Saturday, January 9, 2016
The Plains, January 2016
Remember the hookup contest Gabe and I had before Christmas?
We each chose someone for the other guy to try to hook up with on a dating app. I had to approach the 18-year old Bastian, a high school senior whose profile said explicitly "no older guys" and "no hookups -- dating and relationships only."
So I offered to set Bastian up on a date with Gabe, and tag along "for moral support."
All's fair in love and cruising.
The date was scheduled for December 20th, but Bastian cancelled. He said we could reschedule for after Christmas.
I figured that was the last we would hear of him-- younger guys wimp out all the time. But he did text me a few days after Christmas, asking for the date to be scheduled on January 3rd, a Sunday night: dinner at a Mexican place, then the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.
He didn't want his parents to know he was gay, so he arranged to spend the night at a friend's house. We had to pick him up and drop him off there.
Bastian was slim, a little shorter than me, with sandy-blond hair, blue eyes, and sharp features. He was wearing a sweater, no coat, and carrying a backpack. "In case we spend the night," he said, sliding into the back seat next to Gabe.
Driving to the restaurant, I kept mostly quiet. It was their date, after all. Their conversation consisted of:
Gabe: So you're a senior in high school. What are your college plans?
Bastian: I applied to UCLA, Columbia, Florida State, and the University of Hawaii. I'm going to wherever the guys are the hottest. Boomer, you lived in California. Were the guys big there?
Gabe: What do you want to major in?
Bastian: Art. I want to start a fashion blog. I'm really big into fashion. Like, do you shave your pubic hair?
Gabe: [Embarrassed pause]. Um...no, I never tried that.
Bastian: Oh, it's great! It makes your penis look a lot bigger. Here, have a look. You too, Boomer." [A cell phone is shoved at me, showing Bastian nude, aroused, very big, with shaved pubes.]
"Have you ever been topped by a really big one?"
"Do you know any guys with big ones? I mean, really gigantic ones, like in porn?"
"Have you ever been with a black guy? Do they have big ones?"
"Have you ever been rimmed?"
"Who's the youngest guy you ever let top you?"
"What does 'golden showers' mean?"
And, he was rubbing his leg against mine under the table!
When Bastian went to the bathroom, Gabe turned to me: "I thought this was a quiet, shy, conservative guy who wanted to date and get to know you. Sounds like he won't even make it to the end of the movie!"
"I know, it's weird. He was brushing my leg under the table. And I thought he didn't like older guys."
"Consider yourself lucky. He was trying to grope me!" Gabe laughed. "Man, this aggressive bit is a big turn off. We should take him home, so he can take a cold shower!"
"No, let's go to the movie, and see what happens. Maybe he'll calm down. Besides, I've been looking forward to seeing it for weeks."
And he kept peppering us with comments.
"I bet Finn has a big one!"
"You think Finn and Poe are together?"
"Han Solo is one hot Daddy! I'd do him in a minute!"
I shushed him, but the comments continued.
Afterwards we walked out into the lobby and then into the mall parking lot. Bastian linked arms with both of us. "Hey, let's get frozen yogurt!" he said.
"Well, I'm a Vegan," Gabe said. "They probably won't have anything I can eat."
"Ok...so then, back to your apartment?"
Gabe flashed a "no way!" look at me, and said "Well...I have a roommate, so I can't bring anyone home."
Bastian's grip on our arms tightened. "Then let's go back to Boomer's place. He can watch. Or join in! I've never been with two guys at once before!"
"Ok, your place, right?" he asked, putting his hand on my knee.
"I'm a little tired," I said. "We'd better just take you home. Or to your friend's house."
"But...you know, it's a date," he said in a small voice.
"We should just take you home," I repeated.
"I thought...but aren't we?"
Was the kid starting to cry?
I put my arm around him. "What's wrong, Bastian? You've been on dates before. Sometimes things happen, sometimes they don't."
His shoulders were trembling. "No, I haven't. I've never been on a date before. Or had sex. I never even met anybody gay before. Everybody at my school is straight. Church, too. I download porn and get hit on by Creepy Old Guys on that dating app, and that's it."
"So why all the questions about rimming and golden showers?"
"And the hands everywhere?" Gabe added.
He looked up teary-eyed. "That's what gay guys do, isn't it? I didn't want you to think I was just an ignorant kid..."
"Maybe I'm up for some frozen tofu, after all," Gabe said. "Then we'll see what happens."
This is what happened:
Kielbasa, ok with kissing, mostly into anal. But, with a 37 year age difference, I've now officially been with someone young enough to be my grandson.
See also: The Hookup Contest; a Boy for Valentine's Day
I love bathhouses. In the U.S. most gay guys shun them as sleazy relics of a closeted generation, but in Europe they're a mainstay of gay life.
It's not just about hooking up. You can lift weights in a fully-equipped gym -- a plus in Europe, where gyms with day passes are scarce -- take a steam or sit in the hot tub, listen to live entertainment, read the latest magazines, chat with friends. Where else can you get all of that in two hours, for a fee of five Euros?
And for hooking up, they're far superior to bars and apps:
1. You can see everything the guy has to offer in advance -- no lying, no dissimulation, no hiding unsightly parts under heavy sweaters.
2. You don't have to interview him, call a friend to share, or do any of the other precautions necessary when you invite a stranger home. The act occurs right there.
Here are the top 10 bathhouses in the world, and the guys I met there.
1. When my friend Viju came home to Rock Island with me in the summer of 1983, I took him to Man's Country, Chicago, on Clark Street, in the heart of the first gay neighborhood I ever knew existed. It looks like a haunted armory now, but in 1983 it was pristine, all black and chrome, with a maze, a wall of glory holes, and room after room of naked men.
We met an older guy named Mike, who took us to a gay bar with a picture of Yosemite Sam on the placard before going back to his place to spend the night.
2. Banos Vica, Tijuana. At least I think that's the place Alan dragged me to in the 1980s.
Talk about sleazy! In a crazy galleria. You undress, dump your clothes in a bag, and go upstairs and wander through creaking corridors, dimly lit by bare bulbs, paint chipping on the walls, trash on the floors, sleazy looking naked guys in the shadows. I loved it.
We met Alejandro, a slim guy from Veracruz who spoke both Spanish and Nahuatl, but no English. Alan wasn't happy with my ability to monopolize the conversation.
Ramon, who was of Chinese ancestry but didn't speak Chinese. Big into Catalan independence.
Jean the Violinist who wouldn't let me touch his instrument, and Ludek, of the glory hole bait-and-switch.
6. Plus I lived about a mile from the Club (now known as the Clubhouse II), so I went at least once a week. Mazes of private rooms, brunch every Sunday, tourists from around the world. I met the Intersexed Guy there in 2003, and Barney hooked up with the Jolly Green Giant.
7. During my terrible summer in Slovakia, my friend Doc and I visited the Sauna Labyrint in Prague. Very bold color scheme, all in pinks and blues. 3 floors of dark rooms, mazes, and glory holes, plus a bar and video rooms. No weights, but you can put off your workout until later. We invited a very muscular Polish businessman named Bartek to our room. He came to Munich with us.
8. While living in Dayton, I often made the two-hour trip to Indianapolis to visit my relatives, and then stopped in at the Works. Rather small, no glory holes or darkrooms, you did everything in a giant steamroom. But I managed to meet Jim, one of the youngest mayors in Indiana history, who invited me to visit his small town.
9. While I was living upstate, I often went to the River Club in Albany, rather small and sort of expensive ($20 for 4 hours), but immaculate. The night I became a Creepy Old Guy, I met the 21-year old Peter.
Lester, who bragged to all his friends about his hookup.
See also: 10 Reasons You Should Go to a Bathhouse.
Thursday, January 7, 2016
Remember the Glory Hole Bait and Switch in Paris during the summer of 2015?
It happened before, in 2003. But this time it was really my fault.
Every week or so, in the late afternoon, Yuri and I went to the Club (technically Clubhouse II), a long, low, single-floor bathhouse with narrow corridors, a lounge area, a sauna, a steam room, and two video rooms. I didn't even realize that there was a dark room until I saw someone going down a narrow, creaky staircase that looked off limits into the basement.
There was another lounge down there, and off to the side a big room with a single red light that people kept turning off. It was completely dark.
I walked in slowly and felt my way against the wall until I came to a hard chest about my height. Very smooth. Lower, I felt an enormous uncut Kielbasa.
Without saying anything, the guy pushed me to my knees.
When he finished, he quickly put his towel back on and moved away, farther into the darkness.
Rather abrupt! I don't need this! I moved toward the open door behind me and left the dark room. Someone followed me out.
A very handsome guy in his 20s with thick brown hair, a round face, and glasses. Nicely built but not a gym rat, with large platelike pecs and a small belly. Smooth everywhere, even his arms, with very pale skin. He looked like this guy, except for the penis.
It must be the guy I just went down on, having second thoughts about his rude treatment. I turned and felt his chest, the standard bathhouse greeting.
He looked surprised, but put his arms around me, and we started kissing. When I tried to grope him, he moved my hand away.
Must be still recuperating, I thought.
"My name is Michael. Do you have a room?"
"Boomer. Actually, I just live a short distance away, so I usually just get a locker."
"I got a locker, too." He paused. "Well, we could go back to my hotel. I'm staying at the Island Sands [a gay resort nearby]."
First he leaves abruptly, and now he wants me to follow him to his hotel room without any preliminary discussion? I don't think so!
But he was very cute, with that lost-soul look that I find appealing, and his Kielbasa was spectacular. So I said "It's almost dinnertime. Let's eat first."
I took Michael to a Thai restaurant for angel wings and pad thai. He was a computer specialist from North Carolina, in town for a conference on a new operating system. Or something like that.
"Do they have bath houses in North Carolina?" I asked.
"Not even in the dark room?"
"No, guys would feel me down there and move on."
"I can't understand why. You're pretty big down there."
He gave me a weird look. "How do you know? We never did anything."
"I...um..." My face burned as I began to understand that Michael was not the guy I went down on! It was just a coincidence he had about the same build as the guy, and followed me out. "Oh...um...I saw you in the steam room before. At least I thought it was you."
"Not me. I never went in the steam room." He paused. "So, how into size are you?"
"I never saw one that was too big or too small."
He grinned. "Well, the night is young."
Ok, this guy was probably a little small, and self-conscious about it. But I was already embarrassed over mistaking him for someone else, and I wasn't about to let the date slide. We went back to the house I shared with Barney and Yuri, and sat on the couch to watch tv and make out, but still, whenever I tried to grope him, he moved my hand away.
"I'm mostly a bottom, anyway," Michael said.
When I finally got him into the bedroom and out of his clothes, he was tiny. A pencil stub.
But there's more.
The head was split at the urethra opening, so much that it almost looked like two heads. There was a small hole at the base of the shaft. And he had only one testicle.
"I'm mostly a bottom anyway," Michael repeated. "You don't have to do anything with it."
"Oh, no, it's great. Very attractive." I went down on him for awhile. Michael finished almost immediately, without ejaculating, and then went down on me. Then we cuddled in bed for awhile.
"Not really. I'm usually too embarrassed to bring it up, and then when the guy sees it, he refuses to touch it. That's why I'm a bottom. You're one of the only guys who has ever gone down on me."
"Maybe that could be a selling point. When you cruise a guy, tell him that you have a distinctive penis. He'll come home with you out of curiosity."
Michael seemed somewhat annoyed by the idea. He said something about having to get up early, put his clothes on, and left. We exchanged phone numbers only as a formality.
I now know a lot more about the intersexed persons than I did in 2003. As much as 1% of the male population has sex organs that differ from the standard model. There are penises with slits, wide fissures, the uretha somewhere other than the head. There are no or small testicles. There are ovo-testes.
Plus there are chromosomal variations, XYY and XXY, that result in many physiological differnces.
People who are born with intersexed conditions are often "fixed" at birth, pushed through surgery and hormones into the standard model. But their conditions are not life-threatening. They are perfectly healthy, just different.
So why shouldn't it be a selling point while cruising?
See also: The Surprise in Comic Book Guy's Bedroom.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
I met Will at Sunset Junction, the gay street fair held every October in Silverlake, L.A.'s second gay neighborhood.
He was about five years older than me, short, compact, with a little belly and a very hairy chest, one of the first "bears" I ever met. He told me that he worked at the Eagle, a leather bar in Silverlake.
I was a little nervous about accepting a date with a bartender -- he must get drunk a lot. But Will was attractive, different from my usual Asian and Hispanic guys, and besides, I wanted a tour of Silverlake. It was 15 miles from West Hollywood, way out where Santa Monica met Sunset, so we didn't go there much.
We had dinner at La Casita, a very bright, colorful Mexican restaurant -- rather a treat, since there were no Mexican restaurants in West Hollywood at the time.
Then Will took off his shirt, put on a leather vest, and took me to the Eagle.
It was my first time in a leather bar. Older crowd, a lot of bears, a lot of chaps and leather jackets and cigarette smoke. I was the youngest guy there, a little out of place in my cruisy tank top and jeans.
Will got himself a bottle of beer and me a soda, and introduced me to some of the regulars. One asked "Isn't it past your bedtime, kid?"
I wasn't amused. "I'll be 27 next week."
Will escorted me away. "Don't mind him -- he's just jealous, We don't get many young guys at the Eagle. The rule is, West Hollywood for twinks and creepy old guys, Silverlake for daddies and bears." He paused. "So, what do you like to do? In bed, I mean."
The question was surprising, even shocking. In West Hollywood we never asked -- we just brought the guy into our bedroom and found out. It must be a Silverlake thing.
"Oh, um....the usual." I stammered. "You know, a lot of kissing and cuddling and...well, French [oral sex], of course.."
"What about non-vanilla sex? Like, you know, bondage? BDSM scenes?"
"I'm not very experienced with that," I said. "My first boyfriend Fred liked to be tied up and spanked, and I met a guy at Mugi who had a closetful of whips and paddles. But I've been reading Cavelo and Sean since I lived in Indiana."
"Wow, Cavelo and Sean, that's hardcore stuff! You're probably ready for a scene, do you think?"
"What kind of scene?"
"Kidnapping and POW are my favorites, but my super super favorite is cannibalism."
Cannibalism? This evening was getting complicated! "Let's start out with some kissing and French, ok?"
Will shared a very nice Spanish-style house with an older gay couple, who sat in the living room with us to eat sponge cake and drink coffee before excusing themselves.
Then we kissed and cuddled for awhile. I tried to unzip Will, but he pushed my hand away.
"Not ready for oral?" I asked in surprise.
"Oh, that stuff is ok, but why bother when there's a full dungeon in the basement? There's even a giant cauldron for cannibalism scenes!"
"How about some music?" I asked, to get his mind off cannibalism.
"Oh, sure." He sprang to the stereo. "You'll like this. It's Sweeney Todd, the musical."
"Um...I'm not really into show tunes."
"You've never heard show tunes like this. If you're interested in Victorian London, or crime, or language, you'll love it. Let me put it on for you." He fumbled about for the cassette. "See, Sweeney Todd was imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, and he gets revenge by killing the people responsible and serving them in meat pies. Len Cariou plays Sweeney Todd, and Angela Lansbury plays Mrs. Lovett, the owner of the pie shop."
Todd: Too salty. I prefer general.
Lovett: With, or without his privates? "With" is extra.
Todd: What is that?
Lovett: It's fop, finest in the shop. And we have some shepherd's pie peppered with actual shepherd on top! And I've just begun -- here's the politician, so oily it's served with a doily...
I could see that I wasn't going to get out of there with some plain old-fashioned bedroom activity. "I'm not really into cannibalism scenes, but I'm up for some light bondage and spanking."
"Great, that's great too!" Will exclaimed. He yelled "We're going downstairs" into the other room and led me through the kitchen and into the basement dungeon.
Very impressive. Nude photos on the walls. A sling. A St. Andrew's cross. A leather-covered bondage table. And the famous cauldron, big enough for the bottom to sit in while the top doused him with water from a hose.
The torture involved "forcing" Will to submit to oral sex. That counts as "eating" him, right?
That was my last date with Will, but we stayed friends. He dated Raul for awhile.
See also: 15 Bondage Boys ; Sean and the World of Gay Leathermen; Will and Scott's Wild Night with Keanu Reeves.
Monday, January 4, 2016
"I've found him!" Kelly exclaimed over the telephone. "The One! We've only had one date, but that's enough to know!"
Kelly was one of the fitness trainers at Barney's Gym: in his 30s, about Yuri's height, with a long face, brown hair, good biceps and excellent abs and a smooth, less-than-spectacular chest. Beneath the belt he was average, cut, with shaved pubes. Somewhat shy and quiet, one of those high-school nerds who found self-confidence at the gym.
He would let you go down on him, to be polite, but he reciprocated only if you were big in the belly. The bigger the better. Superchub, no problem.
His dream guy was fat, young, smooth, and supersized beneath the belt.
Not easy to find! In Florida, where the beach is a few blocks away and guys wear next to nothing year round, the Wilton Manors norm was heavily muscled with 3% body fat. Husky guys were uncommon, and fat rather rare. Young fat guys practically unheard of.
And for whatever reason, fat guys tend to be a a little small beneath the belt.
On the night of their third date, they came over for dinner so Kelly could introduce him to his friends: Barney, Yuri, his boyfriend Jim, another fitness trainer, me, and Wade the Beach Boy. Yuri made his famous moussaka.
Tobias was in his 20s, tall, chubby, with a smooth chest, employed as a bartender at a hotel near the beach. Obviously smitten by Kelly: he kept his arm around him the whole evening.
But I was turned off by his greasy slicked-back hair, tattoos, rings, and unattractive leer.
And his speech, littered with profanity: "Little Kelly here, he's the best f*king c*ksucker in the business! Holy f*k, I never c** so hard in my life!"
And the fact that he had been in prison: "There was a little queen at Kissimmee [juvenile detention center] that was on his knees every night, serviced the whole f*ing dorm, I kid you not!"
"What were you in juvie for?" I asked.
"Oh, please, we're queers. We're all criminals, according to the hetero *holes that run this country. Now let's get this f*ng party started. Which of you c*ksuckers wants the first shot?"
He unzipped. He was already fully aroused. A perfectly shaped Kielbasa, with a round head and a small vein running up the side.
Well, I didn't mind a little profanity.
Still, I couldn't imagine quiet, shy Kelly getting along with brash, profane Tobias for long.
A week or so later, I flew out to New Mexico to visit Larry and cruise in the Navajo nation. Then I visited Rock Island and Indianapolis for a few days.
When I got back, I saw Kelly at the gym and asked "So, is it still Paradise?"
"Oh, it's going great! Wait -- you've been out of town. Are you talking about Tobias? He's history!"
"Why, what happened?"
Here's what happened:
A few days after I left for New Mexico, Wade the Beach Boy and Kelly had lunch.
"Oh, it's going great!" Kelly said. "Great in bed! I never met a guy with so much stamina. I must do him like ten times a day!"
"What about outside the bedroom?" Wade asked. "Do you have the same interests in, like movies? Or music? You're the world's biggest gym rat -- does Tobias even work out?"
"Not really. He says he gets enough exercise in bed! But we go to the beach, we go dancing, we cruise together and bring guys home to share. It's fun...but...um, have you ever heard of parties where guys have sex? I don't mean sharing with friends -- I mean complete strangers?"
"Well, Tobias wants me to go to a Bear Party with him, down in Miami Beach. Fifty naked guys, maybe more."
"Sounds like a fun Saturday night," Wade said. "Can I get an invitation?"
"Here's the thing. I'm supposed to be the party's official 'fag.'"
"That is way offensive, dude."
"No, it just means a guy who likes oral sex."
Oral bottoms, guys who are into going down, are often denigrated in gay communities, even called "fags," to distinguish them from the "real men," the oral tops. It's all sexist nonsense, based on the belief that women are oral bottoms, and being "like a woman" is reprehensible.
"But," Kelly continued, "The 'fag" has to go down on anybody Tobias wants. But you know I'm not into that unless the guy is chubby."
"Well then refuse, and just go with guys you find attractive."
"Yeah, but Tobias told me to. He already told everyone I was going to do it. He's kind of in charge in the relationship. He calls himself 'the guy," like I'm 'the girl."
"Ok." Wade thought for a moment. "Here's what you do. First, get me an invitation."
The party was held in one of those extraordinarily expensive glass-and-steel apartments with a picture window looking out onto the ocean and the tv hidden away in a teakwood cabinet. There were about 30 guys, a good mix of older and younger, occupying the living room and two bedrooms.
Tobias stationed the "fag" on a stool in a small alcove. Wade said he wanted to mingle, but stood close by anyway.
After a few minutes, Tobias returned with a tall, thin older guy, naked, with a sizeable Bratwurst. "Is this the fag?" he asked, looking at Kelly.
"No, I am," Wade said, kneeling and going to work.
Tobias glared at Kelly, but what could he do? He wandered off, found a thin twink, and brought him to the alcove.
"Sorry, Kelly's taking a break," Wade said. "But I'm free." He fell to his knees and got to work.
Tobias walked off in a huff.
Afterwards Wade wandered around until he found a chubby guy, and invited him into the alcove, where Kelly eagerly went to work.
Tobias appeared with another tall, thin guy, saw that Kelly was busy, and exclaimed "Hey, what the f*k? You refuse all the guys I bring over, but when Wade brings someone..."
"Don't worry," Wade said. "I'll take care of him."
"That's not the point! Kelly is supposed to be the f*ing c*ksucker, f*ing going down on whatever guy I say!"
"I think that's called pimping," Wade murmured. "Is Kelly your boyfriend or your employee?"
But he did meet someone else at the party: big belly, thick uncut Mortadella.
Ok, he was 55 years old, and had a hairy chest.
But at least he didn't call Kelly a "fag."
See also: The Beach Boy and the Giant; Carlos and his Two Secrets.
It's more fun. Hookup apps are like going to a smorgasbord -- you know you're going to get something, you just have to decide on what. Public cruising is unpredictable -- there might not be anyone you like, or the guy you like might not be available, or you might not be able to "seal the deal." The search is as much fun as the act itself.
It's more reliable. Online photos are photoshopped into oblivion. Besides, no photo or video can compare to seeing the guy in person, touching him, feeling his energy in a real place.
It's more interesting. You don't get a full bio and long lists of interests, tastes, and sexual positions handed to you, so you have to ask. Finding out about the guy is much more interesting than reading a resume.
Of course, you have to be careful. Not everyone you meet in a public place wants to be your friend. Here are the rules for hookups, finding someone for a sexual encounter with no expectation of an ongoing relationship:
1. Select your venue carefully. You can meet men anywhere, but if they're at work or rushing to work, they're unlikely to have the time to stop and chat. I suggest a place where there are a lot of guys at leisure, like a bar, a shopping mall, the gym, a museum, or the beach.
And someplace within an easy drive of your apartment. Nothing is worse than meeting someone you like and having him say "I live only 45 minutes from here."
2. Go in the early afternoon. In the morning, everyone is too tired to think about sex or romance, and in the evening, they're all rushing out to dinners, dates, and club meetings. The best hours are between 2 and 6 pm. If you haven't met someone by that time, give up.
3. Go with a buddy. Cruising alone makes you seem creepy, especially if you are over 40. Besides, everyone looks more attractive in a group, and your buddy can help you judge potential partners.
4. Do not drink while cruising. Or drink only in moderation. The same thing with drugs. You need a clear head to judge potential partners. If you are drunk or high, you will make mistakes.
5. Gather information. When you see someone that you find attractive, strike up an ordinary conversation. Talk about the music at the bar, the exhibits at the museum, the food at the festival. Move on to questions about jobs, leisure interests, family, and so on. If he is hesitant, or if his story has blatant contradictions, move on.
6. Don't discuss sizes or sexual acts. Oddly, talking about sex makes you seem less sexy. If he asks, be brief and noncommittal. If he wants details, chances are he has no intention of following through with a meeting. He just enjoys thinking about sex.
But what if we're completely incompatible?
No such thing. Two people who are attracted to each other can always find something to do in bed.
7. Word the invitation carefully. You are obviously attracted to each other, so where do you go from here? A friendship, a romance, or a hookup?
If you invite him to do something specific -- get coffee, go to a movie -- you are initiating a romance.
If you invite him to get together, and specify in the future -- you are initiating a friendship.
If you invite him to get together now -- you are initiating a hookup.
These next rules are for hookups:
8. Invite him to your place, if possible. You are more relaxed and in control when it's your own space.
9. Take your own cars. Never get into a car with someone you don't know well.
10. Make sure that someone knows where you are. Have your roommate in the house. Have your buddy follow you. Give someone his contact information. Don't just disappear with the guy.
12. Hide your valuables. Leave your wallet in the car.
13. Bring condoms. Safe sex practices only!
14. Don't kick him out afterwards. If it is a daytime hookup, etiquette demands that you offer him coffee or a snack afterwards. If it's a night time hookup, spending the night is customary.
15. Don't pretend that you want a relationship. I've had one-night stands who made a big deal of giving me their number, and it turned out to be fake. Hookups sometimes become friendships or romances, but it's perfectly ok if they do not. Of course, you may want to go farther -- in that case, ask him for a date on the spot. Otherwise, just say "Thank you for coming over," and add him to your list of memories.
Sunday, January 3, 2016
I didn't find out until grad school in Bloomington, when I became interested in family history, and began reading old newspapers to see if there was any mention of my grandparents. And then I saw an obituary about a woman who died in Lagrange, Indiana, near my parents' home town of Garret, leaving four children, with the exact names and ages of my father and his brothers and sisters!
That was too big a coincidence!
My father didn't want to talk about it, so I called my Aunt Nora.
"Yes, we were adopted," she said. "Your father never forgave the old man for giving us up. When he came around to visit, Frank would always hide in his room. He wouldn't even go to the funeral. But Frank Sr. was 59 years old, near retirement age, when his wife died, and he didn't think he could raise four kids alone. So his friend Lloyd offered to help out, and ended up adopting us -- that's your Grandpa Davis."
Skeezix Goes to War, published when my Dad was a kid, with his name signed in ink: "Frank J[...]." He made a mistake, and started to write his old name.
I didn't think much about it for many years, but recently, I began to wonder -- my biological grandfather, Frank Jackson, didn't marry until he was in his late 40s. Why wait so long? And why did his friend Lloyd offer to raise his children?
Was there a Depression-era gay romance going on between my biological grandfather and my Grandpa Davis?
Thanks to the internet and my Cousin Eva's gedcoms, I have some promising details:
In 1895, at age 17, he is arrested for "loitering," code for any number of activities, but often for cruising, searching for same-sex partners.
In 1903, he is working in his brother-in-law Charles Hinkley's confectioner's shop on 219 S. Main Street, Muncie, Indiana (today it's a bar).
In 1908 we find him in Cleveland, working in a music hall. Music hall entertainers were often gay.
Sometime after 1910, when his father dies, Frank returns to LaGrange, probably to help take care of his elderly mother. His acting or musical ambitions are put on hold.
Around 1918, he meets the 20-year old Lloyd Davis.
Lloyd lives in Fort Wayne, a two-hour drive from LaGrange in those days. How do they meet? What business does Frank have in Fort Wayne?
Maybe it's the nearest big city with a cruising area.
In 1923, Lloyd marries Grace (my Grandma Davis, who befriended gay men in art school. Was this another one?). They move to a farm near Garrett, about thirty miles from LaGrange. To be close to Frank?
Lloyd goes to work as an engineer on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, a job that takes him to all of the big cities of the East Coast with 1920s gay subcultures.
In 1926, shortly after his mother dies, Frank marries her nurse, Orpha Maye Young (who comes from an Amish family). He is 48, and she is 28, the same age as Lloyd. They have four children.
Hee and Lloyd remain friends. There is no record of what Grace thinks of the friendship.
Frank's wife dies in 1937, when he is 59 years old. Lloyd and Grace offer to adopt his children. They have none of their own.
Frank visits the children -- and Lloyd -- regularly until his death in 1955. Lloyd dies two years later.
Were Lloyd and Frank gay? Were they involved? There is no way to know for sure: no diaries, letters, photographs, or reminscences. Everyone who knew Lloyd and Frank passed away long ago.
It remains a possibility, part of our hidden gay heritage.
See also: Do Levis Show Bulges Better than Armani Wool Slacks?; and My Grandpa and the Witch in the Lake of the Woods.
Some had been famous, during the two or three years that their shows were airing, but now they were stuck in "hey, I used to know you!" limbo.
A few were bona fide celebrities, with ongoing projects and fan bases.
Here are the most famous actors (and other celebrities) that I've dated, hooked up with, or at least gotten a sausage sighting from.
I'm not going to reveal who is which, but bear in mind that some of the dates were just friendly lunches or "let's grab a coffee." Some of these guys are straight.
No, Sylvester Stallone is not on the list, but I like the photo.
Carl Gustaf, King of Sweden. When he visited our high school, he had lunch with a select group of student leaders. I sat next to him. Our knees touched.
Michael J. Fox, star of Family Ties. My friend Marcus and I had lunch with him in the summer of 1985. Ivo, the Bulgarian bodybuilder I was dating, claimed to be his ex-lover, but Michael actually never heard of him.
Robin Williams. We met at a party in the Hollywood Hills. I didn't like him, but I liked his date.
John Amos, who starred in Good Times and played the older Kunta Kinte in Roots. I often saw him at the gym, once in the shower. His physique was amazing.
Lou Ferrigno. He came into the office at Muscle and Fitness regularly, often with Bill Bixby, his co-star on The Amazing Hulk at the Time.
Ed Stroll, a retired bodybuilder and actor, an opera buff, a member of the Hollywood Country Club set. He offered to take me yachting during the Worst Date in West Hollywood History.
Lee H. Montgomery, a former child star who did some teen idol work in the 1980s. You may have seen him in Mutant and Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Peter Barton, a teen idol of the early 1980s, known for The Powers of Matthew Star, later a soap star.
Tom Villard, star of the sitcom We Got It Made, working steadily on tv through the 1980s. In the 1990s he became one of the few actors to openly admit being gay.
Douglas Barr, who starred in Designing Women from 1988 to 1991, and now runs a winery in the Napa Valley.
Cesar Romero, 1940s movie heartthrob and 1960s Batman villain. He sold me a love seat. Turned out to be the most uncomfortable thing I ever sat on (the love seat, not Cesar Romero).
Nate Richert, Sabrina's boyfriend on the TGIF sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996-2003). We met at the Gold Coast in West Hollywood, but I didn't know who he was. Until later.
Tom Wopat, star of Dukes of Hazzard in the 1970s. I actually had a crush on his costar, John Schneider.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, the famous composer of musicals I haven't seen: Cats, Phantom of the Opera. Evita.
Sean O'Neal, Clarissa's best friend in the Nickelodeon teencom Clarissa Explains It All from 1991 to 1994. When I met him, he was acting on the stage and doing voice work in Fort Lauderdale.
This is the Face of Pure Evil. And the House Where Evil Dwells.
When I was a kid, it was painted grey, and that attic window had bars on it.
I lived on the the north side of Denkmann Elementary School My boyfriend Bill lived two blocks north.
To the east was Darry's house and eventually Country Style Ice Cream.
To the south was Dewey's Candy Store, Gary's house, and eventually the Nazarene church.
To the west was Schneider's Drug Store, where you could buy comic books.
But we never took the direct route. We walked all the way up to 18th Avenue and around to the back, to avoid The Killer and his house.
There were lots of Mean Boys at Denkmann who would steal your lunch money, call you names, or pound you for infractions of the rules of grade school behavior. Like Dick, who hung out by Dewey's Candy Store and pounded you for being a "girl." But The Killer was by far the worst.
He interpreted the most innocent statement or gesture, even standing too close to him, even looking at him, as an insult that must be redressed: "Now we have to fight!"
If you refused, he attacked on the spot, or if you were in school, ambushed you on the way home.
If you agreed, you met your doom later, on the west side of the school yard, a desolate space of dead trees and yellow grass across the street from his house.
Snarling like a rabid dog, The Killer fought by punching and kicking you everywhere, in the face, the chest, the belly, the balls. When you collapsed, bloody and sobbing, he poured dirt on you, spat in your face, and moved on.
Teachers simply said "No one likes a tattle-tale."
Parents simply said "You have to learn to fight your own battles."
The only escape was to avoid the Killer: don't sit near him in the cafeteria, don't stand near him at recess, and at all costs stay away from the House of Evil.
But one day during the summer after third grade, I was stupid. Mom asked me to return a cake-decorating kit that she borrowed from the Old Lady Schoolteachers, who lived two houses south of the House of Evil. I should have walked all the way around Denkmann School, but it was hot, Cartoon Showboat was coming on soon, and besides, the Killer might not even be home. So I cut diagonally across the parking lot and the schoolyard and came to 40th Street exactly parallel to the Old Lady Schoolteachers' house.
The Killer! He must have been lurking in the shadows, waiting for a victim to appear! And now he was standing right next to me, fists clenched, a snake ready to strike....
My heart was racing. "I'm not by your house! The Old Lady Schoolteachers..."
"You sissy, making girly cakes!" He knocked the cake decorating kit out of my hand. "Now we have to fight!"
"No, it's my Mom's...." I began, before he punched me hard in the face. Moaning, I dropped to my knees. He kicked me in the stomach.
Then I heard someone yelling from a long distance: "Hey, what are you doing to that kid!"
I looked up to see a husky, muscular guy with shaggy red hair and a muscular chest, wearing only short pants and tennis shoes with no socks. He had freckles everywhere. He was holding the Killer's arm.
"You apologize!" he snarled. "Now!"
Glaring, the Killer muttered "Yeah, sorry, fairy...I mean, Boomer."
The Killer paled, but managed one more act of defiance. "You don't even live here!"
"My Grandma does. She sees everything you do from that porch. She'll call me, and I can be here in 45 minutes. Got it?"
The Killer nodded and scurried off, and the Redhead helped me pick up the cake decorating kit and walked me to the house.
"I'm Nick," he said. "If that bully bothers you again, just tell my Grandma, and I'll come running. Ok?"
"The Old Lady Schoolteachers are your Grandmas?" I asked in surprise.
Nick ruffled my hair. "You know what -- I was just about to go down to Country Style for a malted. You get your Mom and Dad's permission, you can come with."
I grinned. It was almost worth getting pummelled to be asked out on a date by a cute guy!
After that I loved hanging out on the West Side. The Killer never came near me, and every few weeks my "boyfriend" Nick came to visit.
See also: Were the Old Lady Schoolteachers Lesbians?