My Life As a Gay Man: Lauderdale James, Part II
No, I wasn’t one of those urban fags that knew legions of buddies who died of a disease that ironically disfigured men so obsessed with their looks and physical being. But I do remember Bobbie Rosenberg who lived on the Upper East Side in an old walk-up, a relic of the turn-of the-last-century days when immigrants crowded what were then considered tenements. We had met at Uncle Charlie’s, a local bar, played around one night, then morphed into Saturday night bar hopping buddies. While I watched the clock, and wondered what the traffic would be like in the Lincoln Tunnel since I was still living at home at the time in Jersey, Bobbie, moonfaced, stoop-shouldered Bobbie, knew exactly what to do to get a man to come back with him.
I was fucken jealous and rationalized that the guys were so horny they’d fuck their cat by that point.
Bobbie also had the not-so-coveted knack of contracting the Disease of the Month which didn’t bother him at all; in fact, he’d often brag to me about what exotica he had caught getting fucked. Amoebas were my favorite.
December 31, 1979, Bobbie hosted a New Year’s Eve Party in his tiny apartment and invited George and I. I remember watching Dave Clark who had that gay icon group, “The Village People” on. They sang some song extolling the upcoming new decade and the buzz among us gay guys was that the ‘80’s were to be OUR time. Had we known what was ahead, we would have dumped our poppers down the toilet and joined a seminary. Looking back, though I know it wasn’t true, AIDS seemed like some Biblical retribution for the Sodom and Gomorrah ‘70’s.
I lost touch with Bobbie soon after that (George was never a fan of his – “he’s a pig”), and I often wondered if Bobbie had been swept away in the First Wave of the AIDS genocide that hit soon after.
So yes, I should have known better. Plus, I’m an educated professional with two degrees, and worked in healthcare most of my career. And even with the cocktail, guys still suffer vestiges of the disease or side effects from the heavy duty drugs they’re forced to take in the form of blown out joints, dementia, liver failure, haggard faces that require fillers to compensate, and wilted bodies unless they juice up.
Yet since James, who remained the best fuck of my life for many years, I prefer, no, hell, will only fuck bareback unless the guy is super-hot and not wearing a sleeve is a deal breaker.
When I went for my first HIV test and had to wait a week for the results, I was convinced, even though I never bottomed, I would be positive and was ready to accept that reality since I was an adult male who knew exactly what he was dealing with, not some poor weepy victim, a role so many guys I’d meet took on who played with fire after 1985 when it was clear you didn’t get it from a toilet seat or a bad bottle of poppers. But each time I’ve been tested, I come up negative, and even my gay doc subscribes to the theory that some guys – maybe a very small number of us – are just immune.
Or maybe just lucky.
And you know what they say about luck.
As I was fucking James that first time I glanced over to the wall to the side of his bed where a diploma from the University of Chicago hung.
He later explained how his father, a corporate attorney, and his mother, a psychologist, had wanted him to go into medicine. He certainly had the smarts. But not the ambition, and in his junior year he switched to Music.
“Playing?” I asked.
“Well I play gigs when I can, but my heart is in composing.”
Then he took me by my hand and led me to a side corner off the bathroom where a tower of computer equipment and a keyboard glowed in the shadows.
“Let me show you,” and he brought up on the pc screen a song he had written and began playing it. I couldn’t resist leaning my chest and abs against his back and butt as he fiddled around with all those keys and knobs.
Five minutes later, we were fucking all over again.
Thinking back to James today, I think he became for me emblematic of so many guys down here in Lauderdale. Guys in their fifties, forties, even thirties, most of them poz, who did little with their lives, made sex and partying, with or without Tina, their career, and now lived on the dole – Social Security Disability, food stamps, subsidized rents – coupled with odd, “under the table” jobs, without a thought for tomorrow.
Great fucks like James, iconic specimens of manhood that almost any gay man or str8 woman would give their right ball or right tit to have, but propped up like a glitzy Hollywood set, peeling away on the other side from dry rot.
I fucked James two more times. On the third and last time, he surprised me by having some smooth fuck buddy over who wanted to watch two furry guys go at it. When James saw my arousal fading, the guy consented to leave. But 15 minutes after getting back up James’ butt, he had a sudden spell of diarrhea, a side effect of his meds, and shit all over the bed. And my dick. He apologized profusely. I quick took a shower and left.
Since then, James has hit me up every couple of months on Manhunt, but even when I’m in the mood to respond, “OK let’s do it,” he never takes it to that next step. The last time I saw him was the Holiest of Holy Gay Holidays, Halloween, when the main drag in Wilton Manors, Lauderdale’s gay ghetto, is transformed into a block party. Being kinda tame, I dressed up in my harness and jeans, ah, but James, solo, was strutting down the street in his signature outfit – boots and a jockstrap. Did he get attention? Was he desired? Was he hit on?
What do you think?
And as he passed me by and gave me a butchy “hey” wave, I turned around.
Yep. He still had it.
The perfect man’s butt.
Next week: Mitch, my brother, my clone.