I'm back in San Francisco, Gay Heaven, visiting my friend David for a week.
When I met David in 1996, he newly out, with a wife and children back home. He had just had his first same-sex experience just six months ago, on his 43rd birthday, and he was making up for lost time by cruising everybody in sight.
He's 60 now, a grandfather, craggy, with thick hard muscles and a shaved head, chest, and crotch. But he hasn't slowed down.
He provides me with a Cute Young Thing to "share."
We go cruising at the Eagle.
We go to a bear party.
Tonight we're having dinner with David's friends Tim and Tutor, at an Indian restaurant, discussing gigantic penises, celebrity hookups, and the joys of getting older, like becoming a twink magnet.
I'm 53, and cruised by guys in their 20s all the time. Earlier this summer I dated a 22 year old -- a 31 year age difference!
"That's nothing!" Tim exclaims. "I'm 56, and last week I had a date with a 20 year old -- a 36 year age difference!"
"That's nothing!" Tutor says. "I'm 58, and last week I dated an 18 year old kid. A 40 year age difference!"
We all look at David in expectation.
"An age difference of 46 years. Maybe 47. I can't be sure."
Wait -- David is 60. That would make the other guy...
"Oh, don't worry," he says quickly. "We didn't do anything. I am absolutely not attracted to kids that age, and even if I was, I wouldn't do anything. I'm not that crazy. But I was definitely being cruised."
South of Market, June 2014
David was in the gym in the mid-afternoon, about 3:00, working on the shoulder press machine at 190 lbs, when the Kid came in.
He was short and a little husky, with close-cropped blond hair and brown eyes, wearing a red t-shirt and gym trunks. High school aged.
Why was he alone? David wondered. Kids usually come to the gym in groups, and all work on the weight machines together.
He was dawdling by the bicep press, probably waiting for David to finish his set.
He finished and moved on to the vertical press machine, but the Kid didn't take his place on the shoulder press. He moved on to the rowing machine, which was directly across from David, allowing him a good look.
Now David realized that the Kid wasn't even high school age. He was barely pubescent, thirteen years old, fourteen tops.
"That's pretty young to be interested in sexual activity," I point out. "Are you sure he wasn't just being friendly?"
"You know that cruising look -- a brief glance down at your crotch, then back up, eyes narrowed, a half smile?"
"He had it down pat at age thirteen!"
David moved into the free weight room. The Kid waited a few minutes, and followed.
David was working out on a bench near the drinking fountain. The Kid decided to get a drink of water, and walked by slowly, glancing while pretending not to glance.
At that age, David thought 30 was way old, and 40 a doddering antique. No way would he be interested in someone old enough to be his grandfather!
"Besides, I never would have had the nerve to actively cruise a grown-up!" Tutor says.
After a while, the Kid left the weight room.
Next David saw him on an elliptical machine in the aerobics room, grinning broadly as he worked. He glanced at David as he walked past.
He had already finished his run for the day. Nothing to do but shower and change.
After he showered, David put on a towel and headed back to the lockers. To his left was a little lounge area where you could watch tv and read newspapers. It was also handy for watching for guys walking past naked.
The Kid was there, sitting with his shirt off, texting someone on his smartphone. He looked up and smiled.
David had to smile at the Kid's inept attempt to attract his attention.
"Come back in five years, when you've put on about fifty pounds of muscle!"
"And grown a few inches beneath the belt!," I add.
When David finished dressing, the Kid was no longer in the lounge area. He bought a protein bar and walked upstairs and out to the main entrance to the parking lot.
The Kid was standing there by himself, gym bag in hand. His shirt was still off, tucked into his back pocket, even though it was a cold, rainy day.
They looked at each other. The Kid smiled.
David didn't know what to say, but he had to say something. "So, don't you get cold in this rain?"
"No, I like it."
"Um...do you have a way home?"
"Stupid!" I exclaimed. "Now he'll ask you for a ride! You should never let a stranger into your car, regardless of his age."
"Um...yeah, my Mom's picking me up. Next time, though."
"Yeah, sure, ok."
"Great. Well, see you later!"
David crossed the parking lot to his car just in time to see an orange minivan pull up, and the Kid get in.
Castro Street, July 2014
"Did you go to Franklin Square the next day?" Ted asks.
"No, and I made sure to be done at the gym before 3:00, too. I didn't want to run into the Kid again."
"He probably didn't want a date or a hookup," I say. "He probably just wanted a friend."
"I'm not big-brothering him! His parents might think I was doing something, or he could get mad and accuse me of doing something. But it's nice to know gay kids today are more self-aware and self-assured than they were in our day."
"Well, this is San Francisco," Tutor says. "You'd have to expect kids to be self-aware in Gay Heaven."
"They are in the Straight World, too," I say. "Did I ever tell you about the high school kid who hit on me in Dayton?"
See also: Hit on by a High School Boy