Friday, August 12, 2016

The Sunday Morning Orgy

Plains, August 2014

Sunday morning, 8:00 sharp.  There's a knock on the door.  I peer through the peephole: it's my ex-boyfriend Jimmy the Boy Toy, and Kyle, the twink he dumped me for, plus at least three guys I don't know.


"We're surprising you with a West Hollywood party!" Jimmy announces. "This is Chester, Ravi, and Jeff."  They pile into the apartment and start setting out bagels, cream cheese, fruit, and yogurt.  "Got any plates?" someone yells.

"Party -- what?"

"Kyle and I know you're feeling depressed on the Plains, after going back to California last month,  missing all those wild West Hollywood parties, so we thought we'd bring one to you."

"Um,,,those usually took place at night, and we had a little advance warning."  I haven't showered or shaved yet, the bedroom is a mess, and you never have strangers in your house without locking up your valuables!

"Then it wouldn't be a surprise, would it?"

 "Well...where did you meet these guys?"

Chester is Kyle's ex-boyfriend; Ravi, a friend of Jimmy's visiting from California; and Jeff is  a guy they hooked up with on Grindr last night.

"Ok, ok, let me just get dressed."

"That won't be necessary!" Jimmy said, reaching into my bathrobe to grope me.  "First game -- Celebrity Dating!"

The Celebrity Dating Contest

"Wait -- West Hollywood parties usually begin with dinner."

He hands me a plate with a bagel smeared with way too much cream cheese and a small bunch of grapes.  "Ok, everybody tells about a date or hookup with a celebrity.  Then we have to decide if he is telling the truth or lying.  The one who guesses right the most wins a prize, ten minutes in the bedroom with whoever he wants!"

Me; Nate Richert, star of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (true)
Jimmy: Dylan O'Neil, star of Teenage Werewolf (true)
Kyle: Nathan Kress of ICarly (made up)
Chester: Tom Cruise (made up)
Ravi: Matt Dallas, star of Kyle XY (true)
Jeff: Justin Bieber (made up)

I get Ravi's story wrong.  Chester, the ex-boyfriend of Jimmy's new boyfriend, gets them all right, and chooses me as his prize.  He's a brown-haired nerd with glasses, a weak chin,  prominent ears, and a long, thin Mortadella.  We kiss and fondle, and then he goes down on me for a few minutes.  I push him down on the bed and start going down on him. Then the timer buzzes.

 "You're just in time for the next game," Jimmy announces.  "The Guess the Contest."

The Guess the Sausage Contest

"Ok, everybody go in the bathroom and snap a pic of your penis, flaccid.  We have to guess which belongs to who.  The one who guesses all five correctly gets to spend ten minutes alone in the bedroom with the guy of his choice."

It's harder than you might think to identify a penis not attached to a body, even if you've been with the guy before.  Size, shape, color, cut-uncut status....

Kyle, Jimmy's new boyfriend, guesses  them all accurately, and picks me. I'm beginning to think that these games are rigged -- but he's very sexy, short, brown-haired,  slim and smooth, with soulful puppy-dog eyes and a rather small uncut penis. We go into the bedroom and kiss and fondle, and then I go down on him -- it takes him only a few minutes to finish with an enormous squirt.  Then the timer goes off.

Kyle rushes into Jimmy's arms.  "Looks like someone enjoyed his prize," he says.  "Next -- the Date from Hell contest."

The Date from Hell Contest

"Everybody has to tell about the worst possible date, where the guy was a complete and utter jerk -- nobody in this room, please -- and everything goes wrong.  Then we vote on a scale of one to ten.  The one with the most points gets to -- you know it -- go into the bedroom for ten minutes with the guy of his choice.

I won't go into detail about the Dates from Hell -- maybe I'll tell about them in other stories -- but Chester gets the most points.  He selects Jeff: in his mid-30s, balding, with close-cropped rusty hair and a beard, a very hairy chest, and, I discover later, a thick beercan-sized Bratwurst.

While we're chatting and waiting for the timer to go off, Ravi pulls me into the kitchen.  He's in his mid-20s, South Asian, dark skin, thick black hair, unshaven beard, hairy chest.

"I've been trying to win the prize, so I could pick you, but I'm no good at these games.  Do you think we could hook up later, after the other guys leave?"

"Absolutely."  We begin kissing and fondling. Then the timer goes off, and we all return to our seats.

"Next contest," Jimmy says, "No-Hands Arousal."

"Wait, I never heard of that one..."

No Hands Arousal

"Everybody get naked and sit still.  You can't touch yourself or anyone else.  The first person who becomes fully aroused wins.  He gets to ask anyone he wants to go down on him, either here or in the bedroom."

The other guys are barely tumescent before Ravi rises to full arousal, his penis pressing hard against his belly.  "I choose Boomer," he says.  "But in the bedroom."

"Ok," Jimmy says.  "You have ten minutes."

I kneel in front of Ravi and go down on him.  He is average sized, but very hard, an iron rod.  I continue working on him until he finishes, then raise up and kiss him.

We're still kissing when the timer goes off.  Back in the living room, the other guys are sitting naked.  I take off my bathrobe.

The Sharing

"Ok, time for sharing," Jimmy says.  "Three of us in the bedroom, and three in the study."

"No, the study's off limits," I say.

"Three of us right here in the living room.  The only rule is, Kyle and I have to go together.  Boomer, who do you want?"

Definitely Ravi, which means I can't go with Jimmy and Kyle.  I've already been with Chester today, so "Jeff."

The three of us go into the bedroom.  I go down on Jeff while he and Ravi kiss. Then he tops Ravi while Ravi goes down on me.  When we finish, Ravi and I leave Jeff sleeping and return to the living room, where I go down on Jimmy -- that makes five!  Chester goes in the bedroom to rouse Jeff.

It's lunchtime, so we all get dressed and go out to eat -- except Jeff, who has to get home to his wife!  We hadn't realized that he was on the downlow.

"Thanks for the party," I tell Jimmy.  "It was fun, even though it was nothing like a West Hollywood party.  It was really more like a Sunday Morning Orgy."

When I open my wallet to pay, I discover that my credit cards and id are still there, but around $50 in cash is missing. Jeff must have nicked it when he was left in the room alone.

That's why you always hide your valuables with strangers in the house!

Oh, well.  It's worth $50 to go down on five guys.  Plus get bagels.

See also: How to Host a Real West Hollywood Party; My Platonic Friends and Their Boy Toy

Thursday, August 11, 2016

My Mentally Disabled Neighbor and the Underwear Stuff

Plains, Last October

Timmy just moved into an apartment down the hall.  I see him often in the laundry room, in the foyer waiting for a ride, and walking down the hill toward downtown.  He is around 30, short, slim, with very short black hair, greased back, a long face, prominent ears, and big veiny hands always clasped together as if in prayer, unless he's carrying something.  He's always smiling.

"Hi, Timmy," I always say.  "What are you doing today?"

"Hi, Boomer," he answers in a monotone.  "I'm going to work" or "I'm doing laundry" or "I'm waiting for my friend."

When he's going to work, he always wears a pale blue long-sleeved shirt and a clip-on black tie.  Otherwise he always wears a very tight t-shirt, yellow or blue.  Nice chest.

Something is definitely off about Timmy, but I can't figure out what.  His reactions are slow, his movements are a little jerky, and he doesn't understand unless you use short sentences and simple words.  Autism? 

I look him up on Facebook.  He's a high school graduate, he likes country-western music, he has 27 friends, and he works for Rehabilitation Services, which provides jobs throughout the city for people with intellectual disabilities. 

I call my friend Ross in the Psychology Department: intellectual disabilities, what we used to call "mental retardation," affect 2-3% of the population.  90% have "mild" or "moderately impaired cognition."   They aren't good at abstract thought and higher-level reasoning, they need predictability and structure, but they can do almost everything the rest of us can: work, live alone, handle everyday problems, and have social relationships.  

Timmy is very cute....

Last February

Today I saw Timmy in the foyer downstairs. "I'm waiting for my friend," he said.  "We're going to play arcade."

"You're going to the arcade?" I repeated.

"We're going to play arcade," Timmy corrected me.  "He gets a better score than me, but I like to play anyway."

A moment later the friend arrived, in a car.  He was in his 30s, tall, rather buffed, bearded, black or Hispanic, wearing a taqiyah, a Muslim skullcap.

"This is Boomer," Timmy said.  "He lives down the hall from me.  Sometimes we do laundry at the same time."

"Hi, I'm Mamou," the friend says.

We shake hands.  Then Timmy wants to shake my hand, too.

"This guy isn't being a nuisance, is he?"  Mamou asks jokingly.

"Oh, no, I enjoy having him around."

"We have to go to play arcade now," Timmy said.

I wouldn't mind playing "arcade" with Timmy and his "friend."

Is it legal for the intellectually disabled to have sex? I check: the question is one of consent.  Most states criminalize sexual activity with someone with a "physical or mental impairment," a sweeping statement includes the blind, deaf, and wheelchair-bound. 

Other states, including this one, specify that the impairment must render them "incapable of giving full, free, and informed consent," that is, incapable of understanding the sexual act, and of consenting as an equal, not being manipulated or bullied.

Does Timmy understand the sexual act?

Last June

Today I was siting in the laundry room, waiting for the drier to finish, when Timmy came in, stood very close to me,  and started talking about how cold it was outside. I assumed he meant "hot."   I said "I was in New York last month"  He said "I've been to New York.  I was there for 3/4ths of day.  Then I was in Boston for 3/4ths of a day.  That's how long I was outside of the state."

He was standing very close.  Very close.  I felt a heat coming from him.  I looked at his crotch.  Did I see a bulge?

"I want to go to California," he continued, touching my shoulder.  "To the beach."  Then suddenly he said "I'm going to work now" and walked away.

I read some articles on line:  Their behavior is a little off, so they may seem to be erotically interested when they're just being friendly.  And they might not understand your erotic intentions.  They have a hard time with figures of speech, double-entendres, body language, all of the subtle behavior that we take for granted in cruising.  

A week ago

Today when I walked past Timmy's apartment, the door was wide open.  "Hello?" I said.  No answer.  Maybe Timmy was hurt?  I walked in.  It was barely furnished -- no books, no pictures on the wall -- but very clean.

"Hi, Boomer."

He was sitting at the kitchen table, looking at a sports magazine, shirtless. Tight chest, flat stomach with an outtie belly button.

"Hi!  Your door was open.  I thought you were in trouble."

"I'm getting it cold in here."

"Don't you have an air conditioner?"

"My air conditioner is broke. They're going to fix it today.   It's cold in here with the door open, though.  Feel."

He took my hand and held it up in the air.

"You're right, it is cold."

"Want some lemonade?  I got it at work."

"Sure, thanks."

He stood -- he was in his underwear.  Nice bulge!  He poured some lemonade into to a glass and handed it to me.  Country Time -- yuck!

"You can take your shirt off if you want to.  It will make it cool in here."

What will his case worker think, seeing Timmy in his underwear and me with my shirt off?  "That's ok, I'm cool enough, thanks."

I noticed some dirty dishes in the sink and asked "Are you a good cook?".

"I can cook macaroni and cheese and spaghetti pretty good.  My Mom brings me dinners in Tupperware sometimes. Chicken, pork chops, celery.  Brussel sprouts! She said they're healthy."

He brushed my leg under the table.  I felt myself becoming aroused, said "Thanks for the lemonade," and left.

I call my ex-boyfriend Troy for advice.  

Is it ok to have sex with the intellectually disabled?   As a vulnerable population, they are often sexually abused by parents, classmates, and case workers, so they may need special support in a sexual relationship, like any other survivor of trauma.  Would you want to go down on Gilbert Grape?  Or top the Rain Man?

Maybe you should be in a loving long-term relationship with them before even thinking of sexual intimacy.  Maybe recreational hookups are beyond their emotional capacity.


Timmy knocked on my door.

"Hi, Boomer.  I came to ask you a question.  Do you want to go to Kansas?"

Why was he asking me about a state?  "I've only been there once.  It's ok.  A little flat."

He laughed  "No, not Kansas the state, Kansas the rock group."

"Oh, sure.  'Dust in the Wind' was my favorite nihilistic song -- I mean my favorite sad song -- when I was in high school."

"They're coming here on Friday, and they're giving a concert.  At work I got two tickets as a prize, so I came here to ask you a question: Do you want to go to Kansas?"

"What about your friend?"

He laughed again.  "You can't bring friends to a concert!  That would be weird.  It's for dates."

Timmy was asking me for a date? Did he even know what that meant?  Stalling for time, I asked, "Do you go on dates a lot?"

"Not a lot!" he said, grinning.  "I'm not a slut! Just when a hot boy asks me.  But this time I got the tickets, so I get to ask."

"Do you go on dates with girls, too, or just with boys?"

Embarrassed, he looked down at his feet and pushed his hands together. "Girls, too.  But I like boys best for kissing.  And the underwear stuff."

"I like boys for the underwear stuff, too," I admitted.

 Now his grin became just a bit lascivious.  "Do you want to go to Kansas?  We can get pizza after it's over, and then we can go to my apartment. I cleaned it today."

"Sure.  It's a date."

"Ok, I'll pick you up on Friday after work. Bye."  He turned and walked away.

This Friday I have a date with a mentally disabled guy to go to a concert, get pizza, and kiss.

And the underwear stuff.

Next: My Date with My Mentally Disabled Neighbor

See also: A Boy with Daddy Issues Rips My Clothes Off

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Edward's Boyfriend for Pay

East Village, August 1999

One afternoon shortly after I returned from my summer in France, I walked into my apartment on 13th Street in the East Village of New York to find a very attractive young man in a business suit on the couch.  His thick Kielbasa was out and fully aroused.  My housemate Edward was on his knees, his tongue working feverishly on the shaft.

I was shocked.  Edward was a fey art appraiser in his 60s, who rarely dated and never hooked up.  And his cardinal rule was: no nudity in the living room.

"Hi!" the very attractive young man said.

"Hi.  I'm Boomer, Edward's housemate."

Edward hastily stood, his pants tenting.  "Terribly sorry to break a house rule.  I lost control of myself.  Boomer, this is my new assistant, Andrew Marvell (accented on the second syllable, Mar - VELL).  I hired him while you were in France."

"How are ya?" Andrew said, holding out his hand to be shaken.  It was very big, almost drawing attention away from his still-aroused Kielbasa.

"Nice to meet you.  Not very coy, are you?"


"You know, Andrew Marvell, the Metaphysical poet?  'To His Coy Mistress'?"

Metaphysical poetry was that obscure, metaphor-filled Restoration-era stuff from the English Restoration that you had to read in your Survey of English Literature class in college.  You were probably assigned "To His Coy Mistress," in which Andrew Marvell tries to convince a woman to have sex with him:

Had we but world enough and time, 
This coyness, lady, were no crime. 

Andrew stared blankly.

"Where are my manners?" Edward said.  "Would you like to go down on him?  Please be my guest."

My guest?  It was Andrew's penis!  "Is it ok, Andrew?"

"Sure, go for it."

This was weird,but I never turn down a Kielbasa.  I got on my knees.  Andrew responded perfectly, with just the right amount of groaning and shaking, erotic but not ostentatious.

He finished quickly with a gallon-sized spurt -- Edward must have been working on him for awhile.  Then Edward said "Won't we be more comfortable in the bedroom?"

We had never shared before, but ok.  We took Andrew into the bedroom, stripped him out of his clothes ("Be careful -- that's an Armani suit!"), and found a hundred more things to do with him.

Andrew had a firm, tight physique, with a smooth chest, thick biceps, and toned abs, pleasant but not spectacular.  But he had a face that would make you melt, and a magnificent Kielbasa that was always aroused.

Of course, I had to share him with Edward, who was thin, hairy, wore rings and a rather feminine cologne, and never took off his socks and garters.  But I could work around that, going down on Edward for thirty seconds and then returning my attention to Andrew.

He finished a second time while Edward was going down on him and he was going down on me.  Then he sprang to life again, lay on top of me, and finished a third time while kissing me and thrusting between my legs.  Edward finished by topping Andrew.

He sprang up again, ready for #4, but Edward said "I think we'd better call it a day.  We wouldn't want to get totally spent."

We all showered and dressed and returned to the living room.  Edward went out to the kitchen to make tea.

"So you're Edward's assistant," I said, to make conversation.

"Yep."  He grinned.

"That must be interesting, cataloging all those rare works of art."

"Yep.  Hard, though.  I get stuck on the titles sometimes, and Edward has to type them in for me."

"Did you major in Art History in college?"

"I just took General Humanities at Laguardia (Community College), but I had a job as a model for an art class once."

Um...ok.  So...what's your favorite period?  From your name, I'm going to guess the Baroque."

"My name?"

"Andrew Marvell was a poet who lived during the Baroque era."

"Oh, Edward named me -- I thought it was about Marvel comics.  My real name is Andrew Balboa."

"Italian Stallion, huh?"  (Rocky Balboa was the name of Sylvester Stallone's character in the Rocky series).

"No, I'm American."

Ok, this guy was as dumb as a post. I bet he couldn't even find Europe on the map.  Why would Edward hire him to catalog objects d'art and correspond with dealers in French, German, and Italian?

"Edward gave me this suit, too.  Do you like it?"  He took my hand and ran it over the material, then down to his crotch, where he was aroused again.

"Still ready for action, I see."

"I'm always ready.  I won a contest once, five times in an hour.  But then I didn't get aroused again for almost two hours!"

Ok, I figured it out.  Andrew was a Boyfriend for Pay, hired for his handsome face and ever-aroused Kielbasa, not for his administrative skills or knowledge of art history.

For the next few months, I saw Andrew around the apartment a lot, laboriously typing into Edward's computer, fetching reference books for him, or more often, watching Rocko's Modern Life on Nickelodeon while Edward did everything himself.  We didn't share again, but Edward often asked me to "entertain" Andrew while he was working.

Sometimes I went down on him right on the couch in the living room, while Edward was working on his computer nearby.

I didn't mind. I even invited my friend Yuri to help out.

Familiarity usually decreases the frequency and intensity of your arousal, but not with Andrew.  He was just as eager the 20th time as the first.

Then one day in December, Andrew came into my room.  He was shirtless, wearing a Santa Claus cap.

"What's up, Andrew?  Did you bring a package for me to open?"

"No.  I just came in to say goodbye.  Right after Christmas, Edward is going to Europe for two months, and he said he won't need an assistant anymore."

"I'm sorry to hear that.  But you can still come over and hang out, right?"  Translation:  We can still make out on the couch while watching Rocko's Modern Life.

He brightened.  "That'd be great.  I can be a big help with your classes.  I can type up your papers, check books out of the library, keep track of your appointments, all kinds of things.  I get $25 an hour, or $150 for the whole day.  That includes staying overnight."

Cheaper than a hustler.  "Well, I don't really need an assistant.  I was thinking more of friends hanging out."

He frowned.  "Then how would I pay my rent?"

See also: Edward Tries to "Make" My Boyfriend

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Fred Brings Home a Boy from His Youth Group

Omaha, July 1980

During the summer of 1980, just after my sophomore year in college, I was 19, stupid, and completely infatuated with my first boyfriend Fred.  So when he finished his ministerial internship and got a job as a youth minister at a Methodist church in Omaha (actually Gretna, Nebraska, about 20 miles away), I dropped out of college and moved with him.

It was awful.  We lived in a horrible apartment, I had a horrible job. The people were rude. I had to pretend to be Fred's "cousin."  He had never had a live-in boyfriend before, so he became controlling and weird.  After six weeks, I packed up my stuff and left.

My only positive memory from those six weeks is Michael Stevenson (not his real name), a boy from the youth group at church.  A high school jock, about my height, very short brown hair, square face, nice chest.  The other members of the congregation were standoffish and rude, but he always said "hello" to me and asked how I liked Gretna -- and one night Fred brought him over for dinner and "sharing."

I didn't know anything about sharing  -- I had only been with a few guys, and never more than one at a time.  And Fred didn't explain anything in advance.  After dinner, when I finished putting the dishes in the dishwasher, I went out into the living room to find Michael on his knees, going down on Fred!

"It's ok," Fred said, noticing my shocked expression.  "Michael is 17.  Yesterday was his birthday, in fact."

He thought I was worried about that?  No -- I thought that being gay was illegal for everyone.  I was worried about my boyfriend cheating on me right in front of my eyes, with a member of his youth group!

"I'm his birthday present," Fred continued.

Michael giggled.  "You're my present, too."  He stood, walked over and kissed me.

Suddenly I was up for sharing.

I'll always remember that kiss -- warm, passionate but assertive, demanding.

And Michael's penis, small but thick, uncut, an iron shaft yet easy to go down on without gagging.  Not like Fred's super-hung monster.

I went down on Michael while he was standing there in the entry-way, thrusting energetically up and down until he finished.  Then we went into the bedroom.  He had already sprang to life again, so I went down on him a second time while he was going down on Fred.  Then Fred tried to top him, but he was too big.  He made do with interfemoral.

My first sharing experience, and the best ever, with one of the nicest guys I've ever met!

We spent the night cuddling, and in the morning Michael showered and went to school.  He continued to chat with me in church, but he never came over for "sharing again."  After I left Omaha, Fred and I stayed friends, but he never mentioned Michael.

Maybe he was just a hookup, a one-night stand.  But I still remember him fondly, 36 years, 8 boyfriends, and 130 hookups later.

Plains, July 2016

I was successful in finding the Mormon missionary who I chatted with briefly in Beaver, Utah.  Why not try to find Michael?

I had even more clues than with the Mormon missionary: a first and last name, a United Methodist church, a high school and a birthday.

His last name is not as common as "Stevenson": there were only five in the Omaha area.  No Michael.   He wasn't listed in the alumni roster of his high school, which means he never checked in -- a bad experience with bullying and homophobia, no doubt.

 No doubt he moved to the nearest gay neighborhood as soon as he could.  That would be Chicago.

But maybe I could dig up a relative.

A search of Omaha newspapers revealed a Mike Stevenson who won a fishing contest in 2006, and took a school tour of Washington DC in 2010.  Maybe Michael's nephew or...gulp...son?

When he won a civic scholarship as a high school senior in 2013, Mike said that he was planning to attend Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota.

Wesleyan...fundamentalist...double gulp.

I found his campus address and sent him an email, saying that I was looking for an old friend with his name, who belonged to the Gretna United Methodist Church and graduated from Gretna High School in 1982.

He emailed back.  "Sure, that's my Uncle Michael!"

Success!  "Do you have his email address?  I'd love to get back in touch with him."

"I'm sorry to tell you this, but Uncle Michael died a few years ago.  Cancer.  I have mementos I can show you.  Can you come out to Mitchell?"

I didn't necessarily want to drive an hour and a half to meet with the nephew of a guy I had a one-night stand with 36 years ago, but I kept thinking of that night, that passionate, intense kissing, that penis standing hard and ok.

Mitchell, South Dakota is known for its Corn Palace, a castle-like building with Moorish-style domes and minarets, the walls covered with murals made of corn.  I took some photos, then met Mike at a brew pub a few blocks away.

Mike Stevenson was 21 years old, the image of his uncle: same short hair, same square face, same muscular torso.  I almost reached out and kissed him, but caught myself and shook his hand instead.

"How did you know my Uncle Michael?" he asked.

I don't usually come out to strangers, especially those attending Wesleyan colleges, so I talked about spending the summer of 1980 in Omaha.  Michael befriended me, showed me around, really made me feel welcome.

"Was he your boyfriend?"

"Um..."  Ok, I guess I could come out.  "We sort of dated.  It was complicated."

"He never talked about high school.  I don't think he liked it very much -- it was probably hard, in those days when you had to be in the closet. So I was hoping you were like the one bright spot."

No, I was a one-night stand, I think, embarrassed.  "Sounds like you were pretty close to him."

 "He was like a second father to me.  I used to spend summers out in Sayville with him and Uncle Max.  After he died, Uncle Max gave me some old photos and stuff."

Photos, playbills, his passport, a certificate for winning a fishing contest, the contours of a life.

A photo of Michael and his partner in Sayville -- they were there when I was living on Long Island, but our paths never crossed.

Michael and his former partner in New Jersey.

Fishing trips and ski trips (with Mike in tow), the Tower of London, Gettysburg, Colonial Williamsburg.

The New York Gay Pride Festival.

An autographed picture of Barry Williams, Greg on The Brady Bunch.

"Uncle Michael said he knew he was gay when he saw The Brady Bunch as a kid.  He had a crush on Greg."

"I was more into Peter, myself."

The program of his college graduation.

A photo of Michael in college, his arm around his roommate (I assume).

A photo of Michael in high school.

And....a photo of Michael and me!

I didn't even remember that Fred took a picture that night: a 17 year old and a 19 year old, hugging, smiling at the camera.

It never occurred to me that this was Michael's first "sharing" experience, too.  An experience that bolstered him through the horrors of a homophobic adolescence.

A memory of a warm summer night that never faded.

For either of us.

See also: Fred and the Teenager Downstairs.

Spring 1965: My Book of Cute Boys

Indiana, Spring 1965

I love books.  Who cares about Kindles and Scribds and .pdfs?  I love browsing through used bookstores, driving home from the mall with a Barnes and Noble bag beside me, checking my recommendations on Amazon.

And reading every night before turning out the light.

Whenever I'm depressed, I rearrange my books.

I have a lot of them.  I've been buying at least 2 per week since I moved out of my parents' house in 1985.  That adds up to over 3,000, but actually I have only about 1,000.  Every time I move, I pare down my collection to 30 boxes.

Where did this bibliomania start?  Maybe with my parents, who disapproved of books.  They were at best a waste of time, and more likely sinful.  The only way I could get away with reading was to claim that it was a school assignment (evidently my teachers assigned a lot of science fiction and fantasy novels).

Or maybe it's all due to a traumatic incident that happened when I was about four years old, when we were still living on Randolph Street in Garrett,  Indiana.

 I had a Little Golden Book  I couldn't read most of the words yet, but the front cover showed two boys hugging and waving.  So I called it my Book of Cute Boys.

I think it was this adaptation of the Disney movie The Swiss Family Robinson, about a family shipwrecked on a desert island.  The publication date is right.

One day in the spring of 1965, around the time that I chased the Boy with the Guitar, we were driving somewhere on a scary country road, and I was reading in the back seat (this was before car seats, or even seatbelts).  Dad yelled back, "Don't read in the car!"

But the book was too beautiful to look away.  Look at this man hugging a muscular blond boy.  He's wearing girls' shoes. They have v's of skin visible where their shirts are unbuttoned to their chests.

I said something like "I wanna see the cute boys."

"Dammit, Skeezix, do you want to get sick?"

I kept reading...

Look at blond boy now: he's much bigger and taller. The elephant is trying to unbutton his shirt, while the boy in purple pants looks on, his hand jauntily on his hip.

Dad always got mad easily while driving.  He may have warned me a few more times.  Then, sucking his lower lip  in his look of pure fury, he reached back, grabbed The Book of Cute Boys from my hands, and threw it out the car window.

It was lost forever!

There's a lot of gay symbolism in that distant memory:

Was Dad worried that I would get motion sickness from reading in the car, or that I would get sick from looking at cute boys?

(He only called me Skeezix when I was subverting gender expectations.)

When he threw away the book, was he trying to expel my same-sex desire in a sort of exorcism?

From that day on, my same-sex desire would be denied, suppressed, challenged, explained as something else, criticized, excoriated, qualified, discussed, or tolerated.

It would never again be allowed to just exist.

I've spent my life buying that book over and over again, but nothing will bring that innocence back.  

See also: The Boy with the Guitar/


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