Sharing and sex parties were unknown; I tried to introduce them, with little success. There was a bath house about 2 hours away, but small and not very busy.
Gay men of an earlier generation fled from the oppressive homophobia of London, Paris, and New York for sex holidays in the Middle East, where same-sex desire was open and accepted, and nearly every man was available. I fled to the Gay World as often as I could.
Here are my top 10 Upstate vacation hookups:
1. Indianapolis. I visited once or twice a year to visit my parents and sister, who actually about a 45 minute drive away. A full gay neighborhood with bars, restaurants, organizations, and two bath houses, lots of guys, but the most memorable was my ex-boyfriend Fred's son.
2. Cleveland. A good stopping-off place between Upstate New York and Indianapolis, with the Flexx Club, one of the best sex clubs anywhere, a huge facility with two swimming pools, a disco, a restaurant, two saunas, several video rooms, and mazes of private rooms. An an outdoor patio with a nice view of downtown. In 2012, Troy and I hooked up with Lester the Shy Boy, whose friends told him that he couldn't leave until he had been with five guys, or one guy five times.
3. Dayton. If you spend the night in Cleveland, you're in Dayton about noon, perfect for having lunch with old friends and "sharing" with their boyfriends du jour before taking th next two hours to Indianapolis. And if I timed it right, I could go to Rode's M4M Party and hook up with Shawn, the winner of the Biggest Penis Contest.
4. New York. Upstate was only about four hours from New York City, but that meant two hours through narrow, winding country roads in the Catskills and two hours of wall-to-wall traffic, so I only visited a few times. My favorite visit was with Yuri; we reunited with Blake the Opera Buff, the ex-boyfriend of both of us, and I hooked up with his boyfriend, an opera singer.
6. Philadelphia. There for a conference in November 2009, I hated it. My hotel was shabby, the sightseeing was mediocre, and the hookup options were very limited. How did my friend David from San Francisco have so much success there? My only hookup was with a tourist from Omaha.
7. Washington, DC. I love DC, with its gutsy Dupont Circle a stone's throw from the White House, but when I went there for a conference in November 2011, I was concerned. My last visit was with my friend Alan, who died in 2005. Would I be seeing his ghost everywhere? Actually, I ended up channeling his enormous joie de vivre, and his uncanny ability to attract Asian guys.
8. Amsterdam, I used to go every year, timing my visit for the weekend, and the Sunday night meeting of the Horseman's Club, for guys with 8" or more (and, recently, their admirers). In June 2011 I took Yuri, and we hooked up with a guy who was actually rather small.
10. Montreal. My favorite city in North America, and only a six-hour drive from Upstate. Lots of good Montreal stories, but the best is in October 2009, I took Troy to his first video booth, and we hooked up with a buffed, hairy-chested French Canadian farmer.