Friday, July 5th, 1985: Two days after I arrive in Los Angeles, I am sitting in the human resources department at Paramount Studios, waiting to interview for a job as an administrative assistant, when Marcus comes in to drop something off. He's my age, African-American, with very light skin, freckles, and a hairy chest. I get his phone number.
Saturday, July 6th: Our date, an inside tour of Paramount, followed by cruising at the Gold Coast and dinner at the French Quarter. He came to Los Angeles to become an actor five years ago, and has been in a few things.
"Do you know anyone famous?" I ask with tourist zeal.
"Nobody really famous. I mean, some guys on tv. Robin Williams. Tom Hulce. I know Michael J. Fox from acting class."
I'm not impressed. I've barely heard of Michael J. Fox -- he's getting some teen idol exposure for his role as Alex P. Keaton, conservative son of ex-hippie parents on the sitcom Family Ties. But I've only seen the show a few times.
Marcus plans to stay celibate until there's a cure for AIDS, so no more dating. But we stay friends.
Wednesday, July 10th: I start working at Muscle and Fitness, two days a week as a "contributing editor," aka gopher. On my first day, I meet Ivo, a stringer for the magazine, about 30 years old, a Bulgarian bodybuilder, with short brown hair, a boyish open face, massive shoulders, and slates for abs.
Saturday, July 13th: My first date with Ivo. I'm curious about Back to the Future, the new time travel comedy starring Michael J. Fox.
"No way, man!" Ivo exclaims. "That Mike Fox thinks he's a big deal, but he's terrible in bed. They should call him Princess Teeny-Tiny!"
Weird coincidence! I think. I've been in town a week, and already I've met two people who know Michael J. Fox, and one of them is his ex-lover!
Sunday, July 14th: I have lunch with Marcus and tell him about my date.
"Strange," he says. "I'm completely out to Mike, and he's never said anything about being gay. Sounds like Ivo is one of these celebrity name-droppers who claims to have been with everyone from Harrison Ford to Arnold Schwarzeneggar."
"But he wasn't bragging. He got upset. He said Michael was bad in bed and should be called Princess Teeny-Tiny."
Marcus laughed. "Well, I don't have any information on that. But tell you what -- Mike is in London right now. When he gets back, we'll all get together, and you can ask him yourself."
Ask Michael J. Fox about his size? I don't think so! But it would be fun to meet him.
I date Ivo three or four more times, until his crazy, obsessive behavior drives me away.
Saturday, August 3rd: I finally see Back to the Future. I'm not impressed with the heteronormative plotline.
Saturday, August 10th: The promised date.
Marcus picks me up and drives me to a small, bare-brick cafe on Melrose. We are just ordering drinks when Michael comes in, wearing a white shirt, buttoned down to reveal a soft smooth chest, tight bulging jeans, and sunglasses.
He's my age, short, slim, androgynous The feminine teen idol type.
He hugs Marcus and reaches out to shake my hand, then says "What the hell" and hugs me, too.
I feel a definite bulge pressing against me.
Bratwurst, maybe Bratwurst+.
So much for the Ivo's "Princess Teeny-Tiny" claim.
"So, are you guys together?" Michael asks as he scans the menu.
"No, we're friends," Marcus says. "We dated once, but you know some guys can't handle celibacy."
"Well, who can blame them? You got the goods!" He nudges Marcus affectionately.
This is the 1980s, an era of rampant homophobia. Michael is either gay or amazingly gay-positive!
"So..I was dating another guy who claimed to know you," I say. "Ivo the Bulgarian bodybuilder."
Michael frowns. "Doesn't ring a bell. But you know how it is, you get a tv show, and suddenly every guy you have ever said hello to claims to be your bosom buddy."
"Or your ex-lover," Marcus adds.
"So far I've been spared those kinds of rumors. I don't know why. I'm here having lunch with two hot guys, wouldn't you naturally assume that I'm gay?"
He wraps his arm around my shoulders. "What do you think, Boomer? Want to be on the front page of the National Enquirer tomorrow morning?"
Is Michael cruising me? "Um...only if you bring the condoms."
"Wouldn't you know it!" he exclaims with a grin. "All the hot guys are bottoms! I'd better stick to girls."
The conversation goes on to other topics. We finish our lunch, and Michael pays and leaves.
"Was Michael cruising me?" I ask on the way home.
"Oh, no, that's just his way. He makes everybody feel like he's in love with them. And it works -- there's not a soul on Earth who doesn't like him."
Except for Ivo.
A few weeks later, the movie Teen Wolf comes out, with a scene in which Michael's character claims that he's "not a fag," he's a werewolf. I ask Marcus about the homophobic dialogue.
"This is Hollywood," he says with a shrug. "You do what sells."
See also: 15 Celebrity Dates, Hookups, and Sausage Sightings; Marcus and His Beneath the Belt Mystery.