Saturday, March 19, 2016

Corbin's Choice: Handsome and Small or Sleazy and Gigantic

San Francisco, April 1996

A few weeks ago, Lane and I drove back to West Hollywood for the annual Oscar party.  Then, unexpectedly, he had to take care of something about the apartment building he inherited from his mother, so he stayed, and I took the bus back to San Francisco.

It's been three weeks, and he's still there:  "It's more complicated than I thought.  We need to completely remodel the foyer, and there's a zoning issue with the pool, and one of the tenants needs to be evicted."

Yeah, right.  The boy just likes being home.  Face it: he's not coming back at all.

To cheer me up, Drake the teddy bear artist and his boyfriend Zack ask me out to dinner at Almost Home, a Castro Street restaurant that specializes in "back home" cuisine: pot roast, fried chicken, chipped beef on toast.

There are dozens of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Greek, and Filipino restaurants in San Francisco, and I'm offered chipped beef on toast?  This evening won't go well.


They invite Zack's friend Corbin: in his 20s, tall, Mediterranean, very muscular, smooth hard chest visible beneath a white silk shirt unbuttoned five buttons.  Very handsome face, big black eyes, aquiline nose, a prominent chin.

Are they trying to fix us up?

He's very attractive, but there are thousands of eligible gay men within a five block radius.  Why Corbin in particular?

They know about my preference for extra-large beneath-the-belt gifts.  Maybe Corbin has a Kovbasa beneath the belt.

We choke down our down-home American food and start swapping stories of dates from hell, hookups with celebrities, and gigantic penises.  I tell about the time Alan and I accidentally picked up the kept boy.  Zack tells his coming out story.  Drake tells about his date with John Stamos, star of Full House.  Now it's Corbin's turn.

"I'm going to tell you about my choice: handsome or hung."

Bakersfield, California, Summer 1990

Corbin grew up in a conservative Armenian-American household in Bakersfield, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. During college, he and his friends often went to drag shows and male strip shows at the Casablanca Night Club on N Street, downtown.

The gay community was rather small, so when you met a new guy, chances are one of your friends had dated him.

One night Corbin was approached by a rather ugly, sleazy looking guy with ridiculous hair.  His opening line was: "What would you like for breakfast tomorrow morning?  Besides me, that is?"

"Sleazy!" Zack exclaims.

Corbin almost gave Attitude, but then one of his friends gestured with his palms spread wide, indicating that the guy was super-hung.

Who cares if he was sleazy?  A penis is a penis.

There were no hookups in Bakersfield in 1990.  Corbin made a date with Sleazy for next Wednesday night.

After awhile, Corbin was approached a second time: tall, rugged male model looks with a little beard, very muscular bodybuilder physique and a honest opening line.

"Hi, do you mind if I stand here and talk to you awhile?"

Corbin practically swooned as they made initial small talk.

He glanced at his friends.  One signaled with his fingers that the guy was very small.  Princess Tiny Meat.

Who cares if he was tiny? Corbin made a date with Mr. Handsome for next Thursday night.

When he returned to the table, his friend said "Wow, what a stud you landed!  IHow are you going to break your date with Sleazy?"

 In Bakersfield in 1990, it was taboo to accept dates with more than one guy at a time. You had to evaluate the first, and get him evaluated by your friends, before you could go on to the second.

Corbin had to make a choice.

1. Sleazy but hung.
2. Handsome but tiny.

San Francisco, Spring 1996

"You stole that story from 'The Canterbury Tales,'" I protest.  "Where the man has a choice of a partner who is attractive during the day and ugly at night, or ugly during the day and attractive at night."

"Never read it," Corbin says.

"I'd pick Handsome," Drake says.  "He'll be the envy of all your friends, and you can work around the deficiencies in the penis department."

"I think I'd go with Sleazy," Zack says.  "No competition, everyone wondering what you see in him.  It'd be fun.  And you'd know what was waiting for you at home."

"Which one did you pick?" I ask.

Corbin grins. "Why, Handsome of course!  He had everything I was looking for in a guy, except for that one little thing.  And in the end, who cares about that?"

I look at Corbin.  Is he trying to tell me something, to "out" himself as small beneath the belt?

After all that buildup, there is no way I am going to reject Corbin.  After dinner and cruising at the Midnight Sun, I agree to go back to Drake's place for "sharing."

While we are all sitting on the couch, Drake and Zack start kissing.  I lean over to kiss Corbin.

"Wait -- before the festivities, could I take a shower?" he asks.  "I came to dinner directly from the gym."

"Sure -- we'll be in the bedroom," Drake says.

While Corbin is showering, we go into the bedroom and take off our clothes.  I go down on Zack and Drake while they're kissing.   Then Zack goes down on me while Drake watches.

Corbin comes out of the bathroom naked, toweling off.

Very well hung! Uncut Mortadella+, already semi-aroused.

"Hey, I thought you..." I begin.

"What?"

"I thought your story was a way of coming out as small."

He laughs.  "I've never been accused of that before!   It was to make you feel at ease, to tell you that I don't mind that you're small.  Zack and Drake told me."

"Me, small?"  I exclaim, offended.  I push Zack's head off me and display my Bratwurst+.  "How's that?"

Corbin lies down on the bed and begins fondling me. "Hey, who cares about size?  Small ones slide down my throat just fine."

He goes down on me.  After a few minutes, we move to the 69 position, but I can't take him.

"Don't worry about it," he says.  "We regular-sized guys get that all the time."


Regular sized?

Well,  I am the smallest guy in the room.

That's the risk you run when you prefer the gigantic.

See also: Sharing the Bear's Boyfriend; Corbin, David, and I Hook Up with Brad Pitt; and The Edwardian with the Footlong

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Kicked Out of the Russian Army for Being Gay

Wilton Manors, Summer 2002

Whenever he's asked for his coming out story, Yuri tells about that night in December 1997, when he was a 23 year old graduate student, new to America, who claimed to be straight until he came as my date to a Christmas party and spent the night later.

Everyone assumes that there was nothing before, just 23 years of silence and darkness.  He's only told a few people about his gay life in Russia.

But in the summer of 2002, at a party during the visit of John, the Shy Boy in the Third Row,  John asks "How did you get through high school and college without knowing?  Even in Russia."

"And without doing anything?" Wade adds.

"Well, I didn't do anything until I was 23, just like Yuri," John says.  "But I knew when I was about twelve."

"I don't know there was anything to know," Yuri answered.  "I thought I was straight, because I knew nothing else.  And for sex, all I did was..."  He stops and looked around the room in alarm.  "Um...all I did was drochit, jerk off."

"Oh, no, you were going to say something else!" Wade exclaims.  "You  were with someone before you came to America!"

Yuri shoots me a pained look.  He really wants to "share" John the Bodybuilder tonight, and he thinks his "real" coming out story will seal the deal.  But it's embarrassing.

"Ok, you will hear it," he says, finally.  "But Boomer will tell it, so I'm not embarrassed."

Volgograd, Summer 1992

Yuri grew up in Volgograd, in the south of Russia, a cosmopolitan city where you could hear people speaking Turkic languages of the steppes like Kazakh, Tatar, and Kalmyk, plus Armenian, Ukrainian, and even an archaic form of German, spoken for centuries by the Volga Nemtsy.

"Enough languages!" Yuri exclaims.  "Go to the gimnaziya."

He didn't learn about the existence of gay people until high school, when teachers began including them in lectures as pitiable examples of capitalism gone awry, men brainwashed into believing that they were really women.  Fortunately, there were none in the Soviet Union, teachers said.

But there were men: slim, smooth technology students from Latvia, barrel-chested weight lifters, hairy-chested bears with massive bulges. Nudity was much more common than in the U.S.  Yuri "knew" that he was straight, that he would one day marry a woman, but he still looked -- in the weight room, in the park, in the sauna.

He looked.

You know how to check out a straight guy's bulge.  A quick downward glance.  If he notices, he'll just think you're trying to avoid eye contact.  Nothing more blatant.

Yuri didn't know that.  He looked openly, longingly, at crotches, evaluating bulges, trying to determine the size and shape of the guy's beneath-the-belt gifts, imagining that he was going down on him or spreading his legs for him to enter.

No one took offense, or associated it with being golubyye, "blue."  Yuri assumed that every guy did it.

Yuri graduated from the gimnaziya in June 1992, and was immediately drafted and sent to a military base on the Caspian Sea: the Soviet Union was breaking apart, transitioning into a democracy, and soldiers were needed to maintain order.

He didn't fit in well: he was smaller than most guys his age, bookish and intellectual.  He was bullied, called names.  He was stripped and thrown out of the barracks naked.  His bunk was messed up just before inspection, so he'd get a demerit.  His packages from home were confiscated.

But Sergeant Andreivich, a middle-aged career soldier in charge of his barracks, took an interest in him, buying him sodas, giving him books on military history, inviting him for late-night conversations in his room a little off the main dormitory.

Andreivich was in his early 40s, bald, with a hairy chest, nice pecs, a little belly, big hands -- and a big bulge.  Yuri couldn't take his eyes off it!

One day Yuri came into Andreivich's room while he was dressing, and saw him naked from the waist down -- a thick uncut Bratwurst!

"Why look, when you can touch?"  Andreivich said.  He sat down on his bunk and spread his legs.  Yuri approached, got on his knees, and touched it.  It sprang to life.  He became aroused himself as he began oral sex without ever having heard that such acts existed.

When he finished and Yuri swallowed, he felt like he had become as close to a man as anyone in the history of the world, like their souls had merged.  Then Andreivich lay Yuri on his bunk and held his hands and went down on him.

"Women are great," Andreivich told him later.  "Every man would prefer to be with them, of course.  But when there are none available, men can do everything a woman can.  It is not blue, like in the decadent West.  It is friends helping each other, the true spirit of comradeship."

They got together often before Yuri was discharged.  Then he enrolled in a five-year degree program in geology at St. Petersburg State University, where he found other friends, usually older guys with wives and kids.

He even "dated," going out to dinners and American movies with a new professor named Sergei: very muscular arms, smooth chest, thick Kielbasa.  Sergei introduced him to anal, and to the atmospheric anomalies that he would be studying later on.

But he never thought of himself as gay, not until he graduated in June 1997, came to the U.S. to study for his Ph.D., and met Boomer at Long Island University.

Gay, out, and proud, as well as incredibly goodlooking, with the physique of a Greek god and a porn star-sized penis, Boomer gently took the poor naive Russian boy under his wing, offering support, encouragement, and a glimpse of his super-sized...

"Ok, ok!" Yuri exclaims.  "Everyone thinks Boomer is great.  Especially Boomer.  This story is supposed to be about my special friend."

"Wait -- something doesn't add up!" John says.  "You graduated from high school in 1992, finished five years at the University, and came to the U.S. in 1997.  How did you have time for military service?"

Yuri looks down.  "Actually, I was only in the military for two months.  I was discharged for psikhologicheskiye deviatsiiue, having a psychological deviation."

"Oh -- did they find out about your relationship with Andreivich?" Wade asks.

"No.  It was the Starshiy Leytenant, the guy in charge of my...um...platoon.  He saw me looking at his crotch, and thought I was goluboy and called the psychiatrist."  

"How embarrassing," he adds. "To be having sex with guys right in the barracks, but then you get discharged for looking,"

See also: The Gay Russian Teenager; The Shy Boy in the Third Row.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mario's Date with Rob Lowe


West Hollywood, September 1987

When I first arrived in West Hollywood in 1985, Rob Lowe was an androgynous prettyboy who took off his shirt a lot in Brat Pack classics like The Outsiders (1983), Class (1983), The Hotel New Hampshire (1984), Oxford Blues (1984), and St. Elmo's Fire (1985).

His fire faded a bit during the late 1980s, and his career almost fizzled out in 1988, after a tape surfaced of him and friend Justin Morritt having sex with a woman in a hotel room the night before the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta (there were actually two women there, but one doesn't appear on the tape).

Such shenanigans didn't ruin his popularity with gay fans, or the belief that he was probably gay himself. Even though he, and his Brat Pack buddies, made some of the most horrifically homophobic movies of the 1980s.  Even though he married Sheryl Berkoff in 1991 and had two children (Matthew and John Owen).






We still figured he was gay.  Why else would he star in the gay subtext-filled Bad Influence (1990) and The Finest Hour (1992), as  the psychiatrist treating the dead gay guy's sister in Suddenly Last Summer (1993), and as the mute, angelic, asexual Nick Stavros in The Stand (1994)?  Why else would he appear at so many AIDS Walks and AIDS benefits?

Why else would half the guys in West Hollywood claim to have dated him?

During my 10 years in West Hollywood, I heard about a dozen "my date with Rob Lowe" stories.  The one that sounds the most believable is from Mario, the wannabe actor who picked me up at the Different Light Bookstore.

He was black, rather feminine, thin and willowy, wearing gold rings, bracelets, and necklaces -- an immediate turnoff.  But he was also shorter than me, dark skinned, with glasses that gave him a studious look.

During dinner at the Greenery, I told him about my Celebrity Boyfriend, who dumped me for Alan the Pentecostal Porn Star.

He said, "Honey, forget those minor teen idol wannabes. You gotta start at the top.  Take me: I was in town about a month before I had a date with the super-hung superstar Rob Lowe!"




Hollywood, Spring 1981

Mario was 18 years old, a transplant from Richmond, Virginia, living in a tiny apartment off Selma with a drag queen named Esther Dicks, and eager to break into acting,   So far he had danced in a shoe commercial, and played basketball on a episode of Saved by the Bell.  

Then he got a starring role in a tv movie starring Vicki Lawrence (Mama's Family) as the owner of a hip jeans store.  He played the best friend of her son, Tucker:

A 16 year old actor named Rob Lowe.

Rob was a junior at Santa Monica High School, a handsome prettyboy with incredible eyes and a bulge that wouldn't quit.

Although he had starred in A New Kind of Family (1979-80) and an Afterschool Special, and had a few articles in teen magazines, Mario didn't know him.

He didn't come out, of course -- he invented a fake girlfriend back home in Virginia.  Rob said he hadn't dated much -- he was "shy" around girls.

"Uh-huh, honey, you know what that means."


They bonded during filming.  Rob invited him to a weekly basketball game that Garry Marshall (Laverne and Shirley) held at his house in Tarzana for every cute boy he could find.  Vince Van Patten and Ralph Macchio were there.

"So, Garry Marshall is gay?" I asked in surprise.

"Ain't nobody in Hollywood who's not gay, once they get a few beers in them."

One night Rob invited him over for dinner at his house in Malibu  -- "It wasn't no palace, by a long shot.  It looked like somebody air-lifted it from Wichita, Kansas. They didn't even have a swimming pool!"

Afterwards they went up to his room and watched Magnum, P.I. and drank beers they sneaked from the refrigerator.  They discussed whether Tom Selleck was gay, and whether he was hung.

"He's got nothing on me!"  Mario exclaimed.  "Why, when I get going, the honeys all be screaming 'It's too big!  It's too big!'"

They sat together on the floor, their knees touching.  Mario saw Rob starting to tent.

"Well, I'm not one to let an opportunity like that slip by!  I took the bull by the horns, by which I mean I fondled him until he pulled it out and let me go down on it.  Gigantic, baby!  8 inches!"

It took him a long time to finish -- not that Mario minded! But, Rob didn't reciprocate; afterwards he zipped up again, and they continued watching tv as if nothing had happened.

They got together a few more times after that.  Oral only -- Rob wouldn't go down on Mario, or even kiss him.  And when the filming ended, they moved on to other projects, and didn't stay in touch.

Evidence that Mario's story was accurate:

1. Rob Lowe did star in a pilot for Garry Marshall, Mean Jeans, with Vickie Lawrence as the owner of a hip jeans shop. He says it was in early 1980, not 1981.  His character was named Tucker.  That information was not readily available in 1987.

Here's a picture of his best friend -- I can't find the name, but he looks a lot like Mario.

2. Mario got other details right: living in Malibu, the "shy around girls," the basketball games at Garry Marshall's house, the size of his penis (before the sex tape made it common knowledge).

Evidence that he was exaggerating or making the whole thing up:

1. Wouldn't Mario remember that his first major acting job was in a tv pilot, not a movie?

2. A tv pilot takes about a week to shoot.  How did they have time to bond, play basketball, have dinner, and become intimate several times?

3. Rob Lowe doesn't mention any same-sex intimacies in his autobiography, Love Life, but he does say that he was into "experimentation" in high school.

See also: My Date or Trick with Mario; Rob Lowe

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Bodybuilder and the Teenage Underwear Thief

Wilton Manors,  Summer 2001

I have just moved from New York to Wilton Manors, Florida, to live with Yuri and his housemate, bodybuilder turned gym owner Barney.  On my first weekend in town, in an attempt to fix me up with an instant boyfriend, they have invited two guys over for dinner: Kevin, a bodybuilder in his 30s, and Jordi, a slim, eyeglassed twink from Romania, who teaches at Florida International University.

After dinner, we sit in the living room with dessert (yogurt-covered strawberries), cruise, decide who is going to share who, and exchange stories about dates from hell, celebrity hookups, and gigantic penises.  Kevin asks Barney, "Do you think they'd like my story of the Great Underwear Thief?"

"I think so," Barney says, "It starts out weird, but I like the ending."

Buffalo, New York, Summer 1995

Kevin was 25 years old, a recent graduate of Canisius College, working in an office and training hard for the Mr. Olympia contest in Atlanta (he didn't place).

Bodybuilder or not, when you live in apartment, you spent a morning once a week trudging a clothes hamper to the laundry room at the other end of the hall or down the stairs, putting my clothes in the washer for 30 minutes and the drier for 45 minutes, returning to your apartment to wait in between.

He didn't worry about thieves.  Washers don't open during the cycle, and who'd want to break into a drier to get damp clothes?  Especially when they don't know what's there?  Could be the wrong size, the wrong gender, crappy?  It's not worth the trouble, right?

"Well, maybe for a pair of your Speedos, I would take the trouble," Jordi says.

Kevin laughs.  "That's exactly what happened."

One week he couldn't find his favorite blue briefs that cost him 50 francs in Paris.  He checked under the bed, in all the drawers, even under the couch.  He figured a hookup stole them.

Then he couldn't find his favorite Speedos.

Then, when he was folding laundry, he found only two pairs of underwear.  There should have been seven.

Was he being targeted by an underwear thief?

Kevin decided to catch the culprit in the act.  The laundry room was adjacent into the boiler room, a perfect place to hide and see who was coming and going.

He  put the laundry in the drier, and then instead of returning to my apartment, hid.


Sure enough, after about 30 minutes -- long enough for the clothes to be dry, but before anyone would be coming back -- someone came in, knelt, and stared going through his stuff.

A kid!  Teenage, tall, slim, long dirty-blond hair, brown eyes.  Big hands and feet.  Bubble butt.

"Hi!"  Kevin said,  jumping out from behind the boiler.

The kid froze.

"Thanks for your help, but that's ok, I can take it from here."

He stood, staring at Kevin, petrified with terror.

Kevin emptied the remaining clothes.  "You know what?  Why don't you give me a hand with these?"  He shoved the basket into the kid's hands, put his arm around his shoulders, and pushed him up the stairs and down the hall.

The kid didn't resist.  He didn't look at me or even speak.

They went into the apartment and the bedroom.  "Just put those down anywhere."

He deposited them in a corner and stood, trembling.

"What's your name kid?"

"K...K...Kyle."  This was the first time Kevin heard anyone stutter from fear in real life.

"How old are you?"

"I'm...I'm....eighteen...."

"What did you want with my ratty used underwear?"

"I don't know."  Suddenly he started to cry.  Instinctively Kevin went over and wrapped his arms around him.  Kyle hugged him and sobbed and murmured.

"My underwear wouldn't fit you, anyway."

"I didn't think...I don't...don't tell my Mom, ok?"  

"I"m not going to tell your Mom.  But just tell me why..."

Suddenly Kevin understood.  An underwear fetishist!  Some bodybuilders he knew made good money selling their underwear.

 "I don't know, I just did it."  He stopped crying but still hugged Kevin tightly.  I don't have to go, do I?  Tell me I can stay."

"Oh, you can stay, Underwear Thief," Kevin said.  "But you need to return my stuff, and you need to be punished.  You can do some chores...or maybe you'd rather be spanked."

Kyle looked up, flushed with anticipation.  "Yes, sir.  Spanking sounds good."

"Or you could let me kiss you," Kevin added.

"So, what was he like?" Yuri asked.  "How big was he?"

They never dated, but they got together for hookups frequently during the next year, until Kevin moved to New York.

Kyle was a college freshman, gay but not out to anyone.  Smooth, slim physique, cut Mortadella beneath the belt, an anal bottom, but he liked to mount Kevin from the top.  Also into kissing and oral, with Kevin going down on him.

"A twink admirer!" I exclaim.  "I know the feeling.  But I never had anyone steal my underwear before."

"He wasn't really an underwear fetishist -- it was just to get  my attention," Kevin says.  "I think..."

By the way, I ended up sharing Yuri and Kevin.  Barney wasn't into hookups, so he and Jordi went out to the bars.

See also: Zack Hooks Up with the Prince of Sweden; The Bodybuilder and the Teenage Underwear Thief.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hookup with the Waiter at a Christian Restaurant

Plains, April 2015

Restaurants in the Straight World are a gamble.  You never know which are gay friendly, and which are homophobic, until you get there.

Except for the Pizza Ranch.

I ate there for the first time a couple of weeks after I moved to the Plains.

It had an annoying cowboy theme and a gut-sloshing buffet: deep fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, chicken wings, bacon pizza, sausage pizza, taco pizza, and dessert pizza with frozen custard.

The "salad bar" consisted of macaroni salad, coleslaw, pudding, and a few paltry carrots and cucumbers.

The other patrons were all obese heterosexual couples with passles of kids.

All were obese.  Every last one of them.

And it was openly Christian.  Bible verses on the walls, Christian music for sale at the front counter, a prominently posted Mission Statement:  “To glorify God by positively impacting the world."

By serving taco pizza and deep-fried chicken?

Its website doesn't say a lot about pizza, but it does offer resources on godly marriage, and spiritual discipleship, and a place where you can submit a prayer request.

Homophobic groups from Focus on Family to Mike Huckabee supporters hold their rallies there.



The only highlight was the wait staff, who were there mostly to bus tables.  They were all male -- rare for servers on the Plains -- teenage and college-age boys -- and incredibly cute.

There were photos of the staff members who weren't there, engaging in wholesome activities like singing, playing a violin, playing football, fishing, and...um...just posing in a studly fashion.

Surely they're hired for their hotness, I thought.  This is a male version of Hooters.

That thought might not be far from the truth.  In 2001, co-founder Lawrence Vander Esch, the founder, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2001 for sexually assaulting his male employees.  He fondled them and persuaded them to donate sperm samples for "medical research." While he watched. (He is no longer mentioned on the website.)

The hotness of the staff almost made up for the deplorably unhealthy food and deplorably fundamentalist ambiance.  I've been persuaded to return several times by gay friends, who usually say things like "Who cares about their politics, when the eye candy is so incredible?"

 Besides, it's rather fun to go undercover, mimicking their language and demeanor, knowing that if the staff and other patrons found out about me, they would be shocked.  They would either run from the restaurant in terror or pull out a Bible and start screaming about Leviticus.

Oscar Wilde called it "feasting with panthers."  One false move, and you're history.  The deception is the excitement.

One day in the spring of 2015, I wondered, How far can I go without being discovered?

I didn't want to actually get outed, and be banned from the nightly hunk fest for life -- or worse, rile the fundamentalists so much -- Imagine!  A sodomite in this holy pizza restaurant! -- that they would move from screaming to punching and kicking.

But how close could I get to the edge?





Experiment 1: Come with a guy.

I brought Chad, a regular at the M4M Parties.  We loaded up on the least-greasy pizza we could find, cucumber slices, and carrots, and sat in one of the booths under Wild West wagon train mural.

No stares, no snickers.  Since you pay in advance, there wasn't even a question of "Separate or together?"

Experiment 2: Discuss gay topics at the table.

"So, I had a date with Scott the theater major last week."

"How did that go?"

"Oh, he's super-hot, but we don't have a lot in common."

"Yeah, you can't always judge by how hot the guy is."

Nothing.

Experiment 3: Hold hands under the table.

Nothing.

Experiment 4: Wear a gay pride t-shirt.

I didn't want to wear it while paying, or I wouldn't be let in at all.  So I wore a black button-down shirt over it, and unbuttoned when we started hitting the pizza buffet.

Jackpot.

Stares, gasps, pointing mumbled conversations.  The wait staff kept running into the back to get their coworkers to come out and look.  There were several people at the pizza buffet, but when I approached they suddenly decided they didn't want pizza and hurried off.

I spent extra time at the pizza and salad bar, then returned to my booth.

Suddenly one of the wait staff approached.  College-aged, light brown hair, thin, pale skin with two moles on his neck like vampire bites, handsome, smiling.  "Pardon me, sir, may I join you?"

This was it!  I was going to get screamed at!

Without waiting for an answer, he sat across from me and pulled a small New Testament from his pocket.

Bring it on!  I can argue verse by verse, in the original Greek!

"I've seen you here before.  You're so hot!  Where do you work out?"

WTF?  "Um...campus gym and the YMCA, depending on the day," I said, staring, clueless.

"I've been wanting to start a weight-lifting program.  With so many gay guys around, getting buffed up would give me a competitive edge, don't you think?"

"Oh, I don't know.  You look like you do all right."

He grinned, fumbling about with his New Testament.  "I wonder if you would be willing to give me a few tips?  I get off at 9:00 tonight.  I'm Willy, by the way."

WTF?

Of course, when we got back to my apartment, we did more than discuss weight training.

Smooth body, into kissing and oral, gigantic uncut Mortadella.

"Pizza Ranch is great," Willy told me.  "They think all gay men are swishy queens who live in San Francisco, so as long as you don't swish, you can get away with murder.  I cruise guys all day long -- coworkers and customers!  But you're the first one who made it this easy by actually wearing a gay t-shirt."

See also: We Hookup with the Waiter at a Mexican Restaurant; I Pick Up a Track Star in Small-Town Illinois; Cruised by the Waiter in a Crazy Retro Restaurant.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Our Search for the Gayest Place in America

San Francisco, June 1996

After dropping out of USC in 1989, I worked as an editor at the Getty Consternation Institute, a juvenile probation officer, an architectural assistant, and a freelance writer.  But I really liked academe, so I planned to return to grad school and get a Ph.D. in a field of the social sciences, history, anthropology, or sociology.

Of course, I could only go to grad school in a city with a strong gay neighborhood.  The list of cities with strong gay neighborhoods and strong graduate schools was short: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, and of course Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In the summer of 1996, I made plans to visit them.

To my surprise, my boyfriend/ex-boyfriend Lane, who had wimped out on San Francisco to move back to West Hollywood, offered to come with me.  "I could use a change," he said.  "And who knows? We might find a town that's gayer than West Hollywood."

So we took a Grand Tour, looking for the gayest towns in America.

Days 1-2: Chicago (U. of Chicago and Northwestern).  The City of Big Shoulders and non-nonsense men.  Boystown, the first gay neighborhood I ever visited, back in 1983.  Man's Country was still there, plus The Cellblock, the Sweat Lodge, the Jackhammer.  The only dark room I've seen in the U.S.  Plus private parties, biker runs, bear clubs, even a gay nudist group.

Cruising has never been easier.  We met a tall, gruff bear with a short beard, a little belly, and a shaved Kielbasa beneath the belt, And a cute 30-ish film producer with a long Bratwurst.

"You'd never get any studying done," Lane complained.  "Too many distractions."




Days 3-4. Columbus (Ohio State).  German Village, near downtown, a gentrified neighborhood of small shops, boutiques, restaurants.  Gay presence, but not as strong as what we were used to.

The Book Loft, a "32 room book sale," almost sealed the deal for me.

In 2005 I would be moving to Dayton, an hour's drive away.











Days 5-6. Boston (Boston U. and Harvard).  Ok, my chances of getting into Harvard were nil, but I couldn't resist walking around the quads and cruising the crazy Harvard boys.

The gay neighborhood centered around Boyston Street, in the Back Bay.  A lot of bars and restaurants, but small, cramped, impossible to find your way around.

We met a Ecuadorian twink with pomaded hair, a slim muscular physique, and a cut Bratwurst.  Very nice, but not enough to seal the deal.











Days 7-8. New York (NYU and Long Island U.)  This was my first time in New York.  It was fascinating seeing all the places I knew from literature and film, and from Seinfeld: 42nd Street, Time Square, Greenwich Village, Central Park.

The Village is the best documented gay neighborhood in the world, the subject of countless histories and biographies.  Gay Liberation was born here.  During the 1970s and 1980s, a group of writers called the Violet Quill wrote a dozen novels set here.

And the twinks were everywhere! We met a Columbia University undergrad with blond hair and a tight smooth physique.

I loved it.  But Lane said "It's all about history.  It's a place to come from, not move to."



More after the break.