Dec 30, 2015

Summer 1988: A Preacher, a Porn Star, and Two Cute Young Things

Alan the ex-porn star returned to West Hollywood in late May 1988, having failed to start gay Pentecostal churches in Japan and Thailand.  Always optimistic, he planned to try again -- this time in France.

So he spent the summer garbling his high school French to everyone in earshot and listening to annoying French pop songs.

Meanwhile, my ex-boyfriend Fred accepted the offer to attend the Claremont School of Theology, in spite of the objections of his Cute Young Thing (real name: Matt).  They moved to California in July 1988, and found an apartment in Pomona.

I hadn't noticed before, but Alan and Fred came from similar backgrounds, had similar personalities, and had similar physiques (tall, buffed, gifted where it counts).  They were both infinitely attractive to Cute Young Things.  What would happen, I wondered, when they met?

Would they become arch-nemeses, like Superman and Lex Luther?  Would the world explode?

One way to find out:

In July 1988 I invited them over for dinner: Alan and his new boyfriend Jin, Fred and Matt, and my sort-of ex Raul. I made chicken a l'orange, asparagus, and garlic bread, and Raul brought over some kind of flan for dessert.

They were both perfectly polite during dinner, neither argumentative nor cruisy. We discussed Hollywood, Barney Frank, my doctoral dissertation, Raul's new job, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Married...with Children, and our coming out stories (in 1988, gay men always told their coming out stories to every new person they met).

So far so good.  Then we sat down to watch a movie I rented (in 1988, watching movies at home was a new, exciting experience, the focus of many parties).

Then it began:  "I'm moving to France next month," Alan announced, "To start a gay Pentecostal church."

"Aren't they mostly Catholic?" Fred asked.

"That's why God called me there.  57 million people means 6 million gay people who need the Lord."

"So...you don't think that Roman Catholicism is a legitimate spiritual path?"

"Of course not.  It's all about going through intermediaries, like the Pope.  You need a personal relationship with Christ."

"Hey, I teach at a Catholic college!" I protested (I was an adjunct at Loyola Marymount College).  They ignored me to argue about universalism.

And revelation, incarnation, glossolalia, eschatology, exegesis, while the rest of us tried to watch the movie.  Jin and Matt looked bored, cruised each other, and eventually vanished into one of the bedrooms.

"Hey, your boyfriends are making it!" I exclaimed.  But Alan and Fred didn't care (in 1988, "sharing" one's boyfriend was commonplace). They kept disputing and exhorting and contextualizing.



The movie ended. It was time to go.  In 1988, parties in West Hollywood traditionally ended with everyone::
1. Going to the bars; or
2. Pairing off and going to the bedrooms..

But they kept theologizing and philosophizing.

So I tried my ace in the hole. Alan had been trying unsuccessfully to trick with Raul for years, so I sent Raul over to gently squeeze his thigh.

That worked!

Alan got flushed and tongue-tied, and tried to grope Raul.  Then he said,  "It's about time I tracked down Jin."

They both stood, and Fred put his arm around his waist.  "I'll go with you." He stopped half way up the stairs, turned, and grinned. "Thanks for a great party, Boomer and Raul!  See  you in the morning!"

Many theological disputes can be solved in a bedroom.