I arrive at Heathrow Airport at 5:00 am. Yuri picks me up and takes me to his tiny, incredibly expensive apartment near Soho Square, in the heart of London's gay neighborhood.
His boyfriend Michael is just getting back from the gym: a bodybuilder, naturally, in his 40s, ripped but going a little to fat in the belly, with an oval face, a severe haircut, and several tattoos.
He grunts and squeezes my hand too hard.
Over breakfast, I evidence no knowledge of British football, and make the newbie mistake of complaining that the people in London are rude. You never criticize the country you're visiting!
Michael glares at me. "Gotta go to work, but we'll meet for dinner tonight, yeah? Burger King? Or do you prefer McDonald's? Some other kind of burger?"
"Boomer likes Thai food!" Yuri exclaims, to defuse the situation. "Patara on Greek Street, 6:00, ok?"
They kiss, and Michael leaves.
Yuri has taken the day off, so we go sightseeing: the British Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral, a walk along the Thames, shopping in Soho.
"Michael is a nice guy -- trust me," Yuri says. "He just needs time to know you."
"I was hoping that we could get together in bed again. Are you monogamous?"
"No, we share. But I didn't tell Michael about sharing with you. He's jealous, I think, because we lived together for a long time. You can ask tonight, maybe."
At dinner, Michael is still surly. When we go back to the apartment and sit on the couch to watch tv, Michael sits between me and Yuri. I grab his knee, but he pushes my hand away. Then, overcome by jet lag, I doze off. I vaguely remember someone stretching me out on the couch and putting a blanket over me.
June 2 (Saturday)
I get up at dawn and go into the bedroom to awaken Yuri and Michael with hugs, and hopefully get an invitation into their bed.
"Sorry we overslept, mate," Michael says, pushing me away. "We'll be up soon -- just give us a minute for private time, right?"
I don't mind not "sharing" Michael -- I've been with lots of bodybuilders. But I want to hold Yuri in my arms again.
We have breakfast and go to the gym together, where Michael and I can compete over who can bench-press the most.
Afterwards I try to score some points by suggesting that we go on a tour of Wembly Stadium, where Londoners gather to watch football, but Michael says "Sorry, I'm very busy today. But you and Yuri go on. Get your sunglasses and cameras, and take a tour of Buckingham Palace. Maybe Prince William is taking a shower, yeah?"
He is joking, but since Prince William is 25 years old, it's obvious that he's into young guys. Yuri is 31, but could pass for a teenager.
Yuri and two of his friends drive me out to Stonehenge, and later we rendez-vous with Michael at the Gay Hussar, near their apartment. It isn't actually gay-specific; it serves Hungarian food.
"What do you want to do tonight?" Yuri asks. "We can go cruising. There are lots of nice gay bars in Soho."
"Sure, that would be great. Would you guys mind if I brought someone home?"
"Not at all," Michael says, "If you don't mind blankets on the floor."
I'll bet if I bring a twink home, Michael will suggest more than that.
Yuri hands me a guide book. All types of gay bars, just like in West Hollywood. Leather -- drag -- older guys -- twinks -- and Indie! Obviously British slang for Indian. This must be a bar for South Asians and their admirers, like the bars for black and Asian men in West Hollywood.
"How about this Indie bar just off the Strand. I love South Asian guys!"
"It doesn't..." Yuri begins.
"Now, Yuri, don't be rude, like Londoners. If our guest wants to go to an Indie bar, he can go to an Indie bar."
So we go to the Retro Bar.
How was I to know? I haven't listened to popular music regularly since around 1985. I think Avril Lavigne is a French children's author, and Fergie is Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.
Indie music is horrible, all screeching and incomprehensible lyrics.
And the patrons are very young, barely out of their teens. Some are probably in their teens. We are the only guys over 25 in sight.
I like twinks as much as the next guy, but I feel very out of place in their hangout.
Besides, they aren't clean-cut, muscular college jocks. They are emo, Goth, and scene kids: thin, pale androgynous, with straight black hair, hoodies, shirts emblazoned with cartoon characters, mascara-ed eyes, multiple tattoes, and pierced everything. Not my type at all! Certainly not worth bringing home in the hope of fondling Yuri.
We commandeer a pedestal-table and order expensive juice drinks.
"The guys here are cute, yeah?" Michael says with an evil grin. "So many Desis (South Asians)! But the music is horrible, all screeching and shaking. Not a lot of David Cassidy!"
I'm not going to let him know how uncomfortable I am! "No, Indie music is great. I had no idea. I really love - the Futureheads."
"A Daddy who likes the Futureheads?" someone says. "And an American! That's random, isn't it?"
I turn. It's an emo kid, short, slim but with some muscle, dark skin, and a fringe of beard on his mascara-ed face.
"I'm Nehal. Care to dance?"
Apparently my superheroic attractiveness to twinks works in England as well as America. And, as it turns out, Nehal is a South Asian emo kid.
We dance, flirt, kiss.
"I'd invite you home," Nehal says, "But I stay with my parents, and they're old school conservative and that."
He glances at the pedestal table, where Michael is watching Nehal hungrily, and Yuri is looking bored and gesturing at his watch.
"Three Daddies! Hot!"
First time I ever heard the youthful-looking Yuri described as a "Daddy."
"Maybe I could convince them to move us into the bedroom tonight, yeah? If you don't mind sharing the wealth."
Before the night is over, I see both Michael and Nehal naked. But more importantly, I hold Yuri in my arms again. It feels like going home.
The R-rated sequel is up on Tales of West Hollywood.
See also: Stranded on the Island of Dogs.