Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dating Two Roommates Who Aren't Out to Each Other

Dayton, Fall 2006

In 2005, after 20 years in gay neighborhoods, I moved to the Straight World of Dayton, Ohio. There were some gay people around, of course, but they adopted an aggressively heterosexual public life.

1. They appeared at events alone or with female friends.

2. They dropped pronouns when answering the question "What did you do this weekend?"

3. They had no gay friends, just hookups and romantic partners.

4. Whom they never discussed with their heterosexual friends.

5. Who obeyed an unspoken rule to pretend not to know.

In June 2006, I began going out with Paul (not his real name). He was in his 20s, a recent graduate of Ohio Dominican University who was doing some sort of lower-level office drone work while trying to become a writer.  He had four of the characteristics I find attractive: short, husky (actually tending to fat),  religious (devout Catholic), and gifted beneath the belt (not the fifth -- he was a pale blond).  

Since gay men in the Straight World would rarely agree to being seen in public in pairs, Paul and I mostly had Chinese food and watched DVD movies in my apartment (I never saw his apartment, because he wasn't out to his straight roommate.) 

When we wanted to do something public, we drove into Columbus, for dinner at La Fogata, or a gay-themed movie, or the theater.

In gay neighborhoods, you dated one guy at a time.  You became romantic partners by the third date; from that point onward, it was taboo to date or hook up with anyone else (except for "sharing" with friends and roommates).  But in the Straight World, it was acceptable, even expected, to date several guys at once.

I think the reason was the aggressively heterosexual public life.  Your boyfriend could not give you all of his attention; he couldn't take you to office parties, or to family functions, or even to street fairs.  So you needed several boyfriends to be assured of a date on Saturday night.

(That must be why the Episcopal priest who I met in Omaha had three boyfriends.)

So I kept on cruising and dating, and met another guy: Charlie (again, not his real name), a high school football coach and physical education teacher.  He was in his 20s, extremely muscular, with nice biceps and a thick, hairy chest.

Unfortunately, he also had 4 of the my Top 10 Turn-Offs:  taller than me; a sports nut; an outdoor nut; and an affinity for drinking beer.  

But in the Straight World, there are so few gay men to choose from that if he likes you and he's not completely repulsive, he's worth a shot.

Like Paul, Charlie led an aggressively heterosexual public life.  He wasn't out to his roommate, who was straight and "wouldn't understand."

He even had a "beard," a female friend who agreed to go with him to games and events, to help hide his gayness.

There was one nice thing about being closeted: Charlie never asked me to go to any football game.  We went hiking, deep in the wilderness of John Bryan State Park, where no one would notice us.  We went jogging at Rivers Edge park in Dayton, early in the morning when no one would notice us. We drove into Columbus to go cruising at the Exile.  

Things were going great -- I had two regular boyfriends, Paul and Charlie, one artistic, one athletic.  Of course, they insisted that our relationship be strictly secret, described in only the vaguest terms to gay people, and never mentioned at all to heterosexuals.  But it was easy to adapt to the new rules.

See if you can guess which statement I would say to heterosexuals, and which to gay people:

"Saturday night, one of my boyfriends took me to dinner at La Fogata"
"Saturday night, I had dinner at La Fogata."'

"The guy I'm dating swears by bicep exhaustion sets."
"A friend of mine swears by bicep exhaustion sets."

"My date and I went cruising at the Exile in Columbus."
"I went to Columbus."

Besides, I could continue cruising, in search of a third, fourth, or fifth boyfriend -- maybe, eventually, one for each night of the week!

In December, shortly after my birthday, Paul came down with a cold, so I decided to play the role of the thoughtful boyfriend and surprise him with some chicken soup.  I never got his address, so I had to call him for it.

"Sure, come on over," he said in a stuffed-up voice.  "But my roommate's here, so play it cool.  Say you're my cousin or something."

I drove out to his apartment in a rather nice complex in Huber Heights, a northern suburb of Dayton, and dialed the security code.  The door immediately buzzed open -- I was expected.

I walked to the second floor and knocked.

By now you've probably guessed what happened next:  

Charlie answered!

I was dating roommates!  

Paul and Charlie had been living together for over a year, but each thought other was straight and stayed strictly closeted.  Neither had any idea that the other knew me, or any gay people.  They had different interests, so their paths never crossed.

You may think that, when the smoke cleared, the three of us settled down into a cozy romantic triad.  In fact, they were both extremely embarrassed over the year of closeting.  Charlie broke up with me on the spot (not because I had another boyfriend -- because someone else "knew").  He soon moved out.

Paul and I continued to date.  But, when he was advertising for a new roommate, I insisted that he tell all prospects that he was gay. Then we moved in together.  Big mistake!

See also: The Guy Who Was Too Good in Bed

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Randall, the Muscle Bear with the Pierced Penis

Rock Island, December 25th, 1990

My boyfriend Lane and I have an open relationship: bedroom activity with other guys is fine, as long as we are both present, "sharing" or at least watching.  In emergencies, like when I'm back in Rock Island for two weeks, a close friend can substitute.

So on Christmas Day, I call Lane and tell him how my friend Dick and I went to JR's last night and hooked up with the Ginger Boy.  And he tells me about how he went to a bear contest at the Faultline, and got the phone number of the winner, Randall.

"You should have seen him!  A classic muscle daddy, in his 50s but not grey, a military haircut, a short-cropped beard, thick arms, nice muscular hairy chest!  I groped him -- feels like a gigantic Kielbasa down there!"

"Sounds hot," I say.  Not really my type though.  I just turned 30, so I'm not into the over-40 crowd.  I figure if they date, I'll just be the "watcher."

"And really into S&M: mummification, water sports, you name it."

I like some minor bondage, but Lane isn't into it at all.  What does he see in this guy?  "So, when is the big date?  You can bring Max along to share, if I'm still in the Midwest."

"No, we'll wait until you get back.  How about if we have dinner with him on the 5th?"

West Hollywood, January 5th, 6:00 pm

I expect Lane to drive me to a West Hollywood address -- San Vicente, Crescent Heights, Fairfax, La Brea.  But instead we get on the 410 and drive south for 45 minutes, to Long Beach!

The other side of the world?  What does this guy have that the 20,000 gay men in West Hollywood don't?  

Long Beach, 7:00 pm

We meet Randall at a restaurant on East Broadway, in the heart of Long Beach's gay neighborhood.  He is very attractive, very dynamic, in spite of being 23 years older than me.  Maybe I'll do more than watch.

I start bringing out my best stories.  I spent a summer in Japan.

"Really?  I lived in Japan for five years, after I got out of the navy. Nihonjin dansei ga miri kitekidesu!"

How about my celebrity boyfriend?

"Oh, I met him at a party a few years ago, when he was still in that tv show.  He let me tie him up, but I couldn't do anything else.  You know who's really into S&M scenes?  I'll give you a hint -- he's on Murphy Brown!"

Ok, my writing career.   "I worked for Muscle and Fitness for four years," I tell him, omitting the fact that I was a proofreader.  "But now I've moved into freelance.  I just had an article published in Frontiers [the local gay newspaper]."

"That's great.  I write a monthly column on the leather world.  You've probably seen it -- Randall's Ropes?"

Grrr.

10:00 pm

After cruising at the Mineshaft, a local leather bar, we go back to Randall's house, a square Spanish colonial flanked by palm trees.  Not much furniture: a nearly bare living room, a playroom with a pool table and a fireplace, a study with some paperbacks leftover from his college days.  But a well-stocked basement dungeon.

"Who's up for a scene?" Randall  asks.  "Boomer, you look like a bottom."

"Nope, a top.  Lane bottoms on occasion, but he's not really into it at all."

"Not tonight," Lane says.  "I want to try the dominance thing."

"Come on, Boomer -- you can't say no to two tops.  At least let us put you in my new leather-braided restraints and play with you a bit."

So I take off my clothes, and Randall wraps my wrists and biceps in tight leather bands.  He fondles my chest, and Lane goes down on me.  

But I'm not used to restraints, and it's very, very tight.  "Enough, enough!" I exclaim.

"But I was going to put clamps on your nipples!"

"Let me out of this thing!"

He unties the braids.  "Would you be up for a midnight swim instead?   In my pool, not in the ocean, so there will be no fish to nipple on your toes"

11:00 pm

Randall strips, revealing a nice muscular chest and a gigantic Kielbasa -- with a Prince Albert, what looks like a 3" thick metal hook through his glans.

Lane and I follow him upstairs and into the back yard.  It's January in Long Beach, 53 degrees out, jacket weather.  I assume that his pool is heated.

No.

Randall and Lane dive into the deep end.   I climb carefully into the shallow end and stand there, shivering.

Randall swims over and gropes me.  "Hey, Boomer, have you ever gone down on a guy underwater?"

Put my head under that ice shelf?  I don't think so.

I climb of the pool and go back in the house.  Randall follows.

"Sorry, you're from the Midwest, so I figured you wouldn't mind a little chill.  Let me warm you up."  He slaps my back -- vigorously. It hurts!

"Ouch!  Get away!"

"Sorry!  Well, let's get busy."  He grabs Lane, pushes him down on the couch, and starts aggressively kissing and fondling him.  His gigantic Kielbasa becomes aroused.  Who am I to turn down a Kielbasa?   I kneel and go down on him.

It feels like I'm going down on one of those old-fashioned hitching posts.


"Could you take that thing out?" I ask.  "It's breaking my teeth."

"Well, I prefer leaving it in.  Oral sex is much better that way.  Try this -- it will help you relax your throat."

He shoves a poppers vial at me.  I refuse.

Tired of getting my teeth knocked out, I move over and go down on Lane.

"Shall we go to the bedroom?" Randall asks.  He doesn't wait for an answer -- his fully aroused hitching post leads the way.

He sits on the bed, his back against the headboard, and Lane crawls between his legs and goes down on him.  I sit next to him.  We kiss for awhile.  Then he opens a carved wooden box and pulls out a homemade cigar.  "Want to get high?"

I don't drink.  What makes him think I do drugs?  I've never even seen marijuana before.  "Um...no, thanks."

"How about you, Lane?"

Lane looks up.  "Thanks, but I'm high enough as it is.  It's not every day that I get to go down on someone as big as you."

"Hey, he's not that much bigger than me!"  I exclaim.

"Just keep working, boy," Randall says, patting his head.  He lights up.  An acrid-sweet smell fills the room.

After awhile, he pushes Lane away and tries to turn me over onto my stomach.

"Um...I'm not into anal."

 "Just relax, boy." He spits on his penis and pushes it between my legs, while I'm facing the wrong way.  After a few dozen thrusts, he finishes with a yell.

All in all, a less than optimal evening.

But Lane loved it.  Randall was like a bigger, more accomplished, more adventurous version of me.  We visited him in Long Beach, or invite him up to West Hollywood, every couple of weeks until we moved to San Francisco in 1995.  And after we broke up, Lane and Randall became roommates.

Today Randall is 78 years old, still living in that house in Long Beach, still inviting Cute Young Things over to swim in his pool, try out his dungeon, and break their teeth on his Prince Albert.

See also: A Golden Boy for Christmas; Darren, Cary Grant, and Groucho Marx in the Same Bed.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

February 1983: My First Creepy Old Guy

Bloomington, February 1983

I'm 22 years old, out for 4 1/2 years, but I've only been to the bars a few times.  Growing up in a church that teaches that alcohol consumption is far worse than murder, I'm still not comfortable walking into a tavern.

Used beer bottles everywhere.  Rows of liquor bottles behind the bar.  A nauseating smell.  Guys drinking beer. Disgusting!

But gay bars are the only safe places, where you can relax and meet other gay people without fear of homophobic harassment.  So, with my friend Viju's help, I persevere, and get used to it.

Tonight he isn't feeling well, and wants to stay home.

Do I dare go by myself?

I decide to take the plunge.

I arrive at Bullwinkle's in downtown Bloomington at 9:00 pm.  There's room at the bar, so I sit on one of the red stools and order a Coke.   A small crowd, mostly college-age, some older guys from the community.  No one I know.

Suddenly the bartender hands me another Coke.

"I didn't order this," I tell him.

"That guy bought it for your."  He gestures at an older man sitting at the end of the bar.  Probably in his 50s, a little chunky white-haired, with a salt-and-pepper beard.  Dressed a little too formally for a gay bar, in a white button-down shirt and black pants.

I move over to sit next to him and introduce myself.  "Hi, I'm Boomer.  In grad school in English."

"Oh, a literary scholar!  I knew you were an artist!"  He takes my hand and refuses to let go.  "My name is Philip.  I'm a professor of the Classics, vainly trying to keep the basic texts of Western Civilization alive in this era of Disco Duck and BJ and the Bear." 


Ok, pop culture references five years out of date.  "I'm more a fan of Michael Jackson and Chips."  

"Even worse!  Have you never read Tacitus?  Or, if a randy mood strikes, Catullus?"

I take a sip of my drink, and sputter in disgust.  Vile concoction.  "What is this? It's not a Coke!"

"Why no, it's rum and coke. Isn't that what you were drinking?"

"No -- I don't drink."

"Don't drink, don't smoke," Philip says with a smile.  "What do you do?"

"So you've heard of Adam Ant?"  

"Oh, of course.  One must keep up."  His hand falls onto my lap, and he begins groping me through my pants.  "I hesitate to ask -- I'm afraid you'll find me a disappointment.  But I would certainly love spending the night with you.  Such youth!  Puerum pulcherimum!" 

Ok, this guy is way too old for me. I like guys who are my age, or only a few years older, 30s tops.  Philip is probably older than my father!  But I haven't had much experience in turning guys down.  Is it impolite?  Is it even allowed?

So I follow Philip to his house, an elegant two-story Tudor about five blocks away.


We sit in a living room that looks like it came from Versailles, on a gold-embroidered couch next to a grand piano.

"Do you play?" he asks.

"Um...no...I played the viola in high school."

"You're such a beautiful young man, so literary.  I'm sure you're musical, too.  You should play the piano."

"Um..."

"Care for a sherry?"

"Could I just have a Coke, with nothing in it?"

He brings me a can of bargain-brand cola, and the sherry, some vile-smelling concoction in a giant snifter, for himself.

After a sip, he fondles my shoulder.  "So beautiful.  Stunning, really.  You should be a model."

"Yeah..um...thanks."

He bends in for a kiss.  I see his whiskered mouth, wet from sherry, approach me, and turn away with a shudder.  He gets my cheek.

At that moment the phone rings.  "Yes...yes...oh, yes...he's sitting here now...very beautiful, like a Hellenistic youth.  Perhaps Hyacinth.  Yes, ok.  Thank you.  Good night."

Philip returns to me.  "My lover, calling to check up on me."

"He doesn't mind that you..."

"Oh, no.  At this point we're mostly business partners anyway.  Sex is a thing of the past.  It's all about the search for youth and beauty, don't you think?"

He takes the soda from my hand.   "Shall we adjourn to the boudoir?"

I'm reluctant -- being called "beautiful" a dozen times isn't erotic, it's just creepy.  But I can't see any way out of it.  Philip leads me down a hallway to a bedroom that looks like it came from a museum.  Gilded white dressers, Louis XIV chairs, lamps that must weigh fifty pounds a piece, a four-poster bed with lace curtains and gold pillows.

"Do you sleep on that bed?"  I asked.

"Among other things."  He unbuttons my shirt, runs his hand over my chest, then fondles me through my pants.  He unzips me and pulls it out.  I don't get aroused.

"Hmm...uncircumcized, are you?  The Phyrgian youth had foreskins so long that they pierced them and put ornaments in them.  Quite pleasing to the tongue, I understand."

Philip takes off his shirt - a thick mass of chest hair, and nipple rings.  The first I have ever seen.

"Oh, do you like my ornamentation?  You can play with them," he says.  "Squeeze them -- bite them...I'm used to the pain."

"Ok."

"Like this."  His mouth is on my nipple.  I feel his moustache tickling my cheek, then his tongue.  Then he bites down hard.

I push him away with a yell.

"Just relax.  Daddy knows best."  He returns to my nipple, and licks it.  Then he starts running his tongue down my chest, lapping like a puppy dog!  Gross!

"Stop that!" I yell.  Disgusted, I grab my shirt and start to leave.

He takes my arm.  "Don't go.  Youth is so beautiful, don't you think?  It fades away year by year, until finally you're a ravaged husk.  Cherish it while you can."

"Yeah, I'll do that.  See ya."

It's been 32 years since that night in Bloomington.  I'm now the same age as Philip.  But I don't go around calling twinks "beautiful boy" and complaining about the ravages of age.  I don't want to become a Creepy Old Guy.

Pop Quiz: List five things that Philip did wrong.

See also: The Night I Became a Creepy Old Guy