Friday, May 15, 2020

Carl, the Cowboy Cop on My Sausage List

Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas, April 1985

You probably know the type of guys I find attractive:

1. Short, the shorter the better.
2. Muscular or husky.  Fat is good.  Bodybuilder too.
3. Dark-skinned.  Black, Asian, Hispanic.  If you're Caucasian, then maybe Italian, Greek, Spanish.
4. Religious, or better yet, clergy.
5. Gifted beneath the belt.

So how did I end up with a guy who was taller than me, thin, a fair-skinned blond, and not religious?

Well, at least he met trait #5: he was the third biggest guy I've ever met.

It was during my horrible year at Hell-fer-Sartain State College in Texas, the worst place in the world.  I drove into the Montrose, the gay neighborhood of Houston, to the Wilde and Stein Bookstore.  While I was browsing in the fiction section, a guy approached me -- very tall, at least 6'8" to my 6'1, lanky, blond, wearing tight jeans and a lumberjack shirt.

"Don't I know you from somewhere?" he asked, in retrospect the oldest line in the book.  But we chatted, and it was a relief to meet someone who wasn't deeply closeted or was overloaded with weird quirks.

 His name was Carl, he was 27 years old, and a real life cowboy -- he grew up on a ranch near Abilene.

We went to dinner at the Hobbit Cafe, which, in spite of its name, served Mexican food, to the mall to buy me a pair of cowboy boots, dancing -- at a regular gay disco, not a cowboy bar, and then back to his apartment.

 It was such a relief to meet someone who wasn't closeted or kooky that I didn't mind his lack of the traits I usually find attractive, or that he lived in Pasadena, on the south side of Houston, a good 40 miles from me.

During the usual date small-talk, Carl told me that he worked in human services.  Now, sitting on the couch in his apartment, he said "You know what?  I'm just going to come out with it.  I'm not exactly in human services."

"What, then?"

"I'm a cop."

I felt the blood draining from my face.  Same-sex acts were illegal in Texas (they would be until 2003), and the police actively sought to entrap "homosexual deviants" in the bars and bookstores of Montrose.  Put your hand on his shoulder, you're under arrest for lewd conduct.  And we had been dancing together, groping, and kissing....

"It's not like that," Carl said, sensing what I was thinking.  "I'm gay.  In the closet, of course."

"Of course."  If he were discovered, he would be instantly fired.  "Um...the gay community doesn't have a very good attitude toward the police."

"I know.  That's why I don't usually tell people until the second or third date.  It scares them off faster than finding out that I'm bisexual."  He conked himself on the head.  "Whoops, I let another one slip out, didn't I?"

"You sure did.  Any more closets you want to open?"

"Yeah.  I'm an atheist. I grew up in a fundy household, and all of that God crap just riles me up!"

Hmm-- I believed in God, and went to church, but I decided to not mention those few details.  I wanted to see this guy in the bedroom!  "Bisexual, atheist, cop," I joked.  "I'm surprised you haven't been lynched!"

We went into the bedroom, and Carl revealed that, although he was missing traits #1-4, he more than made up for it with #5.

On our second date, he came up to my apartment, with a pizza -- 45 minutes late.  He explained that he had stopped to help a lady fix her flat tire.

A good Samaritan, too.  This one might be a keeper.

We sat in the living room, eating our pizza from the coffee table.  Carl started checking around the room.   An Eastern Orthodox icon.  A Catholic crucifix on the wall.  A small bronze statue of The Madonna of Regensburg that I got during my semester abroad.  A bookcase containing Church and Society, Halley's Bible Handbook, Dag Hammarskjold's Markings, Three Treatises of Martin Luther, God in the Dock by C.S. Lewis...

"Don't tell me you're into that God crap!" Carl exclaimed, his mouth full of pepperoni.

", I was raised Nazarene, but they're way homophobic, so when I was in grad school I started going to the Metropolitan Community Church.  There's one in Houston.  I don't get there very often, but...."

"Church is church.  It's all about hating homos!"

"No, the MCC is different.   It was founded by the Rev. Troy Perry, who's gay, and most of the members are gay."

"Self-loathing, no doubt."  His voice changed to a squeaking falsetto.  "Oh, I'm gay, I'm so worthless, I need God to wipe my sins away."

"But the MCC teaches that gay is ok.  God loves gay people, and..."

"Enough is enough!  I didn't come here to listen to the whole God spiel!"

I was starting to get angry.  "Well, Carl, if I don't mind that you're an atheist, you shouldn't mind that I believe in God, right?  Difference of opinion and all that?"

"I don't have to respect ridiculous opinions.  What if you thought the moon was made of green cheese?  Should I respect that?"

We went on like that for awhile, and Carl ended up leaving.

Turns out that I was lacking one of the traits that the bisexual cowboy cop found attractive.


  1. Did you yell "Yeah? Well ACAB!" on the way out?



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