In West Hollywood when we swapped stories about hookups and dates with celebrities, I usually didn't talk about actors. My friends had much better actor stories: how could hugging Michael J. Fox, coffee with Richard Dreyfuss, or dating a minor teen idol compare with motorcycling through Wales with David Cassidy, hooking up with Alan Alda on the set of M*A*S*H, or topping Cary Grant while he went down on Groucho Marx?
Instead, I usually told about Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden.
In 1976, during my sophomore year in high school. the young, athletic king visited Rock Island, and dropped in to Rocky High to have lunch with some student leaders. I sat next to him at a big round table, answered a few polite questions, and "accidentally" brushed my leg against his.
I just had to add some colorful exaggeration -- a tour of the high school, an empty chemistry lab, an arm around my shoulders that strayed down to my butt -- and voila! A story that trumped running into Peter Fonda at a bathhouse in Tijuana.
But I don't tell my Carl Gustaf story anymore. Here's why:
He lives in an apartment in an old Victorian about half a mile from the RISD, with Seth: in his 30s, with short brown hair, a rugged face, and a hairy barrel chest; and Mikey, a shaggy-haired twink with blue eyes and a smooth lean physique.
On Friday night we have dinner in an Indian place near campus, go cruising at a gay bar called the Stable, and then return to the apartment, where Yuri and I "share" Zack.
I go down on Zack while he goes down on Yuri, and then we get into Zack's favorite position, 69, while Yuri watches.
I've been with Zack several times; not terribly impressive. He's too thin for me, and that Mortadella is too big to go down on comfortably, especially when you're on your back with him on top.
I'm more interested in Seth and Mikey.
On Saturday we have breakfast and go to the gym, and then Zack takes us on a driving tour of Providence: Brown University, the Marble House, the Touro Synagogue, the RISD Museum of Art and Design. We go back to the apartment for dinner: Yankee pot roast, soda bread, a green salad, and a fruit compote.
We start telling stories of long-ago tricks, gigantic penises, and dates from hell. Yuri tells about how we went to Basque Country last summer in search of the world's biggest penis.
"Depends on what you consider intimate? Kissing, oral, a walk hand in hand through Beverly Hills?"
Mikey sets the ground rules: "Intimacy will here mean any deliberate contact with his penis or butt."
I think carefully. Which story will impress them enough to get an invitation to share tonight?
No doubt about it: Carl Gustaf.
I just add some details about the King bringing me into the empty chem lab and hugging and fondling me, pressing my hand against his aroused Bratwurst. Voila!
Zack is silent during my story. Then he says: "Isn't that a coincidence? I spent the night with his son, Prince Carl Philip."
Everyone turns and stares.
Kent, Connecticut, Fall 1994
Zack grew up in Westchester County, New York, where his father was a dermatologist to the stars. He went to the exclusive Kent School in Connecticut, with famous alumni including Ted Danson, Treat Williams, James Cozzens, and Cyrus Vance. So he was no stranger to fame, and having the son of the King of Sweden in his class was no big deal.
During his sixth form at Kent (twelfth grade), he met the 15 year old Lippi -- Prince Carl Philip. Tall, broad-shouldered, handsome, with a broad friendly face, dark eyes, curly brown hair.
They didn't hang out much -- Zack was quiet, intellectual, artistic, and Lippi was more interested in big, bright, explosive things: sports, especially swimming and skiing, NASCAR racing, and the tv show Married...with Children.
They bonded at the campus gym, where Zack taught Lippi how to use the free weights. And once they went on a walk together in search of interesting buildings to photograph.
"Were you out at the time?" Mikey asks.
"Sort of. I was looking at gay porn online, but I wasn't quite ready to identify as gay, and I hadn't done anything yet, with anybody."
Killington, Vermont, February 1995
Then, in February 1995, the ski club took a weekend trip to the Killington Resort in Vermont, and Lippi and Zack shared a bed in the hotel.
Zack hadn't expected anything to happen. He was almost asleep when he felt Lippi's hand gingerly caressing his chest. He lay perfectly still as it moved down his belly and grasped his aroused Mortadella. Then he pulled Lippi close and kissed him, and pushed his head down into oral.
Afterwards he moved to his own side of the bed to fall asleep.
In the morning they were polite to each other, but they didn't discuss what happened. They didn't become lovers, or even friends.
A few months later, Zack graduated and moved to Berkeley, where he came out.
"Ok, ok," Yuri says with a laugh. "So you have been with a King and a Prince. Do you know that I was with the last of the Romanovs, the Tzars of Russia?"
I didn't get to share Seth and Mikey's bed that night.
I don't tell my King of Sweden story anymore.
So, is Zack's story of a high-school hookup with the Prince of Sweden true, or a colorful exaggeration?
Prince Carl Philip was indeed attending the Kent School during the 1994-1995 year.
As an adult he has been linked to several women, including Madonna, Emma Pernald, and Sofia Hellqvist, who became Princess Sofia in 2015.
Still, the gay rumors have been flying since he was a teenager, and there's always room in the most heterosexual of lives for late nights and sharing beds with buddies.
See also: Sharing the Bear's Boyfriend; My Date with the King of Sweden