Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Three-Way with Danny and His Boyfriend

Rock Island,  Fall 1969

At the beginning of fourth grade, there was a new boy sitting in the back of the class: short, slim, with brown hair and glasses, wearing a red sweater.

"This is Danny," Miss Johnson told us.  "He just moved to Rock Island this summer.  He wears a leg brace and walks on crutches, so he will need a special friend: someone to carry his books and lunch tray, and play quiet games at recess."

Danny reddened with embarrassment.

"Would anyone like to volunteer to be Danny's special friend?

A boy named Joel shot his hand up. Danny grinned at him -- apparently they had already become "special friends" over the summer.  

But I raised my hand, too, and for some reason Miss Johnson gave me the honor.

Maybe she remembered that I was the new kid last year.  Or maybe she just liked me better.

Joel sat fuming.

For the rest of the day, I carried Danny's books and lunch bag around.  I helped him look up "bats" in the Golden Encyclopedia, showed him the cafeteria and the nurse's office, and carried his lunch tray, while his friend Joel glared at me.

Danny glanced over at him and smiled, enjoying the attention.

The quiet games at recess?  Showing off, doing complicated hanging routines on the monkey bars -- his arms worked fine.

Danny had muscles!  And he was so cute that I couldn't stop looking at him.

Maybe I could get him to come over to my house, and cuddle on the couch while we watched Dark Shadows and Captain Ernie's Cartoon Showboat.  

I didn't get a chance to ask.

Just as the final bell rang, and I started helping Danny collect his books, Joel and Bill approached.  "Danny lives two houses down from me," Joel said firmly.  "I can walk home with him."

"Well -- Miss Johnson told me to."

"That's only in school.  She can't tell us what to do when school is out."

He had a point, but I wasn't going to give up on cuddling that easily.  "You should come home with me," I told Danny.  "I have naked army men, and Mom probably made some cookies."

 Nudity and cookies?  Danny smiled, thinking it over, enjoying having two boys fight over him.

"You have to go up three steps to get in your house," Bill said.  "He'll never make it up."

"Well, we can...."

"And your bedroom is in the basement," he added with a triumphant grin.  He didn't want me hooking up with Danny, either.

So we separated, Danny and Joel heading east, and me and Bill heading north.

The next day, Joel asked for and received the privilege of being Danny's "special friend."

I made one more attempt to hook up with Danny: I invited him to a sleepover at my house, along with Joel, Bill, and Greg the Boy Vampire. Danny didn't come.  I shared my bed with Greg.

At some point during the fourth grade, Danny vanished.  I don't remember when, or why. Presumably he moved: people often started out in Rock Island, because housing was cheap, and then moved to a more prestigious community, like Moline, or Bettendorf, across the river in Iowa.


Joel turned out to be another boy who "liked muscles," my preteen code for "was attracted to boys."  We stayed friends through junior high.  But I never heard anything about Danny.

Until my senior year in high school.

Rock Island, March 1978

On Sundays we spent six hours in church: Sunday school and morning service from 9:30-12:00, and then 6:00 Nazarene Young People's Society, 7:00 evening service and altar call, and 8:30-10:00 Afterglow: a party in the Fellowship Hall with contemporary Gospel music, sodas and snacks, and crazy party games.

It was technically a venue for soul-winning: your unsaved friends, who wouldn't dream of setting foot in a church service, might accept an invitation to a party.

But it was really a Nazarene-sanctioned dating venue.  Boys and girls paired off to go.  You could even bring a non-Nazarene date, in spite of the rule against being "unequally yoked with unbelievers," under the pretense of trying to get him saved.

One evening Cecilia, who lived across the river in Bettendorf, brought an unsaved boy: tall, brown-haired, very muscular upper body.  Wearing a leg brace, but no crutches.  She introduced him as Dan.

Danny, from fourth grade!

I eagerly latched on to him, and peppered him with questions.  He was a senior at Bettendorf High School, planning to go to the University of Iowa and study chemistry. He still did complicated gymnastics, he was in the chess club, and he liked science fiction movies.  He didn't have a girlfriend; this was his first date with Cecilia.

"You know," I said, "Back in fourth grade, I kept trying to get you into my house for a sleepover, but Joel and Bill kept talking you out of it.  I think they were jealous."

He grinned.  "Well, no time like the present.  Why don't you come over Saturday night?  I'll invite Rich, my best friend, and maybe some of the other guys."

"A sleepover in high school? Isn't that a little juvenile?"

"Not if we stay up all night!"

So with our parents' permission, five guys, me, Danny, his younger brother, his boyfriend Rich, and another friend named Steve had a sleepover.

Rather, we stayed up all night, eating pizza, watching Creature Feature, playing Risk and ping pong, doing chemistry experiments, and talking on his CB radio.  

No cuddling or groping, but some incidental touching, and a sausage sighting: Danny and I both had to go to the bathroom at the same time, and he suggested we share.  Average size, nicely shaped.

Danny lived about 10 miles away, and the spring of my senior year in high school was very busy -- and very emotionally intense -- so we didn't hook up again.

I wonder if he's writing a blog right now, and talking about the sausage sighting he got of me.

See also: The Hookup at the Sleepover.

A Sleepover, Sausage Sighting, and Fondling of My Cousin Phil

When I was growing up in Rock Island, we traveled to northern Indiana once or twice a year to visit my grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins.  We always visited my Aunt Nora and her family, even stayed with her sometimes.  My earliest  sausage sighting was of her teenage son, Joe, when I was 7 1/2 years old.

But Dad didn't get along with his oldest sister, Aunt Edna, so we never visited her, and saw her only rarely, at an occasional Thanksgiving Dinner.  I knew only a little about her family: her husband, Uncle John, fat and blustering; a grown-up daughter, who moved to California; and Cousin Phil, about ten years older than me.

As far as I can remember, I've only met Cousin Phil five times in my life.  One of them resulted in a sausage fondle.

Thanksgiving 1966

I was six years old, and Cousin Phil was a slim teenager with long hippie-hair, wearing a white t-shirt that displayed two pinprick nipples (I wanted to squeeze them).  He sat at the table looking at his hands.  When Grandma Davis told him to "dress properly and show some respect," he ran into the bedroom and wouldn't come out to eat.

Christmas 1968

I was eight, and Cousin Phil was in high school, old enough to drive a car, still thin and pale and long hair.  He wore a plaid shirt and frayed jeans, and three strands of love beads.  He flashed the peace sign at me, but otherwise we didn't speak.


Thanksgiving 1971

I was eleven, and Cousin Phil was a college man, majoring in one of the sciences (I think physics) at Tiffin University.  A little thicker in the arms and the chest, cute but not "dreamy," with short brown hair and dark blue eyes.   He was wearing an orange leisure suit.

He brought a friend, an Ethiopian guy named Malcolm.  They nudged each other and giggled all during dinner.  I assumed that they were boyfriends, that they had escaped the trajectory of job-house-wife-kids that the adults were plotting for us and found joy in each other.

I kept in contact with Malcolm for a few years, even going swimming with him the following summer, always assuming that he was my cousin's boyfriend.



Thanksgiving 1974

I was fourteen, and Cousin Phil was an adult, a college graduate who had a job working for the city of Montpelier, Ohio (I think in the waste water management plant).   His hair was long again, a little scraggy, and his face was pale.  He was thicker still in the arms, almost muscular.  He had a smooth heavy chest and a little belly.

Malcolm was not in the picture; instead, he brought a girlfriend!

I was devastated to discover that they weren't "best men," a gay couple, after all.

After Thanksgiving Dinner, Aunt Edna and her family stayed in Rome City with Aunt Nora, and my family drove back to Grandma Davis's farmhouse, about twenty miles away, to spend the night.  My brother and I were sent up to bed at 9:00 pm, while the adults stayed downstairs, playing Yahtzee and watching tv.

Around 11:00 pm, Dad burst into our room and turned on the light.  "Get your clothes on!" he barked.  "We're going home!"

"To Rock Island?" I asked.  "But we're supposed to stay until Sunday."

"Shut up and get into the car!  Hurry up!"

We pulled on our clothes, dumped our pajamas into our suitcases, and rushed down the stairs.  I stopped to use the bathroom.  Grandma Davis wasn't around.  Mom and Tammy were already in the car.  I could tell that Mom had been crying.

Adults never told kids anything, but I surmised that there had been an argument, and Grandma Davis ordered Mom and Dad out, or they decided to leave.

Dad gunned the engine, and we roared down the dark country roads.

"We can't drive all the way back to Rock Island!" Mom exclaimed.  "We wouldn't get home until dawn!  Besides, I want to visit my Dad and sisters tomorrow!"

"Well, where are we supposed to go?" Dad asked.  "To a hotel?  They won't rent us a room in the middle of the night!"

"Let's go back to Nora's house.  I can't wait to tell her about this.  She'll take my side, I guarantee."

So we drove back to Rome City, where Aunt Nora was conciliatory.   There were eight people in the house already, but she put Dad on the couch, Mom and Tammy in her room, and Kenny and me with Cousin Phil in the attic.

"Don't wake him up," she cautioned.  "Just take off your clothes and climb in bed with him.  He won't mind."

We crept up the attic stairs, carefully closed the door behind us, and undressed, dropping our clothes to the floor.  In the orange glow of the space heater, I could see that Cousin Phil was lying on the bed on his back.  He had kicked off the quilt and the comforter.

He was naked!  I could see his thick, smooth chest, his little belly with an innie belly button.  And his penis lying against the dark mass of his pubic hair.   Very thick Bratwurst+.

"I'll give you a dime if you touch it," my brother whispered.

"No problemo!" I climbed onto the bed and slid next to Cousin Phil.  I brushed my hand over his chest, down his belly, and slowly approached his penis.

But I didn't get there.

"Hey...what..." Cousin Phil murmured.  He opened his eyes and stared at me.  "Boomer...what.."

"We have to sleep here tonight.  Aunt Nora said so."

"Mm......hang on a minute."  He jumped off the bed and pulled on his underwear.  "Ok, hop in.  But no kicking, ok?"

I stayed awake for most of the night,  but eventually I got Cousin Phil to hold me in his arms.  I touched his belly and his hand, fondled his chest and his pinprick nipples, and reached down to briefly caress his warm, thick penis through his underwear.  I don't know if he was awake or not.

That was enough for a lot of fantasies during the next few years.

After breakfast in the morning, Aunt Edna and her family left.  We didn't return to Indiana for Thanksgiving again until 1980, and Cousin Phil wasn't there.  One thing led to another, and I didn't see him again for 40 years.


September 2016

We're both back in Indianapolis for a funeral.

Cousin Phil is 65, gray and craggy, shorter than I remember, and quite round in the belly.

He's retired from his job at City of Montpelier, still living in the house he bought shortly after his wedding in 1975.  His wife died last year.  He has two daughters and six grandchildren.

Job, house, wife, kids, the entire heterosexist trajectory.  I escaped it.  Cousin Phil didn't.

"Do you remember the sleepover, at Thanksgiving when I was fourteen?" I ask.  "Up in the attic at Aunt Nora's house?"

He pauses for a moment.  "Sure, I remember that.  I can't believe we were ever that young.  It was a different world, wasn't it?"

I want to say "No.  It's still my world.  I sleep in a man's arms most nights."  But I just smile.

See also: My Cousin Phil's Boyfriend; Sausage Sightings, Gropes, and Grabs

Friday, November 25, 2016

My Cousin Phil's Boyfriend

Rome City, Indiana, Thanksgiving 1971

A week after my 11th birthday, we are back in Indiana for Thanksgiving.

Grandma Davis, Aunt Nora, and Dad got up at dawn to fuss about in the kitchen, stuffing the turkey, making a scalloped corn casserole, putting little fork prints into pie crusts.  The rest of us watch tv or wander around outside with the dogs, as the house gradually fills up with aunts and uncles, great-aunts and uncles, cousins and second cousins, their boyfriends and girlfriends, miscellaneous friends invited at random.

I have door-answering duty when my Aunt Edna and Uncle John arrive with their grown-up son Phil.

Dad doesn't get along with his older sister, so we don't see them very often, even though they live only an hour's drive from Rome City.   I haven't seen Cousin Phil since I was a little kid.  Now he's grown up, in college: medium height, clean-shaven, light brown hair cut short, kind of cute but not "dreamy."

But waiting at the front door next to him is the most beautiful man I have ever seen!

Afro-American, and not just brown-skinned, but actually black., very, very dark, flawless.  A head taller than Cousin Phil, with a round smiling face and a huge v-shaped torso that pushes out his blue business suit and white overcoat. Huge hands.

As Aunt Edna and Uncle John head toward the kitchen, I stare, thunderstruck.  Cousin Phil looks nervous.

"Um...Boomer, this is my friend Malcolm from school."

"Hi, Boomer," Malcolm says in a beautifully accented English. "What subject do you study in college?"

"What...no, I'm not in college, I'm in sixth grade!"

He laughs.  "My mistake -- you seem so mature."  We shake hands.  My small hand is engulfed in his.

"Are you from Chicago Heights?"  I ask.  It' a stupid question, but I've never met anyone Afro-American before, and I remember seeing a lot of Afro-Americans on the street there.

"No, Little Man.  I am from Ethiopia, a country in Africa."

Africa!  I want to ask him about the languages and cultures and lost civilizations, like the ruins of Great Zimbabwe.  But, trying to be polite, I ask only "What's your favorite thing about America?"

"Hamburgers and french fries, of course.  Very good.  And the people -- very friendly."  He nudges Cousin Phil, who smiles.

Wait -- could Cousin Phil and Malcolm be best men?  Everyone is always telling me that I will someday "discover girls," and start dating girls, and eventually marry a woman -- it's inevitable, it happens to everybody.

But Cousin Phil and Malcolm are both in their 20s, with no wives.  Maybe they have each other!  Maybe they have found a way to reject their future of wives and kids, found a way to live with each other!

I'm anxious to interrogate them, to find out how they did it.  Unfortunately, I have to sit at the Kids' Table during dinner, but afterwards, when the men are watching some sports game and the women are washing the dishes, I tag along when Cousin Phil takes Malcolm out to see Sylvan Lake, a few blocks from Aunt Nora's house.

"How did you meet Cousin Phil?" I asked, hoping to hear about a meet-cute, an instant attraction, an invitation to dinner, a sleepover.

"We are taking physics together."

"A lot of late-night study sessions," Cousin Phil adds, nudging Malcolm.  They both laugh.

"My friend Bill and I are moving to Ethiopia when we grow up," I hint.  "We're going to live together and study lost civilizations.  And we're going to speak Swahili."

Malcolm pats me on the shoulder.  I notice that he and Cousin Phil aren't holding hands, but maybe they're just shy.  "Swahili is an important language in East Africa, Little Man, but in Ethiopia most people speak Amharic.  There are other languages as well.  In the north they speak Tigrinya."

"Tigrinya," I repeat.  "It sounds like Tiger."

He laughs.  "There are no tigers in Africa, but the Amharic word for lion is anibesi."

When it's time to say goodbye, I give Malcolm my address and ask him to send me something written in Amharic.  And he does!  About a week later, I get a letter postmarked Tiffin, Ohio, with a gospel tract in Amharic enclosed.

I write back, and through the winter and spring of sixth grade, Malcolm writes to me every couple of weeks.  Short letters, just a few sentences, but still -- letters!

Strangely, he doesn't say anything about Cousin Phil, but I guess he's just shy.

"Tell me when you come to visit your Aunt and Uncle," he writes.  "Then you will visit me, too.  We will go out for hamburgers."

A date with Malcolm and his Best Man!  Maybe we'll hug.  Maybe we'll have a sleepover!  

I imagine lying in bed between Malcolm and Cousin Phil, both of us in our underwear, their arms wrapped around me, our legs intertwined.   

The only problem is: Dad doesn't get along with my Aunt Edna and Uncle John.  He'll never agree to drive out to visit them.

Montpellier, Ohio, June 1972

I luck out: this year our camping trip is in Canada, and we're taking Grandma Davis with us.  Since we're driving right past Montpelier, it would be impolite to not stop and visit.

We sit on the porch of their big white house on Main Street, talking and drinking lemonade.  Suddenly Malcolm drives up -- by himself!

"Little Man, how are you?" he asks, holding out his hand.  I push him into a hug instead.

"Where's Cousin Phil?"

"He is busy at his job, but I took off.  I won't let my friend come to Ohio without saying hello."  He stops to shake hands with the adults, and answers polite questions about his classes and his job.  Then he turns to me.  "What do you want to do today, Mr. Boomer?  Get a hamburger?  Go swimming?"

"That's a good idea," Mom says.  "Why don't you take Ken with you, too?"

Great -- my baby brother tagging along on my date!

No sausage sighting -- we change at the house -- but at least I get to see Malcolm's strikingly hard-muscled body in a swimsuit, sit pressed next to him in the car on the way to the pool -- and, when we slide down the waterslide together, I lean back against Malcolm and feel his enormous package against my butt.


In the late afternoon we towel off and return to the house to change clothes, and Malcolm says goodbye.  I wrap him into another hug.

We continue to write, but the letters become more and more infrequent, and finally stop altogether.

Rome City, Indiana, Thanksgiving 1974

A week after my fourteenth birthday, we are back in Indiana for Thanksgiving at Aunt Nora's house, and Cousin Phil is there.  With his girlfriend!

I shake hands with her politely, but when I manage to get Cousin Phil by himself, I ask "Where's Malcolm?"

He stares, confused.  "Who?  Oh, Malcolm, from a few years ago.  I don't know.  We aren't really in touch."

"But I thought you were..."

He shrugs.  "We were in the same physics class, and when he didn't have a place to go for Thanksgiving, I invited him here.  Just to be nice.  We weren't really friends."

Or best men, I conclude, my eyes filling with tears.

At least I got a sausage fondle of Cousin Phil that year.

See also: Finding a Way to Fondle Phil; Sleeping Naked with My Cousin Phil.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

In Search of Books and Boyfriends in Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas

Hell-fer-Sartain, November 1984

I'm a big bibliophile.  When I move, it takes 30 boxes just for my books.

The highlight of visiting a new town is checking out the bookstores.

If I walked into this scene, I would check out the books before making out with the guy.

So during my awful year in Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas, when I ran ad in the Montrose Voice, Houston's gay newspaper, looking for a boyfriend, I specified "must like books."

It was a boyfriend ad -- I was 23 years old, conservative, romantic, not into "tricking" (the 1980s word for hookups).  I wanted dating, romance, a relationship.  So, to make sure we had a lot in common, I specified more than my sexual tastes: "into bks, tv, f/sf, mus, dts only.

Into books, tv, fantasy/science fiction, bodybuilding (muscles).  Dates only (they charged by the letter).

 Most guys who answered didn't even read the ad -- they just answered all of them, in search of an elusive hookup.

Others misunderstood, thinking I meant "pornographic books, transvestism, and fisting in San Francisco."

Others were "into books," but strongly disapproved of the "mindless, infantile dreck" on the rest of my list.

Finally, after about two months of running the ad, I got a response from a guy named Hank, who seemed ideal.

He was from Ottumwa, Iowa (about two hours from Rock Island); he had a bachelor's degree in psychology (I had a master's degree in English); and he claimed a love of books, movies, tv, and science fiction (at least he knew what sf meant).

So I agreed to a date.

When I arrived at Hank's apartment on Kipling Street in the Montrose, Houston's gay neighborhood, he answered the door in bathrobe.

Cute: short black hair, deeply-set eyes, sharp chin, high cheekbones.  From what I could see through the bathrobe, a nicely toned, smooth chest with flat nipples and a hint of six-pack abs.

"I'm still getting ready," he said apologetically.  "Have a seat, and I'll be with you in a minute."

It was a small one room apartment with a single window that looked out onto a fire escape, and nowhere to sit but an unmade bed.  A kitchenette with unwashed dishes in the sink and open boxes of cereal on the counter.  A coffee table with more unwashed dishes on it.  A small dresser and a black and white tv.

I shouldn't complain -- I had a small apartment, too.  But at least I knew how to wash dishes and make a bed.

As I looked around the tiny room, I noticed something missing.  No books.

I have books in every room the house, including the bathroom.  Hank had none.   A bookcase full of knicknacks; snow globes, toys, figurines.  No pile of novels waiting to be read.  No coffee-table books for visitors to browse through.  Nothing.

For that matter, no magazines or newspapers, either.

Hank bounced out of the bathroom in a t-shirt that revealed a v-shaped torso and very thick hard biceps.  He plopped down on the bed next to me.  "So, what do you want to do?  Go out to eat, go to a movie, go cruising?"

He had never had Japanese, Indian, Thai, or Vietnamese food.  We went out to dinner at a...yawn...steakhouse, where I subtly quizzed Hank on how much he really liked the four things on my list.

Books: His favorite author was...um..Shakespeare.  His favorite gay author was...well, what difference did sexual orientation make, as long as the book was good?

TV: He used to watch The Brady Bunch when he was a kid.  He had a crush on Greg.  Contemporary shows?  Well, he didn't have much time for tv.

Fantasy/Science Fiction:  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is science fiction, right?

Bodybuilding: He went to the gym.

After dinner I suggested that we browse in the Wilde and Stein Bookstore, which specialized in gay fiction.  I bought The Boy Who Picked the Bullets Up, a gay coming-of-age story.  Hank looked bored.

We returned to his book-free apartment and sat on the bed.

I was ready to bolt.  This guy was cute and all, but I was looking for a boyfriend, someone who shared my interests.

"I don't think this will work out," I said, sighing.  "We don't have much in common.  I'm really looking for a guy who is into books."

"I read books!" Hank protested.  "I have a whole pile of them!"  He opened a drawer under the bed and displayed...some well-worn children's books.

Charlie an the Chocolate Factory
The Little House on the Prairie
The Boxcar Children
The Hardy Boys

"Um...have you read anything lately?" I asked.

"Well, I don't have time to read a lot, but look -- have you ever read The Phantom Tollbooth?  It's about a boy named Milo, see..."

"I don't think...." I began.

"Look..."  Hank wrapped his arm around me to draw my attention to the book.  A hard bicep against my back, a big hand on my shoulder.  I fell against his chest.

There was a definite bulge in his pants.

"We don't have to look at my books," Hank said, "If there's something else you'd rather do."

There was something else I wanted to do: kiss and lick his chest, and gradually move my way down to his beautifully shaped Bratwurst+.   I eagerly thrust up and down until Hank lay on the bed and pulled me on top of him for interfemoral and kissing, then into 69.

Ok, there are some things I like more than books.

See also: Anal and Astrology in Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas




Sunday, November 20, 2016

Three Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Days of Cruising in Chicago

Chicago, November 2016

I'm in Chicago for a conference.  I've been here many times, but not recently, and never to the heart of downtown, across the street from the Art Institute.

Day 1

It's a rough neighborhood.  There are a dozen panhandlers at every corner, lots of homeless veterans saying "please help," men singing loudly and yelling at no one in particular, and no way to avoid them without hitting the thousands of other scurrying pedestrians.

And even though the streets are arranged on a grid, I can't find anything.  What should be around the corner is actually two blocks in the wrong direction.

There are no Asian restaurants in walking distance, if we consider "walking" "go outside, get lost, check GPS, get lost again, check GPS, literally trace your steps on the GPS while you are walking."

The hotel is just as bad, a maze of corridors and hallways, half-floors, rotundas, verandas, buildings inside buildings, with a map too small to read and contradictory information on directories.   It charges $240 a night for a "basic room," the size of a closet, looking out on a fire escape, with wifi $20 per day, then offers you a "business upgrade."


The Art Institute of Chicago is just as bad: mazes, multiple floors that don't connect to each other, galleries off to the side of other galleries.  I kept looking down at a sculpture garden, but couldn't figure out how to get to it.

Maybe I can assuage this very confusing day by going online and getting some cuddling and making out.

There are a dozen guys on Grindr in this very hotel.  But no one approaches me.

Back home, I go on Grindr and I'm inundated by twinks in 15 minutes.  Here I wait an hour.  Nothing, except one guy who wants me to pay him.

I even send out "hellos" to everyone within 1/2 mile.  One chubby cub wants to see my face pic, even though my profile has a face pic, and when I send it, he blocks me.

Rough town.


Day 2

A terrible morning: trying to find breakfast that isn't the $30 buffet offered by the hotel, then two very boring conference sessions, a network meeting that's all complaints about the conference, and finally, I have to be the discussant to a session full of papers on topics I know nothing about.

In the afternoon, I take the train to Boystown, Halsted and Clarke on the North Side.  It's nice to be in a gay neighborhood, with gay pride markers and rainbow flags, and half-naked men on billboards, even though most of the couples I pass are straight.

I go to the Steamworks, a bathhouse with a "glory hole row," places where you stand, and on a higher level there are openings for guys to insert their penises for blow jobs.

Years ago, I could go to Man's Country, which had a similar set up, and just walk down the line and pick who I wanted to go down on, and stay as long as I wanted.

Not this time.  Guys  take one look at me, and scram.  Or stand there naked a few inches behind the glory hole, waiting for someone better.

I manage to go down on a cute South Asian twink with very dark skin, but only for a second before he bolts.

And a black guy with a very thin penis, wearing a cock ring.  I dislike cock rings.

Otherwise I just stand there waiting, while guys walk up, look, and walk away.

I walk to the video room, where guys are masturbating, and sit down to watch.  They quickly get up and leave.

Back to the glory hole wall.  Three guys standing in the line, waiting.  But when I approach, they all leave.

At least I know how to clear a room.

I lay down on one of the mattresses to rest, and a cute, smooth-skinned Hispanic guy plops down next to me and just lies there with his arm over his face.  When I go down on him, he doesn't get aroused.

Must be drugged out.

Rough night.





Day 3

There is literally no session this morning with any paper on any topic I am interested in.  None.  I hang out in my room all morning.

Back to Boystown in the afternoon.

I go to a used bookstore with a surly proprietor who orders me to turn off my cell phone and asks what I want.

"Um...to browse?"

Is everyone in Chicago rude?

The glory hole wall at the Steamworks is no better than yesterday.  I manage to go down on a tall, well-hung Hispanic guy and a cute blond nerd, for a few minutes each.  Otherwise it's wandering and waiting.

Finally I give up.  I drop into a bar called the Town Hall Pub for a Diet Coke before getting back on the train to...shudder...my hotel.

It's mostly deserted.  Are we in some postmodern world where people don't choose bars, neighborhoods, or friends based on whether they're gay or straight?

A blond twink approaches me.  "Depressed over the election?" [Ten days ago, Donald Trump won the electoral vote and became President on a platform of white supremacy, bigotry, homophobia, and unbridled fascism].

"Well, yes, that," I say, "But I'm also depressed over the decline and fall of gay neighborhoods.  When I was growing up in western Illinois, Chicago was a haven of freedom from a homophobic world, where guys cared about each other.  We were all brothers. Now they won't even give you the time of day.  You should have seen me clear the room at the Steamworks."

"Are you sure you're remembering Chicago right?  Maybe you're being nostalgic -- as far as I've heard, guys in the baths have always been picky, waiting for Mr. Adonis to come down the hall."

"Yeah, maybe I'm just not competitive anymore.  I do fine in small towns, but in big cities, too old."

"You're not that old.  I'd guess...what, 60?"

"56, but thanks. I had no success on Grindr, either.  Dead silence.  And I'm no slouch -- I bench press 300 pounds."

He touches my shoulder.  "I can see that -- and feel it.  Let me ask you something.  Instead of looking for a hookup, did you ever think of asking a guy out?"

"I'm just in town tonight.  I can't really date."

"So you have time for dinner, right?"

The twink, actually a dialysis nurse named Dwayne, takes me to dinner at the Ann Sather Restaurant on Belmont, and then back to the his apartment, where we kiss and cuddle and listen to some weird kind of indie music before going into the bedroom.  He is slim, smooth, hairless, but very well hung, with a very thick cut Kielbasa.  The head is enormous.

I go down on him for a few minutes, but keep gagging, so he puts me on my stomach and rubs off against my butt crack without entering.

I can't spend the night, since I'm speaking at the conference at 8:00 am, so Dwayne takes me back to the train station.  We exchange emails.

Chicago is a rough town, but there are some bright spots.

See also: My First Bathhouse