Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Naked Baseball Player in My Kitchen

Wilton Manors, August 2003

I hate sports!  Especially playing them:  I could never understand the allure of waiting for a hard round projectile to come zooming out of the sky and hit you in the head.

But also watching them: why watch a bunch of guys who don't even have their shirts off chase a little projectile around?

I had seen only one half of a baseball game in my life, until I was living in Florida, and Yuri started dating one of the Florida Marlins.


They were pro-gay.  They bought ads in gay magazines, and the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus sang before the game on AIDS Awareness Day.


But that didn't stop Jim the Baseball Player (not his real name) from being closeted.

Yuri met him online sometime in May 2003.  He always went down to Miami for their dates, so even after three months, I had never met Jim.

But I saw pictures.  Extraordinarily cute, and, according to Yuri, surprisingly gifted beneath the belt.

"You've got to bring Jim up to Wilton Manors," I told Yuri.  It was customary to introduce the boyfriend to the roommates and invite them to 'share.'

 "He doesn't want to come," Yuri said.  "It's a gay neighborhood, and he's afraid that someone will see him and find out that he is gay."

Typical closet case -- worried that armies of heterosexuals are scrutinizing your every move for tell-tale signs of gayness.

I had already given up hope when, one night early in August 2003, I woke up late and had to go to the bathroom.  I had to walk through the kitchen to get there.


There was a naked man peering into the open refrigerator.

I was so awestruck by his physique that it took me a moment to look up at his face: it was Yuri's boyfriend, Jim the Baseball Player!

"Mind if I make myself a sandwich?" he asked.

"Um...um...go ahead.  You must be Jim.  My name's Boomer."

"Oh, sure, Nice to meet you.  Yuri talks about you all the time."

"You, too.  I didn't think he'd ever manage to drag you up to Wilton Manors."

"It's a gay neighborhood -- you can't be too careful.  But we drove up to Boca Raton, and it was so late...I'll be out early tomorrow, before anyone sees me."

He wasn't looking at my face, either.  I looked down...my bathrobe was hanging open.

"So..um...go ahead and make a sandwich.  I have to ask Yuri about something..."

"He's asleep..." I heard as I rushed through the living room and down the hallway to Yuri's room.  It was dark.  I heard Yuri breathing softly.

I leapt onto the bed and shook him.  "Yuri, are you awake?"

"Mmmm...kochu spat."  (I want to sleep.)

"Yuri, you've got to invite me to share your boyfriend!"

His eyes fluttered open.  "Oh, hi, Boomer.  What's going on?"

"Jim is spending the night!  Invite me to share!" I repeated.

"Oh, yeah.  I wanted to invite you, but you were asleep when we came home."

"Well, what about now?"

"Now?"  He glanced over at his clock radio.  "Boomer, it's 3:00 in the morning.  I'm not even into it now.  The next time he comes to Wilton Manors, for sure.  Now let me sleep, ok?"

"Ok, ok, sorry."  I stumbled out into the hallway, used the bathroom, and then returned to the kitchen.  Jim the Naked Baseball Player was sitting at the table, eating his sandwich and drinking a can of soda.

"G'night," I murmured, trying not to stare at his magnificent physique and obvious gifts beneath the belt.

Jim was gone by the time I woke up.

But apparently I made an impression.  A few days later, Yuri brought home tickets to the August 12th game.  "Jim said be sure to bring you, and after the game we will go back to his apartment."  He grinned.  "To spend the night."

By the way, the Marlins beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4.

I'm told -- I fell asleep.

See also: Yuri and the BodybuilderYuri Steals My Boyfriend, Sort Of; and Third Wheel to a Muscle God

Friday, January 15, 2016

Dates from Hell

Since I figured "it" out, during the summer after my senior year in high school, I've gone out on dates with about 130 guys (a "date" is defined as a social event followed by bedroom activity).

Maybe 10% were spectacular, the stuff of memories and blog posts.

80% were pleasant, just everyday life in a gay neighborhood.

But 10% were Dates from Hell.  Sometimes the social event went wrong.  Sometimes the bedroom activity was miserable.  But most often the guy turned out to be mess.

Here are some dates that I would like to forget.







College

 Jack Kerouac and his Bratwurst.   I spent two weeks hanging out in the Student Union with Jack Kerouac, aka Jurgen, a hipster writer who smoked a pipe and wrote horrible poetry.  I finally got the nerve to ask him out, to a meeting of the Quad Cities Writers Club.  When I got to his house, I was greeted by his live-in girlfriend!  But I did get a sausage sighting.

 I was visiting Des Moines for my first gay rights march, when I asked a cute guy wearing a mesh t-shirt for a date.  He agreed.  At the end of the date he said  "Follow me home."  He drove like a maniac, zooming around corners, running stop lights.  Finally I lost him.












West Hollywood

The Kept Boy who Alan and I picked up at Mugi.  He had a fantastic physique, but neither of us realized that he was drunk.  And getting drunker by the minute.

Mario in the White Room.  A neat freak with a pristine white-draped apartment like a hospital room, who made me put my clothes in the washer before we could climb into bed.  Where he called me "honey" and was not into kissing (too many germs).







 In Nashville, I accepted a date with a closeted country boy, a student at Vanderbilt, with an infinite number of rules and quirks.  After a truly miserable date, he ended up giving me the wrong number.  I got revenge by looking him up in the student directory and calling him anyway.


 The Worst Date in West Hollywood History.  Ok, Ryan the Dwarf was nice, and very cute, but everything went wrong: a rainstorm when we wanted to go sailing, turned ankle when we wanted to go dancing, missing the concert, Ryan getting drunk, losing Lane (who was supposed to join us).

The Bear with the Pierced Penis.  The pierced penis wasn't the worst thing about the date.  Or the swimming pool on a chilly winter night.  Or the pot.  Or the poppers.



New York

The Nastiest Guy in the World.  Terrorized an online chatroom with his constant abrasive, abusive comments.  I agreed to the date only because I was desperate to move into Manhattan, and he had a room to rent.  Actually, he didn't. He lied in order to get me to go out with him.

 Mario the Teen Model.  My first experience with older-younger dating: I was 39, and he was 19.  And I learned a valuable lesson: make sure you're back home, kissing on the couch, by 10:00 pm.  Otherwise you may end up eating macaroni and cheese in a diner at 4:00 am.







Florida

Breaking Every Rule of Gay Cruising.  This one was my fault: I didn't screen the guy well enough in advance.  So I ended up in a half-built house in the swamp, cruised by two crazy roommates and invited to use drugs.

The Coffee Drinker.  Drank coffee instead of beer at the Filling Station every day.  I tried to say hello, and he said "I'm not into a relationship."  Then Yuri landed a date with him, and invited me to share!








Ohio

Remy the Jerk.  I was cold, hungry, insulted, and abandoned.  It almost didn't make it worth Remy's Kielbasa.

The Huber Heights Horror.  This one was his fault.  He completely misrepresented himself and his intentions.  I drove 20 miles in the middle of the night for a "date." and ended up with a hookup.

Upstate

13. The Grabby Male Nurse, one of the Gang of Twelve, gay guys who had known each other for years and had all dated each other.  This one kept leering and groping, and made every word I said into a sexual double-entendre.

14. My Friend with Benefits.  My boyfriend Troy was ok with "sharing," but when I started seeing another guy regularly, something had to give.




15. The Transman and His Angry Inch.  Ok, so I read his online profile wrong.  Not his fault.  Still, what I found down there was rather surprising.  And embarrassing.

Plains

16. Ricky with a Y, from last November, spent the entire date psychoanalyzing me.  Even in the bedroom.  "Is your aversion to anal sex a sign of internalized homophobia?  Do you believe that if you don't go 'all the way,' you're not really gay?"

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My First Bath House

Rock Island, June 3, 1983

I'm 22 years old, home from grad school in Bloomington, along with my friend Viju.  We've seen most of the sights in the Quad Cities, and I'm running out of ideas.

"We could go to the Amana Colonies, or to Starved Rock State Park...."

"You know what I always wanted to do?" Viju says.  "Go to a gay ghetto!"

I knew the term from The Advocate.  A neighborhood, a place where gay people can live in freedom, not hiding,   With bookstores stocking only gay-themed books!  Community centers!  Organizations!  Gay people walking hand in hand down the street!

According to The Advocate, there are seven gay ghettos in the U.S., in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, and -- Chicago -- the nearest big city to Rock Island, about three hours away.

June 4th, 11:00 am

Viju and I take Interstate 80 to the 94, get off at the Loop, and drive up Lake Shore Drive to the North Side, to a sliver of streets between Clark and Broadway that our Gayellow Pages tells us is clustered with gay places.



We check into our hotel and walk around.  It's a little disappointing.  No gay couples walking hand-in-hand, or newsstands cluttered with gay magazines, or...well, anything.  It looks like a standard suburban neighborhood with small shops, restaurants, gas stations, a drug store. A lot of male-female couples.

You have to look carefully to see the gay presence.  Same-sex couples walk in pairs, close together but not touching.  Young single men are walking dogs, buying groceries, jogging.  

There are bars with closeted names: My Brother's Place, Closet, Carol's Speakeasy.

I want to go into Yosemite, which has a placard outside with  Yosemite Sam pointing a phallic gun in the air.

"Who is that?" Viju asks.  "Is he gay?"

"He's a cartoon character, one of my childhood icons.  On the placard of a gay bar!"  The gay and straight worlds are so complete separate, with such impermeable boundaries, that it is shocking to see an icon of one in the other, like seeing a unicorn on Main Street.

"Sounds stupid.  We'll go to another bar, something hotter, like the Glory Hole."

12:00 pm

It's too early for the bars, so we have lunch at Hamburger Mary's, a restaurant listed in The Gayellow Pages.  It has a picture of a big-breasted woman on the placard, but inside it's crowded with young buffed men, many reading Gay Chicago magazine.

Then we go to Gay Horizons, a community center, actually a small storefront.  There are fliers about AIDS support groups, drug and alcohol support groups, a political club, the Metropolitan Community Church, a gay synagogue, clubs for runners and square-dancers!

I grab Viju's arm.  This is amazing!  A year ago, I had no idea that any gay organizations existed except for bars.  This is a whole gay world, open, out there, only slightly closeted.

Of course, none of the groups meet on Saturday afternoon.  

2:00 pm

Seven hours until the bars get busy.

"Let's go to the Museum of Science and Industry," I suggest.

"No!  We came to see a gay ghetto, and that's what we're going to do."

"But there's nothing open on Saturday afternoons."

"Here --"  he showed me the listing in The Gayellow Pages.  "Man's Country.  A bathhouse, open 24 hours."

I read about bathhouses in gay novels.  "No way!  They're dangerous.  Old guys grab you while you're sleeping."

"So who says we'll be sleeping?"

It's an older 2-story building on Clark Street, far north of the gay ghetto, almost in Evanston.  We pay for two lockers and go through a green door into a vast expanse of black and chrome, dimly lit, with a musky smell.  

2:30 pm

We take off our clothes, wrap towels around our waists, and walk through a maze of small cabana rooms.  Some of the doors are open; we peer inside at guys with their penises or butts in the air, waiting.

Therer's a sauna, a steam room, a small gym, and a room with glory holes.  Guys in towels kissing and going down on each other.  A couple doing anal while a crowd watches.

2:45 pm

An older guy -- way old, probably in his forties, with a hairy chest and beard -- is receiving oral sex from a kid our age.  Viju and I watch.  Suddenly the Kid reaches out, pushes my towel aside, and goes down on me, then both of us in turn.   Hairy Chest pulls Viju close and kisses and fondles him.  

When Hairy Chest finishes, he walks off without a word.  The Kid stands and walks off, too.  

I glance at Viju.  "Not a lot of conversation, is there?"

3:00 pm

I say "hello" to a very young guy, college age or younger, sitting by himself in the lounge.  He says "I'm resting."

3:15 pm

In the steam room, I go down on two guys without learning either of their names.  While I'm working on the second,  an anonymous hand starts fondling me from behind.  I turn and say "Hi!" to a buffed blond in his 30s.

He looks flustered and walks away.

"What's the point of being around a bunch of gay men if you never talk to any of them?" I say in a loud, angry voice. I stomp out.  Viju, who has been working on a thickly muscled Hispanic guy, follows.

"Do you want to go?"

I put my arm around him.  "No.  I came here to meet guys, and I'm going to meet some."

"Maybe they're just here for sex, not talking."

"Well, I'm not leaving until I have a conversation with someone."


3:30 pm

I lower myself into the hot tub, where two middle-aged men are chatting, and introduce myself.  They give me bar-style Attitude.

3:45 pm

I go to the front desk, where an older guy is browsing among the sex toys and lubricants for sale.  He's in his 30s, very muscular, with a hard smooth chest and a military-style buzz cut.

"Hi, I'm Boomer, from Rock Island."

"I'm resting," he says without looking up.

"Me, too.  But my friend and I are visiting, and I was wondering if you could recommend a nice bar?'"

"That depends on what you're into.  Leather, bears, twinks, hustlers?"  

"A bar where you can actually sit down and have a conversation with someone."

"Oh, a piano bar!"  He glances at me, smiling.  "You don't look old enough to be a daddy.  Let me give you a taste of the real Chicago.  You and your friend meet me here at 9:00."  He writes an address down on a slip of paper.  "My name is Mike, by the way."

The address he gives is for Yosemite.  It turns out to be a cowboy bar, actually named after the park.

10:00 pm

Yes, we did go home with Mike, but I don't remember much about the bedroom activity.  My biggest memory is seeing a cartoon character from my childhood in the gay world. 

See also: The Shy Boy at the Bathhouse; Three Days of Cruising in Chicago

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Seeing the Golden Boy in His Underwear

Rock Island, May 1971

I was a horny little kid.  I wasn't thinking about sex yet, of course, but I loved looking at, talking to, hanging out with, and hugging cute boys and men.  I had a steady boyfriend, plus I cruised at the bookmobile, got kissed by a boy vampire, hooked up with boys at sleepovers, and got crushes on any number of grownups.

But the most obviously erotic of my crushes was on Randy.

This is not him, of course.  This model is well over 18.  But it will give you an idea of his face and physique.

He was a Denkmann School celebrity, one of those golden boys who seem perfect in every way.  Tall, lean, muscular, tanned, with wavy hair and bright eyes and a smile.  Good at schoolwork, good at sports, plus friendly to everybody, just plain nice.

How hard is it to be a muscle god and nice at the same time?

But he was way out of my league.  A year ahead of me in school, almost two years older,  with "grown up" friends and activities.

And he was hit  on by everybody all the time: boys, girls, teachers, parents, puppy dogs.  He had a dozen invitations every weekend.

How could I ever break through Randy's army of admirers and incite his interest enough to ask him to play, or get comic books, or go to a movie downtown?

Strategy 1: I joined in his kickball game at recess.  That didn't work -- I was too terrible at sports to impress anyone.


 Strategy 2: Randy and his coterie left the school through the south doors, and walked past Dewey's Candy Store on the way home.  I rushed out of the school before them and stood in front of the store, planning to invite him to get a candy bar.

But you never went to Dewey's without a friend or two for protection -- my bully, Dick, hung out there!  "Hey, wuss!" he yelled.  "Sissy!  Girl!"

I had to run away before Randy passed by.

Strategy 3: Randy lived on one of the few streets in Rock Island with a name, not a number: Berkshire Drive.  Have you ever heard of anything so glamorous?  I rode my bike past his house a few dozen times, hoping he would come out.  No dice.

Strategy 4: Surprisingly, the houses on Berkshire Drive were rather small and rundown.  Randy was poor, so maybe I could impress him with wealth.

My family was lower-middle class, but Moline, the city next to Rock Island (about five blocks east), was well known for its wealth and power.  Bringing Randy to Moline would impress him.  And I could throw in some cute boys to sweeten the deal!


One day in the cafeteria, I stood very near Randy's table and told my accomplice, Bill: "My Dad is taking me to Moline tomorrow night.  To a swim meet at the high school!"

We had no such plans, but I figured I could cross that bridge later.

"Wow, high school boys!" Bill exclaimed. "I'd give anything to go with you!"

 Randy looked up at us. "I bet you'll have fun."

"You can come if..."

But he had already returned to his coterie.

I was about ready to give up when, a few days before the end of school in May, Denkmann held an assembly where all of the little kids got to look at the sixth graders'  projects in history, science, art, and so on.

Randy's project was on the Aztec Empire, how they worshipped the god Quetzalcoatl and performed human sacrifices, and how Tenochtitlan was way bigger than any city in Europe at the time.

Strategy 5:  Every year for my birthday, I got to invite two or three of my friends to go to anywhere in the Quad Cities.  Except my birthday was in November, when all of the fun places were closed, so I postponed it to May, after school let out.

 "Have you been to the Putnam Museum in Davenport?"  I asked Randy. "It has a real Aztec calendar stone, maybe thirty feet high! And the god Quetzalcoatl is in the middle, sticking out his tongue!"

"I never been there," Randy said, his eyes gleaming.  "It sounds cool."

"Well...you know, me and my friends are going there for my birthday next Saturday.  You can come with, if you want."

"That would be great!"

My birthday trip actually wasn't for a few weeks yet, and I had been planning on the Niabi Zoo, not the Putnam.  But it was a simple matter to make the changes.

That Saturday on the way to the museum, I got to squeeze between Randy and Bill in the back seat of the car.  We talked about tv and comic books and Aztecs, like regular friends.  Afterwards we had hamburgers and cake and opened presents.  Randy gave me a Hardy Boys book, which I still have.  Then, when his mother picked him up, he gave me a warm, tight handshake.

Best birthday ever!

But it gets better.


A couple of weeks later, Randy invited me to a sleepover.  I guess his mother insisted.  I didn't get to share his bed, but still  -- hanging out with hot, muscular sixth graders -- and seeing the Golden Boy in his underwear!

We didn't stay friends. A year was an impossible age gap, and we had little in common besides Aztecs.  I saw Randy occasionally in the hallway at Washington and Rocky High, but that's all.

That was enough.

See also: the Hookup at the Sleepover; and Bill and I find a Little Bit O'Heaven.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Topped for the First Time by Fred the Ministerial Student

Davenport, Iowa, December 1979

There are a practically infinite number of bedroom acts you might want to engage in during a date with this guy, but for most gay men, the Big Four are anal top and bottom and oral giving and receiving, or in the terms we used in the 1980s:

French active/passive
Greek active/passive

French was the mainstay.  You didn't even need to ask; you could just assume that any guy you met was up for oral, both giving and receiving.  It's just what you expected to happen in the bedroom.

It's the only major activity that I knew about for 1 1/2 years after figuring "it" out.

Well, where was I supposed to learn about Greek?

There was no gay porn then, at least none that I had access to.

The Joy of Gay Sex had been published but wasn't on the shelves at the Waldenbooks in the Mall.

None of the guys I was intimate with suggested Greek, or even mentioned it.


Then, on December 16, 1979, during my sophomore year in college, Fred the Ministerial Student asked me for a date.  He was 27 years old,  immensely attractive, my height, with an open smiling face, a tight swimmer's build, nice biceps, and an "innie" belly button.

We had dinner in a Chinese restaurant in Davenport and then returned to his tiny two-room apartment, where I tried the "yawn and stretch" maneuver to put my arm around him.

After kissing for awhile, we went into the bedroom, tore our clothes off, and fell onto the bed, where I went down on him.  I was being French passive, although I was doing all the work.

He wasn't quite as big as the guy in this photo, but still a lot bigger than any of the guys I had been on before.   I gagged and choked.

"That's ok," Fred said.  "I get that a lot.  It's the curse of the well-hung man."

He pushed me back onto the bed.  I thought he was going to go down on me, making me French active, but instead he threw my legs into the air.  It was uncomfortable, hard to breath with all that weight on my chest.

Hey, what's going on?  What's he doing?

He spat on his hand, rubbed it on his penis, and pushed inside me!

The pain was intense!  "Hey, wait!" I yelled.  "What are you doing?"

He pulled out.  "Sorry -- are you active?"

"Active?"

"Greek active?  I figured you were Greek passive."

I had no idea what he was talking about.

"A virgin, is that it?"

"No, I've been with guys before.  But nobody did that -- Greek thing."

"Why didn't you say so?  If you're a virgin, it's easier from the rear.  And I'll lube more, don't worry."

"Couldn't we, like, kiss and stuff?" I asked.

"Oh, no, it's great.  You'll see.  You just have to relax." He fondled my butt.  "Nice!"

He turned me over on my stomach.  He took a jar of vaseline from the nightstand, and, I assume, smeared it on his penis.  "Just relax," he repeated.  "I'll take it slow."

And he was inside me again.  It still hurt, but it was tolerable, and it was kind of nice feeling Fred's body push against me.  But then another problem arose -- apparently pressing against the prostate triggered my urination reflex.  I had to go, now!

I pushed Fred off and headed to the bathroom.  Back in the bedroom, Fred said "Yeah, that happens sometimes.  I should have warned you.  Ready to try again?"

We tried again a few more times.  I got used to it, at least enough to allow myself to be talked into it, but I still couldn't see the attraction.  Either you couldn't breathe, or you were facing the wrong way. You couldn't kiss.  It was messy.  It ruined the mood to ask "have you cleaned down there?"

And it was really annoying to hear Fred whisper in my ear "Just relax!" as he tried to drive a baseball bat into my butt.

Through college and grad school, I was asked to be Greek active or passive on occasion.  I usually refused.

By the time I got to West Hollywood, Greek was implicated as a main way to transmit the AIDS virus, and thus extremely rare. Guys rarely requested it.  Between 1985 and 1997, I was Greek passive with only three people, and Greek active with two.

But lately I've noticed a big increase in Greek.  On the Plains, most of my dates throw their legs in the air the second we get into the bedroom.

Is it became I'm older, a "daddy"?
Or are guys in the Straight World less concerned about AIDS?
Or is it just the 2010s?

Go figure.

See also: I learn about oral sex; My second Greek passive experience; Fred hooks up with Ron Reagan Jr.