Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Seeing the Golden Boy in His Underwear

Rock Island, May 1971

I was a horny little kid.  I wasn't thinking about sex yet, of course, but I loved looking at, talking to, hanging out with, and hugging cute boys and men.  I had a steady boyfriend, plus I cruised at the bookmobile, got kissed by a boy vampire, hooked up with boys at sleepovers, and got crushes on any number of grownups.

But the most obviously erotic of my crushes was on Randy.

This is not him, of course.  This model is well over 18.  But it will give you an idea of his face and physique.

He was a Denkmann School celebrity, one of those golden boys who seem perfect in every way.  Tall, lean, muscular, tanned, with wavy hair and bright eyes and a smile.  Good at schoolwork, good at sports, plus friendly to everybody, just plain nice.

How hard is it to be a muscle god and nice at the same time?

But he was way out of my league.  A year ahead of me in school, almost two years older,  with "grown up" friends and activities.

And he was hit  on by everybody all the time: boys, girls, teachers, parents, puppy dogs.  He had a dozen invitations every weekend.

How could I ever break through Randy's army of admirers and incite his interest enough to ask him to play, or get comic books, or go to a movie downtown?

Strategy 1: I joined in his kickball game at recess.  That didn't work -- I was too terrible at sports to impress anyone.

 Strategy 2: Randy and his coterie left the school through the south doors, and walked past Dewey's Candy Store on the way home.  I rushed out of the school before them and stood in front of the store, planning to invite him to get a candy bar.

But you never went to Dewey's without a friend or two for protection -- my bully, Dick, hung out there!  "Hey, wuss!" he yelled.  "Sissy!  Girl!"

I had to run away before Randy passed by.

Strategy 3: Randy lived on one of the few streets in Rock Island with a name, not a number: Berkshire Drive.  Have you ever heard of anything so glamorous?  I rode my bike past his house a few dozen times, hoping he would come out.  No dice.

Strategy 4: Surprisingly, the houses on Berkshire Drive were rather small and rundown.  Randy was poor, so maybe I could impress him with wealth.

My family was lower-middle class, but Moline, the city next to Rock Island (about five blocks east), was well known for its wealth and power.  Bringing Randy to Moline would impress him.  And I could throw in some cute boys to sweeten the deal!

One day in the cafeteria, I stood very near Randy's table and told my accomplice, Bill: "My Dad is taking me to Moline tomorrow night.  To a swim meet at the high school!"

We had no such plans, but I figured I could cross that bridge later.

"Wow, high school boys!" Bill exclaimed. "I'd give anything to go with you!"

 Randy looked up at us. "I bet you'll have fun."

"You can come if..."

But he had already returned to his coterie.

I was about ready to give up when, a few days before the end of school in May, Denkmann held an assembly where all of the little kids got to look at the sixth graders'  projects in history, science, art, and so on.

Randy's project was on the Aztec Empire, how they worshipped the god Quetzalcoatl and performed human sacrifices, and how Tenochtitlan was way bigger than any city in Europe at the time.

Strategy 5:  Every year for my birthday, I got to invite two or three of my friends to go to anywhere in the Quad Cities.  Except my birthday was in November, when all of the fun places were closed, so I postponed it to May, after school let out.

 "Have you been to the Putnam Museum in Davenport?"  I asked Randy. "It has a real Aztec calendar stone, maybe thirty feet high! And the god Quetzalcoatl is in the middle, sticking out his tongue!"

"I never been there," Randy said, his eyes gleaming.  "It sounds cool."

"Well...you know, me and my friends are going there for my birthday next Saturday.  You can come with, if you want."

"That would be great!"

My birthday trip actually wasn't for a few weeks yet, and I had been planning on the Niabi Zoo, not the Putnam.  But it was a simple matter to make the changes.

That Saturday on the way to the museum, I got to squeeze between Randy and Bill in the back seat of the car.  We talked about tv and comic books and Aztecs, like regular friends.  Afterwards we had hamburgers and cake and opened presents.  Randy gave me a Hardy Boys book, which I still have.  Then, when his mother picked him up, he gave me a warm, tight handshake.

Best birthday ever!

But it gets better.

A couple of weeks later, Randy invited me to a sleepover.  I guess his mother insisted.  I didn't get to share his bed, but still  -- hanging out with hot, muscular sixth graders -- and seeing the Golden Boy in his underwear!

We didn't stay friends. A year was an impossible age gap, and we had little in common besides Aztecs.  I saw Randy occasionally in the hallway at Washington and Rocky High, but that's all.

That was enough.

See also: the Hookup at the Sleepover; and Bill and I find a Little Bit O'Heaven

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