Friday, August 5, 2016
In the spring of 1980, during my sophomore year at Augustana College, my boyfriend Fred the Ministerial Student ended his internship and landed a job as a youth minister at a church in Omaha -- actually Gretna, a small town about 20 miles south.
Great -- my first boyfriend who knew that he was gay, and after five months, he vanishes!
But what if I moved with him? We could rent an apartment together. I could transfer to the University of Nebraska to finish my degree, and meanwhile get a job to help out with the expenses.
It doesn't sound like a great idea, in retrospect, but I was 19 years old, and getting my own place with "my lover" sounded very grown-up and romantic.
Fred agreed, but with some ground rules. He was closeted -- Methodists were more liberal than Nazarenes, but they still found being gay "incompatible with Christian practice." So:
1. I was to introduce myself as his "cousin" staying with him while going to college.
2. I couldn't go to the gay organizations in Omaha, where someone might identify me and it would get back to the church.
I told my parents that Fred found me a summer job, and on June 7th, 1980, packed two suitcases and a box of books and drove out to join him.
We lived together for about six weeks, until July 20th, 1980.
There were lots of problems:
1. My job, Assistant District Circulation Manager at the Omaha World-Herald: a glorified paperboy
2. College: I would have to live in Nebraska for a year to get in-state tuition.
3. Fred had never had a live-in boyfriend before, and he soon became controlling and weird. He cooked occasionally, but he never did any cleaning or laundry. As the "preacher's wife," that was my job.
4. The small town on the prairie, with a Watermelon Feed, a Fourth of July Parade, and a Town Dance. Do you have any idea what a Watermelon Feed is? It doesn't often involve high school jocks.
5. The high school boy who lived downstairs, who Fred took under his wing, always inviting him to tag along when we went to dinners or movies. I found some shirtless photos of the kid, which made me think that they were sleeping together (years later, Fred admitted that I was right).
The only bright spot was Michael, a high school boy from Fred's youth group who came over for my first three-way.
Then my friend Tom, called. "You know, Omaha is halfway to Los Angeles. You might as well come the rest of the way and pay me a visit."
So that Sunday, July 20th, I waited for Fred to go to church. I packed while he was gone, got into my car, and drove cross country 24 hours to Los Angeles.
Nearly the minute I left, Fred found a new lover, a University of Nebraska freshman. They were together for two years, introduced to parishioners as a "college kid I'm helping out." Then Fred moved to Kansas, and met Matt, his partner for the next eight years. They got along better.
Fred and I stayed friends. Eventually he moved to California.
See also A Ginger Boy for Christmas; My First Three-Way
I'm depressed. I've lived in the Plains exactly three years today. I miss the gay neighborhoods of California, New York, and Florida:
1. Heterosexuals are aware that gay people exist.
2. You can be open without getting stares, idiotic questions, and quotes from Leviticus.
3. You can be assured of meeting gay people everywhere you go: the bank, the post office, the gym.
"I know what will cheer you up," my friend Gabe says. "Antiquing! There's an Antique Fair and Farmer's Market on Saturday in a small town about an hour's drive from here."
"Are you kidding? You want to cure my depression over living in a small redneck town by taking me to an even smaller, more redneck town?"
"Antiques," he repeats. "Every gay couple within a hundred miles will be there."
"So, like three gay couples?"
"If you're going to live on the Plains, you're going to have to get over your fear of small towns. There are some open-minded people there, not just bigots.."
"Ok, we'll go," I said, "But incognito. No androgynous costumes, no camping it up, no holding hands. Everyone will think we're a heterosexual father and son."
Gabe smirks. "Sure, Daddy. Whatever you say, Daddy."
A lot of heterosexual couples of the Plains variety: thin husband, fat wife, unruly kids. A few teenagers in clusters.
I don't see any gay couples, but they are probably going incognito. This is the heart of the heart of the Straight World, enemy territory. I'm surrounded by bigots who want to build a wall to keep Mexicans out and send Muslims to concentration camps. Fundamentalists who want gay "abominations" stoned to death.
Somebody's eyes are watching
Somebody's eyes are following every move
Somebody's waiting to show they don't approve
The Farmer's Market, in the parking lot of the local Hy-Vee Supermarket, has a lot of late-summer produce, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans. We buy some strawberries and blueberries, and stop at a stand that sells homemade pickles in various degrees of hotness. The proprietor is a creepy guy with long braided hair, a villainous beard, and a lot of tattoos. He looks like ZZ Top, or one of the Duck Dynasty homophobes.
"Jalapeno" I read from the jars. "Tabasco. Habanero!"
"We measure hotness in Scoville Heat Units," the proprietor says. Its a measurement of the concentration of capsaicin in the pepper."
This creepy Duck Dynasty guy knows about capsaicin?
"Your standard jalapeno has 3 to 10,000 units," he continues. "Tabasco runs about 30,000, habaneros about 100,000, and the hottest pepper known to man, the Carolina Reaper, 1,5 million!" He grins.
"That would burn your tongue off!" Gabe exclaims.
"My nephew loves experimenting with new kinds of pickles. Cucumbers, cauliflower. Kimchi, which is Korean pickled cabbage. Last year he pickled mangos. They're a delicacy in Mexico."
I'm surprised that Duck Dynasty knows so much about the pickling process of world cultures. Doesn't he want to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out?
"Your nephew really knows his pickles," Gabe says, nudging me so I'll get the double entendre. "How about a jar of the jalapeno? We'll start off easy."
I'm not a pickle fan, but I say "Sure, if you want." My eyes are drawn to the banana and zucchini bread. "We could get some zucchini bread, too. Use it as an excuse to invite your friend Bastian over. I haven't seen him in months."
"If you guys do a lot of entertaining, you can't go wrong with zucchini bread," Duck Dynasty says with a grin.
We make eye contact. He knows! How did I blow my cover?
"Did your nephew bake those, too?"
"Yep. He's always experimenting with bread. Garlic, banana, artichoke, pumpkin. Jewish challah. Sudanese kissra, which is a fermented bread."
Sudanese? Doesn't he want to put Muslims in concentration camps?
"Whiz in the kitchen," Gabe says.
"You know it! I always say, he's going to make some boy very happy some day. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, after all."
My head explodes.
A creepy long-haired guy who looks like one of the Duck Dynasty homophobes is standing at a farmer's market in a tiny town in the Straight World, talking about his nephew getting a boyfriend.
Duck Dynasty grins. He must out his nephew a lot, to épater la bourgeoisie.
"Well, I love a good baguette," Gabe says. "How's he in the entree department?"
"He's a vegeterian, so no barbecue, but he makes a mean cheese lasagna. Oh, here's Hakim. He can tell you about his bread experiments."
I'm expecting a cornfed Anglo-white South Dakota teen.
Dominican, I discover later, 19 years old, a little shorter than Dustin, with bright eyes and a swimmer's build.
Hakim and Gabe bond over vegetarianism, and he gets an invitation to hear a local band at the gay-friendly coffee house next week.
Ok, this is Gabe's pickup, not mine, but no doubt I'll be invited to share.
Meanwhile, I have to revise everything I thought I knew about small towns.
See also: A Straight Boy in My Bed at the Gilroy Garlic Festival; 20 Plains Pickups; I Pick Up a Track Star in Small Town Illinois.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
One night late in August 1996, I invited my new friend David and Corbin, the gym rat from Oakland, to dinner at Thai Thai. I intended to fix them up, of course, but I also planned to "share" Corbin's awe-inspiring Mortadella.
Corbin was late. We were about to order without him when he came bursting in, giddy and excited. "I brought someone -- I hope you don't mind. He's out looking for a parking space."
Actually, I did. If Corbin brought a date, we would be divided into two couples, and no Mortadella+ for me. But I said "No, not at all. By the way, this is David. He's new to San Francisco, from redneck Bible Belt Arkansas."
"It's not that bad!" David exclaimed. "Is your date hot?"
"Is he hot!" He sat and took David's arm. "Out parking the car right now is none other than Brad Pitt!"
The hottest actor in Hollywood? The star of Thelma and Louise, and Johnny Suede, and A River Runs Through It? And Interview with the Vampire, where he and Tom Cruise played a gay vampire couple? Sure, he always had a lady on his arm, but he must be bisexual -- straight men just don't get abs like that!
"How did you..." I asked.
"I stopped in at the gym before coming here. Just walking down Market, and there he was! Everybody was staring, and a guy stopped and asked him for his autograph -- he refused. But I played it cool, like you told me you did in West Hollywood. I pretended I didn't even know who he was."
In West Hollywood, when we encountered big stars, we pretended not to recognize them. No fawning, no gushing, no autograph requests. We approached, or let him approach, as if he was just another hot guy.
"So we talked, and before you know it, he agreed to come to dinner with us."
"Ok," I told David. "So the key to dealing with celebrities is, don't scare them off. Don't discuss their movie career unless they bring it up. Don't ask which celebrities are gay. Stick to coming out stories and the biggest penis you've ever seen."
Brad arrived just in time to hear me say that, but he remained nonchalant, grinning broadly as he shook our hands.
He was about my height, lanky, with a sharp chin, deep blue eyes, long scruffy hair, almost exactly like this photo of Brad Pitt at the Golden Globes in 1996, except cleanshaven.
He sat and put his arm around the back of Corbin's chair. "Nice to meet you all. San Francisco is such a great city, and the guys are super-hot. I wish I could visit more often."
"I loved Interview with a Vampire!" David blurted out, starstruck.
"Yeah. You know, I met Anne Rice, at a book signing in Boston. She told me that she always intended the character of Louis to be gay all along."
This seemed strange. He met Anne Rice at a book signing? Wouldn't she have been on the set? Wouldn't she have discussed her character with the actor portraying him?
But maybe she didn't.
For the rest of the dinner, we avoided talking about movies. Instead we discussed the joys and problems of living in Gay Heaven, then growing up fundamentalist (Brad and David both grew up in Southern Baptist households, in Oklahoma and Arkansas, respectively).
Then we discussed the gay pride celebrations and other gay festivals in San Francisco. Brad told us that in 1987, when he was 18, he marched in the very first gay pride parade in Oklahoma City.
Brad and Corbin held hands under the table, but I also saw a few brushes of Corbin's leg against David's, and Brad occasionally reached over and groped me. A good sign that we weren't dividing into two couples. Before the night was over, I would definitely be experiencing a Corbin Mortadella and a Brad Pitt Kovbasa+++.
Sure enough, after dinner David invited us back to his apartment on Waller, just off Haight, for "dessert."
He served three-day old cookies that no one touched. Instead Corbin and Brad sat on the couch, kissing, while David went down on Corbin.
I pulled Brad over and kissed him and unbuttoned his shirt. He had six-pack abs, hard and smooth, tight muscled, the stuff of legend in gay communities ever since he flashed them in Thelma and Louise.
We went into the bedroom, where I went down on Brad while he went down on Corbin and David at the same time. Definitely a monster, a Kielbasa, cut, with a mushroom head. He finished in a few minutes, but almost instantly sprang up, ready for more. Then David pulled out a condom and topped Brad while he was going down on me.
Spending the night after "sharing" is usually obligatory, but David's small bed wouldn't hold four, and Brad had to get to the airport early in the morning, so he left -- without giving us his phone number.
David, Corbin, and I added "a four-way with Brad Pitt" to our repertoire of celebrity dating stories.
For about a year.
The guy we hooked up looked remarkably like Brad Pitt. He certainly knew that we thought he was, and was enjoying every minute of the attention. But he never actually said he was. If we knew more biographical details, we would have realized that Brad Pitt grew up in Missouri, not Oklahoma, and in 1987 he was 23 years old and already living in Los Angeles, not 18 and going to Oklahoma City Gay Pride Parades.
I think the Brad Pitt lookalike was using the resemblance as a street cruising gimmick.
Oh, well -- if it gets me remarkable abs and a cut Kielbasa with a mushroom head, I don't care if he pretends to be Napoleon.
See also: Will and Scott have a wild night with Keanu Reeves; Corbin's Choice; and Which Celebrity Dating Story Should David Use?
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
None of that on the Plains, nothing gay at all except for the gay-friendly coffee house, so your usual evening entertainment is Netflix and hooking up.
But only with teenagers and twinks: the older men moved to gay neighborhoods long ago, or are "bi-curious" and terribly closeted.
Here are the 20 top pick-ups from my 3 years to date on the Plains.
1. The Straight Boy It was kind of flattering to be asked to be the "first time" for a so-called "straight boy," until he started laying down the requirements: no real names, no face pics, don't tell anyone, I don't want to do anything I don't want to do, and what if someone sees me coming in?
2. My Platonic Friends and their Boy Toy. One of my few attempts to hook up with someone close to my age: a couple in their 50s from the gym. Instead I had to endure two nights of horribly boring conversation about room additions and car models. But I did manage a date with their housemate, Jimmy.
3. Nguyen the Gym Rat. At a conference in St. Peter, Minnesota, I picked up the Vietnamese guy who worked in an art gallery, but got a date with Nguyen the Gym Rat instead.
4. My Dad's Navy Buddy. Weird story about a guy who looked and acted like my Dad's old navy buddy from the 1950s. Could have been his grandson, I suppose.
5. The Dakota Boy. At least I thought he was Dakota: we met at a Pow Wow, where he was staffing a booth that sold corn on the cob as a snack. Turns out he was a white boy cruising for Native Americans, and thought I was Dakota.
6. The Biker. When the chunky guy with the beard, redneck baseball cap, hairy chest, and thick Bratwurst showed up at a bear party, I figured he was in his 30s. Turns out he was only 23.
8.The Guy with the Daddy Fetish, who I picked up at a comic book store. He had cerebral palsy and a Daddy fetish.
9.The Teenager at the Bear Party. Joey was 19, but wanted to come to a daytime bear party to hook up with the over 40 crowd.
10. The Waiter at the Pizza Place. A Protestant fundamentalist pizza place that played Christian music and had Bible verses on the walls.
11. . The Boy Who Had Never Been Kissed. He had been with guys before, but never been kissed.
12. Ricky with a Y. A crazy date with a rich kid whose parents owned half of the state and criticized everything I did.
The Adonis. He burst into the gay-friendly coffee house and ignored me, no matter how enthusiastically I cruised him.
14. The Boy at the Farmer's Market. He was selling homemade pickles.
15. Freshman Orientation. An Asian guy who was playing volleyball at the gym, and got stuck in my office during a tornado warning.
16. Bastian, an 18-year old high school senior who my friend Gabe dated. I came along to "share."
17. The Teenage Boy and His Mom. We hooked up at the gym. I thought he was bringing his hot friend along, but it turns out he was bringing his Mom.
19. The Tourist Brothers. The Plains is apparently a tourist destination, and a heterosexual nuclear family was checking out the sights while their teenage sons were checking me out.
20. My Host's Son. Picked up at a heterosexual party. We dated for the next six months.
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Especially his physique, the front of his trunk, his chest, abs, shoulders and arms.
There are eight main types of physiques, dependent on genes and your exercise routine. Each has its attractions.
1. I like a Bodybuilder's Physique: well-defined, thick muscles, especially triceps (very hard to develop) and abs (a six-pack suggests very low body fat). The muscles stand out better with dark skin and a shaved or bare chest.
A Bodybuilder's Physique requires a strict diet, a dedicated personal trainer, and at least four hours per day in the gym. It's physically impossible for many of us, and beyond the emotional and financial reach of most.
Tight and firm, a v-shaped torso, a flat belly rather than a six-pack and big pecs and biceps -- muscles that are easy to bulk up, and stand out the most when you're dressed in street clothes. This guy looks like Troy, my boyfriend in Upstate New York.
He's actually pumped up from a recent workout. His usual appearance is somewhat more manageable.
3. The Swimmer's Physique can be had with even less gym time, an hour a day, concentrating on cardio. The chest and biceps are smaller, lean and hard rather than exceptionally big, and there's more attention paid to the abs. This works best with an outtie belly button.
4. The Slim Physique comes from minimal weight training and a lot of cardio. It emphasizes long, smooth lines, with little arm and shoulder development, though there still should be some abs work. Sometimes it's nice to be able to fit your arms around the guy, and a Slim Physique shows off the penis better: less fat around the pubic mound means that it hangs all the way down.
If you were hung to begin with, a Slim Physique can give you a monster.
5. Since hair tends to decrease definition and draw the eye away from the muscle, a hairy chest works best with physiques that don't emphasize pecs: The Mediterranean Physique (because it is commonly found in guys with ancestry from Italy, Greece, and the Balkans) develops the pecs just enough to produce some hardness, and allows a little belly fat over developed abs.
6. The Bear Physique, only for guys with a hairy chest, comes from weight training without any dietary restrictions. It results in pec and bicep development plus a layer of fat, a pleasant sense of massiveness. Very nice for hugging. This guy looks like Alan, the ex-porn star, except Alan's penis was a big longer.
7. With a Chubby Physique, weight training and cardio should be the minimum necessary to maintain health. You can develop chest and arms if you want, but no one's looking at them: it's all about your belly, which extends at least an inch beyond the waist, a symbol of raw masculine power.
You can't get a chubby belly without accumulating fat in your pubic mound, which encases your penis and makes it look smaller. Obese men can see it shrink down by half. So if you are small to begin with, a Chubby Physique is probably not the way to go.
Pop Quiz: Which type of physique is this?
Don't be fooled by the fact that he's supine: in that position much of the belly fat recedes into the abdomen. When he sits up, you'll see that he has a Mediterranean Physique.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
1. Does he live far away?
2. Does he have nice roommates?
3. Will he be a a social asset, getting me noticed by the right people, invited to the right parties, invited to "share" by the A-list of the gay community?
Even: does he have money? You can be persuaded to accept a mediocre physique, annoying personality, and inadequate penis if it means spending the night on sheets with a 1200 thread count and getting expensive presents when it's not your birthday.
The mercenary factors are most evident with three types of relationships:
Hustler: He's on the clock.
Boyfriend for Pay: Not literally, but if the gifts dry up, he'll likely head for the door. He's not a hustler, but he sure ain't free.
Boy Toy: He's with you mainly for the free dinners and late-model car, and you're with him mainly for the social status his hotness brings, but you like each other for other things, too.
1. The Kept Boy, aka Zack, who ordered a Flying Grasshopper at Mugi one night, got completely smashed, and tried unsuccessfully to have a three-way with us before we took him back to his wealthy boyfriend. Definitely a Boyfriend for Pay
2. Scott, the Cute Young Thing who came to my Celebrity Boyfriend's post-Oscar party with a famous director, and nonchalantly cleared the dessert plates while naked. Boyfriend for Pay.
3. Benny from Basgo's. He was a regular at Basgo's, the Hispanic bar, who made his living picking up bi-curious and downlow men, one or two per night, but went home with open gay guys for free. Hustler.
4. Danny the Trophy Boy, who Lane dated before me: 19 years old, stunningly attractive, didn't do anything all day except watch Duck Tales, hang out with his friends, and buy clothes (55 shirts, 21 pairs of shoes, and 32 belts). Boy Toy.
5. The Nephew. There were a lot of older, closeted gay men in San Francisco, who were afraid to come out, even in a gay neighborhood. The elderly guy getting drunk on martinis at Twin Peaks introduced his companion du jour as his "nephew," even though they were groping and kissing each other. Boyfriend for Pay
6. Claude, the super-hung English boy who was living in Ravi's gigantic house on Long Island, and hosted sex parties but wasn't allowed to do anything himself. Boy Toy
7. Barry the Colonial Williamsburg boy spent time in West Hollywood, working as a Hustler before an encounter with a Boyfriend for Pay convinced him to give up the life. Hustler.
8.My roommate Edward, an older, rather fey art appraiser, had a "secretary" named Andrew Marvel (look it up). The boy didn't have much to say, but then nobody wanted him for his sparkling conversation. Or his secretarial skills. Boyfriend for Pay.
By the time I got to Florida, I was 40 years old, a twink magnet, with a car and a house (actually sharing Barney's house), old and well-off enough to attract Boy Toys of my own. But I found very few. Most guys either paid for the date or insisted on paying for their half. The Young Republican had more money than me.
9. Darvon from Keokuk, who used the stereotype of a Midwestern farmboy (and the term Keokuk rhymes with) to draw clients. Hustler.
10. Victor the Gym Rat, who "shared" us with his sleazoid Daddy. Boy Toy
11. Yuri! He had a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science and spoke five languages, but the college adminstrator who started dressing him in $500 Gucci shirts didn't seem to notice. Boy Toy.
Boy Toy relationships are rare in the Straight World: they can't increase your social standing among heterosexuals, who generally think of all gay relationships as inferior to their own. Besides, they rarely notice, assuming that older-younger pairs must be father and son.
12. The Satyr, about 60, fat, with the biggest Kovbasa++++ I have ever seen. His housemate was a young, slim Asian guy who did the cooking and cleaning. I was pretty sure that he was a Boy Toy.
13. Troy, my boyfriend for five years. He wasn't really a Boy Toy, but he was extraordinarily cute, and didn't have a job for the first two years we were together. I was paying for his rent, utilities, food, gas, and just about everything else, so all of our friends just assumed....
14. Jimmy the Boy Toy. My Platonic friends were in their 50s, and their "housemate" Jimmy had a beautiful face and a gigantic Mortadella+. They enjoyed sporting him around the gay community, even though they weren't actually having sex.
15. Jameer. He was in his late 20s, some 20 years younger than me, but when we started dating, he insisted on paying for everything and giving me expensive gifts: "I want my man to look good." I think I was the Boy Toy!
This undated photo is reputedly of Don Johnson also, but the model looks a little too buffed.
See also: Don Johnson and the Gay Community