Sunday, March 29, 2015

What Rod the Pharmacist Was Doing Upstairs

Dayton, June 2006

When I was living in the gay neighborhoods of West Hollywood and Wilton Manors, you never dated more than one guy at a time.  If you went on a second date, you were a couple, and "abandoned all others" until you broke up.  ("Sharing" the boyfriends of your friends didn't count.)

But when I moved to Dayton in 2005, I found that juggling several boyfriends was perfectly acceptable, even expected.

Among straight men, it was a badge of honor to date several women at once.  Those who were most adept at it became folk heroes, like Don Juan, Casanova, or Fonzie of Happy Days.

Still, I was surprised by the guy upstairs.

It was a garden apartment, opening directly onto a patio and then the parking lot.  The stairway to the second floor apartment was right next to my kitchen window, so I could see and hear everyone coming and going.

Not to worry, the landlord said.  The guy who lives there is very quiet, no loud music or wild parties.

He was right.  No loud music or wild parties. An occasional door slamming, the muffled sound of a vacuum cleaner, a voice on the telephone.

And something else.

I usually went to bed at 10:00 pm in order to get up at 6:00.  But on the nights I couldn't sleep, or woke up to go to the bathroom, I heard a rhythmic creak-creak-creak.



It took me awhile to realize what I was hearing.

The guy upstairs was entertaining visitors.  For two hours or more, several times a week.

Most mornings, as I sat in the kitchen eating my cereal, I saw his visitors leave.

Girls.  Two, three, four different girls.

Who was this  guy, with his Don Juan-Casanova-Fonzie ability to date many women at once, and the stamina for hours of creak-creak-creak almost every night?

In my imagination, he became a Superman, endowed with every characteristic I find attractive: short, muscular, dark-skinned, religious, and gifted beneath the belt.

And maybe he was straight but curved around the edges, open to same-sex experiences on his nights off from creak-creak-creak with girls!

But I never saw him leave the apartment.

One day in the spring of 2006,  I was filling a prescription, and when the pharmacist checked my i.d., he exclaimed "Hey, we're neighbors.  I live in the apartment upstairs! Rod Perkins."

Very disappointing: a mild-mannered pharmacist, tall, blond, rather pale, and not particularly muscular (this isn't him).

Apparently our paths never crossed because he worked the 3:00 pm - midnight shift.  No doubt he then met one of his numerous girlfriends, had a late dinner date, and then returned to his apartment.

But if he had a nondescript physique, how did he get so many girls to agree to a creak-creak-creak?

And more importantly, were some of them guys?

In gay neighborhoods, you couldn't get dates based on wit, charm, humor, or knowledge of old movies.  That might keep the guy interested, but in order for him to agree to see you in the first place, you needed a face, biceps, or a basket, preferably all three.  Some guys who didn't have baskets of their own improvised by shoving some socks down there.

Rod didn't have a face or physique.  He must be gifted beneath the belt!

In order to find out, I went back to the pharmacy and gave him a guest pass to the Better Bodies Fitness Center, as a "thank you."

"I used to work as a personal trainer, down in Florida" I told him.  "We can really get you toned up."

The next Wednesday afternoon, Rod came to the gym, and we tried basic weight training and then showered down.

Nope. Not particularly impressive.  And he never glanced at a guy.

I was no longer interested in seeing Rod's bedroom, but I was curious: how did he convince so many women to see it?

Could it be that heterosexuals were not into the physical, but focused solely on wit, charm, and strength of character?

Certainly not -- back in high school, the heterosexual girls I knew all wanted jocks. Without exception. But if no jocks were available, they might settle for a guy with a car.

So I checked Rod's assigned parking space.  Sure enough: a late-model red Jaguar that must have cost a fortune.

Apparently heterosexual men don't shove socks down there.  They compensate for their unimpressive baskets with a killer phallic car.

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