In that world of total darkness, it's nothing short of miraculous that I managed to meet 13 gay guys in Rock Island or nearby during my four years at Augustana.
1. Peter the Male Witch. First I tried asking around, but the only gay guy anyone at Augustana knew of was Peter the male witch, who was expelled for being gay a few years ago.
2. Mary's Brother. My friend Mary was worried that her kid brother Jake might be gay. She asked me to visit her during spring break and find out.
3. The Dwarf at the Post Office. He made eye contact a little "too long," and "accidentally" touched my hand as I passed him the package to be mailed. I found an excuse to go to the post office every day for a week before I got the nerve to ask him out.
4. Cute Nerd or Creepy Old Guy. He was way older than me, in his 30s, a regular at the library book sales. I invited myself back to his creepy old house to help him carry the load of books he had bought, but was he a lonely gay guy or a serial killer?
5. Fred the Ministerial Student. When the ministerial student at the United Church of Christ asked me out to dinner, I wasn't sure if he meant a date or not. I wasn't even sure that he was gay.
6. The Priest with Three Boyfriends. Fred introduced me to his friend Thomas, an Episcopal priest who had three boyfriends and introduced me to the concept of "sharing."
7. Tricking My Friend into a Date. Haldor was a member of the Bookstore Gang who never dated girls. But was he gay? So I suggested a dating contest: we would systematically ask out all of the eligible girls at Augustana, and the one who got the most dates won. Of course, we would both go along on each of the dates, and go back to my room after dropping the girl off.
8. Adam at the Bell Tower. Adam was the bookstore manager, a few years older than me, who wanted to "big brother" me. I wanted a kiss.
9. My Professor's Handcuff Party. Every year Dr. Burton, the geology professor, held a handcuff party for his advanced students.
10. What the Graffiti Meant. In junior high Brian wrote a mysterious message, "Brian gives free LBJs," on the school wall. The summer after my junior year Brian, now in college, told me what the graffiti meant.
11. My First Gay Rights March. That same summer, I marched in my first gay pride parade -- except they were Gay Rights Marches then, with placards demanding an end to sodomy laws and police harassment. I met a University of Iowa Russian major named Mickey.
12. The Priest with the Pushy Mom. My second real boyfriend, an ex-Greek Orthodox priest with a Mortadella+ and a pushy Mom. I held on for two months to get access to the Mortadella+, but finally Mom was too much for me, and I bolted.
13. The Chubby Musician. During my senior year, a freshman started working at the radio station, and immediately took over: a music major, black, chubby, annoyingly elitist, extraordinarily feminine. But was he gay?
The uncensored post, with nude pictures, is on Tales of West Hollywood.