Yuri was 14 years younger than me.
Matt the Security Guard, 17 years younger.
Mario the Teen Model, 19 years younger.
But the biggest age gap: 26 years!
And he was obviously gay, staring at biceps and baskets.
And apparently into me, following me around, asking questions, trying to maneuver to see me naked in the shower.
I did the same things in high school!
I decided that I was going to mentor this kid, make sure he didn't have the same trouble I had: assumed heterosexual, not aware that gay people exist.
But this was 2005, in a gay neighborhood. Things had changed!
One day in late January, he approached me when I was alone in the locker room. "That guy you always work out with -- is he your boyfriend?"
WTF? "Um..um...you mean Yuri? We're just friends. I don't have a boyfriend.'
"Me, neither." He grinned. "You into younger guys?"
"Are you kidding? I've been out since before you were born. What are you, about sixteen?"
"Hey, I'm eighteen!" Stanton exclaimed, offended. "And I can prove it. Wanna see my id?"
I checked. Eighteen years and two months. "But...shouldn't you be cruising guys your own age?"
"What's cruising mean?"
At that moment, someone else came into the locker room, and Stanton quickly moved away.
The next day Stanton approached me again. "My basketball team is playing against Dillard on Saturday. It's the semi-quarterfinal. Do you want to come? And we could go for pizza afterwards."
"Will you be bringing a girl?" I asked.
"What? No! Why would I bring a girl?"
"Just joking," I said, smiling as I recalled how Verne and I went on basketball-and-pizza dates in high school, only we had to bring girls along as a screen. "Anyway, I can't go -- previous engagement. But thanks for the offer."
Next he invited me to see Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, the movie based on the series of children's books.
I declined, mostly because I was worried that everyone in the theater would think we were father and son.
Later I told Barney and Yuri about my teen admirer. "Why don't you just date him?" Barney asked. "He's of legal age, and he's cute, so what's the problem?"
"The problem is, he was born 2 years after I moved to West Hollywood! His first childhood crush was Richard Lane Jackson on Saved by the Bell: The New Class!"
"So what? When Christopher Isherwood met Don Bachardy, he was 48, and Bachardy was 18. It was a match made in heaven!"
A few days later, Stanton invited me to Sebastian Street, the gay beach in Fort Lauderdale, where we could swim, sunbathe, and ogle cute guys all afternoon. I agreed, but insisted on bringing Barney and Yuri along. Stanton countered by bringing his two high school buddies, Ronnie and Keaton.
In addition to discussions of the measurements of passersby and the actors they would like to "get with," they talked incessantly of Green Day. When I put on a tape of Olivia Newton-John singing "Let's Get Physical," they cupped their ears and pretended to gag.
Afterwards, Stanton suggested that the three of them come back to our house to "party," but I refused. I permitted a good-night kiss in the car, though.
And another good-night kiss in the car.
"Don't go bragging to all your friends about how you scored," I joked.
He didn't get the term score, or the reference to second season of The Simpsons.
We dated a few more times, but it was obvious that the relationship wasn't going anywhere. For one thing, Stanton was entering his prime partying years, and I was perfectly happy staying home on Saturday night.
For another, Green Day.
So I called it quits.
When I told Barney, he immediately asked if it was ok for him to ask Stanton out. The age difference didn't bother him a bit.
The uncensored story, with nude pics, is on Tales of West Hollywood.