Saturday, February 11, 2017

50 States, 50 Naked Men, Part 2

This is the Part 2 of my list of men I dated, hooked up with, or saw naked in each of th 50 states.  They have to be guys who lived there, not tourists.


27. Alaska.  Flew up to Anchorage for a job interview.  No time for hookups, but I did get a sausage sighting in the men's room at the Club Paris.

28. California.  Waking up with a straight boy in my bed at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

29. Hawaii.  Never been there.

30. Nevada.  If you think trying to pick up the bartender is tough, try the croupier at a blackjack table at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

31. Oregon.  During the Great Redneck Roundup of 1995, Lane and I stopped into a bathhouse in Portland.

32. Washington.  Sausage sighting of a pilot in the men's room at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.


33. Arizona. In Flagstaff during the Great Redneck Roundup of 1995, Lane and I hooked up with a Hispanic waiter.

34. New Mexico.   Summer 2004: visiting my friend Larry in Santa Fe, cruising in the Navajo Nation, and picking up Jason, the Tucumcari Twink.

35. Oklahoma.  On the way back to Los Angeles from my semester in Nashville, I stopped for the night at a hotel, and went to a gay bar.

36. Texas.  A year (actually just 9 horrible months) in Hell-fer-Sartain, the worst place in the world, but the most memorable was the New Age/Astrology devotee.  I drove all the way down to Galveston to spend the night with him, and in the morning accidentally dropped a ceramic bowl full of plums.  That seemed symbolic, somehow.


37. Kansas.  In 2010, shortly after Matt's mother died and he inherited the house (plus several million dollars), he bought first-class tickets for 20 of his friends to visit Kansas City for a "Black and White Ball."  I "shared" his current boyfriend.

38. North Dakota.  Never been there.

39. South Dakota.  August 2014: I hooked up with a Dakota Indian boy.  At least, that's what I thought.  He turned out to be Anglo-German.


40. Colorado
.  In 2008, I flew out to Denver to visit my friend Dick the Ex-Bully and his partner Jack, and hooked up with a blind guy with an enormous penis.

41. Idaho.  Drove through, didn't stop.

42. Montana. During the Great Redneck Roundup, we stopped in Missoula, Montana.  I went to a redneck bar and met a real cowboy named Jared.

43. Utah.  I'm going to go with the time I flew to Salt Lake City for a gay wedding, and ended up on a date with the groom's grandson, a UU theater arts major.

44. Wyoming.  Cheyenne, Wyoming has six museums, the best Thai restaurant on the Plains, and a weekly bear party that draws over 50 guys from four states.


45. Alabama
.  During my semester in Nashville, Larry and I drove to Huntsville, Alabama to see the U.S. Space Center.  I met an older African-American man who argued about all the good George Wallace did for the country.  We brought him home anyway.

46. Arkansas.  While driving back from Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas, I stopped at a rest stop with a glory hole, and watched a guy masturbate in the next stall.  Nothing else, unfortunately.

47. Kentucky.  In Louisville in 1984, I hooked up with Brother Reid, pastor of the local MCC., a 40-ish bear with a twink boyfriend.

48. Louisiana.  No question: Spring break in New Orleans, and the hustler of Bourbon Street.

49. Mississippi.  On the way south to Hell-fer-Sartin, Texas, in 1984, I stopped in Oxford, Mississippi, and hooked up with an Ole Miss undergrad named Elmer.

50. Missouri. 36 hours of cruising at Lambert International Airport, but I'm going to go with the guy I met at a diner on the way back from Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas.

51. Tennessee.  When I was a kid, we visited Smoky Mountains National Park, on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky, and I got a nice sausage sighting of a teenage Indian god.

See also: Part 1.

Penis Painting in Traditional Africa

In the tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa, nudity used to be the norm.  But men still found ways to ornament themselves and highlight features.  They still do, on occasion.

Some men use scarification, the equivalent of Western tattoos, for a permanent effect.

Or paint for a more temporary outing.

Clay washes right off when you're finished displaying your erotic desirability and ready to get down to business.

Everyone has different style ideas.

The designs can get quite intricate.

Sometimes you don't need any ornamentation.  Your penis speaks for itself.

See also: African art on Boomer Beefcake and Bonding

Friday, February 10, 2017

A Glory Hole at a Rest Stop in Arkansas

Forestville, Arkansas, May 1985

In 1984, just after getting my M.A. from Indiana University, I took a job in Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas.

If you don't count Christmas and spring breaks, 7 1/2 months, 210 miserable days in the worst place on earth: hot, humid, construction everywhere, heavy traffic constantly, every chore taking hours, flat tires several times a week, tiny apartment with no airconditioning, illliterate boozing landlord, heavy-metal blaring neighbor, an hour's drive to the nearest gay neighborhood, and all the gay people into hookups instead of dating and romance.

I hated every minute of it, except for my Italian class and the few occasions when a well-hung redneck shared my bed.

On May 8th, 1985, I packed my stuff into my car -- actually, I threw most of it out in order to travel light -- dropped off the apartment key to my horrible illiterate landlord, and drove to the horrible campus of Longhorn State University, where I gave my last final exam to my last horrible class, graded it, and turned in the grade forms to the horrible department office.  Then, at 3:05 pm, I walked out into the parking lot, got into my car, and drove.

The quickest route to Rock Island took you through godforsaken Texas for five hours, and I wanted out as soon as possible.  So I drove east for two hours, not stopping for food, gas, or bathroom breaks until I saw that "Welcome to Louisiana" sign, breathed deeply, and vowed never to set foot in Texas again.

And I haven't.

I planned to drive the whole 20 hours home straight through, but I'd been up since before dawn grading papers and cleaning my apartment, so at around 12:30 am, I couldn't drive anymore.  I  stopped at a rest stop on Interstate 40, near Forrestville, Arkansas.

In the 1980s you were allowed to park at rest stops and sleep.

After an hour or so, I had to go to the bathroom.  so I went into the little bathroom building, chose a stall, and and sat down.  It had a glory hole looking directly into the next stall!

I knew from my experience at Lambert Airport in St. Louis and the public parks of New Delhi that public restrooms were sometimes used for sex, so I waited there for awhile, peering through the glory hole.  Maybe a horny redneck trucker would stop by and push a Mortadella+ through.

Soon someone came into the next stall.  From what I could see, it was a young guy, probably my age, medium height, pale skin, square hands, smooth chest and belly.  Wearing a blue shirt and jeans.  Holding a magazine.

Did he know I was in the next booth?  Was he interested in public sex, or just doing his business?

I waited.

He sat on the toilet, leafed through the magazine, and started fondling himself.  His penis was average sized, ruddy, cut, with a thick head.  Soon he was aroused.

Put it through the hole!  I thought savagely.

He began masturbating, intent on the magazine. Soon his penis was standing straight up.  He spat on his hand and continued to work it.  But he didn't put it through the hole.

Didn't he know I was there?  I made some coughing noises.

He didn't stop, but he ignored the glory hole.

Maybe he thought I was just doing my business.  I stood, flushed the toilet, and obviously stayed in the stall.

He kept working.

I put my head right up to the hole, so he could see my open mouth.


Why doesn't he want me to go down on him?

I put my eye right up to the hole and looked into the stall.  Nice tight body, taunt, breathing heavily.  Pants around his ankles.

He spurted with a sigh, wiped off with toilet paper, and flushed the toilet.

Feeling rejected and embarrassed, I waited until he zipped up, left the stall, washed his hands in the sink, and swung through the doors.  Then I gave him another few minutes to get into his car and leave.

No such luck -- he was staring at the snacks in in the vending machine.  A very cute college boy with curly red hair and flawless pale skin.

"Hi,"  I said.

He didn't answer.

I got into my car and drove, not stopping again until I reached St. Louis about 7 am.  I stopped at a diner for breakfast.

There was a  cute guy sitting by himself at one of the little tables: about my age, thin, with thick sandy hair, dark eyebrows, and pink lips.

Having been awake for over 24 hours, except for short catnaps, my discretion was gone.

"Hi!  I've had a rough night.  Can I join you?"

He smiled.  "Sure."

I haven't been back to Arkansas in 32 years, either.

Next: A Sausage Fondle in St. Louis

See also: Public Cruising in Mississippi in 1984; The Joy of Public Sex; A Hookup in the College Restroom

Thursday, February 9, 2017

50 States, 50 Naked Men, Part 1

I've been to 48 of the 50 U.S. states, and met men in most of them.  Here are my favorite naked men in each state (guys I've seen naked, not including locker rooms, bathhouses, bear parties, and boyfriends).  They have to actually be living in the state, not tourists, and it can't be in a city I was actually living in.


 1. Illinois.  Tough call, since I grew up in Rock Island and went to college there.  But I'm going to go with Dylan, the 28-year old retro twink met in 2015.  He acted like it was still 1985.

2.  Indiana.  Another tough call: visits to relatives twice a year, graduate school at Indiana University, visiting my parents in Indianapolis.  I'm going to go with Tyler, the "son" of my first boyfriend Fred, who I met in 2012.  He was actually the son of Fred's housemate, but I still got a weird family vibe.

3. Iowa.  Davenport, Iowa was right across the river from Rock Island.  Plus I've been to Des Moines several times.  But my favorite hookup was with a 48-hour long date with Sammy, the son of my old speech teacher Mr. Blowfish, a Swedish-Vietnamese art history professor who took me on a 36 hour date in Cornell, Iowa.

4. Michigan.  In 1971, we visited my Indian relatives in Dowagiac, Michigan, and I played a bondage - penis grabbing game with my older cousin Javon.  Huge!

5. Minnesota.  At a conference in St. Peter, Minnesota, I picked up a Vietnamese undergrad at an art gallery, but ended up on a date with his gym rat cousin.

6. Nebraska.  In 1980 my boyfriend Fred and I moved to Omaha for a terrible month.  He brought home Mike, a teenager from his youth group at church, for my first three-way.  Years later I tried to find Mike again.  He had died, but I found out from his nephew that he kept a picture from that night all his life.

7. Ohio.  Three years in Dayton, plus many visits to Cleveland on the way from Upstate to Indianapolis, stopping at the Flex Club on the way.  One year Troy and I hooked up with the Shy Boy who Wouldn't Leave My Room.

8. Wisconsin.  We lived in Racine, Wisconsin from Kindergarten through second grade, but of course I was too young for sausage sightings.   I didn't meet anyone in Wisconsin until January 2014, when I went to Milwaukee for a post-Christmas vacation, and picked up Superman.


9. Connecticut.  When I was living on Long Island, my first year in grad school, I went out on a date with a guy who lived in Greenwich, Connecticut, three hours away by train.  I spent the night, and the next day he gave me the wrong directions, so I had to spend 2 hours standing on a train platform.

10. Maine.  In 2010, my boyfriend Troy and I went to the gay resort town of Ogunquit, Maine.  I don't care much for resorts, but we did manage to pick up a guy on the beach.  He was black, and into BDSM, both rarities in Maine.

11. Massachusetts.  No question: Jermaine, the Biggest Guy on my Sausage List.

12. New Hampshire.  Drove through, but didn't stop.

13. Rhode Island.  In 2000, Yuri and I visited my friend Zack, who was studying at the Rhode Island School of Design.

14. Vermont. On the way back from Maine in 2010, Troy and I stayed overnight in Burlington, Vermont, and hooked up with an undergrad French major at Middlebury College.

Middle Atlantic States

15. Delaware.  I've only been here once, when Jermaine, the Biggest Guy on My Sausage List, took me to Bowers Beach for his uncle's 50th birthday party.  No bedroom activity except with Jermaine, but I did see Uncle Titus naked.

16. Maryland.
  November 2016: Three guys in my bed in Baltimore, each more hung than the last.

17. New Jersey.  
When I lived in New York, one night I broke every rule of gay cruising and ended up in the house of a cute Hispanic guy, with his parents in the next room, somewhere in New Jersey.

18. New York,  Four years in New York City, three years Upstate.  I can't decide.

19. Pennsylvania.  During my year in Philadelphia, I had an election-night hookup with Oscar the Grouch, aka Oscar the Irish bodybuilder, and his American boy toy.

20. Washington DC.  Visited several times, hooked up with several guy, but my favorite was probably the "straight" jock with the bulge who I brought back to the apartment as a "gift" for Alan and his partner Sandy.


21. Florida.  I lived in Wilton Manors for 4 years, but my most memorable hookup was probably when David and I drove down to Key West, and picked up the hitchhiker.

22. Georgia.  When Lane and I were living in West Hollywood, we flew to Atlanta for some reason -- I don't remember why -- and hooked up with a Georgia boy.

23. North Carolina.  One year Alan and his partner Sandy took me to a gay resort on the coast of North Carolina.

24. South Carolina.  When I visited my Cousin George in South Carolina in 1971, we took baths together and slept naked ("only fools wear pajamas").  When I reunited with him in 2005, I discovered that he insisted on the baths and sleeping naked so he could get a sausage sighting.

25. Virginia.  When I visited Alan and Sandy in Norfolk, they were monogamous, but provided me with a "substitute" named Tarik.

26. West Virginia.  Drove through, but didn't stop.

Next: the South, the Mountain States, and the West, in Part Two.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cruising in a Straight Bar

Plains, February 2017

I've dated or hooked up with men in 38 states and 20 countries, I've met them in art galleries, restaurants, museums, movie theaters, monasteries, doctor's offices, bookstores, comic book stores, department stores, bath houses, sex parties, bear parties, and on the street.

But tonight I'm going to try to meet men in a completely new and different place:

A straight bar.

For the first 55 years of my life, I never set foot in a straight bar, not even when I lived in Ohio and Upstate New York.  You couldn't meet guys there -- you couldn't even check out the beefcake without angry rednecks yelling "What are you looking at?"  And what if a woman tried to pick me up?

But on the Plains, there are no gay organizations  except for a student club, no meeting places except the gay-friendly coffee house,  which is not great for cruising.  And Grinder is getting old, with the constant "Top me, Daddy!" and "Send me pictures of your cock!"

Besides, most of the gay men in town are "post-gay" -- fully assimilated into the straight world, with mostly straight friends, hanging out at straight venues.  So, logically, where do they go to meet men?

Twice in a row, when I stopped into the Red Rock, the student bar-restaurant downtown, to grab a sandwich, I hooked up almost immediately -- without even trying!  I can only imagine my success if I give it my best shot!

9:00 am Saturday

I haven't gone to a bar to cruise -- look for guys for dates or hookups -- for years.  I remember many Saturday nights in West Hollywood, at Mugi, Basgo's, the Gold Coast, or the Faultline: blaring disco music, semi-darkness, the smell of cigarette smoke and poppers, of guys with beer bottles popping up from their crotches.  The interview -- the grope -- the joy of getting that phone number.  The agony of having the guy you like snatched away.

Giddy with anticipation,  I spend most of the day preparing, checking every detail.

No sore throat, sinus problems, cold sores, or flatulence.  No sex for at least 24 hours.  Get a hair cut.

Buy snacks and beverages to offer him.

Clean apartment.  Change the sheets -- use the good ones.  Hide the valuables.  Jar of condoms and "trick towel" ready.

Research current events and the local sports team for conversation topics.

3:00 pm

The gym.  No cardio.  Blast the chest and biceps.

5:00 pm

Light dinner, mostly easy-to digest carbs.  Shower, shave, mouthwash.

Cruising outfit: very tight black t-shirt, tight jeans, black shoes, leather jacket.  Carry keys, breath mints, handkerchief, money, driver's license, pen for writing down phone number.

9:00 pm

Show time!

Drive to Red Rock.  Leave wallet and cell phone locked up in the car.

It's a big, airy bar-restaurant, exposed brick, very high ceilings, paintings of a 1920s flapper party.

There are two bars in two rooms with wooden tables and booths, plus an outdoor patio, a little fireplace-lounge, a counter that sells t-shirts and mugs, and a long hallway to the bathrooms.

Pool tables, dart boards, wide-screen tvs, video games.  No dance floor.

Nothing like the gay bars I used to go to in West Hollywood.  No smoking.  Brightly lit.  The music is loud but not overbearing, and not disco, more like ballads of the 1960s and 1970s.   I recognize "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Hey, Jude," and "Bad Romance."

It is crowded with male-female couples and groups.  Not just college kids: some in their 30s, a table of 40-somethings, one couple in their 60s eating dinner.  Men outnumber women two to one.

But no one is cruising!

No one is facing outward, looking out to see who's here, approaching someone new.  They stay tightly wrapped in the groups they came in with.

How am I supposed to cruise, when no one will make eye contact?  The only option is to wait until someone breaks out of a group.

I sit at the bar, order an orange juice, and wait, as the bar fills up even more.

9:20 pm

Finally a guy leaves the table where he's sitting with five friends, and goes to the bathroom.  I wait a few minutes and follow, meeting him on the way back.

He's in his 30s, tall, black-haired, short beard, round face.

"Hi, I think I've seen you at the gym.  I'm Boomer, from California."  My best opener.  Gym for flattery, California to pique his interest.

He introduces himself.  We chat briefly, but then he returns to his table without inviting me to join him.

Strike 1.

10:00 pm

I return to the bar and order a beer, so I'll have something cool to hold.  The bartender says "Here you go, Sir."


The 40-year olds and the elderly couple are gone, leaving only the college twinks.  I wouldn't want to be one of the creepy old guys, unwelcome intrusions in twink bars, like when you were a teenager, and your parents wanted to hang out with you and your friends.

In my experience, when you are older than everyone else in the room, you shouldn't downplay it -- it's your strength.  Sexual experience, sophistication, money, power...and of course, having a chest doesn't hurt.

10:15 pm

I take the bull by the horns and pick the youngest guy in the room, sitting by himself at one of the booths.  He looks like he's about sixteen (since the bar is also a restaurant, it's open to all ages).

 I approach without making eye contact and give him my best non-creepy smile: open, friendly, but displaying no erotic interest whatever.  "Hi, I'm tired of sitting at the bar -- could I join you?"

"Sure, no problem,  My friends will be here in a few minutes, though.  We're going to play darts.  Do you know how to play?"

I play darts with Bill and his friends, but can't find a way to get him alone.

Strike 2.

11:00 pm

The longer you spend in a bar, the lower your chances.  First hour -- excellent.  Second hour -- poor.  Third hour -- nil.

I have nothing to lose, so I try the craziest long-shot in the book: the bartender.

He's a college boy in his early twenties, medium height, not particularly buffed, but I like his deep-set eyes, scruffy beard, and square workman's hands.

I order a Diet Coke and say "Busy night," rather a lame conversation-starter.

"Yeah, but I like it busy.  More ladies to look at, you know."

Strike 3.

11:20 pm

I pay for my Diet Coke and walk out into the cold February night.

Suddenly a guy approaches me -- in his 20s, very tall and thin, dressed too nicely to be a panhandler.  A gay basher?  I turn quickly and head back toward the bar.

"Hey -- I wanted to talk to you in Red Rock, but you were always with someone...."  He smiles shyly and holds out his hand.  "My name is you, like, want to go get some coffee?"

1:20 am

I don't usually care for tall, thin guys, but Liam is into kissing and cuddling, and he's got an enormous 9-incher!  My jaw will be aching tomorrow!

Besides, I picked him up in a straight bar.

See also: In Search of Beefcake on the Plains ; A Time Traveler from the Past Brings Me Guys.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

In Search of Beefcake on the Plains

Plains, February 2017

I like dates, especially first dates, but they're a lot of work.  You have to find a guy to ask out, find some nice places to take him, clean your apartment, wash your car, buy new clothes, lift weights so you're buffed when you pick him up.  Then you have to be on top of your game for four hours of socializing and sex.

 Hookups are easier, but still a lot of work.  You have to find the guy, interview him, deal with stupid or annoying questions, clean your apartment, take safety precautions, do 100 push-ups so you're buffed when he knocks on the door.  Then you have to be on top of your game for an hour of socializing and sex.

But beefcake watching -- looking at cute guys with no intention of approaching them -- is simple.  No preparation or strategizing necessary.  Didn't shower this morning?  Feeling cranky or depressed?  Got a runny nose and a sore throat?  Not a problem.  Just go where the cute guys are, and gawk away.

On the Plains, the beefcake is plentiful, and the heterosexuals, assuming that no gay men exist outside of New York and San Francisco, don't get insulted when another guy looks at them.  You still have to be careful: face-crotch-face, no eye contact unless you know them -- but it's not a major crisis if they notice you looking.

Today is my long day -- on campus from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, teaching four classes including one three-hour night class, breaks only for my office hours and the gym.  It's a heavy schedule. But fortunately, it provides for ample beefcake-watching.

9:30 am.  

A big class, 98 students in a giant lecture hall.  Not a lot of muscle: mostly first years, fresh-faced twinks.  My favorite is Ryan (not his real name): medium height, slim, glasses, unruly black hair, shy, scared.  He needs nurturing.

He's absent today.

11:00 am

Advanced class, 15 students, only 3 men.  One is rather chubby, one tall and geeky, but Austin provides ample opportunities for beefcake-watching: he's short, buffed, blond, always wearing muscle shirts that show off his biceps.

Absent today.

12:30  pm

Before my office hours, I dash over to the library to return some books, head back into the Student Union, and stop into the men's restroom by the bowling alley.  It's got a trough instead of separate urinals, and during lunchtime it's always busy.


12:45 pm

I have just enough time to grab my standard lunch of a quarter grilled chicken and vegetables.  Matty, the student worker who mans the lunch counter is Hispanic, short and compact, with a nice chest and square hands.

Not there today.  Is there a hunk convention going on?

1:00 pm

No one comes to my office hours.

2:00 pm

A small class, only six students, two men, neither particularly attractive.  But the professor who teaches the class next door, Dr. Granger!  In his 40s severe military haircut, square face, thick chest, veiny arms.  I usually let my class out before he does, so I can usually get an ogle in as I'm walking past.

Today his class lets out before mine.

3:30 pm

Enough time for the campus gym and a little course prep.

I look forward to running around the indoor track, where the basketball players divide into shirts vs. skins: endless tight bare torsos!

Today there are about six basketball games going on down there.  They're all fully clothed!

This is getting serious.

No hunks undressing in the locker room, either.

5:00 pm.

My evening class.  About 50 students in another giant lecture hall.  A few are attractive, but...

Well, you get the idea.

8:00 pm.

I should go home for dinner, but instead I stop at the gay-friendly coffee house, figuring that I'll have a brie sandwich and a scone, and look at the cute bohemian guys writing screenplays on their laptops.

But tonight they're having a Women's Poetry Jam.

Skip the brie sandwich and scone!

9:00 pm.

Food is a more pressing need than beefcake right now, so I drive to the pizza-by-the-slice place downtown.

The straight bar next door is crowded with college boys, playing pool, drinking, watching The Game on a big-screen tv.  Curious, I drop in.  I can't find a free booth, so I sit at the bar.

One of the guys playing pool is a college boy, tall, black hair, square jaw, sharp features, prominent ears, prominent bulge.  We make eye contact.  He smiles.

I pick up my soda and walk over to talk to him.

10.30 pm

In my apartment, I'm going down on Kaleb's uncut Bratwurst.

If you can't find the beefcake, go for a hookup.

See also: A Day of Beefcake, Bulges, and Sausage Sightings on the Plains

The Naked Goldenboys at Football Try-Outs

Rock Island, August 1975

"All entering sophomores invited to try out for junior varsity football," Dad reads from a brochure that came in the mail.

"That's nice," I say, immersed in a course catalog.  In just a few weeks, I'll be going to Rocky High, a mature, sophisticated, grown-up high school with tons of cool courses to choose from.

Arthurian Legend or Greek Mythology?
The Great Depression or The Civil War?
Advanced Spanish or Elementary Swedish?
I must have that course catalog memorized!

"You dropped out of wrestling and judo," he points out.  "You have to play some kind of sport in high school."

"Is that a rule?  I don't like sports. Besides, I'm going to be busy with orchestra, jump quiz, Spanish Club, Writers' Club..."

"Yes, it's a rule!  And stop pretending that you don't like sports.  You're a boy, aren't you?"

"Well...I wouldn't mind the track team, I guess."

"Why not football?"

"No way!" I exclaim.  "Football is gross!"  Of all the sports I hate, football is the worst.  Guys pounding each other into a pulp over some stupid little ball.  Why don't they just give everybody his own ball -- that way they wouldn't have to fight over it.

"Football players always get the cutest girls," Dad says, assuming that I, like "every boy," decide on courses of action solely on their likelihood of acquiring girls.

"What kind of date can I go on in Intensive Care?"

"Don't get smart!  It won't hurt you to try out, at least."

When Dad says "Jump," you say "How high?"  I have no choice but to try out.

Rocky High is about 2 1/2 miles from my house, a straight shot down 18th Avenue to Longview Park, then left on 17th Street and down the hill.  I walk slowly, hoping to arrive too late.

I have only seen the high school from a distance.  Close up, it's vast and imposing, two huge limestone monoliths, a dozen outlying buildings, a huge parking lot.   Suddenly I feel very small.  How will I ever find my classes?  I was one of the top students at tiny, ordinary Washington Junior High, but here, surrounded by rich kids from the South Side, the children of Augustana professors...what if I...

Somehow I find the locker room.  It's deserted, silent except for the sound of a shower.  I walk over -- a heavily tanned, muscular guy, probably a senior, is soaping up.  Enormous penis.  But what I remember most is his trapezius, the muscle the goes across the top of the shoulder.  How did he ever get it so big?

I stand staring, open mouthed.  Is this what playing football is like?  Constant sausage sightings?

He smiles.  "You get lost, kid?"

"Um...I'm supposed to go to junior varsity football try-outs."

He points the way.

There are 30 guys already on the field, doing push-ups.  I know some of them from junior high -- well, knew of them, since they were too far above me on the social ladder to speak to.  They were the goldenboys who played every sport, led every school club, and presided over every assembly.  As handsome as Greek gods, and built, tall, broad shoulders, thick biceps, and huge hands.  They drank three cartons of milk at lunchtime, put their legs on the desk in front of them in class, came in late, left early without ever getting in trouble.  They could do no wrong: teachers and students alike were in love with them.

No doubt the other guys are goldenboys from their own junior highs.

I stand staring, open mouthed.  Is this what being on a football team is like?  Hanging out with Greek gods day after day?  Sitting with them in the cafeteria?  Pairing up with them for class projects?  Being invited to sleepovers at their house?

I'm in!  But wait -- that would mean playing football.  Gross!  There must be some way to hang out with goldenboys without having projectiles aimed at you!

 The Coach, a short, solidly built bulldog who will also be my gym teacher in the fall, takes my name, asks what position I want to play ("um...I dunno -- whatever he's playing"), and tells me to do push-ups..

 I haven't started weight training yet.  I can only do five.

Turns out we are just warming up.  After some sit-ups and jumping jacks, the real try-outs begin.  There are five tests.  After each, the coach walks up to a few of the guys, ones who did well and ones who didn't, and asks their names.

The Running Test.  I'm good at running -- I easily zip past most of the guys.  Only two pass me.

The Obstacle Course Test.  "Run in between these giant things as fast as you can without knocking them over."

Easy, and sort of fun.  This might not be so bad after all.

The Throwing Test.  I have never touched a football before in my life, let alone thrown one.  The projectile goes way to the left of the target I am aiming at.

The Catching Test.  A gigantic projectile hurled at me.  I missed it by a mile.

Ok, this isn't going well.  It's not worth hanging out with Golden Boys if you have to throw projectiles, or get them aimed at you!

The Tackling Test.  "Hurl yourself with all your strength at that big square blue thing."

Forget that!  I run around it.

After the coach finishes marking things on his clipboard, he says "You all did a great job.  Hit the showers, and then wait in the locker room for me to call your name.  I'll tell you whether you made it or not in private."

Showering with the Golden Boys is exciting -- a roomful of hard pecs, washboard abs, and gigantic Mortadellas.  And fun -- the guys tease each other, snap towels, pretend that they're going to grab each other's penises.
I want to be part of this group, get sausage sightings and penis-grabbing every day.  But then...shudder...I'd have to play football!

Most of us are still half-dressed, some still toweling off, when the Coach starts calling names, and taking the boys one by one back to his office.  Anderson... Angelo... Bates... Bergstrom...  Callohill....

"I'm not too worried," says the boy to my right, whose Mortadella+ I gawked at just a few minutes ago.  "There are 20 guys on the JV team, and 27 of us -- I counted.  That means 3/4ths of us make it."

My heart sinks.  What if I make it?  There must be a position that's all running and obstacle-course.  Then I'll spend my first semester at Rocky High getting pummelled!

"There's going to be a pizza party Friday after practice, for the ones who make the team," he continues.  "Maybe..."

At that moment the Coach calls my name and waits for me to approach. But we don't turn left, to his office, like the other boys.   We turn right.  He wraps his arm around my shoulders and leads me to a little caged room with athletic equipment in it.

"Boomer, I know you gave it your best shot, but not everyone is cut out to play football.  I can see how much you love the game, though, so I had an idea.  Do you have your Red Cross First Aid Certificate?"

"Sure.  I got it last year."

"Well, how would you like a job as an athletic trainer?  You'd be part of the team, just as valuable as the quarterback."

And I could hang out with goldenboys without getting pummeled every day!  

By the way, I eventually saw the Coach naked, too.

See also: My Crush on the Girl Next Door's Boyfriend; and I Get a Job as an Athletic Trainer.


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