Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Boy with a Crush on My Dad

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

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

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

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

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

Here is all I knew until May 2016:

June 1956

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

June 1959

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

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

June 1960

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

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

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

Why did they leave Long Beach?

Indianapolis,  May 2016

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

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

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

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

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

"Gays?" I suggest.

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

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

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

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

Long Beach, June 1959

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indianapolis, May 2016

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

"And the gays?" I ask.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Homeless Teenager Invites Me Home

Plains, February 2017

I volunteer for a drop-in center for homeless youth: they can get showers and food, counseling, jobhunting training, or just hang out and play games or watch tv.  There are over 100 regular clients, about 30% LGBT or questioning, rejected by their parents after coming out.

Sometimes the gay boys get a little cruisy, probably because that's how they've learned to get what they need, but of course it would be unethical to date or hook up with them.

But the other night I did.  Almost.

It was at a fundraiser for the center held at the gay-friendly coffee house: live music, poetry readings, and a silent auction.  I staffed the table with a donation jar and some brochures.  It was across from the main door, so unless they used the side door, everyone saw me the moment they came in.  They also had to walk past me on the way to pick up their orders.

A lot of twinks and college students came in, some of the artsy bohemian regulars, plus a scattering of middle-aged people, one middle-aged gay guy with a nice chest in spite of his "Conky" t-shirt, an elderly guy in leather who said he had been an art history major in college, 40 years ago.

It was fun taking the donations -- especially the $10 and $20 bills -- watching the money pile up -- plus I got a lot of cruisy smiles.

Suddenly a homeless guy came in, rubbing his hands from the February cold, looking around as if he'd never been there before -- a teenager, very tall and thin, with scruffy blond hair and a beautiful, angelic face, the kind that makes you melt.  He was wearing a thin hoodie and tattered jeans.

I didn't expect any clients to come, but I wanted to make him feel welcome.  "Hi, my name is Boomer. Here for the fundraiser?"

He looked blank.  "'m Cade. Hi.  How much does it cost?"

"Nice to meet you, Cade.  There's no admission fee.  And if you ask nicely, someone might buy you a cup of hot chocolate."

He stared at the pastries in the display case.

"Um...or a sandwich, if you're hungry."

"That's ok, I'm fine."  He went into the main room and sat down to listen to a poetry reading, but eventually he wandered back.  He stared at me and the donation jar.

"Lot of donations tonight?"

"Yeah.  We're getting a lot of tens and twenties."

"If you want to, you know, go to the bathroom or something, I'll look after the table for you."

This guy was after the donation money! "Thanks, but I'm fine right now. can sit with me if you want."  I offered him the chair farthest from the donation jar.

He plopped down next to me.  "So...this center is open to gay kids, too?"

"Sure.  Lots of the clients are gay."

"That's cool, 'cause sometimes parents aren't ok with it.  When I told my Dad I was queer, he gave me a black eye.  Said he didn't want 'some pervert' looking at him!"

"That's awful."  Cade didn't have a black eye -- he must have been homeless for awhile.  "Are you sure you won't let me buy you a sandwich?  I'm having one."

He shrugged.  "Sure, ok, I'll eat if you're going to."  He brushed his knee against mine.

We ate our egg salad sandwiches  and scones, and talked about the problems of gay youth in a heterosexist society.  Cade came out at age 17, and he was now 23 -- that's a long time to be on the street!

When people came in, Cade smiled and pitched the center like a pro.

"Hey, you're good at this!  You should become a salesman!"  I said, wrapping my arm around his shoulders -- a friendly gesture, not meant to be erotic.  But he squeezed my knee under the table.

Definitely cruising me.  Extraordinarily cute.  And not a client of the center.  But no doubt he would become a client tomorrow.  I couldn't risk hooking up with him.

When the fundraiser ended, Cade helped me count the  money and give it to the director -- I introduced him as "my new assistant."  Then he said "I guess I'd better be going.  It's a pretty long walk back home."

"Can I give you a ride?" I could do that much, anyway.

We drove, Cade's hand on my shoulder, to a historic neighborhood near downtown, to an old Victorian house with gingerbread architecture.  Rather upscale for a homeless kid -- he must be crashing on someone's couch.

"Do you want to come in for a minute?" Cade asked.  "I could make us some coffee."

We just came from a coffee house.  But...

I was going in...

The living room: hardwood floors, leather furniture, big-screen tv.  Very upscale for a homeless kid.

I took off my coat and sat on the couch.  Cade pulled a smartphone from his pocket, turned on some music, and sat next to me.  He moved in for a kiss.   His body was very cold from the thin hoodie.  Suddenly I remembered that this was a homeless guy.

I broke away.  "Will your roommates mind?"

"What roommates?  I live alone," he murmured, unbuttoning my shirt and kissing my chest.

"Then who pays for all of this?  Your parents?"

"I'll tell you all about my boring job at Mackenzie in the morning.  Right now I'm busy."  He got on his knees and began to kiss and lick my crotch.

Cade was a marketing manager at Mackenzie's Fun Zone, with a salary bigger than mine.  He was just into grunge.

I should have known better.  I mistook someone for homeless once before, in San Francisco.  See: Pushing a Shopping Cart Up Castro Street.

By the way, thin, smooth body, shaved crotch, two tattoos, uncut Kielbasa.  Mostly an anal bottom, but he let me go down on him and do interfemoral to finish.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Hookup with Superman

Milwaukee, January 2014

I love bath houses.  The maze of warm, dimly-lit corridors.  The nude swimming.  The nude exercising.  The camaraderie.  The warmth.  The sexual promise.  I used to be a regular at the River Club in Upstate new York, and whenever I'm in town, I visit the Works in Indianapolis and the Flex Club in Clevelad.

But at Christmas 2013, I flew to Indianapolis, so no Flex Club, and there wasn't time to go to the Works.  I was feeling deprived.  There were still two weeks left before classes started.  Why not take a short "sex vacation"?

The nearest bathhouse was in Milwaukee, and I hadn't been there since I was five years old, so...

Milwaukee has lots of attractions, but I would spend most of my time in the Midtowne Spa.  And inside the spa, since the only guys I meet normally are slim, androgynous twinks, my goal was to hook up with five guys like this: macho, hairy, scruffy, muscular. And Older!

Thursday, Jan 9th

I arrived in Milwaukee at 10:30 am, rented a car, and drove to the Kimpton Hotel, in the Third Ward south of downtown.  In spite of the silly name, it's an upscale boutique hotel with an art deco feel and lots of quirky touches, like....

Ok, you're more interested in hearing about the sex.

The Midtowne Spa was a two-story cream-colored building, dwarfed by the Cold Storage building next door.  No sign outside, just a street number.

Downstairs was all exposed brick with a blue motif: locker rooms, small gym, a sauna, a steam room, a room with bunk beds, and an outdoor patio (closed for the winter).  Upstairs were  some corridors with private rooms, a game room, and a tv room.  No glory holes or orgy room.

Not very crowded: on weekdays, bathhouses tend to be crowded at lunchtime and after work, and I hit it just after the lunch rush, on a day when it was -5 degrees outside.  But I did manage to get an invitation back to the room of:

Older Guy #1: mid-40s, black, balding, hard biceps, with a thick Bratwurst+.  Kissing, cuddling, oral, conversation.

Also, I met Older Guy #2: mid-50s, white, very tall, white hair, Mortadella.  I went down on him in the steam room.

I left at 3:00, retrieved my car, and visited the Grohmann Museum, the Beefcake Museum of Milwaukee, then had dinner and worked out in the hotel gym.  In the evening I went to This Is It, one of the nicer gay bars in the U.S., but didn't pick up anyone.

Friday, January 10th

A little warmer, in the 20s.  I visited the Art Museum and the Pabst Mansion, returning to the bath house at noon for the lunchtime crowd.  Still not very busy!  I hung around in the video room and the steam room, and hooked up with:

Older Guy #3: white, not very old -- maybe in his 30s -- but very tall, with a massive hairy chest and a thick, average-sized penis.  He stood while I went down on him in the steam room.

Plus I double-teamed two young Hispanic guys with smooth chests and Bratwursts.

At 2:00 pm I left.  I had a 12-hour pass with in-out privileges, so I went to Marquette University and wandered around the campus, had dinner, and worked out in the hotel gym.

I returned at 9:00 pm for Fetish Night, wearing black shorts and a leather vest.

I expected a lot of muscle bears in chaps, but in fact there wasn't a lot of leather.  It was crowded with twinks in latex, a few police officers, "puppies," furries, weird Mardi Gras masks, and superheroes.

Including Superman: a guy in his mid-20s, shorter than me, with a long face and black wavy hair, wearing the complete costume, blue tights, buffed, basket, red "S" insignia, cape.  

He was very busy, kissing and fondling one twink while another was on his knees, going down on his gigantic, very hard Kielbasa.  But I've found that there's always room for one more.  I approached, knelt, and helped the twink go down on Superman  -- there was more than enough room for both of us on that huge shaft and baseball-sized head.

Then I stood, felt his chest and biceps -- they were real - and pushed his free hand down onto my crotch.  He pulled my head into a three-way kiss, and the twink on his knees started going down on us both.

I kept kissing and fondling him until only the two of us were left.

"Well, Perry, I think it's about time to go back to my room," he said in a deep theatrical voice.

Perry White, the blustering, white-haired editor of the Daily Planet?  Ok....

I followed Superman to his room, tore him out of his cosplay costume, and finished going down on him, then pulled him into the interfemoral position.  Good kisser.

His name was actually Pasco (short for Pasquale).  He was 25 years old, originally from Italy, but he had been in the U.S. since he was five years old.

"I like lots of superhero cosplay -- at a science fiction convention last month, I was Zorn from the Fox tv show, -- but for a fetish party I thought I'd go with the basics.  So -- about ready to go back to my apartment?  I'd really like to hold Perry White in my arms tonight."

"Um...I just got here," I admitted.  "I was hoping to mingle a bit." And meet Older Guys!

"Sure, no problem. Maybe we could get together for brunch tomorrow?"

He dressed in his street clothes and left.  I wandered back into Fetish Night, didn't see any older guys, but kissed and fondled a muscular twink dressed as Cupid, and went down on:

Older Guy #4: mid-40s, balding, hairy chest, muscular, small penis, in a puppy costume.  Unfortunately, he made "yipping" sounds when he spurted, and then tried to lick my face.  Gross!

Saturday, January 11

Pasco and I met for brunch, and then he invited himself along on my trip to Racine, about half an hour away.  We looked for my old house, and Hansche Elementary School, and the beach on Lake Michigan where I "married" the boy next door in second grade.  It's not usually a good idea to reminisce about your childhood on a first date, but Pasko didn't seem to mind.

After lunch at a brew pub, we drove back to Milwaukee, where he showed me his childhood house and Saint Thomas More High School,  where he was on the wrestling team.

It was 4:00 pm when he dropped me off at my hotel.  "So, what are you up for tonight?" he asked.

I didn't want to admit that I was going back to the bath house to try to score some Older Guys!  "I have no plans.  What did you have in mind?"

He grinned.  "I want to be double-teamed by Perry White and Jimmy Olsen.  How about if my friend and I drop by about 9:00?"

Jimmy Olsen was the teenage office boy at the Daily Planet.  I could meet a dozen teenagers a night back home.  I was on a quest....

But I could hardly refuse.

I had dinner and worked out in the hotel gym, and at 9:00 sharp, Pasco knocked on my door.

I thought he was kidding, but no, he was wearing a Superman costume under his coat.  And with him, dressed as Jimmy Olsen in a green vest and bow tie, was:

Older Guy #5.

See also: The Milwaukee Beefcake Museum

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Troy Hooks Up with 5 Guys in 24 Hours

Upstate, March 2011

Troy, my boyfriend in Upstate New York, was a high school French teacher and soccer coach -- rather an anomaly in a town obsessed with baseball --  25 years old, tall, slim, athletic  very handsome, except for the big black earrings and a pink triangle tattoo.

He had never been farther west than Buffalo, so in the spring of 2011, I offered to fly us to West Hollywood and San Francisco.

"That sounds cool," he said, "But you know where I'd really like to go?  Texas.  Cowboys, sage brush, cattle ranches, oil barons, all that glitz and glamour.  You know what they say: 'they grow them big in Texas."

"But...after 210 miserable days in Hell-fer-Sartain -- um, I mean Houston -- I vowed to never set foot in the state again!"

"I know -- you've told me lots of horror stories about your year in Texas.  But that was in 1985, before I was even born.  I'm sure it's changed a lot since then. Being gay is even legal now."

It took several conversations, but finally I agreed: three nights in Austin, Texas, a liberal, bohemian college town nowhere near Hell-fer-Sartain, and then March 15-19 in West Hollywood.

When the plane landed at Austin International Airport on March 11th, and the blue sky of Texas enveloped me, I began to feel anxious, almost panicky.  What if we were trapped here?  What if we could never escape again?

"Relax!" Troy said, taking my hand.  Wary of homophobes, especially in redneck Texas, I jerked it away.

The highway into town had tall barriers on either side.  I couldn't see anything.

We stayed at a gay bed and breakfast on Lavaca Street, just south of the State Capitol, near the Mexi-Arte Museum, a gay bar called Rain, and a sushi restaurant.  Adequately Bohemian.  I could stand spending three nights here.

But then Troy had another surprise: "I want to drive out to Houston.  It's only 165 miles."

"What?  Why?"

"The Montrose is one of the oldest gay neighborhoods in the country.  And besides, I've heard so many stories about Hell-fer-Sartain that I want to see it for myself.  We'll drive up tomorrow, spend the night, and drive back the next day, ok?"

"No way, Jose!  You talked me into coming to Texas, but no way I'm going near that place!  I haven't been there in 25 glorious years, and I'm up for at least another 25 years without setting foot in Hell-fer-Sartain."

"Ok, ok!  But would you mind if I go myself, just for curiosity's sake?  I'll keep a complete log of what happened.  Oh -- and carte blanche for cruising?"

"Sure, whatever.  You won't find anybody in Hell-fer-Sartain, anyway.  Lord knows I tried."

So I spent all day Monday and Tuesday by myself in Austin.  Troy returned in time for dinner Tuesday night.  As promised, he kept a log:


11:00 am.  I arrive at Lone Star College, where Boomer taught bonehead English to rednecks.  I meet with Cammie, the head of the Gender-Sexuality Alliance, who prefers not to use gender pronouns.   "It's not a gay club," they tell me.  "Most of our members are transgender or genderqueer.  We have cisgender straight members, too. And a couple of gay guys."

12:00 pm.  Several members of the GSA -- two gay, two genderqueer, and one straight --  take me to lunch at the China Bear, near the campus.  They're going to be on a panel in a sociology class at 2:00, and ask me to go along.

2:00 pm.  The panel.  We sit on chairs in the front of a room with about 30 students -- not all rednecks (there's a Muslim girl in a hijab).  Each of us tells our "coming out" story (as gay, transgender, and genderqueer). Then the students ask questions, mostly about "what causes it?" and "how did your parents react?"  One asked me if I was attracted to buttholes the way straight guys are attracted to boobs.

3:00 pm.  The other gay gay on the panel, a biochemistry major named Mason, offers to take me on a tour of the area.  We try to find Boomer's old address, but the house is gone.  The streets are now paved, by the way, and have sidewalks.

5:00 pm.  Back to Mason's house.  I expect dinner, but instead he invites me to "share" with his partner Donovan, an older guy, balding but otherwise cute, firm hairy chest, big dick.  I go down on him while Mason is going down on me, and then he tops Mason.   Hot!

7:00 pm.  We shower (together) and then drive into Houston, where I check into my hotel and (finally!) go out to dinner at Baba Yegg, which disappointingly doesn't serve Russian food.  But there are lots of gay guys there, in groups and couples.

9:00 pm.  Time to hit the bars.  There are a dozen within walking distance of my hotel: South Beach, JR's, Blur, Ripcord.  Mostly dancing and drag queens, but there's one leather bar, the Eagle (naturally).

11:00 pm.  Mason and Donovan say goodbye and go back to the suburbs.  I  hit the Eagle, which is in full cruise mode.  Apparently bar life is still important in Texas.

12:00 am.  No luck at the Eagle, and I'm a little tired (and hungry), so I go to Boheme, an artsy wine bar with a pizza menu.  Naturally, I get cruised when my mouth is full of artisanal eggplant-kalimata olive pizza.

1:00 am.  Rolf is a little older than me, in his 30s, with too many scents and too much gel in his hair.  But otherwise he's hot, very muscular, bare hard chest, cut Kielbasa+, into "worship" (where you kiss and lick him all over the body).  I am glad to oblige! For sex, he's an oral bottom.  As Boomer knows, I'm mostly an oral bottom, too, but I don't mind getting a blow job every now and then, especially if the guy is hot.


8:00 am.  Breakfast with Rolf, then jogging through the Montrose.

10:00 am.  The Museum District: Museum of Fine Arts, Natural History Museum, then cruising at Rice University.  A cute college guy seems to be flirting with me, but I don't have time to stop.

1:00 pm.  Lunch, then a stop at the gay sex shop to buy Boomer some souvenirs, a 9" dildo and some nipple clamps (he'll use them on me, hopefully).  They have video booths with glory holes, so I stick around for awhile.  Soon a 9" penis comes through the glory hole at me.  I don't know who it belongs to -- it's dark, maybe Hispanic.  Who cares?

Later a college-aged guy puts his very hard average sized penis through.  Is it the same one who flirted with me before?  I can't tell for sure.

2:00 pm.  Time to leave Hell-for-Sartain.

"What about you?" Troy asked.  "What did you do during your two days alone in Austin?"
I visited the State Capitol and  the State History Museum, which was kind of boring.  I cruised at Oilcan Harry's but didn't meet anyone, worked out at the Gregory Gym at the University of Texas but didn't seen any Texas penises, bought used books at a public library book sale, not very interesting ones.

"Meet any hot guys?"

"No.  I saw Alvin Rangel's biceps and bulge at a dance recital.

I should have gone back to, I mean Houston.

See also: Troy's First Video Booth


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