If you had muscles, you could go anywhere you wanted, but you were expected to date guys within about a five year age range. Much older or younger, and the tongues would wag.
In the fall of 1997, after trying several careers, I started a new graduate program, in Sociology (the closest I could come to Gay Studies), at Stony Brook University in New York. I was 36 years old, pushing 37, so I figured I would be dating guys in their 30s, maybe early 40s.
Instead, I was swarmed by Twinks, Cute Young Things, even teenagers.
On my first day on campus, I was walking toward the Social Science Building, when a slim, feminine guy who looked about 16 came rushing up. "Vi iz Ruski?" he asked excitedly.
"Futbolku s Ruskoi Reki !" he said, pointing at my chest. "Your football shirt -- it says 'Russia River.'"
Oh, right. I forgot that I was wearing a t-shirt from the Russian River. "It's a gay resort...um, a town where gays go."
He frowned. "Ok, but what does gays mean?"
How long had he lived in New York? "Gay...men who like men...for dates and falling in love."
"Oh, oh...goluboi...blue." He grinned broadly.
Yuri turned out to be 23, a little older than I thought, but still much too young for me, a grad student from Russia, studying meteorology. A pretty, feminine face with soft features, but nicely muscled -- from the day we met, he dragged me to the gym every afternoon to work out for two hours.
Remembering my brief obsession with Russia in college, I considered changing my age rule. But was he gay?
He claimed to be heterosexual: "Some day I will get married and have a lot of kids." But he had never met anyone gay before, and he wanted to know everything about it.
Everything. Names, dates, sizes, positions. Especially cock sizes.
"When you were in West Hollywood, did you have sex with Tom Cruise? How big is he?"
"Ok, what about Lane? How big is he? Do you have pictures with his clothes off?"
Most heterosexuals don't ask a lot of questions about sizes. But I still wasn't sure.
In October, I invited Yuri to a Halloween party, and chased him around with a giant foam dildo. He didn't mind a little surreptitious fondling in the back seat of the car on the way home, but when Josh, who was giving us a ride, asked "Do you want to be dropped off at your dorm or Boomer's place?" he said "Dorm!"
In December, I invited Yuri to a Christmas party. Tickets cost $15, with a catered dinner and dancing. But he refused to dance with me! Instead, he approached a girl and asked her to dance.
When he got back to our table, I told him, mostly in jest, "I paid for your ticket, so you owe me. Either get up on that dance floor with me now, or get into my bed later."
He chose my bed.
Next: Yuri fixes me up with Jann the Estonian Mountain Climber, helps me land my boyfriend's roommate, and finds the world's largest penis.