Friday, January 13, 2017
First day of the semester. A day of anticipation and dread. Will my new classes be a pleasure or a pain? Which students will be eager to participate? Which will be taciturn?
But today I'm feeling a little off: I got no sleep last night, and somehow I pulled a muscle doing bicep curls, of all things.
Plus I'm teaching an overload this semester, so it's class nonstop all morning, with no breaks. I have to dash out to get lunch and eat it in my office during my office hours.
It's exactly noon, and very crowded at the Student Union Food Court. I get into the line at the Grille for my regular lunch of chicken, vegetables, and a fountain drink.
The line moves sideways, cafeteria-style. The guy next to me turns and smiles.
"It's my first time here. Is it any good?"
He's a student, taller than me and rather stocky, wearing a brown sweater and jeans, but no coat. Reddish-brown hair, short reddish-brown beard, blue eyes. Reminds me of Alan the Pentecostal Porn Star, my friend in West Hollywood..
"I'm Wagner[not his real name]. I just started in the graduate school."
This is weird. You don't speak in line except to complain about the weather, and you certainly don't introduce yourself to someone you'll be standing next to for only about 30 seconds. You stare at the food, or look at your cell phone.
He's from Bemidji, Minnesota, studying for Master of Music degree, concentration in music theory.
That's why he isn't wearing a coat -- the Performing Arts Building links directly to the Student Union.
He gets my name, my department, where I'm from (I say California), and where there's a good coffee house in town. Curt, one-word answers.
I'm turned off by his over-friendliness. Is it that weird "Minnesota nice"?
Wagner's order arrives. He pays as I give my order. I expect him to vanish, but he waits for me to finish, and then asks "Where are you sitting?"
Walking away, I tell him. "I have to get back. Office hours."
"Ok...nice chatting," I hear in the distance.
I'm starting to feel guilty. The poor guy probably doesn't know anyone, he's in an unfamiliar city far from home on the coldest day of the year, he reaches out, and gets Attitude. I should have been nicer.
It wouldn't hurt to have lunch with him....
I turn and go back to the cafeteria. There are rows of tables in the front, and some booths in the back. Wagner is sitting at one of the booths, with three other guys....
He looks up quizzically. I wave and go through the side door.
Ok, not lonely. Was he cruising me?
I get cruised by twinks all the time -- I was cruised in a crazy retro restaurant in Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago, and ended up with a New Year's Eve date -- but usually it's the soft, cuddly, passive types. Wagner is a bit older, stockier, bearded, aggressive.
Besides, I can't attract men with face alone, at least not recently. My physique draws the attention, and today I'm wearing a bulky coat that hides everything.
I return to my office. Office hours, class, gym (lots of shirtless guys playing basketball!), snack, class.
At 8:00 pm I'm finally ready to go home, have dinner, watch Netflix, and fall asleep. The route that involves the least amount of time outside in the cold goes through the Student Union and Performing Arts to the north parking lot.
Besides, you can usually find some cute theater majors hanging around in the Performing Arts lounge.
And music majors?
I go into the lounge, pretending that I want to buy a soda from the machine. Sure enough, there's Wagner, sitting by himself, working on a laptop.
"Hi!" he exclaims, scooting over so I can sit next to him. "How was your day?"
Almost exactly 24 hours later, Wagner is in my bedroom, going down on me. He has a firm physique with big nipples and a belly, very furry -- there's even hair on his shoulders. Nice tongue action.
When I finish, we climb into bed. I wrap my arms around him. He lays his head on my chest.
"You have the most spectacular chest I've ever seen," he murmurs. "You must go to the gym every day."
"Just about." I move to go down on his very thick beer-can of a penis. "Question, though. When we met, I was wearing a bulky coat, so you couldn't see my physique. What did you find attractive? Are you into older guys?"
"Well, yes, but that wasn't it. I get approached by older guys all the time. Most of them are just pathetic, so needy."
"So...just out of curiosity."
"Your voice," he says. "Great basso profundo. I figured you for a music professor."
That's a new one.
"Most gay guys go to the ballet to cruise bulges," Wagner continues. "I go to the opera to cruise voices."
I do have a deep voice, but I can't hold a note.
Fortunately, he doesn't ask me to demonstrate. My mouth is occupied elsewhere.
See also: Cruised by the Waiter in a Crazy Retro Restaurant; First Day of Class Beefcake and Bulges.
When I first started out in grad school in New York, I couldn't live in Manhattan right away: everything there was frightfully expensive, $900 to sleep on someone's couch, $1000 for a walk-in closet in someone's bedroom. So I moved into a graduate student apartment near the campus on Long Island: four bedrooms, a bathroom, and a living room-kitchen area.
You were assigned roommates. Mine were all heterosexual: Huang, a slim Taiwanese guy who talked on the telephone loudly at 4:00 am; a beefy Turkish guy who mostly stayed in his room, and Max from Brooklyn. Cute, rather muscular, and THE MOST OBNOXIOUS PERSON ON EARTH.
1. He played VERY LOUD rap music all day and all night. He would leave the apartment with the music still blaring from his room.
3. He smoked -- in a nonsmoking apartment -- got drunk every night, and had the annoying habit of calling everyone "Negro," when they weren't black.
For that matter, it was annoying to hear Black English coming from a white guy: a'ight, I axed her, word, I'm a bust a cap, chill out, peace out.
5. When there were no girls, he invited eight male friends over, to smoke, drink, call each other "Negro," have LOUD discussions of the "tits" on various "honeys," and eat all of the food in the refrigerator, including my food.
7. Once he went home for the weekend, and forgot that there was an open can of tuna fish in his room. We thought somebody died in there.
8. He put a pot of water on the stove to boil and forgot about it. Three hours later, the water had boiled away, and the pot was on fire.
9. He walked around wearing only a towel.
Well, that part was ok.
But I wanted this guy out! I called management, but they said that being loud and messy was not grounds for re-assigning him. Now, if he asked for a re-assignment himself....
Why would he do that?
"Well, maybe if he was uncomfortable with you. You know, if you were a homosexual or something."
Gay panic! The perfect roommate repellent!
I staked out the living room until Max walked past wearing only his towel, talking on his cell phone to someone: "Naw, her tits ain't nearly as big as her sister's...."
I ripped his towel off, revealing his penis -- very impressive.
He slammed his cell phone shut. "Yo, Negro, what up?" he asked in surprise.
"What up is, you're really hot," I said.
Any second now he'd run shrieking to his room, slam the door, and call management to request a new apartment.
He grinned. "Thanks, man."
"Um...I like them big. The bigger the better. There's not a guy alive I can't handle."
"Glad you like the view." He swung his hips a bit, then retrieved his towel. "Any more than that, and I'd have to charge."
Time to bring out the big guns. I lay my hand flat against his chest. "You want to...you know, get together sometime, like on a date?"
Asking a naked straight man for a date! Any moment now, he'd run away screaming...
"Naw, naw, sorry, man, I ain't play like that. It's all good, though. I got a homie that be into dudes. Whyn'cha give him a holla, yo?"
"Um...sure, that would be great."
He wrote the number on my notebook, then turned and sauntered to his room, leaving me in a stunned silence.
Obnoxious but not homophobic.
See also: Why My Nickname is Boomer; Trapped in a Dorm with Kids
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Dave was born on January 6th, 1953 (Three Kings' Day) in Memphis, Tennessee. When he was five years old, his family moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas. He had an idyllic childhood, swimming in Creekmore Park, buying comic books at Coleman Drugs, having sleepovers with his friends from Sunnymead Elementary School..
"Sleepovers? Lots of opportunities for seeing guys in their underwear, cuddling with them, maybe some groping?"
"Not that I remember."
In high school he started dating girls, but prided himself on treating them "like a gentleman," rejecting even a good-night kiss. He often double-dated with his best friend, Steve.
"I'll bet you couldn't wait to drop the girls off so you and Steve could..."
"Not that I remember."
At the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville from 1971 to 1975, Dave majored in Classical Studies and became competent in Latin, Greek, and German. He first became aware of same-sex desire when he translated Virgil's Eclogue 2:
Corydon the Shepherd was in love with beautiful Alexis.
How could Corydon be in love with Alexis, when they were both boys?
The professor explained that the ancient Romans sometimes practiced "the unnatural vice."
"A little frisson of recognition?" I ask.
"Nope. I don't remember feeling any strong emotion about it. It was just something weird that the ancients did."
In college he kissed a girl for the first time. It was ok, but he didn't see what all the fuss was about.
From 1975 to 1977, Dave studied for his M.A. in Latin at Tulane University in New Orleans. His master's thesis was on Ovid's Metamorphoses.
"Lots of same-sex practices in there!" I exclaim.
"Sure, I read about Zeus and Ganymede, and Hyacinth and Apollo. But it was all way-out, exotic stuff, with no connection to my world at all.
"Well...what about New Orleans? The French Quarter, one of the hottest gay neighborhoods?"
Sometimes he and his friends went to the French Quarter to gawk at the "fairies," They were all outrageously feminine, swishy, drag queens, with no connection to his world at all.
David thought about going on to a doctorate in Classics, but worried about the job prospects. Instead he spent 1977-1980 at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, getting his M.Div. His research project was on the interpretation of the Koine Greek of the New Testament.
"What did you think about the so-called homophobic passages in Romans and Colossians?"
"I don't remember thinking anything at all," David says. "I took all of my examples from the Gospels."
In order to get a church, you needed a wife, so Dave got engaged to Karen, a girl from a local church. They waited until their wedding night to have sex. It was ok, not disgusting or anything, just sort of mechanical.
"Did you fantasize about guys while having sex with your wife?"
"To be honest, I didn't fantasize at all. My body did all the work. I was planning out my next sermon, or wondering what we were having for dinner tomorrow night."
In 1980, Dave and Karen moved to a church in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and in 1983, to a much bigger church in Conway, Arkansas. Karen got a job as a high school English teacher, but quit when she became pregnant.
The 1980s was a period of rampant homophobia, but Dave didn't berate gay people in any of his sermons. In fact, he started the first AIDS buddy program in Arkansas.
The first gay man Dave met was a guy whose partner of ten years was dying of AIDS. He couldn't figure out why God would punish them for falling in love.
"So, realizing that gay people aren't monsters -- that helped you come out?"
"No, but it put me at odds with my congregation in my fellowship. I was criticized as too liberal, as not really a Christian. Someone wrote 'fag lover' on my office door."
In 1990, Dave and Karen moved to a church in Fayetteville, near the University of Arkansas. It was slightly more liberal, with many more cultural activities. They started going to concerts and the theater, including The Nutcracker every Christmas.
Dave found himself noticing the bulges and butts of the hot ballet dancers.
"Men are beautiful! Why didn't I ever realize that before?"
When he turned 40, worried about his health in midlife, he joined a gym, and started doing cardio and weight training. He looked at the other guys, stripping down in the locker room....
He wanted to touch them, to kiss them, to feel their butts and cocks against him. Sometimes he became aroused just thinking about it.
His fundamentalist roots kicked in. Could hanging around with gay men be "turning him" gay?
"You can't turn gay. You are or you aren't."
"That's what my friend at the AIDS Foundation said. He told me that straight guys sometimes find themselves attracted to men. It doesn't mean anything. It's who you love that counts."
And he loved Karen. He liked hanging out with her, discussing old movies, playing with the kids. He didn't even mind the sex. It was warm and comfortable, like sleeping under a quilt on a cold day.
January 6th, 1996 was Dave's 43rd birthday, a Saturday. He and his family celebrated with brunch (his favorite meal) at the Cracker Barrel. They gave him presents.
He spent the afternoon in his study, working on his sermon for the next day, "New Beginnings." It was going to start with the story of Saul on the road to Damascus, who had a transforming vision of Jesus Christ and became Paul.
The most beautiful guy in the world was sitting behind the counter. In his twenties, with thick, almost shaggy black hair, a scruffy beard, deep soulful eyes, and a bewitching half-smile. He was wearing a red t-shirt that accented his slim, tight physique. His name tag read "Shawn."
Dave stared open-mouthed. Shawn smiled.
"Will that be all?" he asked, pointing to Dave's Gatorade. He didn't have a Southern accent.
"Um...um...today's my birthday," he stammered. "I'm 43."
In retrospect, not the best pick-up line.
"Well, happy birthday! I'll have to give you a present. What would you like?"
"I'd like to kiss you," Dave admitted.
This wasn't a gay neighborhood. It was redneck, homophobic, Bible-belt Arkansas. But Shawn said "Sure." They went into the restroom and locked the door, and Shawn wrapped his arms around Dave, and they kissed. It was a long, deep, eager kiss. Their bodies and cocks pressed together. Shawn lifted Dave's shirt to feel his chest, unzipped his pants to work on his very hard Kielbasa.
"What about Shawn's penis?" I ask.
"Nice. But it was mostly about the kiss."
It took only a few minutes for Dave to spurt into Shawn's hand. He washed off in the sink and said "Well, I better get back to work."
Dave caught his arm. "Can I see you later?"
Shawn smiled. "Sure thing, babe. I get off at 7:00. But I didn't get your name."
"I was Dave for 43 years. I don't know why I said David. Except that Shell Station was my Damascus Road."
See also: David's Top 20 Hookups and One-Night Stands; a Glimpse of Supreme Beauty at a Rest Stop in Iowa.