In March 2000, I was back in West Hollywood for my friend Larry's annual Oscar party. March 25th, the night before, Lane and Randall (the bear with the pierced penis) took me out to all our old haunts: Bodhi Tree, Different Light, the French Quarter, the Gold Coast, Mugi, the Faultline.
But we never made it to the Faultline.
I was struck by a twink sitting at the bar in the Gold Coast. A little shorter than me, broad shoulders, very handsome round face with sandy hair and glasses, kind of a Harry Potter look except for the lumberjack shirt.
I sat next to him. He said "Howdy, pardner," and held out his hand to be shaken.
Our legs pressed together under the bar. "Can I buy you another beer?" I asked.
"Heck, I'll buy you a beer. I'll buy everybody a beer. Drinks are on me!"
"Well, I don't really drink."
"A virgin margarita, then. You have to let me buy you something. I can afford it. I'm Harvey, and I'm always going to be Harvey, no matter what they say!!"
Was that name supposed to mean something? All I could think of was Harvey the Giant Rabbit in the James Stuart movie. "Ok, Harvey, a Coke will be fine."
He seemed a little soused, but not unbearably so. I reached out, unbuttoned a couple of buttons of his lumberjack shirt, and slid my hand down to feel his firm, hairy chest. Few twinks have that much hair -- I was hooked!
I reached down and groped him.
Nice bulge. Maybe a Kielbasa beneath the belt. I was even more hooked!
"Hey!" Harvey exclaimed. "This place is dead! Let's go to the Rage!"
"Well, I'm here with my friends. We were going to go to Mugi. We're a little old for the Rage."
"Nonsense. You're with me. Harvey can open every door."
The Rage was only a few blocks from our old apartment. Maybe it would be fun.
It wasn't. The music was blaring, the air was thick with cigarette smoke and poppers, and there were swarming munchkins everywhere. It was uncomfortable for everyone, especially the bears I dragged along.
They sat at one of the little round tables, drinking their beers, while Harvey and I danced. Or did whatever swaying movements we could with the press of gyrating twinks.
Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Randall.
"Hey, either seal the deal and let's go home and screw," he yelled, trying to make himself understood over the roar, "Or drop this twink and let's go home and screw!"
"Ok, ok." I took Harvey by the hand and led him to a dark area where couples went to kiss.
"What do you want to do now?" he asked, grinning.
"What do you think?" I put my arms around him, and we started kissing. He allowed only a brief kiss, mouth closed -- not very impressive. I reached down and groped him again. He didn't grope me in return.
A bit cool, but I was too into him to notice. "Let's go back to my place. I'm staying in my friends' guest room."
"You kidding! The night is young, and there's about a dozen more clubs we haven't been to yet. Let's go up to the Strip -- the Viper Room!"
"Well, I'm sort of ready to go now," I said anxiously.
He put his arm around me, not affectionately, but as a way of steering me away. "Another time, bro. Let me give you my number."
I handed him a notebook, and he scribbled a number and the name "Nate," not "Harvey." I gave him mine, too.
"Are you free tomorrow night, Nate? I'm going to an Oscar party at this great house in the heart of Old Hollywood."
"Sounds great! Call me!"
I kissed him again, and reluctantly left him at the Rage.
Randall, Lane, and I went to Mugi, but they cautioned "No more twinks! Act your age!"
I was too embarrassed to try to pick up anyone else, anyway.
The next day I called Nate's number about noon and about 5:00 pm, and got an answering machine both times.
The day after that, I called the number again, got an answering machine again, and gave up.
A few weeks later, back in New York, I happened to be home on Friday night, switching through the tv channels, and I ran into Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the sitcom based on the Archie comics series. I hadn't seen it since the first season.
There was Harvey, Sabrina's boyfriend, played by 22-year old Nate Richert.
I had gone out with a celebrity, without realizing it!
Nate has had several girlfriends, and was married to his childhood sweetheart, Catherine Hannah, for several years. The couple has since divorced.
So what did that night at the Gold Coast and the Rage mean?
Was Nate gay and closeted?
Bisexual, just starting to explore his attraction to guys?
I suspect that he was straight, trying to make friends, not sure how to respond to aggressive cruising, rejecting me in an incredibly classy way.
But really, I have no idea.
The full post, with nude photos (not of Nate Richert), is on Tales of West Hollywood