?" I asked after ordering my corn.
"There's actually only four of us now," Tyler told me, pausing to wipe his brow. His t-shirt was damp with sweat. "The fifth, that's my brother Deacon, he started the business, but he got a job in Minneapolis, you know, and can't do it anymore. I'll probably drop out when I get out of college, too."
"Oh, you're in college!" I exclaimed. "Where do you go?"
He must have grown up on the reservation!
"What are you majoring in?" I asked, trying to keep up the conversation going.
"Geology. But I'm minoring in American Indian Studies, and I'm on the wrestling team. Want to see a picture?"
He pulled out his smartphone and showed me a picture of his hands on his opponent's crotch.
"Nice." I saw my opening. "You have quite a physique. I used to work for Muscle and Fitness magazine in L.A, and I met all the bodybuilding greats -- Schwarzenegger, Ferrigno, Hanley."
His eyes lit up. "Really? Hey, do you think you could check out my form sometime?"
"Sure -- is today good?"
"Well, I'm a little busy today. Tell you what -- come on out to the college -- it's right near the rez, you know -- and I'll give you the grand tour. Let me call you, so you have my cell phone number, right?"
He sent me a nude selfie!
Aberdeen, South Dakota, September 2014
I drove out to Aberdeen, rented a hotel room, and met Tyler for the "grand tour." A small but very scenic campus, a small, seedy looking downtown. We had lunch at a place called Daddy's Bar and Grill -- way to remind me of our age difference! I talked about growing up in the small-town Midwest, figuring "it" out, my years at Muscle and Fitness, working at Barney's Gym in Florida.
"You know so many bodybuilders!" he said. "Are all of them gay?"
"Not all, but quite a few. What about here at Northern State? A lot of gay guys?"
Tyler spent the night in my room: very nice physique, Kielbasa beneath the belt, very much into oral. In the morning we had breakfast, and I said goodbye.
"Thanks for spending time with me," he said. "So many Indians are into older guys, I didn't think you'd want a kid."
"Kids have their advantages." Suddenly it dawned on me. "Wait -- do you mean that you're not Indian?"
"Me?" Tyler laughed. "Thanks for the compliment, but I'm German. But I'm way into Indians. That's one of the perks of working the pow wows, right? I get to meet a lot of rez boys."
See also: Cruising in the Navajo Nation.