Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Best Friend of Terry the Homophobe

Rock Island, July 1989

I'm in no mood to be back in Rock Island: I just got back to West Hollywood after my semester in Turkey, and I just started dating an amazing guy named Lane.  If I'm gone for too long, someone else will snatch him up.

But it's my baby sister's wedding, and I have to be in the wedding party, even though I detest the heterosexist ritual, and I'm not too fond of her fiancee Terry.

He's definitely cute: curly blond hair, round face, glasses, hard biceps, Bratwurst+ (yes, I got a sausage sighting).  But he is intensely boring, all about cars, sports, repairing things, and girls, girls, girls!.

And he drifts easily from heterosexist "She's every man's fantasy" to blatant homophobia, telling "fag" jokes, making limp-wrist gestures, exclaiming "Everybody with AIDS should be shot!" and "Why don't we just put the homos on an island and be rid of the problem?"

Tammy tries to squash him, not always successfully.  Hasn't she told him that I am gay?  Doesn't she know? We never actually had a coming-out conversation, but she met Fred and Viju, and she's heard all about Alan, Raul, my celebrity boyfriend, and most recently Lane.

Terry and Tammy dated during their last year of high school, a disastrous year of college, and a year in the workforce at the same auto dealership in Davenport, so I've seen him lots of times on Christmas and summertime visits.  I've met his parents and his three friends, who I call the Three Jerks.

They're rather hot also.

1. Rod, Terry's oldest friend (far left), a grinning, round-faced Augustana student (biology major) and jogging enthusiast.

2. Anky, his next oldest friend, a history major at the University of Illinois.  He is short and tightly-muscled, with swarthy Mediterranean looks (second from right).

3. Paul, a tall Nordic blond with a swimmer's build, slicked-back hair, and beady eyes, Terry's most recent friend.  He's a little older, about my age, and works at the car dealership.

Regardless of their hotness, the Three Jerks are loud and boisterous and way, way heterosexist.  The minute they burst into the house for a Christmas party or into the back yard for a Fourth of July Barbecue, they bore me with talk of cars and sports, and pepper me with questions about the "hot girls" of California, and how many have I bedded, and could I get them the telephone number of Heather Locklear?

Two Days Before The Wedding

Tammy is out somewhere. Terry and his three friends, aka the Three Jerks, still damp from swimming at Longview Park, descend upon our game room to yell loudly while playing foosball.  Then they settle down to watch a VHS tap of Big Trouble in Little China.

I join them, squeezed onto the couch between Anky and Paul -- it's rather fun to sit with hot guys, heterosexist or not, and  I can ignore the hooting at Kim Cattrell's breasts.

Paul nudges me.  "Is she as hot as your girlfriend in California?"

 I should respond according to the rules of survival drummed into my head in West Hollywood:

Never come out.  When asked about your girlfriend or interest in girls, lie. Make something up.

But I'm tired of being mistaken for straight. "Gross!  I don't have a girlfriend!"

"No girlfriend!" Anky exclaims.  "With all those foxes around in California?  Well, maybe you just need some Midwestern talent."

"You just leave everything to us," Paul says.  "We'll check out the guest list, and make sure you get laid tomorrow night -- right, Terry?"

Terry shoots him a pained look, but says, "Sure, I'll see what I can do."

The Day Before the Wedding

We gather at the United Methodist Church for the rehearsal.

The wedding is going to be entirely heterosexist, with the men filing down the church aisle, arm in arm with the women, separating for the ceremony, and then coming together, arms around each other in heteronormative bliss, for the photo.  Then we're going to be seated together at the reception.

Sure enough, the Three Jerks have fixed me up with Charlene, one of the bridesmaids, Tammy's friend from high school.  She's heavily made up and stinking of perfume.

"You are so lucky, bud!" Paul grins at me. "Cream of the crop!  A lot better than those fags in California, right?"

Terry shoots him a pained look.

Anky presses his hand on my back.  "And I hear she puts out.  You'll definitely have a story to tell all your friends back in California."

We start down the aisle:

Anky, the Best Man, with a girl.  Then: Paul, me, Rod, and my brother Ken, each of us arm-in-arm with our corresponding girl.

But instead of grabbing onto Charlene, I take one step back and latch onto the arm of Paul!  He looks stunned, but walks a few feet with me until the preacher stops us and tells us to try again.

This time I take a step forward and latch onto Rod!

"Boomer!" My mother commands.  "Do it right, or don't do it at all."

I grudgingly comply.

Later, at the rehearsal dinner, Anky buttonholes me.  "What's up, man? It looked like you were deliberately trying to ruin Terry's wedding."

I am sick of hiding.  "Oh, no, I just have a hard time figuring out the moves.  I'm not used to boy-girl pairs.  Back in West Hollywood, it's all boy-boy pairs."

"Boy-boy pairs?"  He repeats, staring.  Then he breaks into a wide grin.  "I had no idea you were...we'll talk later, ok?  After dinner."

After dinner Anky walks me out into the parking lot and reveales that he is gay!

"I've seen you maybe eight, ten times over the last three years.  Why didn't you tell me before?  I ask.

He shrugs.  "Why didn't you tell me?"

Well, why didn't Terry tell me that his best friend was gay?  Or tell his best friend that his fiancee's brother was gay?

Turns out Terry didn't know.  Neither of us lisped or swished, so he couldn't "tell" from visual clues, and everybody who did know was following the rule:  Never come out. 

And he still won't know.  Anky makes me promise not to out him.

He still goes to Terry's bachelor party.  I claim a headache and bow out.

The Day of the Wedding

Anky and I sit together at the reception, and then visit my ex-bully Dick for dinner and "sharing."  He has a slim but firm physique, nice hands, and an average-sized but beautifully shaped penis that presses straight up against his abdomen.  He goes down on Dick and me at the same time, and then he lies on his back so I can go down on him while Dick is topping him.

We get together a few more times, when we're both back in Rock Island for Christmas or the summer, but eventually we lose contact.

Terry stopped being homophobic,by the way.  In 2016, he lent his son his vintage 1969 Chevy Camero to drive in the Indianapolis Gay Pride Parade.

See also: How We Survived the Homophobic 1980s; My Date with the Groom's Grandson at a Gay Wedding; and Sausage Sighting of My Parents' Contractor

Friday, November 11, 2016

How We Survived the Homophobic World of the 1980s

A few days ago, we discovered that over 40% of the U.S. population believe that all Mexicans are rapists and all Muslims are terrorists, that African-Americans are inferior, that the handicapped should be ridiculed, and that sexual assault is ok.    It gives one pause, but it's not without precedent.

When I was living in West Hollywood in the 1980s and 1990s, most heterosexuals believed that gay people were pedophiles and violent criminals, that we were inferior and should be ridiculed, and that physically assaulting us was ok.

We heard incessant "fag! fruit! fairy!" jibes from family, friends, and classmates, while politicians, judges, teachers, preachers, and psychiatrists joined their voices together in an incessant shout of "You're crazy, evil, sinful, criminal!  You shouldn't exist!"

After surviving all that hatred, it was hard to imagine that heterosexuals were even human.  Surely they were soulless monsters who spent every waking moment plotting new ways to defame, humiliate, and kill us.

So we carved out our own Safe Space.

Our world, the only place where we could let our guard down and be free, was bounded by Sunset to the north, Melrose to the south, Doheny to the west, and Highland to the east. At each of those boundaries there was an invisible barrier separating us from the wilderness.

Of course, we had to travel outside our world sometimes, for jobs, to go to concerts and museums, to get to gay bars like Mugi.

But we were very careful: the woods were full of wolves.  We followed strict rules for survival.

1. Be inconspicuous: keep your voice low and your hands at your side.

2. Closet any signs of gayness: no rainbow flags, gay pride t-shirts, Advocate magazines.

3. Never speak to anyone you don't know, unless it is absolutely necessary.

4. Never take anything that a stranger tries to give you.  It will probably be a tract about how sinful you are.

5. Never go to a straight bar or restaurant.  It will be full of homophobes.

6. Avoid heterosexual books, newspapers, movies, and tv shows.  They will be full of homophobia.

What about the heterosexuals you must interact with daily, your classmates and coworkers:

1. Keep the conversation strictly professional.  Be polite but aloof.

2. Don't volunteer any personal information.  If asked, be vague and noncommittal.

"What did you do last weekend?""

"Oh, I just hung around.

3. When they ask about your girlfriend or interest in girls -- which they always do within a few seconds of "hello" -- lie.  Invent one.  Never come out to them, and never say you don't have a girlfriend, or they will try to fix you up with one.

4. When they say something homophobic -- which they always do shortly after asking about your girlfriend -- don't respond.  End the interaction and retreat.

5. What if you are accidentally outed?

If they start screaming, then obviously you should retreat.  If they merely ask insulting questions like "Which of you is the boy, and which is the girl?", use your own judgment about whether to respond.

6. Never accept invitations to parties, dinners, or other social events.  You will be fixed up with a girl or asked to discuss your interest in girls.

7. NEVER cruise them, regardless of how hot they are, or how friendly.  They will interpret your interest as a humiliating insult, and attack.

I have a story about the rules, but writing them all down took up too much space.  It will be up next: Picking Up the Best Man at My Sister's Wedding.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

5 Nude Photos of Christopher Atkins

Christopher Atkins (1961-) is probably the first teen idol to go full frontal on the big screen.  Several times.

Here's he shows off in his iconic but immensely heterosexist Blue Lagoon (1980).

A male stripper in A Night in Heaven (1983), designed to appeal to an older audience.

An early-1990s candid with a crawdad.

He still has the physique -- and the penis.

One more from Blue Lagoon, I think.  This guy doesn't look much like him.

Th full post on Christopher Atkins is on Boomer Beefcake and Bonding

I Shag Oscar the Irish Bodybuilder and His Twink Boyfriend

Philadelphia, November 6th, 2012

Election Night.  Following my tradition of Election Night Hookups, I went out to Woody's, an enormous twink bar with nonstop cruising.  There was a surprisingly large crowd, some watching the returns on a big-screen tv, but most ignoring them, believing that politics was a game for homophobic heterosexuals, not for us.

At 51, I was one of the older guys there, but I'm a twink magnet, so I was getting cruised by a number of Cute Young Things.

I was NOT being cruised by Oscar the Grouch, a short, very muscular guy, probably my age or a little older, with a round face, a stern military haircut, and a constant scowl.

Oscar was not being cruised by anyone, in spite of his physique.  Maybe his age and scowl were turn-offs.  He stood by himself at a little counter, beer bottle at his side, grimacing at everyone.

I never do well with older guys, but I thought, he's got an amazing physique,why not give him a try?

I sidled up and introduced myself.   The first thing he said was:  "Aren't twinks the worst?"

"Um...beg pardon?"

"Frilly little wankers, so soft and sassy, wouldn't know what to do with a real man if he bit them on the arse."

Well, this was a twink bar....what did he expect? "I'm from West Hollywood..."  I began.

Before I could finish my sentence, he continued, "Why is America full of stooks?"

"Um...beg pardon?" I said, trying to place his accent.

"Idjits.  You get into a big row over gay marriage, when civil unions do the same job.  What's the difference?"


"And your tv is bollocks!  The other night I was watching Parks and Recreation.  'Oh, you have to watch,' my friend said.  It's cor deadly, right?'  Infantile drivel, more like."

Ok, he was annoyingly downbeat, but I was entranced by his enormous pecs and huge round biceps -- and by his the accent, which I finally placed as Irish.

Oscar (not his real name) grew up a fell jackeen in Kilkenny, Ireland, a small town known for its Medieval castle and abbeys, and the nursery rhyme about the Kilkenny cats:  there were two of them, but "each thought they were one cat too many," so they fought, and now there's none at all.

"We're fighters in Kilkenny," Oscar told me.  "Always ready to get our hop on.  Not like you American ponces."  He grinned.

I reached out and felt his chest, and moved my hand down to his crotch.  Thick mass, semi-aroused.  Talking of fighting turned him on!

After getting his degree at Trinity College, he moved inside the Pale, downtown Dublin, the biggest, best gay neighborhood in the world.  West Hollywood  is all tacky and tawdry, full of dosser twinks with nothing to do but file their nails and tool, but in the Pale, there's a big leather bar, the Boiler Room, a stone's throw from Parliament, and the George is just down the street from Triners!  You can see the Book of Kells and ride a bloke on the same afternoon!

I was starting to bristle.  I defend West Hollywood as if it were my home town -- which, in many respects, it was.  But I kept my eye on the prize, a hookup with an older guy, and a bodybuilder to boot.

"There are museums in Los Angeles, too.  The L.A. County Museum of Art, the Getty...and....and Pacific Design Center..."

"Please, those blue and green building blocks?"

"So...what made you leave the gay paradise of Dublin for our tawdry, twink-infested U.S.?" I asked.

"Me fella had a job here. If we ride it tonite, we'll be sharing with him.  Doug. You'll like him -- all the Yank brills think he's savage hot."

Two older guys, and probably bodybuilders with Irish accents? I'm there!

"I hate America though.  I keep telling Dougie boy we should leg it back to Dublin, or at least move to Canada, where people are a little more civilized, right?"

Insulting my country on Election night?  I was about to give him shade and leg it out of there, two bodybuilders or not, but then Oscar put his arm around me and squeezed hard, and leaned in for a boozy kiss.  I felt his huge hand on my back, his hard bicep, his aroused Kielbasa pushing against me.

"Well, I'm locked and fell langered.  Why don't we pop off to me gaff?"

I assumed that meant go home with him.

Oscar took me by the hand and led me toward the door.  " At least you're a real man, not one of these barmy goslings with piercings everywhere and too-tight jeans.

"Yeah, I get swarmed by twinks all the time, too.  It will be nice to hang out with a couple of guys my own age for a change."

 We left the bar around 11:00 pm, took the metro to the 52nd Street SEPTA station and walked three blocks to an upstairs apartment on Peach Street: small, cluttered living room, kitchenette, dining room, two bedrooms.  Doug, the partner, was already asleep, snoring softly under the covers in the darkness of the master bedroom.

"Go ahead and jump in bed," Oscar said.  "Snog, if you like, for a bit of a larf."

Worried that I was about to be the butt of a practical joke, I gingerly took off my shirt and pants and climbed into bed next to the snoring mass of Doug.  I reached over and felt for a hairy, chubby bear -- and got a slim, smooth chest, skinny arms, and an average sized penis that hardened under my touch.

A twink!

"Did you bring me a present?" Doug murmured.

American accent!

So Oscar the Grouch hated twinks and Americans, but his partner was an American twink?

Well, a penis is a penis.

After we kissed -- snogged -- and fondled, Doug went down on me while I was kissing Oscar, and then we double-teamed Oscar's very thick uncut Kielbasa until he finished.  I finished between Doug's legs while fondling Oscar.

At least I got to shag one older guy that night.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Romanian Twink at the Gay Asian Bar

West Hollywood, November 8, 1988.

It was Election Day: George Bush, the Vice President of homophobia for the last eight years, vs. Michael Dukakis, who hated gay people and was a fierce opponent of gay adoption.

I was depressed over my doctoral dissertation, my ever-mounting collection of bills, and my lack of a boyfriend, so there was no point in getting even more depressed.  Instead of voting, I went to Mugi, the bar for Asian guys and their admirers.

It was not crowded on a Tuesday night, with most American citizens home watching the election returns: a few Asian guys clustered together on one side of the bar, a couple of regular admirers, Creepy Old Guys who leered and got drunk but never cruised anyone.

And a twinks: short, slim, rather feminine, with a cute round face, a square chin, and prominent eyebrows, standing by the bar with a beer bottle propped up like an erect penis.  Cruising me with a sultry stare.

I was there to meet Asian guys, not a twink who looked like he just walked out of the Rage, so I gave him Attitude.

But he didn't catch on; he sauntered up to me with a broad smile and held out his hand.  "Allo, I am Stash (stesh) from Romania (Romen-ia)."

Romanian was the only Romance language spoken in Eastern Europe, descended from the Latin of the Roman legionnaires.  Incomprehensible to speakers of Spanish and French: lots of Slavic words, strange diacritical marks.

I want to eat your sausage.
French: Je veux manger ta saucisse
Romanian: Eu vreau să mănânc cârnați ta

Now I definitely wanted to talk to him!

"You have very big muscle (mooshl)," Stash continued as we shook hands. "Do you study karate?"

"No, I just work out.  I studied judo in school."

"Judo!  You are from Japon?"


Quick, which of these guys is Japanese?

Easy to tell, right?  But I do have some Native American ancestry, so maybe, in the right light, if you're expecting someone Japanese...

But why did I say "Yes, from Kyoto, Japan."?  Maybe because I was worried that if I told the truth, Stash would move on to someone else.  Besides, I spent summer in Japan a couple of years ago, and  I chose a Japanese ethnicity for a school project once. That's enough for an honorary citizenship, right?

"Kyoto, Japon!" Stash repeated.  "Fantastic (fon-test-ik)!  You will tell me all about Japonia, and show me judo moves, ok?  We go on date (deet).  I know good gay restaurant close by here."

I followed him to a Greek restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard, near Mann's Chinese Theater -- not gay, but open 24 hours, and with a good gyro platter.

In his lovely Romanian accent, Stash fondled my knee and told my his coming out story.  He was born in Cluj [population 400,000, about 200 miles northwest of Bucharest]

One of the decretei, "children by decree," forced into existence by dictator Ceaucescu's eugenics program, he was abandoned by his parents and raised in a casa de copii, an orphanage.

Life was harsh.  Ten kids, all ages, slept on on army cots in a small room with no heat and no electricity.  There was never enough to eat.  Everyone bathed in the same dirty water.

Beatings and sexual abuse were common.

There was a picture of Bruce Lee on the wall in his dormitory that someone tore from a magazine.  It symbolized masculine energy and power, and more, an escape.

Stash felt his first erotic desire looking at that picture.

Gulp.  And he thought I was Asian, his masculine ideal. 

When he was 14, Stash was discovered going down on one of the older boys.  Nothing happened to his partner, but he was labeled a  deviante and isolated in a tiny room the size of a closet, allowed to come out only for school, forced to undergo hours of psihanaliză [psychoanalysis] that mostly involved getting beaten.

A few weeks later, he and a friend escaped from the orphanage by literally climbing over a chain-link fence.  They hitchhiked to Salonta, where they made it across the border to Hungary.

They lived in Budapest for awhile, living mostly on the street, surviving through hustling and an occasional theft.  But Stash wanted to go farther, to America, where Asian guys studied judo and karate, their bare chests glistening in the sun.

"Jackie Chan is very hot, yes?" Stash asked.  "Do you know him?"

Gulp.  More Asian guys.  "  I know Michael J. Fox from Back to the Future.  Do you think he's hot?"

"Um...sure, he is ok.  I won't say no to Marty McFly.  But Chinese, Japanese!"

Stash paid a truck driver to smuggle him across the border to Vienna.  Then he hitchhiked all the way across Austria and Italy to Rome.

"Paid him how?" I asked.

Stash smiled.  "How do you think?"

" big was he?"


When he was 16, a church group got him a refugee visa, and placed him with a foster family in London.  They were nice to him, but extremely homophobic; he had to stay closeted, and even pretend to date girls.  But he learned English, went to school, and got his General Certificate [high school diploma].

He went to work in a grocery store to save enough money to move to America.  He had just arrived a week ago.  The first thing he did, after finding an apartment and a job, was go to Mugi to meet one of the Asian guys from his earliest fantasies.


I checked my watch.  10:00 pm, and I had to get up early.  Time to seal the deal.

"So...I am sorry that I talk so long," Stash said.  "We will go back to the bar, or to my apartment?  I live only near here."

"Um...your apartment is fine."

No way I could make up a story about Japan now, after hearing about his life of deprivation and misery.  Maybe I could draw him right into the sex, and avoid my fake Japanese identity altogether.

I followed him to a upstairs apartment on Wilcox: one room, with a futon, a small dresser, a table and chair, and a kitchenette.  There was no place to sit but the futon.

I put my arm around Stash and moved in for a kiss.  We kissed for a long time, but when I tried to grab his obviously aroused penis, he pushed my hand away.

"Wait...wait.  I like you, yes, but this is first date.  We wait. You want some tea?"

"Um...sure."  So the guy who paid for his way across Europe by hustling wouldn't let me go down on him?

He stood,  and began puttering around in the kitchenette.  "Ok, now you tell me about coming out in Kyoto, Japan."

Darn!  Time to come clean! "Um...actually, I have to tell you, I'm not really Japanese.  I studied Japanese, but I'm actually of European and American Indian ancestry.  I grew up in Illinois."

"Illinois?  Chicago!"  He sat beside me again.  "Fantastic!  Do you know gangsters?  Shoot bad guys?"

I got into Stash's bed on our second date: smooth chest, nice biceps, average sized beneath the belt, uncut, very hard.  Into kissing and cuddling.  Let me go down on him, but mostly an oral bottom.

On our third date, we "shared" with my Vietnamese friend Thanh.  After that we fell out of contact.

See also; Turning Japanese

Sunday, November 6, 2016

10 Election Night Hookups

Rock Island is staunchly Democrat, and my parents were the most staunchly Democrat of all.  I spent my childhood going to election rallies and passing out bumper stickers, and falling asleep on election night listening to the returns on tv in the next room.

But when I grew up, my political interests ended altogether.  Politicians seemed to be competing to see who could express the most homophobic hatred.  Why bother to support candidates where the choices were "I promise to keep your children safe from homo recruitment!" and "I promise to keep homos from shoving their sick lifestyles down your throats!"?

I still voted in most presidential elections, if I could figure out which candidate hated us the least.  And, to assuage my feeling of persecution and victimization, I started a tradition of Election Night Hookups.

1. Professor Burton.  November 4, 1980.  The first time I was able to vote: my junior year at Augustana College.  After voting, I had dinner with Professor Burton, a husky bear in his 40s who taught geology.  I went down on him in the living room, while he was watching election returns.

Results: "Gay menace" Ronald Reagan enjoyed a landslide victory over the only mildly homophobic Jimmy Carter and John Anderson.

2. Dan the Chain Smoker.  November 6, 1984.  During my horrible, depressing year in Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas.  After voting I hooked up with a guy named Dan: in his 30s, short, slim, bearded, smoked constantly.  I had an ash tray in my apartment, but instead he used a damp napkin on a saucer.  Nice sized Bratwurst, though.

Results: "Gay menace" Ronald Reagan got 58% of the popular vote over Walter Mondale, who, when  asked to say something about gay people at a campaign stop, angrily walked off stage.

3. Turning Japanese.  November 8, 1988.  Depressed over my doctoral dissertation, broke, lacking a boyfriend, I paid no attention to the presidential race, and didn't vote.  I went to Mugi, the gay Asian bar.  A Romanian twink named Stash approached and asked where in Asia I was from.  I don't know why -- I don't look at all Asian.  For some reason I told him "Japan" and had to go with that through our entire first date.

Results:  George Bush, Reagan's vice president of homophobia, beat out Michael Dukakis, who hated gay people and was a fierce opponent of gay adoption.

4. Alan's Ex.  November 3rd, 1992.  After we voted, Lane and I went to an Election Night Party held by the Stonewall Democrats, and ended up going home with Alan's ex-boyfriend, who, like Alan, was an ex-porn star.

Results:  Bill Clinton, the first candidate to mention gay rights (he promised to end the military ban on gay people), got 72% of the gay vote and 43% of the heterosexual vote, beating out George Bush.

5. The City Councilman. November 5th, 1996.  David and I went to another Election Night Party.  I didn't actually get a hookup, but I got a date with Tom Ammiano, who was on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

6. I Break Every Rule of Gay Cruising: November 7th, 2000.  In New York, I lived within easy walking distance of about 20 gay bars, but I rarely went cruising.  But on the night of November 7th, I was depressed, so I went to the Eagle, broke every rule of gay cruising, and ended up somewhere in New Jersey with Jorge, and having to sneak out of his parents' house in the morning with no idea how to get home again.

Results:  George W. Bush, who hated us even more than his Dad, or  Al Gore, who just thought we were second class citizens?   Gore won the popular vote, but Bush got the electoral vote.

7. November 2nd, 2004.  I was living in Florida with Barney and Yuri.  No hookup.

Results: George W. Bush beat out John Kerry for another term with 50.7% of the popular votes.  I was so worried about round-ups and concentration camps that started applying for jobs outside the U.S., planning an escape.

8. The Bathhouse Bonanza. November 4th, 2008.  I was living in Upstate New York.  On the night of November 4th, I drove down to Albany and went to the River Club, a small bathhouse.  I usually didn't have much luck there, but tonight for some reason I was absurdly popular, accepted by everyone I approached.

Results: Barack Obama and John McCain were both against gay marriage, but Obama vowed to support gay rights, and McCain said there was no anti-gay discrimination in the U.S.  Obama got 53% of popular votes.

9. Oscar the Grouch. November 6th, 2012. During my horrible, terrible year in Philadelphia, I went out cruising on Election Night, and hooked up with Oscar the Grouch: a short, very muscular guy from Ireland who complained incessantly about everything American.  Kielbasa beneath the belt, though.

Results: Barack Obama, who had now changed his mind and favored gay marriage, got 51% of the popular votes, beating Mitt Romney, who was still against it.

10. November 8th, 2016: Plains.  Hillary Clinton, who has repeatedly affirmed her commitment to gay rights, or Donald Trump, who thinks it's pretty weird to "choose" to become gay and wants to dump gay marriage?

I invited Monster Cock, aka Brandon, over for a homemade vegetarian pizza and election returns.  This will was first time voting.

Coincidentally, he might become a geologist, like Dr. Burton, my first Election Day Hookup.

Results: We sat there open-mouthed, speechless as the Der Fuhrer stormed through all of the swing states.  Then I was too upset to do anything in bed.  He still wanted to.  Not the best second date!

See also: The Boy at the Urinal with the Kovbasa++++

The Boy with a Crush on My Dad

When I was growing up, I was fascinated by a photo of my father sitting on a burro in Tijuana.

Dad is tanned, muscular, smiling, wearing a sombrero that invites us to "Kiss My Ass!"

The photo is dated September 8th, 1959, a little over a year before I was born. There are two names written on the back, "Frank" and "Jared."

Frank is my father, but who is Jared?  The burro?

And how did this grinning, bawdy, irreverent 21-year old turn into the Dad I knew, conservative, somber, serious, who rarely laughed and never joked or fooled around?  What changed?

Here is all I knew until May 2016:

June 1956

Frank graduates from high school in Indiana, and joins the Navy.  He spends the next three years seeing the world, visiting Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, learning to repair things deep down in the hulls of the big ships, and buddy-bonding.  He calls it the best time of his life.

June 1959

Frank returns to Indiana for a two-week long shore leave and reunites with his high school sweetheart, who is working at the A&W.  They impulsively get married, and drive with her sister and brother-in-law cross country to Long Beach.  They move into a tiny apartment.

The next year is a blank space in their lives.  They don't talk about it.  There are only a few mementos and photographs.  I know that they went to Knotts Berry Farm and Tijuana, that a couple of relatives flew out for a visit, and that Mom bought a set of encyclopedias from a fast-talking salesman, and that's all.

June 1960

Frank's four-year tour of duty ends.  His Captain asks him to stay on, with a promotion to Chief Petty Officer, but he refuses.  Instead, he and Mom return to Indiana and move into a house on South Randolph Street.  He goes to work in the factory, which he calls a "godddam hell hole" for the next thirty years.

Why did Dad abandon a Navy career he loved for a factory job he hated?  

I could have grow up in Long Beach!  I could have met Randall and Will the Bondage Boy early in my childhood.  I could learned about gay people and been part of the gay rights movement of the 1970s.  Instead I rumbled around Rock Island in utter silence, my same-sex loves ignored, my most casual friendship with a girl applauded as the meaning of life.

Why did they leave Long Beach?

Indianapolis,  May 2016

I'm visiting my parents on the way back from New York. My nephew is digitizing their old photos, and I see the "Kiss My Ass" burro photo again.  Emboldened, I decide to coax as much information out of them as possible.

Maybe the statute of limitations has passed, or maybe after nearly 60 years they don't care about their youthful transgressions anymore, but Mom and Dad both open up, describing their apartment, the corner grocery store, the movie theater where they saw Ben-Hur and Pillow Talk.

"You went to movies?" I ask, shocked.  Nazarenes are forbidden from setting foot inside movie theaters.

"That's not all!" Dad says with a laugh.  "We played cards.  We danced.  We even drank -- just beer, one time, but if the preacher or my parents found out, we'd be in big trouble!"

"We made friends with all sorts of people that would set my Mom and Dad off," Mom adds.  "Blacks.  Jews.  Catholics.  Mexicans.  And...well, you know..."

"Gays?" I suggest.

Suddenly Dad becomes somber.  "It was the Fifties.  We didn't know about things like that."

"Or if we did, we thought it was very rare," Mom adds, "You'd never meet anyone like that in a lifetime, which is good because it was the worst thing possible, like a sin and a crime and a sickness, all rolled up into one.  Then we met that boy..."

"Jared, from the burro photo?" I ask with sudden inspiration.

"Yes," Dad says.  "We were supposed to give him a copy of the photo -- that's why his name is on the back.  But we didn't get a chance."

Long Beach, June 1959

Frank was 21 years old, newly married, living in a small apartment on Broadway Street in Long Beach.

Jared lived down the hall.  He was 16 or so, short, slim, kind of frail looking, with bushy black hair that was out of place in the crewcut 1950s, and a preference for bright colors, bold reds and greens.

His dad was overseas, and his mom worked, so he got ignored a lot, and he quickly latched onto my mom and dad.  Frank, the youngest of four kids, never had the opportunity to be a big brother before, and he relished the attention.  They went out for hamburgers, to the movies, to the beach.

Jared liked hanging out with Mom, too.  He came over sometimes during the day, to watch her soap opera, As the World Turns. and then help her cook dinner.

Of course, they didn't think anything of it at the time.

When they showed Jared the photos from their trip to Tijuana, he asked for a copy of the one with Frank on the "Kiss My Ass" burro -- to show his friends at school.

 "That's a weird photo to show your friends," I point out.

Dad shrugs.  "That's what he told us."

I wonder if it ever occurred to them that Jared might have another reason to want a picture of the shirtless, muscular Frank.  

But before they had a chance to make a copy of the photo from the negatives, Jared vanished.  He just stopped coming around.

Dad wondered if he was upset with them, or sick.  He went over to check, and Jared's mom said that he went to a home "to get help."

What kind of home?  What was wrong?  She kept her eyes down and wouldn't say.  No, they couldn't visit.  No, they couldn't write.  He needed to be alone, to get better.

Talking it over, Mom and Dad began to suspect:  Jared was a soft, gentle boy, feminine, domestic.  Could he be suffering from that disease, the one that no one should talk about?  Could his parents have found out, and put him in an asylum?

Then just around Thanksgiving, Jared died.  A tragic accident, his parents said, but gave no more details.  The funeral was up in Fresno. Mom and Dad didn't go.

Indianapolis, May 2016

"That spring, when we found out I was pregnant," Mom says, "We thought it would be a good idea to move back to Indiana, to spare our baby the bad influences.  You know, the drinking, the movies, the Catholics."

"And the gays?" I ask.

She nods. "We were worried that if we stayed in Long Beach, whatever turned Jared that way, might turn you, too."  

"You can't turn gay," I tell them, annoyed  "Either you are or you aren't."

"Well, we know that now, but in the Fifties we thought it was like protecting you from the measles.  And remember, there was no Gay Pride then.  It was all shame and misery.  We wanted to spare you, and your brother and sister, when they came."

"Jared died almost exactly a year before you were born," Dad says.  "I don't believe in reincarnation, of course, but when you started acting like that, you know, with your Book of Cute Boys, or saying you and Bill were a Mama and a Papa, or asking for a statue of a naked man for Christmas, I knew that I was seeing Jared again."

See also: The Truck Driver who may have been my Dad's old navy buddy; Looking for Love in the Encyclopedia; My Book of Cute Boys