I'm back in West Hollywood for New Year's Eve. Lane and I are having breakfast at the French Quarter, catching up on the gossip of who dated who, who moved in, who broke up, during the 3 1/2 years I've been away.
"And guess what?" Lane says in a confidential hush. "Kerry finally found a boyfriend! He moved into his apartment about two months ago!"
We met Kerry at the gay synagogue in West Hollywood several years ago. He was 21 years old, a theater arts major at UCLA, sharing an apartment off Melrose with two roommates and working in a video store, where he always found a gay-themed movie to promote as his "Pick of the Week."
He stood out in the crowd: tall, a boyish all-American face, smooth sculpted physique, and a shock of red hair beneath a yarmulke decorated with little shamrocks. One doesn't meet many redheaded Irish Jews.
Turns out that Kerry grew up in an Irish Catholic household in the Boston suburb of Braintree. On his 16th birthday he shocked his family by going downstairs for breakfast in a yarmulke and announcing that he was converting to Judaism.
AND that he was gay. In the same conversation.
No wonder he moved 3,000 miles away to go to college.
We bonded over our outsider status, surrounded by guys who grew up kosher. Lane and I had him over a few times for dinner and sharing: an oral bottom, average sized, surprising for a redhead, but with that face and physique, who cared?
He was very popular at the synagogue, at the gym, and at the twink bars. Some of the most desirable guys in West Hollywood were asking him out.
There are six traits that make a guy stand out as boyfriend material in West Hollywood: movie industry connections, an extraordinary knowledge of the arts, a handsome face, a bodybuilder's physique, a gigantic penis, or money. Kerry was being asked out by Cecil B. DeMille, Leonardo Da Vinci, Leonardo DiCaprio, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jeff Stryker, and Richie Rich, or the West Hollywood equivalents.
BUT: lots of first dates, rarely a second, but by the third, he was shouting "Next!"
No matter how hot the guy was, Kerry always found something wrong with him: bad breath, weird tattoo, unmade bed, a yapping dog, ordered the most expensive item on the menu, said something bad about Boston, lived outside the gay neighborhood.
Maybe he didn't really want a boyfriend? Maybe he just liked meeting new guys, going out, and the bedroom activity after?
But he kept complaining: "I want to find my soul mate, the one I was destined to be with. I want there to be fireworks the first time we kiss!"
We lost contact after I moved to San Francisco, and then New York. Finding out that he has a boyfriend -- and they're living together -- is huge!
Who is this Adonis who has risen above all other mortals, with their snoring and farting and eating peanut butter right from the jar, to become "the one" for the extraordinarily picky Kerry?
"I don't know. Kerry doesn't bring him to synagogue, and he won't tell us anything about him, except his name is Mat with one 't'."
"Well, I've got to meet this Mat with one 't'! Do you have their phone number?"
He doesn't, but he has a friend from synagogue who does. I call, and get us an invitation to visit after dinner tomorrow night.
I wonder which of the six traits Mat will have? Maybe all six!
We drive to a rundown apartment building, brown adobe with bars on the window, on Willoughby, where West Hollywood meets the Straight World.
Kerry is a few years older, of course, but still has a boyish all-American face and a pale, tight physique. Mat is about 30, thin, rather scruffy looking, with unkept black hair and a three-day growth of beard.
I check the six traits, one by one:
1. Wealth. No -- the apartment is small and cluttered, with no dining room and just one bedroom. They serve us cake on mismatched plates.
2. Movie Industry Connections. No -- Mat has a clerical job in an office on Wilshire. Kerry has given up on his acting ambitions, and is taking classes in human resources management.
3. Knowledge of the Arts. No. We discuss Ricky Martin. the Matrix, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
4. Handsome Face. No. His face is long and narrow, his eyes too small.
5. Bodybuilder's Physique. No. Mat is rather thin.
Sharing with two guys is rare, and neither of us find Mat particularly attractive, but we start cruising him anyway, just to see what his beneath the belt gifts are like.
We go into the bedroom. I kiss and fondle Kerry, and he kneels and goes down on me while Mat goes down on Lane -- without taking his pants off.
Mat doesn't stand up until Lane finishes. Seeing my opportunity, I kneel in front of him, unzip him, and find -- average, maybe a little small.
But...Kerry is an oral bottom! He likes them big!
Kerry kneels beside me. "Can I help you with that?" he asks.
Ok, I can't figure it out, So I invite Kerry to lunch a couple of days after New Year's and ask.
"What sets Mat apart from the other guys? What was the initial attraction?"
"Oh, his face, his personality, his wit," Kerry answers. "And his penis, obviously."
"It seems a bit on the small side to me."
"Who cares about size? It's uncut! Didn't you notice when we 'shared' that was all over you and barely touched Lane? I love uncircumcized men!"
For Kerry, it all boiled down to a foreskin.
See also Gershom's Date with the Gentile.