My Life As a Gay Man – 1985, Peter, Part III

My Life As a Gay Man – 1985, Peter, Part III

It was a beautiful June evening when I got home from work that Friday to find George sitting on the deck of our above ground pool.

“Why aren’t you in the water? “ I asked him. “I can’t wait to get out of this monkey suit.”

“Peter called,” said George in an uncharacteristically low, calm voice.

I put my attaché case down, and sat down in the other lawn chair

The gig was up.

“You had to fuck around with somebody we knew?” he continued, again, very quietly, very un-George.

There was no rationalizing out of this one. Peter had told him everything.

Everything.

“So you want to break up?” I asked, matter-of-factly.

“What do YOU want?”

“Right now, I want to get my clothes off and get a stiff drink.”

I never did give him a straight answer but we barely said a word to each other for almost a week.

Maybe I should have used the opportunity to call it quits.

But I didn’t.

We didn’t.

Neither of us went up to Rainbow Mountain for the rest of that summer. And I didn’t bother calling Peter to yell. What the fuck was the point? The damage was done. Besides, in a strangely twisted way, I think he had done this, lashing out at me through George, because he had loved me.

Really loved me.

More than I loved him.

Two years later, we ran into Peter at the bar. He was with a taller, haggard looking guy who looked like his new paramour. Funny, even when he had the balls to come up to us to introduce Harry, neither he nor George acted as if anything had happened. And I just continued playing Mr. PR.

Looking back, I think I was a silly boy for not leaving George for this rich slab of man. Peter might be dead by now, and I would have been set for the rest of my life like some jerk I met on the beach years later in Fort Lauderdale who after taking care of his “partner,” 30 years his senior, for 15 years, and not working a day all those years, is now living off a trust fund.

But hell, at least Peter didn’t hire a hit man when I deserted him. And years later, when I named my new shelter dog, a chihuahua terrier mix, “Pete”, George, never one to forget, was convinced I had named him for the guy I let get away. (I didn’t.)

P.S.: Years later, John the Cop retired with his fat pension and his slim lover to Miami where he bought a home on the water. He was an avid bike man and nothing made him happier than being with his motorcycle bros, str8 and gay, traveling the highways and byways of Florida. A non-believer in wearing a helmet in a state that didn’t demand it, he was thrown off his bike one breezy afternoon by an truck making an illegal U-turn and found the thousand pounds of machinery he loved come crashing down on him.

He was 49, and the handsome, burly blonde with the million dollar personality had a closed coffin at his wake.

 

Monday:Gary, a guy I met on vacation in of all places Columbus, Ohio and who introduced me to kinky sex.

 

 

 

Wedding Cakes, Heresy, Jock Talk, and Will and Grace

Wedding Cakes, Heresy, Jock Talk, and Will and Grace

The Supreme Court has decided to hear the infamous case where a bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple on the grounds their religious beliefs would be compromised. The Trump Administration has supported religious liberty as a legit reason for businesses to discriminate against us and is looking to the Court to allow such an exclusion to “expressive” enterprises like bakers, photographers and musicians. Where would it end? Aren’t plumbers “expressive?” This is a big one;  If the Court sides with Trump it’s the beginning of the end for winning equal rights for us.

Maybe forever.

 

The Pope has been accused of heresy for his “liberal “ views on divorced couples and gays by a super conservative bunch of Catholic theologians. Just shows how out of touch Church zealots are with the real world  Heresy? It thought that went out with burning Joan of Arc at the stake. All of them including the Pope who admitted the Church has been a *little slow” in dealing with the pedophile issue should look under their noses – or maybe their robes.

It’s like Trump worrying about the NFL bullshit while North Korea aims its missiles at us.

By the way, I agree with Trump that these football players should be fired. I am a Protestant but when I worked for a Catholic hospital and put on my ID I followed the rules of that organization. Freedom of speech belongs in their personal lives, not on the field where they are making millions of dollars paying a boys game. If they think there’s a better place to live I’m sure lmmigration would be happy to escort them to the nearest airport.

 

I’ve subscribed to Men’s Fitness for years only to be told after renewing that they will no longer be publishing. My theory: the young hunks they glorified in their pages no longer read magazines and can get a shitload of free stuff off the web, while the the mag largely ignored us old farts who still do  – read that is.

 

The revived Will and Grace debuts tonight. I’m one of the few gay boys who did not watch the show when it was first on – l don’t watch sitcoms, and l thought the show’s premise silly. And from l read, it sounds like the show will resume as if nothing has happened in its characters’ lives. Frankly, I think its relevance has come and gone. Besides cable has vastly diluted the network sitcom audience since Will and Grace debuted almost twenty years ago. And for younger gays there’s a new diversion.

It’s called the web.

 

 

My Life as a Gay Man – 1985, Peter, Part II

My Life as a Gay Man – 1985, Peter, Part II

About 45 minutes away from our new place in PA was, of all things, a gay resort, called Rainbow Mountain, run by an older lesbian couple. It attracted a NYC and Philly crowd, but its pool and dance bar were also a mecca for local gays, men and women, on the weekends. Despite the ride on a winding country road that at night was frequented by deer, I think the stupidest animals God created, I managed to pry George off the couch and out to the pool on a summer afternoon or to the bar on a Saturday night. We even began meeting other couples and singles and were cultivating a social life we lacked back in New York.

Now one of the first guys we met, actually who came up to us, was thirty-something John, a NYC police detective, a broad, burly blonde and very personable guy who lived a closeted existence in the Bronx with his folks but led his secret life up here at a place a few towns over with his much younger Puerto Rican lover. It was John, who in turn, soon after introduced George and me to Peter, that swarthy Italian piece of beef who had just lost his long-time partner to cancer, then often used as a code word for AIDS in those early days of the genocide when guys were still too ashamed or afraid to talk about it.

His eyes opened wide as he shook my hand and I was seasoned enough by then to realize that there was more going on at that moment than simply meeting new friends.

A few weeks later, Peter invited us to a pool party at his summer home in Bartonsville, about 30 miles from us, a house, or I should say a mansion he built himself. You see, Peter had worked in construction, had even run his own company, and at 49, had recently retired, living off his rental properties, Treasury note coupons and tax exempted munis. But with all the gumba boys at his party, str8 and gay, I had my suspicions his money wasn’t all clean. But, hey, I lived and worked on Staten Island, where it seemed everyone was Italian and somebody’s cousin, and I learned not to ask questions.

Maybe it was my paranoia, but he seemed to be watching me all afternoon with that same wide stare and silly grin I remember the first moment we met at the bar. Only this time, we were able to feast on one another’s near naked bodies – after all this was a pool party. And his was a five course meal for this fur hungry boy. Massive shoulders, bull arms, barrel chest, only a bit of a belly, and thick thighs, all covered in dense black hair. There was some gray on his chest but even if his beard looked dyed black, he was all man, and after a few drinks he asked if I could help him in the kitchen with the appetizers. George was engrossed in some jock talk with John the cop and a couple of Peter’s buddies so in I went.

It took Peter all of three minutes to ambush me from behind, enveloping me in a bear hug.

“So you fucken hairy sexy fucker, does George ever let you off the leash?”’

George was maybe 5 yards away but I knew I wanted Peter too and I followed him to the den where he closed the door, peeled off his speedos, shoved me to my knees and stuck his huge, stiff, thick cut cock in my mouth. It didn’t take much for him to cum down  my throat, but not a totally selfish guy, he pushed me down on the neighboring sofa, threw my legs up, rimmed my hairy hole, then blew me like a pro.

Not another word spoken, we were back outside with the pigs in a blanket and chicken fritters 15 minutes after I had left G, who was still bullshitting with his new jock buds.

At first I thought it was all a one-time thing though I masturbated in the silence of my bedroom at night imagining Peter’s hairy dick in my face. So when he called me at work – he obviously had made it a point to dig me up – and asked if I wanted to get together again, well …

The next time, we rendezvoused at his home – another estate – a bit closer to the City in Caldwell, Jersey.  I took the afternoon off from work to play, and this is where Peter introduced me to a new kink, electro-stimulation, e-stim for short.  With us squatting on the bed, face to face, he placed a long metal rod beneath our ball sacs wired to a large lantern battery and another wire around the base of each of our hard cocks, then flipped some switch and began slowly racketing up the voltage with a dial. It was the first time I shot without touching myself, and the sight of globs of cum spurting from our twitching cocks up onto our furry bellies and chests almost in unison would have been a ratings winner on xtube.com if it had existed then. To this day, I attribute my big balls to Peter’s little experiments.

But it wasn’t all sex. Peter liked to kiss, in fact, was a great kisser and knew again how to turn this hairy guy on with just a few soft strokes against my chest. As for me, my tongue and his burly furry body became fast friends.

Funny, I thought with the tool between his legs Peter would sooner or later ask to fuck me. But he never did. Was it because he was positive, though he didn’t look it? After all, I still thought his partner of ten years, Carl, had been a victim of the gay genocide. Who knows?  All I do know is that each time we got together, I felt more relaxed – and more fulfilled as a gay man.

Plus George thought he was a nice guy.

Then one day, as we were playing up in PA on a weekend George was stuck in the office with end-of-month options, Peter popped the question I never expected.

“So when are you gonna leave George and come live with me fucker? You know I’ll take care of you, Christ, I got enough so you’d never have to work another day in your life.”

I had just turned 42, was already a VP and had my own wad of dough put away, maybe not Peter’s millions, but I didn’t need Peter or anyone to support me. Yet as much as George and Peter were alike in demeanor – masculine, manly, furry and cock-sure of themselves – I knew which one would keep my cock hard.

But I was headstrong about my career and I cherished my independence. And I was a self-reliant bastard, and never wanted to depend or count on anyone, not George, not my parents, no one, unless I had absolutely no choice.

I had learned that lesson very early in life.

I was 8 and my sister, Gina, was 3. At the time, my mother worked in a cookie factory, and one of her co-workers offered to pick the three of us up for a Saturday romp to Seaside Heights on the Jersey Shore. How I, even more than my sister, looked forward to that day. So that morning, with sand pails and shovels and blankets and beach chairs in tow, we trotted down to the pre-designated spot where Mom’s friend would swing by and pick us up.

Only she never came.

After an hour of our futilely waiting and me counting cars whizzing by, Mom forced us to face reality and turned us right around for home.

What I learned that day that I never forgot was never put your faith in other people and always rely first and foremost on yourself.

But instead of being upfront with Peter, I back-pedaled a few more weeks, then just stopped answering his phone calls.

That turned out to be a big mistake.

Friday: Part III

My Life as a Gay Man – 1985, Peter, Part I

My Life as a Gay Man – 1985, Peter, Part I

The closest I came to being adopted by the Mafia, besides living and working on Staten Island, a borough of the Big Apple, and the most Italian American county in the U.S., was Peter, a short (like me), stocky, swarthy, hairy, Italian gorilla with a shaved head and thick black beard and a build that Tom of Finland would have used as a model.

Plus, looking back, he made me an offer I shouldn’t have refused.

It was 1985. George was still on Wall Street, doing well as a back office processor for a trading house called Rothschild; I was doing even better at St. Vincent’s Hospital on Staten Island where I had climbed the corporate ladder from an assistant to the director of community relations to vice president of public relations and marketing when my hospital took over another and several nursing homes and expanded into a system, giving my old boss a place to move up to as a senior vice president of operations..

But my six figure salary also meant heavy taxes (feds, NYC, NYS), and looking for tax write-offs, I figured buying a house – with George – in what was then the hinterlands of Staten Island’s West Shore just made good financial sense.

Financial sense, yes, but everything else about prolonging our twosome was crazy.

We fought like cats and dogs about the silliest shit, not, like most str8 and gay couples, about money and, sure as hell, not infidelity. I really think he had no one he was fucking around with on the side, and many times I wish he had. He also rarely wanted to go out to the Village or out at all – I was a Mets widower in the summer and a Jets widower in the fall. But I knew George too well, super conservative George who frowned upon almost every aspect of gay culture except for sex with men, and even mentioning a possible “open relationship” would have led to fire and brimstone. Maybe I should have, that would have been the end of things and both of us would have moved on. But I didn’t and neither did he.  And Saturday nights on my own, plus his occasional Saturday days in the office, and my weekday evening “community meetings” as a PR guy gave me plenty of opportunities for discrete play.

So I played. Not just for the sexual pleasure but for the attention and adoration, something I didn’t get at home.  With George, I could have my cake – dick – and eat it too – someone to share the bills and household chores with, and even an occasional argument. It beat talking to myself.

Maybe.

For me, there was the more seasoned crowd at the East Side Baths off Third Avenue in the 50s; the younger crowd at the West Side Baths in the 20th’s; and the no-nonsense, let’s-fucken-do-it  crowd at Wally’s sex club, run by the same old man who would later open the country’s quiescent leather bar, The Lure. Then there was a trio of fuck buddies, two in Manhattan, Joe a cancer researcher for Sloane Kettering, and Mike, a chemist for Pfizer; and Rob in Jersey, who worked as a cameraman for NBC. All had significant others just like me; the difference is they didn’t live with them.

Mike gave me my first taste of Viagra which Pfizer had initially developed as a high blood pressure med until it discovered from its own guinea pig employees that it had other, more pleasurable side effects. And to Rob I owe my first taste of coke.

I continued to travel the world solo. George would later criticize “lovers” who would go off on these vacations just to fuck around. True, but at least they were together.

In the summer of 1989, we decided to take a vacation – together – and rented a small house in rural Pennsylvania just across the border from Jersey and New York in a no-nothing town called Dingmans Ferry. This way, we could take the dogs – we were on our second generation: Charlie, George’s beagle, an apartment dog all his life whom George had promised a big backyard in the country, passed away at 16 just before we moved to the house, like Moses never entering the Promised Land. Now we had Mollie, a beagle terrier mix, who we got at a local no-kill shelter, and Annie, a stray terrier who just showed up at our door one day in a storm, wet as a mop.

One rainy day while there that week in PA we went to a local retail estate agent purely out of curiosity and ended up buying a little bungalow of a house on three quarters of an acre, away from it all, all for fifteen thousand dollars. Now we would have a getaway place to take the dogs and maybe have a life together.

Instead, I can blame Dingmans Ferry for my first real “extra-marital” affair.

Peter.

Wednesday -Peter, Part II

My Life As A Gay Man- 1971: George, Part 2

My Life As A Gay Man- 1971: George, Part 2

George gave me the address of the George Washington Hotel and asked if I could meet him after work around 6 the following day in front of the place.

“OK, once I know the room number, I’ll come down in about ten minutes and let you know, then we both go in acting like we don’t know one another and go up the elevator.”

These were the days before cell phones, and Gay Liberation was still in diapers.

Inside, behind the locked door and windows shaded in plastic shower curtains, George went from hesitant to horny, enjoying my fur as much as I did his. We sixty-nined on a bed with yellowed sheets smelling of urine and a thousand musty johns. He lit up a cigarette when we were done – he wouldn’t give up the weed for another year when his asthma got the best of him – then gave me a kiss which I didn’t expect from a guy who was a fart from being bi-sexual, and said energetically, “I think I just might fall in love with you, cute guy.”

GW became our default address for a few more romps – oral sex was fine by G, who even loved to rim but never brought up the f word. Then came a weekend at a gay resort in upstate New York called Roundtree which, while not exactly in terrific shape, gave us a chance to be together for more than a few hours. It was at Roundtree that I also met Charlie, G’s lumbering beagle, who would be the first in five generations of dogs we would own, love and bury in the decades ahead – all told an even dozen.

By now we were talking about getting an apartment together, G to get away from his clinically diagnosed schizophrenic sister Jeannie who he was left with after all three of his brothers had moved out of their Bay Ridge, Brooklyn walk-up and married; and me from my hyperactive, slightly psychotic Jersey parents.

So what was a middle of the road place to move to for a guy from Brooklyn and a guy from Jersey? Well, of course, NYC’s forgotten borough, Staten Island, which I had never heard of before. And we landed a two bedroom, two bath apartment with a terrace and a to-die-for view of the Verrazano Bridge for just six hundred dollars a month. And the landlord even allowed pets. It seemed perfect.

I had less of a problem cutting the apron strings since my parents were about ready to sell their house in Wallington and take early retirement in a 55 plus community in South Jersey. But though G’s sister was stable, on meds and collecting SSI which her brother had fought hard for her to get, George still felt a ting of guilt about leaving her all alone and made his weekly visit to her a given til the day she died, prematurely at 57 and alone, from I what still believe to this day was a fucked-up combination of heart meds and psychotropic drugs her docs never picked up on. I saw her frequently and found her to be a very quiet, deeply introverted woman, almost an echo of myself years before I broke out of my shell.  Over the decades ahead, we would share in the deaths of his brothers, their wives, my parents and my aunts and uncles. Til no one was left but his adult niece and nephew and my sister, brother-in-law and their kids.

Which meant quite simply there was no one we could really count on but one another.

Just before we moved to SI, G coaxed me into taking a long weekend to P-town which he had apparently gone to almost religiously every July Fourth week with some gay friends from work who he claimed were the ones responsible for bringing him at least half way out of the closet. I found the drive, particularly those last miles on Rt. 6, to be an eternity and the quaint seashore town a bore by the second day. But that weekend did give me an opportunity to find something out I had been meaning to ask G for a while but didn’t have the balls to.

So one afternoon, while he was taking a nap, I snuck into his wallet and pulled out his driver’s license.

Shit, he was 35!

Older than he looked and almost 10 years older than me. At that point, I thought it wouldn’t make any difference, but as we co-habited I found this generation gap was a serious canyon to cross in our relationship.

For you see, I had come out on the cusp of Gay Liberation and had no real hang-ups about being gay or about the gay scene. Meanwhile, George had had his first fuck – with a woman – when I was still in grammar school, and had entered young manhood in the ‘50’s when “The Life” was still hush-hush, a stigma he never outgrew.

Then there were our differences in interests. He was a fanatical New York Mets fan, and when he was watching a game, (often 5, 6 times a week), I couldn’t say a word. I, being the nerd, found sports, particularly baseball, and a yawn and, interested in infant technology, gravitated to collecting mechanical antiques like Edison cylinder phonographs, turn of the century typewriters and old cameras. All of which G thought was junk.

After we had just moved to SI I, by luck and timing, landed an assistant director’s job in the PR department of a local hospital, St. Vincent’s, which cut my commute from an hour and half by ferry and subway to fifteen minutes in my car, a reality G, wedded to Wall Street, envied.  And as I began to make some real money, I decided to pursue long time wanderlust: travel. Ah, but while couples would automatically travel together, I soon realized I was with a guy who among his many phobias couldn’t eat foreign food (not even a cake made in Canada), nor fly. In the beginning it was awkward and a little scary to travel alone to strange, often forbidding places, but as I got more seasoned at it I came to prefer the solo route. During the 70’s and 80’s, when it was still cheap and airport security was a kiss on the wrist, I went all over the world, playing strictly tourist -no sexual dalliances – in Egypt, Greece, Russia, Italy, Europe, Central and Latin America, Australia, even Slovakia, the land of my grandparents birth, when it was still Commie and your life was neatly laid out for you. All while G munched pretzels watching his beloved Mets, Jets, Islanders – name the season, he had a team.

About the only quirk we had in common, besides a conservative political streak, atypical for two gay men, was that we were both Type A’s, all CAPS, which didn’t always work well either if we didn’t agree on what was worth getting Type A’d over.

Now if sex were still in the equation, maybe the rest wouldn’t matter that much. But by six months into our cohabitation, George showed less and less interest in me or frankly anybody else though in our later knock-down arguments about my fucking around he would admit boldly to a tryst or two along the way. Saturday nights he preferred watching TV to going out, but I, who had worked all week in the burbs, needed the decadence of the West Village streets. So I went out alone.

Picking up a gay rag one night in the Eagle, an iconic Village levi/leather bar, I noticed an ad for a place called “Man’s Country.”  It was a bathhouse in the West 20’s (easy parking) and for two bucks on a Tuesday night you could get a locker and play for four hours.

I had never done the bathhouse scene before, not even in LA, but used the excuse of running evening community seminars at the hospital as my cover. And there we were – all of us young, virile gay boys, in the prime of our sexiness, screwing like there was no tomorrow – all for the price of a light bulb. It was there that a trick introduced me to poppers which to this day I am psychologically addicted to and associate with good sex. He also gave me the tip on how to avoid a headache if you did too much of the shit – drink plenty of water.

Had I known about the baths before G and I had met, we probably would have lasted two weeks. Looking back now, I was never the marrying kind.

And raising the issue of an “open” relationship or even just a plain buddyship was never in the equation with G who abhorred gay culture and would take an argumentative stance on almost everything. Most guys – and str8’s – would argue about money and infidelity. We would argue about what plants to put on the terrace. It was either G’s way or the highway.

But stay with G I did, maybe because he was responsible and did his share of the shopping and cleaning and all the other shit that goes along with living; maybe because for a long time he never questioned where I was on a Saturday night that became my weekly tubs excursion; maybe because we shared financials which just made it easier.

Or maybe because, to this day, I never met a more str8 gay man or more real guy than G.

And now know I never will.

Monday: Peter, the older Italian stallion who wanted to keep me – I should have taken him up on his offer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Life As A Gay Man- 1971: George,, Part 1

My Life As A Gay Man- 1971: George, Part 1

I left L.A. in February of 1971 and came back home to my parents to live in the same room I had first jerked off in as a 12 year old. There was a recession going on at the time and teaching jobs had dried up. And I had no idea what to do with two degrees, one in English, one in Dramatic Arts. In those days before Career Builders and Monster.com, the only way to find a professional job was to religiously comb the Employment section of the Sunday New York Times and hit the pavement, checking out the agencies in Manhattan.

After weeks of futility, one of these agencies came up with an assistant to the editorial supervisor position at the public relations department at Blue Cross. Public relations? Was that group sex, I chuckled  to myself, but I guess my boyish looks which appealed to older women and closet pedophiles at the time got me the job because Betty Lumen, the editorial supervisor, hired me on the spot.

The office located high on the 35th floor of this corporate temple on 26th and Lex was reminiscent of today’s “Mad Men,” an Irish mafia dominated by a band of chain smoking men who often came back from liquid lunches. Betty, the only woman on the professional staff, had been hired by old man Coleman, the sainted founder of Blue Cross, but was in a state of perpetual hyperactivity, looking back now, I think because as competent as Betty was, she felt insecure in this Land of the Gonads. But we got along and she taught me the basics of a profession that would rule my life.

Sunday afternoon beer busts in the Village were perfect for fags like me who still lived with their parents. You could hit the bars around 5 or 6, and if you got lucky, connect with a guy with a place nearby and be home like a choirboy by 9.

I think we all know the type of guy who turns us on from the first nanosecond our cock stirs when we see him, and for me Club Med men were my drug. Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, as long as they were shorter than taller, beefier than skinnier, with plenty of dark body hair and at least a Mark Spits moustache to match.

And for me on that balmy August Sunday evening, that guy’s name was George, the man who I would spend the next two thirds of my life with, even if those years were far from perfect.

I spotted him in the back of the Roadhouse, a popular guy’s bar, munching peanuts from a barrel and bullshitting with some other guys who looked like buddies. Average height, he had a face that was a cross between a young Omar Sharif and a young John Stossel, black curly hair, thick black moustache, with square shoulders and a beefy demeanor like James Caan and, if his half unbuttoned flannel shirt didn’t lie,  just as hairy.

I kept staring his way, off and on for the next half hour, as did he, that is, once he realized I was looking his way. But no grin or smile or dead stare to tell me he was interested. I guzzled another beer, and when I saw he was all alone, I swallowed my pride, and took off my two dollar K-Mart red T-shirt to see if all my fur would get his undivided attention.

It did.

Then, pretending I was on a movie set doing a scene with the crane camera following me across the bar, I walked right up to him with a pick-up line he never let me live down:

“What’s a good looking guy like you doing in a place like this?”

He laughed, I think more at my unoriginality than anything else, introduced himself and, in a Brooklynese accent that made my Jersey twang sound like the King’s English, asked if I wanted to go for coffee across the street. He was all guy – no nelly handsome hunk here – and I flipped my T-shirt back on as out we strolled.

For the next half hour or so over coffee, we chatted about the things two strangers chat about. George worked in the back offices of one of Wall Street’s brokerage firms, and lived with his older sister, Jeannie, in Bay Ridge, a neighborhood populated by second and third generation Syrians just like him. It was Jeannie who with his brothers raised him, a change of life baby and ten years younger than his youngest brother, after their parents died in a one-two punch when he was 5.

But all that kept going through my mind as I stared at his hairy, hairy chest and into those deep, brown eyes was that I wanted him, wanted him bad – even that fucken Brooklyn accent was a turn-on – and there was no place for us to go

Finally, I popped the question.

“Listen, sexy man, you interested in playing?”

“Maybe,” he replied with a sly but hesitant grin.

“Well, since I live at home and you live at home, maybe we can sneak down to the trucks. I hear sometimes one of them is open and guys will go down there …”

Those were the days when the trucks lined the Meat Market section of West Street on the river and I had gone down there a few Saturday nights but hadn’t been courageous or stupid enough to explore what all the moaning inside in the shadows was all about.

“No, not for me.” He answered strongly back, almost as if I had insulted him.

“I’m sorry, I just thought … ..”

“Listen, give me your number, I’ll call you during the week. There’s a flophouse hotel in the twenties I’ve taken some girls to. Maybe we can go there.”

“So you’ve seen both sides of the fence?” I replied, me a guy who had never even dated a girl.

“Yea, I gotta be honest with you, I’ve only been out a few years, still kinda closeted, and frankly most of this fucken life you can shove down the toilet. But I’ve fessed up to myself that I like guys more than girls, and like Willy Sutton once said, I rob banks ‘cause that’s where the money is. I go to gay bars ‘cause that’s where the men are.”

I learned later George had almost walked down the aisle twice but, unlike a lot of guys pressured by family or friends, had managed to escape the ring boy.

We shook hands like two str8 guys, then I went on my way and he on his. I hit a couple of more bars, felt both elated and depressed, and drowned that bittersweet ache in my stomach with a few more drinks before I aimed my Chevy Vega for the Lincoln Tunnel and home.

I didn’t expect to hear from him again, but was pleased I had not stood like I usually did, like a cigar store Indian all night, cruising, wondering, hoping but doing nothing. At least I had made a move.

But two days later in the office, I got the call.

It was George.

More George Friday

 

 

 

My Life As A Gay Man – The Series: 1969, My Days in L.A. and Jordan, Part 4

My Life As A Gay Man – The Series: 1969, My Days in L.A. and Jordan, Part 4

The spring semester was coming to an end – my last semester of classroom courses – after that, all I had was my thesis. By then, I had moved to a nice garden apartment studio off Melrose in Hollyweird; a place on a ground floor would be easier for Jordan I thought. But those last weeks were so busy, it seemed we never had a chance to connect, or, at least Jordan never had, and I naively blamed it on school work. Remember I was all of 22 and had not yet gone through the Gay School of Hard Knocks.

All this time, I never spoke to Reese who still hadn’t really nodded more than a few “hi – byes” to me at school.

As the last major project for the semester, my drama class would be producing a student play – mine. “Sorrowful Thunder” was a one act-er about a World War I doughboy who comes back after his disfiguring death by mustard gas to review his youth with the people in his life who counted. Sure it had a heavy anti-war theme, but peacenik shit sold.  I had left the juiciest role for myself, that of the doughboy who you actually never see and who “talks” from the “trenches,” the floor, front stage, until the climactic scene when the spotlight hits him and you see him in all his disfigurement and pain. Reese and I hadn’t spoken much since the Halloween party but she was chosen to play my mother and we warmed up a bit to one another, at least in practice.

Bernie Katz, one of the rich kids in the cast who lived in Beverly Hills – his father was a big time TV producer for some sit-com that got canned the following season – offered to host an author/cast party at his parent’s place – they, of course, were conveniently out of town. And Bernie was a brother; we had run into one another a few times at The Stables.

With no car, I had no way to get to the party, but Reese offered to give me a ride.

“You’re still pissed, aren’t you, I didn’t pair off with that guy,” I said as we drove over, figuring this would be as good a time as any to clear the air.

“Don’t worry about it. You know, there’s always another pretty little boy just waiting around the corner.”

“So how’s Jordan doing?” I asked, careful not to show too much interest.

“You’ll have a chance to ask him yourself, “she replied smugly. “I brought him over to Bernie’s before the show.”

And there in the den, already drunk or high or both, were Jordan and Bernie.

Making out.

I wasn’t about to wear my devastation on my sleeve, either to them or Reese whose  sardonic glare told me she had known all about Jordan and me. Instead, I turned around, took a deep breath, and walked into the living room and a sea of fags and their faghags.

I was hoping that when Jordan finally hobbled over to me, alone, he would apologize or explain or do something to ease my pain. But he didn’t.

“That’s the way it is,” he muttered emotionless.

“You mean Bernie can take that nine incher of yours up his ass with no problem,” I replied, still trying to keep my cool. “Or is it his daddy’s money that gets you hard?”

“Maybe both,” said Jordan, and as he turned away, apparently to go back to Bernie who was standing at the edge of room waiting impatiently for him to finish his treatise with me, I did probably the nastiest  thing I would ever do in my life.

I tripped him.

The room went numb as Jordan fell over like a theater flat being razed. I don’t remember much what happened next. Some guy I think punched me out, next thing I was in a cab going back to my apartment.

I never saw Reese and Jordan again.

The last time I saw Tommie, bags and boxes of garbage were steeped high outside his apartment door. On the top, in a crumpled ball, was his match cover collection. Broker than me, he had eaten shit and called the boss of his beauty shop in West Virginia and asked for his old job back. He said he was glad he hadn’t given his winter jacket away to the thrift shop.

By now I was living on Campbell’s soup. The last thing I wanted was to return to Jersey and my possessive parents, but with no car and no money to buy one with, it was next to impossible to find a job. I had worked since moving to Hollywood at the Broadway Department store on Hollywood Boulevard, just a few blocks from Grauman’s, in the gift wrapping department. Even after I got my degree that February, my boss, a motherly type straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, was willing to keep me on as long as I wanted. Here I was with two degrees, wrapping other people’s shit in the windowless basement of the store for minimum wage.

Then came the earthquake of January of ’71, strong enough to break windows and twist pipes in Hollywood and bring down a hospital in the Valley, and I realized God had made my decision for me. A week later I was on a plane back to Newark Airport.

Many years later, when I was already a successful health care public relations and marketing executive, I ran into Terry Fallon, the guy who had played my father in my little one acter, at a PR conference at the Waldorf. He was now some big shit at Dow Chemical after years in LA and he filled me in on what had happened.

Reese had ended up marrying one of her clients who used her as a beard til she divorced him after ten years and moved to Hawaii.

And as for Jordan, the first furry love of my gay life, he died just a few years after our time together of uremic poisoning, probably from his infected stumps that he never gave a chance to heal.

He was 29.

Wednesday – George, my humpy hairy Arab-American and life partner who I’ve betrayed thousands of times.