When I was living in Manhattan, I always got off at the Christopher Street Station, even though I actually lived closer to 14th Street. I never got tired of walking past the Stonewall Inn, where gay liberation began, or the Gay Liberation Monument in Christopher Park.
Sometimes there was a Catholic priest walking next to me.
At least I assumed he was a Catholic priest -- he was dressed all in black.
He was in his 20s, shorter than me, with broad shoulders, dark skin, and Asian features. Very handsome. He spoke slowly and formally, as if English wasn't his first language.
I could never remember exactly when he approached. One moment I was walking alone, and the next, he was walking beside me.
When I thought about it, I figured that he was a friend of Andre, who belonged to a Traditional Catholic spiritual community. But I didn't think about it much. Everything seemed perfectly ordinary.
As we walked five or six blocks down Christopher Street and the Avenue of the Americas, the priest asked me questions.
"What kind of food is your favorite?"
"What occupation does your father have?"
"Are there locations where gay people congregate?"
"Why does your government forbid gay people from serving in the military?"
I was pleasantly surprised that a Catholic priest was so gay-friendly.
Sometimes very personal:
"What is your preferred method of achieving an orgasm?"
"Do you have a preferred size in the penises of your partners?"
But I answered them without hesitation, never even thinking how odd it was for a priest to be asking me about penis sizes as we walked down the Avenue of the Americas together.
When we got to 13th Street, I turned right to go to my apartment, and the priest vanished. I assumed that he was continuing north to the Church of St. Francis Xavier, but actually I never saw where he went.
He was definitely my type, and I'm particularly interested in priests. But for some reason I never thought of inviting him out on a date, or for a hook up.
Then one day in the spring of 2000, he invited himself.
When we got to 13th Street, I turned righ, as usual, but the priest continued to walk next to me.. "I am very interested in new experiences," he said. "If you are free just now, could we go to your room?"
I didn't protest.
"Would you like a soda?" I asked. "Or some water?"
"Certainly, if that is customary. Water, please."
On the way to the kitchen, I thought, "Does he really want to hook up, or am I imagining it? If I make a move and he's not interested, he'll think all gay men are sexual predators. But if I don't make a move..."
When I returned, the priest was sitting on the bed. "Is this your preferred starting location?" he asked.
"Um...sure, but...well, I thought you guys were celibate."
He took the glass of water from my hands and drained it in a few gulps, as if he was very thirsty -- or nervous. "Oh, no, we can enjoy sexual intimacies with whomever we wish. We get very few opportunities, however. There is so much other work to do. Should I remove my clothing?"
What followed was very unsatisfying. The priest had a nice physique and respectable beneath-the-belt gifts, but he was singularly inept.
He kissed by opening his mouth as wide as he could.
He just lay there like a statue, responding without emotion, saying nothing except "Am I doing it right?"
When we were finished, instead of cuddling, he got up and quickly dressed. "Thank you very much," he said. "This was very enjoyable." He headed for the door.
"Shouldn't we exchange telephone numbers?"
The priest looked surprised. "If it is customary." I gave him my card, and he wrote a name and a telephone number on a piece of paper. Then I walked him to the door, and he vanished into the cool Manhattan evening.
I never saw him again.
The name he gave was "Mario Sanchez, OSB" and the telephone number was for the Department of Religion at Columbia University, but there was no one by that name on the faculty.
Later I read Jenny Randles' The Truth Behind the Men in Black, about the weird men dressed in old-fashioned black suits who question people who see UFOs. They ask bizarre questions and behave oddly, yet no one finds them unusual at the time. (They were popularized in a series of movies starring Will Smith).
Maybe the priest was an alien-human hybrid conducting research on gay people.
Or just a Catholic monk with a strange cruising technique.
See also: The Homophobic Demon and The Y2K Bug