Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Farmboy, the Preacher, and the Security Guard

Louisville, Kentucky, Novembe 1982

During my first year at Indiana University, Roy the Farmboy and I drove to Louisville, Kentucky to go to the Metropolitan Community Church

I couldn't wait!  A church founded by and for gay people!  I had been looking for a MCC ever since I read the Rev. Troy Perry's autobiography a couple of years ago.  There were none in Indiana at the time.

We parked near the Brown Theater in downtown Louisville and walked to the Unitarian Church, an old Gothic grey-brick building.  There was a guy pacing outside the door: African-American, very dark skin, short, solidly built, in a pink shirt and tie. He looked like a pro wrestler.

I didn't have my list of the Five Traits I Find Attractive yet, but in retrospect, he had four: short, dark, muscular, and religious.  And probably the fifth, too -- beneath the belt gifts.

"Hi," I said, holding out my hand.  "I'm Boomer, here for the service.  And this is Roy.  You probably know him already."

"Hi, Roy!  Glad you're back!  How's Bloomington?"  He looked around to make sure no one was watching, then gave Roy a kiss.  I felt a pang of jealousy.

"Boomer, this is Terence.  He's the sound guy and security guard for the church."

"Hi!"  He leaned in for a brief kiss.  "You can't be too careful.  We've had bomb threats.  You never know if a visitor is going to try to kill you.  So, are you guys together?"

"Not yet -- but I'm working on it."

Terence laughed and clapped him on the back.   "Come to brunch with us after the service and we'll talk, ok?"

We walked on into the sanctuary.  It looked like any other congregational-style church -- bare of religious symbols except for a pulpit decorated with a cross.  There were King James Bibles and Methodist hymnals on the pews.

"You and Terence...." I began.

"Oh, no.  I haven't been with anyone in church.  Besides, Terence is Rev. Reid's spouse.   That's what they call them in MCC.  Life-long commitment, rejecting all others, and all that.

My heart sank.  There would be no seeing Terence naked today, or any day.

There were about 50 people in the congregation, mostly gay men, mostly couples.  A scattering of lesbian couples, a few with children.  One heterosexual couple.

To my surprise, the service was all Nazarene -- old-time Gospel hymns, quotes from the King James Bible, hand-clapping, shouts of "Amen!," calling each other "Brother" and "Sister," and a sermon full of "God told me!" and "You got to get right with God!"

The only differences were:
1. The clerical robes.
2. The communion.
3. People typically kissed hello instead of shaking hands.  Same-sex on the mouth, opposite-sex on the cheek.
4. The sermon topic, Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."  The preacher expanded it to include "there is neither gay nor straight."

The preacher, Brother Reid, was in his 40s, a tall, beefy bear who looked very much like Brother Tyler back home.  He even paced and pounded like that old bulldog.

It was nice, but I was expecting something less -- well, less Nazarene.

Afterwards, Terence, Brother Reid, and a few other guys took us out to the English Grill in the Brown Hotel, which specialized in a sort of turkey Eggs Benedict called a Hot Brown.  Brother Reid sat beside me with his arm draped over the back of my chair, and we shared childhood "horror stories" about repressive church rules.  No swimming!  No dancing!  No movies!  No shopping on Sunday!

He looked, and acted interested.  Meanwhile, Terence was sitting next to me, but totally taken by Roy the Farmboy.  What was going on?  Did that sharing thing, like the Episcopal priest I met in Des Moines?

A preacher hooks up with guys other than his spouse?

"What are you doing later?" Brother Reid asked.

"We have to be heading back to Bloomington.  It's a two hour drive."

"Two hours -- that's nothing! Sometimes I drive two hours before breakfast.  You need the grand tour of Louisville, and then the drag show at Nowhere."

Preachers go to bars?  And drink beer?

"Sounds like fun," Roy said.  "I just turned 21 last month -- I haven't gone to the bars yet!"

"Then it's high time you started!  The drag show is at 10:00 pm."

I didn't want to go to a drag show in a bar! "But then we'd be driving on dark country roads all the way up to Bloomington at midnight!"

"Or -- or --"  Brother Reid said with a smile, "You could spend the night, leave at 7:00 tomorrow morning.  We can put you up in the spare bedroom."

Sighing, I agreed.  Another night with Roy, who was nice but not my type, all anal instead of oral, while a Greek god lay sleeping in the next room.

The four of us, behaving very much like two couples on a double date, spent the rest of the afternoon at  Conrad's Castle, which I found only moderately interesting, and Slugger Field, which I found not interesting at all.  We had dinner at a steak house, and then went to Brother Reid and Terence's apartment to listen to depressing country-western music and wait until it was time to go to the bar.

I staked out an easy chair, while the other guys got the couch.

"Plenty of room over here," Brother Reid said, patting the tiny bit of seat next to him.

"Oh, I'm fine here," I said petulantly.

Roy stood, came to the chair, and put his arms around me.  "Feeling neglected?"  Soon we were kissing.  I was vaguely aware of Brother Reid and Terence doing the same.

"Maybe we'll skip the drag show," Brother Reid said.  "It's been a long day.  Roy, you know where the spare bedroom is.  There are clean towels in the bathroom, if you want to shower."

Another night with Roy -- good kisser, but not particularly impressive with anything else.

Later I got up to "use the bathroom."   The other bedroom door was closed.

I returned to our bed. "Sh*t!" I whispered.

"Anything wrong, babe?" Roy murmured.

I didn't know he was awake!  "Oh -- I was hoping to see those guys naked, but their door was closed."

"Why didn't you say something?  I can take care of that.  Hang on a minute."

He disappeared.  I heard the door to the other bedroom open.  A moment later, Brother Reid appeared in the doorway, naked, smiling.  He climbed onto the bed, pinned me down, and pressed his mouth against mine.  I felt his Bratwurst move against me.

When it was over, he returned to his own bed, and Roy returned to ours, having had a similar experience with Terence.

Apparently preachers do, in fact, hook up with guys other than their spouses, but they don't talk about it afterwards.

And I never did see Terence naked.

See also: The Farmboy Butches it Up; Dumped by Richie Rich


  1. As a Kentuckian, let me fill you in. The "hot brown", a Kentucky delicacy, was invented at the Brown Hotel. It traditionally includes turkey, ham and lots of melted cheese, but no eggs. We Jews get it with all turkey.

  2. The KJV version also includes "neither circumcision not uncircumcision", which I assume is a reference to Hellenized Jews attaching weights to the remnant of their foreskin.

    For the casual reader, it raises more questions than answers, and I assume the clergy don't want to go into explicit detail.

    1. It's just a list of some of the divisive categories of the era. We could substitute our own. Neither butch nor femme,cisgender nor transgender, asexual nor allosexual, twink nor bear.



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