Jun 22, 2015

Summer 1997: Cruising for Straight Men at the Gilroy Garlic Festival

In the 1980s and 1990s, when you found a gay haven, you stayed there.   You ventured into the straight world only when absolutely necessary, and then you stayed closeted, undercover, careful not to let your guard down for a moment.  If the straights found out that you were gay -- or even suspected -- they would scream "God hates you!" and grab the nearest baseball bat to attack.

But in July 1997, shortly before I left San Francisco to go to graduate school in New York, my friend David suggested that we drive down to Gilroy for the annual garlic festival.

"Are you crazy?" I exclaimed.  "It will be full of straight people!  We'd never make it out of town alive!"

"I was there last year.  It's fine -- nobody says anything.  The straights might not like us very much, but they don't mind taking our money.  Besides, it's full of the cutest small-town rednecks you'd ever hope to meet."

"You don't....cruise straight men?"  I asked, aghast.  "That's just asking to get beat up!"

"Boy, you've got to get over this straight-o-phobia of yours.  Straight guys get just as horny as you and me.  Tell you what -- we'll get a hotel room, spend the night, and if you don't trick with a straight guy, I'll pay for the whole trip."

The rest of the story is too risque for Boomer Beefcake and Bonding.  You can read it at Tales of West Hollywood.