Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Sharing a Bed with Mary's Brother

Chicago, March 1979

Shortly after my 18th birthday in 1978, my friend Mary, a member of the bookstore gang and big Andre Norton fan, told me that she suspected her kid brother of being gay.  She invited me to visit her home  for spring break in March 1979, shortly after I revealed my boss's "trouser snake,"  to "check." I had not yet met any gay people, so I eagerly agreed.

Mary's family -- blustering Archie Bunker father, mousy devout-Catholic mother, hippie older brother (away visiting his girlfriend), and possibly-gay kid brother Jake

They lived in one of the dull, faceless suburbs of Chicago, in a small two-story house surrounded by thousands of other small two-story houses.

Her father needed the car to drive to work, and there were no buses in the suburbs. Mary’s friend drove us to the Mall and for pizza, and one day we all drove to Axehead Lake.  Otherwise we were stuck in the house  for five days and six nights.

Mary’s "kid brother" Jake was sixteen (all models are over 18), slim, lightly tanned, with short blond hair.  He had a naturally tight, hard physique that would, with a little weight training, develop into something spectacular.

Don't worry about his age: a 16 and an 18 together were legal in Illinois in 1979.  At the  the time, I thought that all same-sex activity was illegal everywhere.

When I asked in private,  Jake told me that he had a girlfriend, a cheerleader with very large breasts. Her name was Tessa, or maybe Tina, and she lived in Aurora, or maybe Naperville (the details changed from day to day). Of course they  had sex, frequently and enthusiastically, whenever she came to town to cheer for her team.

Today I would find this story suspect, but in 1979 I took it as proof positive of heterosexual identity.

At night, we shared a room. We stripped down to our briefs and lay atop mussed sheets on single beds, separated only by a nightstand.

Just after midnight on Saturday, my last night in Chicago, I awoke to a door slamming, footsteps, and a furious discussion between two voices, then three, then four. I surmised that Mary’s older brother (I don't remember his name) had come home unexpectedly after a fight with my girlfriend. Not willing to be kicked out of my bed,

I kept my eyes tightly shut and pretended to be asleep. After awhile I heard footsteps, a whispered conversation with Jake, and then scuffling and bed-creaking. When I dared open my eyes, a big, thickly-muscled jock in white underwear lay in the opposite bed, cradling Jake in his arms. Both were facing me, asleep or pretending to be. Their legs were intertwined.

“Jake,” I murmured. “Move over here.  More room."

A moment later Jake was under the covers, his head against my chest.  Then our legs intertwined. After awhile there were mouths and hands, and a murmured “Don’t wake up my brother."

At some point during the night, Jake returned to his brother's arms.

After an egg-and-bacon casserole, roasted potatoes, and rolls with orange marmalade, our friend Rich and his girlfriend picked us up for the three-hour trip back to Rock Island.

In the car, I announced that Jake was definitely straight.  He even had a girlfriend.


  1. Age of consent was tricky in those days. It would be enforced aggressively against same-sex couples, but not at all against a woman with a boy. (I was molested by a friend's sister when I was 7, and I must emphasize it did not make me bi, but even today, people have trouble wrapping their heads around that one.)

    1. There wasn't any genital contact that night -- that's why I was so vague, with "mouths and hands." Just some spooning, kissing his neck, and fondling his chest. I was afraid to try anything else.

  2. Are the photos from your life or just random?

    1. Mostly random. I don't want anyone recognizing my friends or relatives. I also changed most of the names.



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