Saturday, November 19, 2016

How Matt Began Renting Himself Out

San Francisco, April 1997

One night around 11:00 pm, I got a phone call out of nowhere.

"It's Matt, mon ami -- I'm at the Castro Street Muni Station.  Come pick me up!"

Matt the Cute Young Thing?

Nine years before, my college boyfriend Fred moved to Pomona, California, about an hour's drive from West Hollywood, to study at the Claremont School of Theology.

He brought Matt, 23 years old -- a scandalous age difference!

Plus Matt was an ultra-elitist snob, a graduate of the Andover Academy and Harvard University, who adored the opera, peppered his conversation with phrases in French and German, and complained that everything about my world was bourgeois or jejune:  the Midwest, West Hollywood, USC, Raul, the Greenery, the Different Light, you name it.

Plus he gossiped about everybody and everything, providing the weird voices.

Then Beau told his "Uncle,"  wink wink, "Be sure that yo' get mah new underweah in extra-extra-extra lahge."

But when you got beneath the sarcastic cover, Matt had a good heart.  And he was extraordinarily cute.

In the bedroom, while you were going down on him, he kept up a nonstop monologue of his progress, in three languages:

I'm getting there...un peu plus, mon vais arriver...Mein Stollen, Mein Stollen...bien, I go...

We were never friends, exactly.  I only socialized with him -- and shared his bed -- because of Fred.  And that didn't happen often, maybe once every couple of months, and at Christmastime, when we all flew back to the Midwest.

Fred got his D. Min in 1993, and couldn't find a church, so he returned to his old job as a mental health counselor in San Bernardino, about 30 miles east of Pomona.

Ninety minutes from West Hollywood.

"I so envy you, mon ami!" Matt often said.  "So close to the action, the heart of the heart of the gay world, unsere Heimat!"

In 1995, shortly after we moved to San Francisco, Fred took a job at a congregational church in Fresno.

Three hours from West Hollywood

 "This town is even more dreary than San Bernardino!" Matt often said.  "And you're living in San Francisco, the heart of gay Heaven, Paradis."

In retrospect, I should have seen it coming.

I picked up Matt and his backpack at Castro Street Station and took him to Orphan Andy's for a hamburger.  He was 32 years old, no longer a Cute Young Thing, but quite buffed from hours at the gym.

"Fred and I are kaput! Over!  I caught him having sex with a kid in the youth group.  I'm all for sharing, but en cachette?  And I'm pretty sure the kid is underaged!"

"Well, you should at least hear his side of the story."

"No, I've had it.  J'ai trop mangé!  This isn't the first time, mind you, but I've put up with it because of my misguided sense of loyalty. But no more."

We returned to my cramped third-floor walk-up, over a hardware store, which he criticized as "impossibly bourgeois" and "a downscale dump," and spent the night.

It was my first time in bed with Matt without Fred being there.  He still kept up a nonstop monologue of his progress while I was going down on him: "Oui, mon ...étalon...comme ç won't be long now...a little more...bien, bien..."

In the morning, I called Fred and confirmed that this was no quarrel.  It was definitely over.  Matt's stuff was packed up and waiting for him in the guest room.

So we just had to get Matt the three essentials of life in Gay Heaven: an apartment, a gym membership, and a job.

The apartment came easy: a very nice second-floor in a Victorian on Dolores, near the Castro, for a frightfully high rent.

The next weekend, my friend David and I drove a U-Haul down to Fresno to pick up Matt's stuff: an antique grandfather's clock, a old secretary-style writing desk, ten boxes of books, and a lot of kitchen equipment, including a breadmaker and a pasta maker.  A second-hand store furnished the rest of the apartment.

The job was a problem. Matt stood to inherit several million dollars when his parents died, in fifty years, but for now his trust fund held only about $20,000.   And his resume was blank.

"I went straight from Harvard Yard to Fred's bed.  I've never actually had a job.  But I'm up for anything.  I'll sell my butt on Polk Street if I have to."  He turned around to display his butt.  It was indeed very nice.  His frontside, too.

"You're a little old for hustling," I said, hoping he wasn't serious.  "And not big enough for a career in porn.  But we'll find you something."

Ideas #1 and #2: Matt was fluent in French and German.  He could be a translator, or a guide for European tourists.

It turns out that everyone in the world was fluent in French and German -- I was fluent in French and German.  Aand European tourists usually came with guidebooks in hand.

Idea #3:  He was a Harvard alumnus, with lots of contacts in the City.  He called Santa Claus, aka Bearnard, the fantasy writer, and landed a job as his personal assistant.  But Matt's habit of criticizing everybody and everything did not sit well with Bearnard, and a few days later he was scanning the want ads again.

At least he got a hookup out of the deal: "Bien, bien...soon, soon...mon choux...comme ca...ich komme...."

Idea #4: I brought him over to "share" with Kevin the Vampire, my sort-of boyfriend, in the hope that he might have some supernatural suggestions.

"What have you being doing with yourself for all these years?" he asked.  "Sitting around watching soaps and waiting for Fred to come home, like June from Leave It to Beaver?"

"Basically," Matt admitted.  "I did all of the cooking and cleaning.  The marketing.  The laundry.  I was sein Hausmädchen, ja?"

"So you should get a job as a housemaid."

"Me as a housemaid?  That's hardly suitable for a graduate of the Andover Academy and Harvard University."

"And they only make about minimum wage," I added.

Kevin the Vampire smiled and touched his arm.  "But you could give it a Castro Street twist."

"What do you mean?"

"There are plenty of old queens in the City with more money than they know what to do with and absolutely no chance of bedding a Cute Young Thing.  They would pay premium rates for you to vacuum, dust, and prepare their afternoon aperitifs.  With your spectacular butt and sausage open for them to gawk at."

"A nude housekeeping service!" Matt exclaimed.  "Sounds like a way to syncretize my housekeeping skills, my entrepreneurial skills, and my physique.  And I could hire some twinks, in case clients like them younger.  A whole stable."

"Just be sure to specify that no sex is permitted, so San Francisco Vice stays off that spectacular butt of yours."

I moved to New York a few months later, but I understand that Matt soon had three assistants to handle about 20 clients per week.  His most popular service was "nude waiter" for dinner parties.

No sex during the housekeeping, of course, but nothing in the contract said that workers couldn't make a date for later.

"Mon etalon...a little more...ein bischen, ein bischen...almost there..."

See also: Fred and the Cute Young Thing; 8 Harvard Boys in My Bed; and Matt Gets on His Knees Behind the Bar

Friday, November 18, 2016

On My Knees in the Teaching Assistant's Office

San Francisco, May 1997

I liked chemistry class in high school -- or rather, I liked the fact that it was 90% cute science nerds who carried calculators with the logo "Chemistry is Chool."

But in college, I had constant problems.

The professors taught for chemistry and physics majors rather than general education students. They started with five-dollar words and grad-school concepts.

"Today we will be discussing hydrogenic orbitals, and the failures of heteronuclear diatomics in predicting molecular bipolarity."

Um...atoms are the building blocks of molecules....

And the labs: Mind-boggling configurations of glassware and piping that required  mechanical genius to put together.   

I dropped Chemistry 101 twice, and took Physical Geography and Paleontology to fulfill my physical science requirement.

Over a decade later, in San Francisco, I was dating Kevin the Vampire, who was totally into the sciences, talking about atoms and molecules almost as much as he talked about hot guys.  Gradually I developed a passion for the sciences again.

"You liked chemistry in high school, didn't you?" he told me one day.  "Why don't you become a chemist?  You can get your undergraduate work done right here, at San Francisco State, and your doctorate in Berkeley, across the Bay, and give up this silly idea of going across the country to New York to do graduate work in...what was it...ring tossing?"

Kevin really didn't want me to leave.

"Are you kidding?  I'd have to start over, take elementary chemistry, calculus, physics, then the advanced classes, before going to graduate school.  It would probably take ten years.  I'll be 46 years old when I get my Ph.D."

"And how old will you be in ten years if you don't get your Ph.D.?"

So in the winter 1996-97 quarter, I enrolled in Chemistry Class #3.

San Francisco State University was only 5 miles from the Castro, 20 minutes away on the Muni, but still, I felt like I was going into another world.

90% of the students were male, cute science twinks but intensely heterosexist.  I was asked about my "girlfriend" and "wife,"asked to comment on this or that actress, nudged when an attractive girl passed.

Um...guys, the people exist...

Still, I liked the class enough to apply to study chemistry full-time at San Francisco State.  They said that with summer classes, I could finish a B.S. in Chemistry in two years, and go on to a M.S. in their new field of Biochemistry.  I wouldn't even need a doctorate.

In the Spring 1997 Quarter, I enrolled in Chemistry 102.  The lecture section was ok, but the lab was taught by a graduate teaching assistant, Seth.

Granted, he was rather cute: tall, slim, pale, with a shock of blond hair, blue eyes, horned-rimmed glasses, prone to wearing button-down shirts and black slacks that showed a substantial bulge.

But he was imperious, a stickler for the rules, rather nasty to the students, and very, very heterosexist.  Apparently he was from Marin County, the rich heterosexual enclave north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and he had never heard that gay people exist.

"Oh, guys, time to get your minds off girls and onto the experiment."

"This procedure is easy, like the first time you kissed a girl."

Or maybe he had heard of gay people:

"Better not spill that acid.  It would be more painful than if you went to prison and had a cellmate named Big Bad Bruce."

Homophobia?  In San Francisco in 1997?  Really?

Near the end of the spring quarter we had an experiment with a lot of different beakers,
Erlenmeyer flasks, condensers, pipettes, tube, and so on, just about everything in our lab drawer.   It took forever to assemble, run the experiment, and disassemble.

Afterwards, when I inventoried my drawer, I found that a beaker was missing!

I went to Seth, who told me that stealing was frowned upon.

"I didn't steal it!" I exclaimed.  "Someone else probably grabbed it, thinking it was theirs."

"So you broke it.  Same difference.  You have until Monday to replace it, or you fail the lab session, which means you fail the course."

"Where am I supposed to find a new beaker?  A chemical supply company?"

"If that's what you have to do.  Just get it done by Monday."

That night, when I complained during our date, Kevin said "Beakers shouldn't cost more than a dollar or two.  Why don't I'll have a little chat with this Seth?   I'm good at persuading the recalcitrant.  I persuaded you to date me, didn't I?"

Kevin the Vampire did have an uncanny "mind control" ability.  It didn't always work, but sometimes, if he looked at you right, you would do what he wanted.  

So the next day we took the Muni down to San Francisco State University and went to the teaching assistant office, a little windowless cubbyhole next to the chem lab storeroom.

Seth was actually in the lab storeroom, inventorying chemicals.  He turned and eyed us suspiciously.

"You were quite right, Boomer," Kevin said. "This teaching assistant of yours is quite attractive."

"Do you have the missing beaker?" Seth asked.

"Um...yes...about that," Kevin inched gradually closer as he stared in that way of his that turned your knees into jello.  "Surely you realize that it's silly to accuse Boomer here of stealing it."

"Well...if he broke it, he has to learn to be more careful."

"I'm sure if you inventory the adjoining lab drawers, you'll find it.  Or allow me to pay for it.  Here's a dollar."  He pulled out a dollar and pressed it into Seth's hand.  He began to tent noticeably.

"And one more thing.  You've been making some unfounded assumptions that every male student is attracted to women.  Well, at least one is attracted to men.  Perhaps, as a way of apologizing, you'd like to show him your penis."


"You want to, don't you?"

"Well...I guess that's fair."

Kevin stepped back and closed and locked the door.  Seth pulled a thick Bratwurst from his pants, fully aroused.

"Very nice.  Boomer, would you like to go down on our friend Seth?"

I got on my knees and started sliding up and down on Seth's very hard penis.  Meanwhile Kevin put his arm around Seth, unbuttoned his shirt, and reached inside to fondle his chest.  Soon they were kissing, and Seth was fondling Kevin through his pants.  I pulled Kevin's penis out and went to work on them both at the same time.

Seth finished very quickly, and nearly collapsed in Kevin's arms.  "That was intense.  I've been with guys before, but...that was intense."

"Yes, Boomer is quite the expert, I must say. Well, it's been nice chatting with you...and such."  He pulled me to my feet and led me toward the door.

", can't just leave.  Will I see you again?"

"There's a possibility," Kevin said with a smile.

In the only remaining lab session, Seth was cordial, but not overly friendly, as if the night in the lab store room never happened.  But shortly after classes ended, we began having him over for "sharing."

By July, Kevin and Seth were having dinner with each other, and leaving me out of it.

By August, Kevin had a new boyfriend, and I was in New York, studying for my Ph.D. in something besides chemistry.

I'm not saying that the two facts are connected, but they probably are.

See also: A Sausage Sighting of a Straight Philosophy Professor

The Foot-Long of Bourbon Street

New Orleans, March 1985

When my Grandma Davis died in 1975, she left $5,000 to each of her 12 grandchildren, as a "wedding present," to be bestowed upon them on their wedding day.

In the spring of 1985, I was telling my mother about my difficulties making ends meet in Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas, and she said, "It doesn't look like a wedding is going to happen, so why don't we give you your Grandma's money now?"

The check came in February. The $5000 had become  $12,428, the equivalent of $28,000 today.  Enough to pay my rent for the next six months, get my car repaired, visit Europe, move to Los Angeles next summer -- and, right now, Spring Break to New Orleans!

The minute my last class ended, I got into my car and drove the six hours to New Orleans, and I didn't get back until an hour before my first class began.

Years later, after living in the gay neighborhoods of West Hollywood, San Francisco, and New York, I found the French Quarter inadequately gay, but in 1985 I loved the old French architecure of the Vieux Carre, the Voodoo Museum, and the bright, cheery gay bars, especially Cafe Lafitte in Exile (great name!).

 It wasn't Mardi Gras, so guys weren't flashing their equipment to the crowd, but I still saw my fair share of penises.

On my first night, I went home with a hairy, muscular bear in his 40s.  While I was going down on him, he talked nonstop about New Orleans' ghosts and hauntings.

On my second night, I went home with a short, compact University of Michigan undergrad on spring break, who loved the "fact" that I was from Texas.

On my third night, I somehow attracted the attention of a Cute Young Thing. I don't remember his name, so I'll call him Jasper.

Jasper was cute: fuzz-headed, blue eyes, long tan muscles, wearing a yellow t-shirt and tight jeans.  He had a soft Southern accent that I found attractive.  But I was 24 years old, too old for him.

Besides, he had a dopey, dazed expression, his shirt was dirty, and he had a weird-looking sore on his hand that was an immediate turn-off in the first days of the AIDS crisis.

He started talking to me at the bar, when I was cruising someone else.   The other guy soon scrammed.

"Let me buy you a beer!"  Jasper said.

"I don't drink."

"Two beers!" he yelled at the bartender, ignoring me. When they came, he reached in his pocket.  "Whoops, I left my wallet at home. Can you cover me?"

I refused.  The bartender took the drinks away.

When I left the bar, Jasper followed me out onto the street, talking nonstop.  He was from a small town in Arkansas.  When his family found out that he was gay, they kicked him out.  Now he was living with friends and planning to enroll at Tulane University.

"That's very interesting," I said.  'Well, bye!"

I turned into Dante's Pizza.  Jasper followed me in.

"Bedtime snack for your boyfriend?" he asked.

"You're not my boyfriend."

"Trick, then.  You have no idea how good in bed I am.  Give you a hint -- I call it my one-eyed monster!"  He giggled.

Jasper didn't get a pizza slice.

Next I went to a little convenience store, where I selected a bottle of mouthwash and an ice cream sandwich.  Jasper appeared at the check-out counter with a foot-long hot dog and a bottle of a vile blue liquid that looked like Windex but was labeled curacao. The clerk started ringing us up together.

"No, I'm not with him," I protested.  "I just want the mouthwash and ice cream."

"And the hot dog and curacao!" Jasper exclaimed.  "Curacao is the best!"

"I'm not buying you booze!  Ok, the hot dog."

Pouting, he returned the curacao.

We walked out into the street.  Jasper wrapped his arm around my waist and offered me a bite of his hot dog.  I refused.

"Don't you like eating hot dogs?  This one isn't as big as my hot dog, of course."

"I like hot dogs, but I just had pizza."

His hand moved down to my butt.  "Well, we'll just have to go home so you can eat something else.  Which way to your place?"

"I'm not bringing you home!" I exclaimed.

Jasper stopped us and started fondling my crotch, right in the street!  I backed away.

"Come on, you're not going to leave me hanging after all we've been through together!"

Well, it was late, he was cute...

"Come on!  You've never been with a guy as big as me, guaranteed!  And I know how to use it.  Greek, French, you name it, I'm up for it!"

Well...a big one...and if it was the only way I was going to get rid of this guy....

I agreed to bring Jasper back to my hotel room.

We didn't kiss much -- his breath smelled of alcohol.

We took off our clothes and fell down onto the bed.

Jasper was, indeed, enormous, a Kovbasa++++.  When he was aroused, you could rub it against his pecs.

But he wouldn't stay aroused.  He softened and hardened intermittently, no matter what I tried with my hands and mouth.   It was like going down on a very big, very limp garden hose that occasionally stiffened.

Eventually I heard snoring -- Jasper had fallen asleep while receiving oral sex?

I pushed his arm around me so we could cuddle, and fell asleep myself.

I awoke a couple of hours later to see Jasper getting dressed.

"It's been fun," he said, "But I gotta go. Could you spot me a fiver?"

I spent the next week looking over my shoulder to see if Jasper was approaching, with his hot dogs and curacao and limp garden hose.

See also: Marco, the Gay Cannibal of Colombia; My Sausage List

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Kevin the Vampire's Date with Satan

San Francisco, November 1996

It's my 36th birthday.  David, Drake the Teddy Bear Artist, Corbin the Gym Rat, Kevin the Vampire, and a few other guys have gathered in an Ethiopian restaurant.  We're discussing enormous penises, dates from hell, and finally celebrity hookups.

Corbin and David tell about our hookup with Brad Pitt.

Drake tells about getting on his knees in Tony Curtis' dressing room.

Kevin the Vampire says "I can do better than that.  A few years ago, when I first moved to San Francisco, I had a date with Satan."

Kevin is in mid 30s, tall and pale, with a long face, long hair, long hands, and a weird goatee, rather Satanic looking already. And there's a lot of mystery about him, a lot of paranormal.  So it seems believable.

David, the former Baptist minister, stares open-mouthed.  "The...the...real Satan?" he stammers.

"Well...perhaps not the real one," Kevin says.  "But as close as you'd want to get."

Enid, Oklahoma, 1980s

Kevin grew up in Tulsa and then Enid, Oklahoma, two of the most dreary, depressing towns in the Bible belt, with nothing to do but watch sports and talk about girls.  His parents belonged to the ultra-fundamentalist Bible Missionary Church, where everything but breathing was a sin.

"Baptists were the same way," David says.

He went through life terrified that he would commit a sin without knowing it.  He used to pray for God to kill him, so he wouldn't have to die unsaved, and spend eternity in hell.

It was especially terrifying once he recognized that he was gay ("thou shalt not lie with mankind as with woman; it is an abomination") and that he was a witch ("thou shalt not suffer a witch to live").

Oh, he couldn't zap himself across time and space, or turn mortals into toads, like on Bewitched, but:

He knew what people were thinking

He could see what was going to happen in the future

He could make himself invisible. People would walk right past without noticing him, very handy for dealing with bullies and getting out of chores.

His favorite power was mind-control.  It didn't always work, but sometimes, if he looked at you the right way, you would do what he wanted.  His mother let him have two desserts; his teacher changed the grade on a paper; a high school jock agreed to a blow job.

A lot of high school jocks agreed to blow jobs.

"That doesn't take magical powers," Corbin says.  "You're very hot.  I would do you."

Kevin smiles.  "How do you know that I'm not controlling you right now?"

As a teenager, he struggled valiantly to overcome his fundamentalist guilt. He forced himself to "sin," to go to movies and watch tv, to smoke and drink alcohol, to stay home from church on Sunday, to use profanity, to go to Catholic churches and Buddhist temples.

At the University of Oklahoma, Kevin majored in biology, partially in order to commit the "sin" of believing in evolution (a few professors changed his exam grades from C- to A+).

He dated a football star who later went pro, and who heterosexuals have probably heard of, but he was never sure if the jock really liked him, or if it was just his mind control.

"Skip Satan," Drake says.  "Let's hear about the football player.  Was he hung?"

"Mmmm...adequate for the task," Kevin replies.  "I'm not much of a size queen, anyway.  I'm attracted to innocence.  To virginity, so to speak.  I want to introduce my men to a whole new world of sensuality."  He glances at me.

After college Kevin couldn't settle on a career: he dropped out of medical school after one year, tried graduate school in biology but hated it, and worked as a hospital orderly, nursing home attendant, and phlebotomist.  Finally he trained as a medical technician, a job which allowed him a lot of free time to read and hook up with men.

In his ongoing attempt to rid himself of fundamentalist guilt, Kevin committed even more "sins."  He tried hashish and cocaine.  He read books on paganism, atheism, and New Age philosophy.  He attended a Wiccan ritual.  He deliberately blasphemed God, the Trinity, and Jesus Christ.

San Francisco, December 1992

In 1992, Kevin finally achieved the life-long dream of gay men everywhere: he managed to move to San Francisco.  He found a job at St. Mary's Medical Center, and an apartment nearby in the Richmond district, a bit far from the Castro, but still Gay Heaven.

But even in Heaven, he worried about hell.  The nagging doubt just wouldn't go away: "Is there a God who is passing judgment on me?  Am I doomed to an eternity in hell?"

He determined to engage in one great, final gesture of defiance against the religious oppression of his childhood.  He was going to have sex with the Devil.

That is, Anton Szandor LaVey, who founded the Church of Satan in 1966.  Rituals were held in the famous Black House at California Street and 23rd in the Richmond District -- just around the corner from Kevin's apartment.

The Church of Satan was very popular among the youth counterculture of the 1960s.  Over a million people bought copies of The Satanic Bible, and there were dozens of famous converts or well-wishers, such as the Beatles, underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and actress Sharon Tate, who was killed in the Charles Manson murders in 1969.

In 1975, most members of the Church of Satan left for the rival Satanic Temple of Set, and LaVey fell from the limelight.  But he was still living in the Black House, still promoting his philosophy through books and magazine articles, still conducting rituals for a small group of loyal followers.

Still Satan.

 In December 1992, just at the start of the Christmas season, Kevin got an invitation through a friend, and made his way, trembling with fear but also eager, to the Black House.

To his disappointment, Anton was not at all scary.  He looked like someone's doting grandfather, tall, gaunt, bald, and smiling.

They sat in a perfectly normal-looking living room. A coffee table with a pile of People magazines.   Pictures of family members on the mantle.  There was even a Christmas tree, though Anton called it "a memorial to the Dying God."

He told Kevin that Satanism was about being true to your animal nature: "We are animals, not gods.  We should do what pleases us, what gratifies us.  Everything else is bullshit."

"What about helping others?" Kevin asked, playing the devil's advocate.

"If that's what pleases you, fine.  But never do anything just because someone expects it of you. Not your mother, not your boss, not some old guy sitting on a cloud.  More tea?"

"So, by that logic," Kevin said, "Satanism itself is basically bullshit."

"Exactly.  I'm a stage magician, a flim-flam man.  But name me one religion, philosophy, spiritual system, or ethical system that isn't bullshit.  There are no gods, there are no spirits, there is no heaven and hell.  There is here and now.  Eating, drinking, fighting, f**king.  Especially f**king."  

They eventually got around to the sex.  Anton wanted to top Kevin, but he settled for a blow job.  On his knees in Anton's bedroom, thrusting up and down on his thin spearlike Kielbasa, Kevin was surprised to find no sense of guilt at all.  Not even when Anton yelled "Ave Satanas" as he spurted down Kevin's throat.

No gods, no monsters, no heaven, no hell.  Nothing but the here and now.

Anton didn't reciprocate.  There was no cuddling or kissing afterwards.  But still, Kevin was elated.

 He left the Black House and walked through the misting rain, and looked at the Christmas lights shining red and green on California Street.  Never had anything looked so beautiful.

Was Kevin Telling the Truth?

Anton LaVey was straight, but open to occasional same-sex activity.  He died in 1997.  His Black House has been torn down, and a condominium built on the spot.

See also: Drake on His Knees in Tony Curtis' Dressing Room; Five Three-Ways with Kevin the Vampire.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Drake on His Knees in Tony Curtis' Dressing Room

San Francisco, November 1996

This story has moved to Boomer's Gay Celebrity Dating Stories.

Is My Nephew Gay?

Indianapolis, September 2016

My sister and her husband moved to Indianapolis shortly after they married.  Terry worked as a car salesman, then ran a car detailing service, while Tammy worked as a secretary, office manager, and finally Assistant Director of Sports Information at a small Methodist college.

It soon became obvious that their son Joseph, born in 1990, had no interest in either cars or sports.  He liked acting, singing, dancing, and modeling.  When he was eight years old, he appeared in some local tv commercials.  When he was twelve, he starred in a community theater production of The Little Prince.

He was also interested was cooking.  He won a chili cookoff at age thirteen, baked homemade bread and pasta, and insisted that the family try every ethnic restaurant in Indianapolis, from Ethiopian to Indonesian.

He started taking Japanese in junior high and went on a study tour of China in high school.

As a teenager, Joseph was tall and slim, with curly blond hair and striking brown eyes, very handsome, and very fey, swishing and limp-wristed, with that nasal "gay accent" voice.  He wore bright pastel shirts and tight bulging jeans and plastic bracelets.

Definitely gay, I thought.

His parents didn't think so.

At age 12:  "He's got a girlfriend at school he hangs out with!"
At age 13:  "He joined the community theater to meet girls!"
At age 14:  "He'll be discovering girls soon, and then, watch out!"
At age 15:  "He's so handsome, all the girls will be lining up to date him."
At age 16:  "He's shy around girls, but he'll come around...."
At age 17:  "He's much too busy to date...."
At age 18:  "There are so many girls he likes, he can't settle on one, so he's going to the senior prom in a group of friends."

I tried my best to let Joseph know that it was ok to be gay, without actually saying that I thought he was:

I gave him a box of books, including several young adult novels on gay topics.

We had conversations about gay writers Yukio Mishima, Oscar Wilde, and Tennessee Williams.

I invited him to visit "me and Yuri" in Florida (he didn't come).

I invited him and "whatever friend you want" to see Angels in America (he came alone).

In 2008, Joseph enrolled at Indiana University, planning a dual major in East Asian Languages and theater.  He wanted to study the "Noh Theater" of Japan.

And he got a girlfriend!

Jan, a fellow theater major from a small town in southern Indiana.

In 2010, my boyfriend Troy and I drove to Indianapolis for Christmas, and met her at Christmas Eve Dinner.

Or at least we met the back of her head.  The rest of her was attached to Joseph.  Every moment they weren't eating or unwrapping a present, they were exploring each other's tonsils.

Her conversation was: "I'm planning [kiss] to concentrate  [kiss] in children's [kiss] theater [kiss]."

Tammy and Terry beamed.  I imagine they were feeling anxious about the possibility of Joseph being gay through his whole life, and now they were validated!  He was straight after all!

I was devastated.  I had spent the last ten years mentoring a gay kid...but he wasn't!

When they graduated in 2012, Joseph enrolled in the doctoral program in Central Asian Languages in Bloomington, and Jan got a job at the Children's Museum in Indianapolis.  They moved into an apartment together in Franklin, Indiana, about halfway between.

Straight -- but...

I found a profile on a gay dating app of a guy who looked like Joseph and was the right age.

Joseph belonged to a couple of gay groups on Facebook, including a Queer News Service.

Half of his Facebook friends were men.

In 2016, he borrowed his father's 1969 Chevy Camero to drive in the Indianapolis Gay Pride Parade (because 1969 was the year of the Stonewall Riots, the beginning of the modern Gay Rights Movement).

Straight ally?  Bisexual?  Genderqueer?

Last September, back in Indianapolis for a funeral, I determined to find out.

I couldn't ask, or -- God forbid -- cruise him, but I could use the age old "eye-widening" technique.

There were a lot of pictures on my phone from my trip to Mexico, including the standard sights, some random friends, and some swimsuit pictures of hot men.  I showed them to Joseph, checking to see which he spent time on and which he flipped through quickly.

He spent time on the hot men.

See also:Nephew Sausage Sighting #5;  We Teach My Nephew the Gay Facts of Life


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