Saturday, July 1, 2017
Minneapolis, June 2017
I've been marching in gay pride parades since they were called gay rights marches.
I was in the first ever to be held in the state of Iowa, in June 1981.
When I lived in California and New York, from 1985 to 2001, I marched almost every year, either with the Metropolitan Community Church or with the gay synagogue.
It was the biggest event of the year: we spent months deciding which group to march with, working on banners and floats, charting out the route, making plans to meet friends afterwards, at the festival.
The day of the parade,we would show up at the staging ground on Crescent Heights an hour early (walk, if you could), dressed lightly -- Los Angeles in June is hot!
It was fun to be walking down the streets we drove down every day, with a wall of spectators on all sides, more gay men and lesbians than we ever knew existed.
The hetero screamers, outraged by our existence, with their signs saying we were going to hell, were confined to a small area next to the Rage, where we could ignore them easily.
A huge crowd of gay men and lesbians, some you would never see anywhere else. A chance to catch up with friends you'd lost track of. Acres upon acres of shirtless musclemen.
Nonstop cruising: it wasn't a successful pride festival unless you got at least three phone numbers.
Hetero screamers milled about with pamphlets about how we were going to hell, so the rule was: never accept anything someone tries to hand to you. Representatives of gay organizations will sit at their booths with brochures for you to pick up.
At work the next day, you could always tell who was gay: they were sunburned.
In Florida I didn't go, and in 2005 I moved to the Straight World, where Gay Pride was a small, understated affair. A barbecue in the park for about 20 people. A parade with about 20 banners but no floats that marched down one side of the street, the other still open to gawking traffic.
I haven't been to a big-city Gay Pride for 16 years.
Last weekend I went to Minneapolis for Twin Cities Pride. Due to a GPS problem, my wisdom tooth extraction, and oversleeping, my friend and I missed the Parade, but we went to the festival in Loring Park, near downtown.
1. It's not Gay Pride or LGBT Pride, it's just Pride. It's rather annoying to be erased from your own festival.
2. Instead of 20 or 30 booths, there were over 200. Most were not gay-specific. Banks, credit unions, colleges (not college LGBT groups, just "why you should come here"), sheets and towels, a service that would clean your rain gutter.
Instead of two or three food trucks, there were about fifty. No longer do the organizers have to scrounge around to find enough vendors willing to be seen with us.
3. The rule about not accepting anything someone tries to hand you was gone. Everyone tried to hand us something: beads, buttons, bags, brochures. I didn't take anything -- force of habit.
Fortunately, I didn't see any screamers.
4. But the festival wasn't for us anymore. Over half of the crowd consisted of male-female couples, often with kids in tow, and most of the rest were groups of women A scattering of gay men.
5. The acres and acres of beefcake were gone. Very few of the men were shirtless, and very few were buffed. At least I can say that I have a better physique than 99% of the men at a Gay Pride Festival.
6. The cruising was gone, too. The few times I got cruised, it was by a woman or a teenage boy. I get more action at the doctor's office.
They were half a mile from Gay Pride. They didn't know, or they didn't care.
"Gay Pride has changed," I told my friend.
"For better or worse?"
"I'm not sure."
Some things don't change.
A G-rated version of this post is on Boomer Beefcake and Bonding
See also: My First Gay Rights March
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Lane and I haven't lived together for a year, and I've been sort of dating Kevin the Vampire, so we're not sure if we are a couple or not. But we don't want to break our tradition of a trip every summer, either Europe or a road trip across the U.S.
"Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam?" I suggest. "We haven't been there in a while. Or maybe Germany?"
"No Germany!" he exclaims. "I want to go somewhere off the beaten path. Lithuania. In search of my Jewish ancestors."
"Your mother was Polish -- we've already been to Poland to check out her heritage -- and your father was from California."
"But Dad's parents were Litvak -- Lithuanian Jews. Bubbe -- Grandma -- immigrated with her parents in 1915. She used to tell stories of the shtetl of Kvedarna, where her father was a rabbi."
The more I research Lithuania, the less I want to visit. Granted, the Lithuanian language is the closest we have to the original Indo-European.
English: My sausage is very big.
Hindi: Mera sosej bahut bada hai
Lithuanian: Mano dešra yra labai didelė
But it is an extremely homophobic country, like Mississippi squared. No gay bars, no bathhouses, no nothing. Plus 95% of the Jewish population was killed in the Holocaust.
95%! Why would you want to go there?
But Lane is adamant about investigating his Bubbe's Rabbi father, and he is paying for the plane tickets, so....Paris, Amsterdam, and Lithuania.
There are no nonstop flights from Amsterdam to Vilnius, so we hav to go through Frankfurt, arriving at 1:30 pm.
Six years after independence, Soviet influence is everywhere: most signs are in Russian, not Lithuanian; there are long blocks of Brutopian apartment complexes, and statues of liberated workers gazing defiantly at the future; there are police officers and soldiers everywhere, who keep asking for our papers.
But our hotel is in the Old Quarter, on a winding Baroque street near the University and the Signatory House (where independence was declared).
Then back to the hotel and to bed, having not met any actual Lithuanians, gay or straight, Jewish or Gentile.
After breakfast, we rent a car (quite a feat in a country not set up for tourism) and drive to Kaunas, about an hour away, which once had a Jewish population of 40,000 (today about 500, mostly elderly). We arrive in time for Shabbat services at the Ohel Jahov Synagogue, where the congregation consists entirely of elderly men. We don't talk to anyone.
In the afternoon, we visit the Museum of the Devil and Kaunas Castle, then the small, austere monument to the Jews who died in the Holocaust.
"This is all very interesting," I tell Lane, "But I need some masculine companionship. What's the point of traveling, if you don't meet locals? Preferably hot ones."
Our Spartacus guide doesn't list any gay bars in Kaunas, but it lists a "mixed bar," Baras, which caters to "students, bohemians, transvestites, fairies, and misfits."
Although we roil at being labeled "misfits," we check it out.
Mostly students and bohemians, not a lot of cruising going on. I try to strike up a conversation with a twink reading a paperback book and drinking beer: in his 20s, slim, pale, weird half-mohawk hair style, horn-rimmed glasses:
"Mano vardas Boomer. Aš esu iš Toronto." (I always claim to be Canadian while traveling in Europe, to avoid the extreme anti-American prejudice.)
He responds briefly and coolly, in English. Soon I back off.
Well, at least I talked to a local.
Our hotel has a gym, so we can work out before hitting the road for Kvedarna, where Lane's great-grandfather was a rabbi. It's about two hours west over flat, green countryside.
The main street doesn't look anything like a main street: just single story, gable-roofed Lithuanian farmhouses, painted orange and green, so widely separated that they seemed rural, not urban. There's a gas station, a grocery store, a Catholic church, a row of ugly apartment buildings leftover from Soviet times, and a monument to Vytautas the Great (1350-1430), the leader of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and a hero in the independence movement.
The only trace of a Jewish presence is a small, overgrown Jewish cemetery, with fifty or so markers in Hebrew. We can't find one for Lane's great-grandfather, the rabbi, although there are a few with his Bubbe's name that could be relatives.
The trip has been a bust: some interesting sights, but mostly sadness, loss, and loneliness. It's an odd feeling being in a country of 3.6 million people, and not knowing anyone.
There's a twink boy outside, eating a popsicle, shirtless even though it's a cool, rainy day: slim, pale body, pinprick nipples, tight abs. He has the same weird hair and eyeglasses as the guy from last night.
For a moment I think it's the same person, so I say "Sveiki! Small world, isn't it?"
He smiles. "Americans?"
I realize my mistake. "Taip. I'm Boomer, and this is Lane. We're from Hollywood, California."
"Joku." He switches the popsicle to his left hand so he can shake our hands. "You are from Hollywood! You are movie stars?"
"We've been in some tv shows," I lie.
"Palike! You will give me your...your..." He made a writing sign. "Why you come to Kvedarna?"
"My grandmother was born here," Lane said.
"Tikras! My grandmother, too. Maybe we are...um...cousin. Come, cousins hug." He wrapped us both in a bear hug. "You come home, meet my mother and brothers?"
Brother: "Do you have wives in California?"
Joku: "Lane and Boomer don't want wives. They are free."
Then it is time to drive back to Vilnius to catch our plane in the morning.
No sex, no gay people, that I know of. But sometimes, meeting a local is enough.
Especially a hot one.
Half the fun of bear parties and sharing is watching guys.
Especially boyfriends. On the first few dates, you might get a little jealous, but once you're in a committed relationship, there's something undeniably erotic about seeing your guy with another guy.
It's also nice to watch your partner stripping and flexing. You never get a good look while kissing or going down on him.
Have you ever tried watching him masturbate, without lending a hand, becoming a pure voyeur?
The interplay of chest, ab, and leg muscles, the rigidity of the cock, the respiration and heart rate increase, the facial expressions as he watches you watching him.
His entire body rigid at the moment of orgasm.
More after the break.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
The Wednesday after my return from Amsterdam, I'm at the oral surgeon's office, waiting to get a wisdom tooth removed.
It's a more delicate procedure than you might think.
No solid food or exercise for the next 48 hours.
On the third day, I can try jogging and eating normally, but nothing with granules (rice, potato chips) for a couple of weeks.
Antibiotics and two pain medications, one narcotic.
No "sucking" for at least a week. The oral surgeon probably means through a straw, but I imagine no oral, either.
While I am sitting in the waiting room, a woman comes in with her two sons. I can't tell which is older.
Brother #1 is not exactly a supreme beauty, but he's very, very cute: shorter than me, slim, with a round open face, short black hair, prominent eyebrows, high cheekbones, dimples, and square workman's hands.
He's wearing a black t-shirt, short pants (no bulge), and sandals.
He sits on the side of his mother farthest from me, immersed in nonstop texting.
Brother #2 is tall, with a square face, sharp features, glasses, and a slim physique. He's wearing a button-down shirt with a white undershirt visible underneath, slacks (no visible bulge), and orange shoes.
He gives me an obvious face-crotch-face cruising gaze, then sits down to fill out a form.
Remembering when I have been cruised at doctor's offices before -- at the sports doctor, while waiting for a colonoscopy -- I wonder if I can follow through and land a date or a hookup.
Problem: he's with his mother and brother. Not much maneuvering room.
Another problem: I'll be called any minute.
I check Grindr on my cell phone, on the off chance he's there. Nope.
Brother #2 finishes the form and drops it off at the receptionist's desk. I go up to pretend to ask where the bathroom is, and try to check his name.
I look back -- Oliver is watching me. He smiles.
Since I asked, I have to actually use the bathroom. It's out in the hallway, shared with the insurance agency next door -- one urinal, one toilet, one sink. I go in, pretend to urinate, turn to wash my hands -- and Brother #1 is there!
"Hi," I say, startled.
He stands there -- waiting for me, of course. I slide past him to the sink. He still stands there waiting, nervous.
"Your brother's getting some dental work done," I say. "That must be a bummer. No potato chips or pizza for a week."
"I guess." He's staring at the floor.
I brush past him again to get a paper towel, accidentally touching his shoulder.
He doesn't respond.
I go back into the waiting room. Oliver, the one who cruised me, is gone.
A moment later, my name is called.
I spend Thursday and Friday at home, eating ice cream, mashed potatoes, and protein shakes and not getting any exercise. On Saturday my friend and I go to the campus hangout for breakfast -- eggs ad pancakes, but no toast. I think I see Oliver at one of the other booths (it's a small town), but I'm not sure. He doesn't cruise me.
That afternoon, I go on Scruff to see if there's anyone nearby.
There isn't, but I have a message from one those blank profiles. Usually I ignore them, but today he says: "Hi, I saw you at the dentist the other day. I like older guys. Do you want to get together?"
It must be Oliver!
"Sure, I remember you!"
Bob is 19, a sophomore at the University studying economics, living with his parents and two brothers.
"I can't use my mouth for kissing or whatever for another few days," I tell him, "Can we make it Tuesday?"
I arrive at the gay-friendly coffee house 15 minutes early. Picking up a twink is no big deal, but this has a special feel to it, a sense of destiny.
I'm nervous about my sexual performance. I tried to eat a banana earlier, and could barely get my mouth around it. A small penis will probably be ok, but if he's hung, I'm out of luck.
He's ten minutes late. I'll give him another ten, and then chalk him up as a no-show.
The gay-friendly coffee house has two doors. I keep looking back and forth, pretending to be nonchalant.
Suddenly Brother #1 comes in through the far door! He stands by the pastry counter, looking at the scones and cookies.
When Oliver shows up, he'll see his brother, get skittish, and leave! I have to get him out of there!
I walk over and say "Hello. Remember me?"
He grins and grabs my shoulder "Sorry I'm late. I had to wait until Mom left. Is this really a gay place?"
Wait -- my date is with Brother #1?
The one who was busy texting in the waiting room, and ignored me in the bathroom, and never cruised at all?
A big surprise, but not unwelcome -- Bob was by far the cuter brother.
It will be a few more days before I can get my mouth around his uncut Bratwust, but he was fine with interfemoral and kissing.
And it turns out that his brother Oliver is bi. Maybe there's a brother three way in the future.
See also: The Weirdest Place to Pick Up a Twink
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Whenever a new boyfriend is admitted to a social group, he always has to tell his coming out story. It's a rite of passage.
But in the five years we've known Matt, Fred's boyfriend, he hasn't told his. "I'm like Topsy," he claims. "I didn't have no birthin'. I just growed."
One night in spring of 1993, at a party at Will the Bondage Boy's apartment, he finally gives in: "Oh, all right! But you have to tell it, Fred, mon étalon. Tell about the chevalier blanc, the white knight who rescued me from the two dragons of Kansas City."
Kansas City, May 1987
Matt graduated from Harvard with a B.A. in French Literature and a thesis on Raymond Radiguet, the beautiful and fabulously well-hung novelist who amassed an incredible list of lovers -- Picasso, Hemingway, Jean Cocteau, Coco Chanel -- before he died of typhus at age of 20.
"Forget your coming out story!" Will the Bondage Boy exclaims. "I want to hear about this Raymond Radiguet. How hung was he?"
Matt smiles. "That would be telling. But back to the horrors of May 1987: Great Caesar's Bust is on the shelf, and I don't feel so well myself."
After eight years of bliss, first at the Phillips Academy and then at Harvard, Matt had to go back home, to that awful castle that his parents stole from his grandmother, to the most jejune, ennuyeux, bourgeois neighborhood in the most stuffy, obnoxious, hébété, redneck city in Kansas. That's right, Kansas.
"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas, anymore."
"But ya are, Blanche! Ya are!"
Back to his big brute Dad, who spent half his time in India, selling widgets and wocks to Brahmins and the other half hurlant, saississant, pressant: "Play football! Change carburetors! Don't be a fairy!"
The only member of his family he could stomach was his older brother Buzz, a shaggy blond haired hipster who used to give him wedgies and nipple-twists when they were kids. Then one summer he and an Italian buddy drove their Fiat off an embankment on the SP325 outside of Bologna and sped off to the afterlife together.
"Was he gay?" Lane asks.
"I don't know. Mom and Dad won't tell me, and he won't tell me. He says it's irrelevant in the afterlife."
Buzz followed Matt to Harvard, where he hovered over his bed in the dead of night, scaring his tricks to death and offering unwanted advice: "You're doing it wrong! Use your tongue more!"
"Just what you need!" I exclaim. "A big brother ghost butting in."
Mom and Dad didn't know that Matt was gay, but he was going to change all that now, and end all interrogations altogether.
"Coming out to parents is always a nightmare," Lane says sympathetically.
"There are scrambled eggs and L'Eggos in the kitchen," Mom said.
L'Eggos? Good Lord! "Mom and Dad, you're probably wondering why I haven't been on a date with a girl since fifth grade, why I sent away for an autographed picture of Gregory Harrison, and why I wander through the house singing 'I'm Coming Out.' C'est incroyable, I know, but I'm gay."
They stared for a long moment. Then Mama Pajama began the pick-pick-picking. "Are you sure? Are they sure? Who's your doctor? Did you get a second opinion?"
Big Daddy stood, brusque, all business. "You're too old for that sissy stuff. You're a grownup now."
"Well, not quite a grownup yet," Matt said. "I've never driven a car. I've never gotten a paycheck. I've never had a boyfriend. Oh, I've had sex -- I know my way around a penis, let me tell you that -- but no boyfriend."
"Not the best strategy!" I say. "Parents really don't want to know what you do in bed, any more than you want to know what they do."
"Bien sur. But, as you may have noticed, I tend to speak first, contemplate my errors later."
For the next hour, Mom and Dad yelled, argued, recriminated, and spat like wet cats, mostly at each other, blaming Matt's "problem" on toilet training and male babysitters and that unfortunate trip to Spain, and finally on Buzz's death, until Matt couldn't take it anymore and ran up to his room. Buzz was hovering over the bed.
"Prairie Ridge Children's Hospital," Matt clarifies. "For teenage Looney Toons, mixed nuts, and assorted cinglés."
"What's wrong with that?" Matt asked Buzz in consternation. "The walls were orange. Very cheerful."
When he went back downstairs, Mom was still pick-pick-picking. "Won't you see a psychiatrist? They're doing marvelous things now with psychiatric drugs. If you can't be cured, at least you can keep your impulses in check."
And Dad was cogitating. "He just needs a stable job to keep his mind occupied. I'm bringing him back to India. He can manage the branch office in Hyderabad. Better drop the Francais and brush up on your Telugu, boy!"
"The boy don't need a shrink, he needs a useful career!" Will says, quoting from West Side Story.
More yelling, more plans, more co-option, until Matt ran out of the house and kept running through the nameless suburbs, hoping to be grabbed by flying monkeys and taken to the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West. Oh, right, he just came from there. Running, running, running.
Where could he go? He knew absolutely no one in Kansas City, he had no old hangouts. He had $38 in his pocket, enough for a night in a cheap hotel.
Finally he slowed to a walk. He recognized this neighborhood, in the rocky hills northwest of town. Sortor Drive...he was on the way to Prairie Ridge!
Well, any port in a storm.
He didn't know exactly what he was going to do. Ask to be admitted? But he burst into the bright orange reception room, and saw the Knight.
"Are you ok?" he asked. "You look out of breath."
His name was Fred, he was from a small town in Illinois, he was a mental health counselor with a degree in theology -- but who cared about the details? He was Matt's chevalier blanc.
They went out to dinner, and Matt spent the night in Fred's apartment. Buzz hovered over the bed, saying "Man, what a whopper! This guy is amazing! How can you take all that?"
"Buzz most certainly did not comment on your size!" Matt exclaims. "He merely said that you were attractive. For those of you who have not had the pleasure, mon étalon and I are comparable in circumference, if not in length."
In the morning they paid Mom and Dad a visit. Fred explained about the psychological, sociological, legal, and religious aspects of gayness.
The next day they returned with a U-Haul to collect Matt's things.
Not to worry, Mom and Dad eventually came around. When it' a choice between a gay son and no son, most parents come around.
"Let's hear more about Buzz," Will says. "Was he cute? Was he hung? Did you ever see him naked?"
Matt smiles. "That would be telling."
See also: Fred and the Cute Young Thing.; The White Knight and the Jester; Matt's Black and White Ball
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Friday, September 12th, 1997. The end of the my first week of classes at Setauket University, my 10th day in New York.
10 days after moving to West Hollywood, I found a gay bar, a gay gym, and a gay church, I had about a dozen friends, and I had been on about four dates.
On Long Island, there are no gay bars, gay gyms, gay churches, gay anything. There is nothing in walking distance of Setauket University but a hardware store and an Indian restaurant. Unless you want to take the train two hours into Manhattan, you're stuck on campus, where all of the events and activities are for undergraduates.
I've met about 50 people: roommates, fellow graduate students, undergraduates, faculty. But only on who is "openly" gay.
After 12 years in California, where I rarely saw or spoke to a straight person outside of work, I assume that all of the men are gay, except for those who mentioned wives or girlfriends, or who asked me if I had a wife or a girlfriend. But we're not going to come out to each other in the Straight World and risk a homophobic assault or a stupid question like "Are you the boy or the girl?"
The only "openly" gay guy is Jesse, the 17-year old farmboy from Ulster County who I met while in "emergency housing" in the freshman dorm. Tuesday night I went down on him while we were lying on blankets on the roof (see Trapped in a Dormitory with Freshmen).
10 days without talking to a gay person other than Jesse the 17-year old. No gay friends, no dates, no sex except for that night with Jesse. I latch onto him as a beacon of hope, and ask him out, in spite of our monumental age difference.
1. Dinner at the Indian place, down a country road with no sidewalk. You dress nicely for a date, but Jesse shows up in a white t-shirt with stains on it, short pants, and shoes but no socks. I am embarrassed to be seen with him.
Then he orders the hamburger platter. At an Indian restaurant!
2. A grad student mixer. Ok, at 17, he is the youngest one there, but he doesn't have to go out of his way to call me "sir."
He introduces himself to the department chair as "a freshman in Mr. Davis' class."
He's not in my class -- he just wants to embarrass me.
The chair gives me a nasty look.
I think I just got outed.
3. A walk through the quad. Jesse keeps trying to hold my hand!
I don't hold hands in public. It's a sure way to get a homophobic jibe yelled out of a passing car.
Besides, it looks silly, and it's not necessary. You don't need someone to guide you in the proper direction.
We squeeze uncomfortably onto my single bed. It is hot, and we are sweating. We get naked.
I try kissing him, but he is facing away from me, and he won't turn his mouth around.
"Um..would you turn around so I can kiss you?"
"Oh, sure..." We kiss for a moment, and then he turn around again, facing away from me.
Does he want me to do anal? Forget it!
I scoot down, pull up his rather small cut penis, and start oral sex. He gets aroused.
I've had guys ask all kinds of silly or even insulting things during sexual encounters (see What Not to Say During Sex):
"Do you like that big cock?"
"Who's your Daddy?"
"You do that better than my girlfriend."
"You're a dirty boy, aren't you?"
But Jesse is the worst. After about five minutes, he asks:
"Are you having fun?"
In the middle of a sexual encounter, he's bored?
I've never been so insulted!
I immediately pull my head up, and lie there fuming while he uses his hand to finish. I say no more than two or three words as he wipes off with a kleenix, pulls his clothes on, and leaves.
For several days, the kleenix stays on the floor where he missed the waste basket. I don't want to touch it, or Jesse, again.