Feb 12, 2016

My Little Black Book

Someone asked "How can you remember all this stuff? Names, dates, the exact restaurant you went to?"

Cruising in Tucumcari in 2004
The Great Redneck Roundup of 1995.
Having lunch with Michael J. Fox in 1985.
Learning about oral sex in the church parking lot in 1975
My first date with a boy, in 1968, when I was only 7 years old.

Here's how:

1. In gay neighborhoods, when friends get together, they often swap stories of erotic, romantic, and homophobic encounters.  I've told some of these stories dozens of times.

2. I fill in the details with research.  I didn't remember the name of the bar where I met the Nebraska Cornhusker in 1995, so I looked up a likely suspect -- hopefully it didn't just open in 2015.

3. I take artistic license for the purpose of plotting.  I'll invent conversations, modify details, change the people involved, in order to get from incident to story.

4. I have a Little Black Book.

When I was 13 years old, one of my Christmas presents was a diary -- a red, square book with gold-laminated pages and a lock and key, one of the few times that my parents consented to give me a girly gift rather than macho sports equipment.

I used it as a date book, to keep track of my concerts, parties, church activities -- and, of course, boys that I liked.

At Indiana University, when Viju and I began picking up guys in bars, I kept records, as a safety precaution.  If you came down with a STD, you should call all of the guys you've been with recently.

In West Hollywood, there were so many things going on, dates, dinners, movies, parties, classes, jobs, festivals -- that you needed a calendar to keep track of it all.  I recorded almost all of my social activities, so now I can go back and see what happened on my first date with Alan, or my third date with Raul, or with the guys that Lane and I shared.

In the early 1990s, I transferred it all to a computer file, and I've kept it up, sometimes faithfully, sometimes not.

When I have a partner and don't hook up often, I tend to go into more detail.

Here, for instance, is my entry for the night of my first experience as a bottom in ten years, in Barcelona in 1994:

June 24th.  Worked out, very nice gym.  Sagrada Familia, Picasso Museum.  Bear Night/Sauna Condal.

Busy!  Raul, Chinese Catalan, grandparents didn't speak Mandarin, spoke Wu.  "Have you eaten?" = "Hello."  Him and a muscle bear at the same time.  Into Catalan Independence Movement.  Went to El Quatre Gats, where Picasso hung out.  Dinner with roommate, big hairy bear, curved dk.   Trinxat, cabbage quiche.  Split for bedroom, me and Raul, small, passionate, was G.A. (!).  No breakfast.

With that prompt, I remembered a lot more.  I just had to add some conversations and a few details.

But here is my entry for my date with the Nastiest Guy in the World, in New York in 1998:

February 11th.  Crazy Troy from chatroom said he had room to rent in the City, actually had a studio, tricked me into going there just for a date!

Other than that entry, what I remembered was Troy belittling everyone in the chatroom, him picking me up at the train station, driving forever to get to his apartment, and sitting on the couch, where I suddenly realized that it was a single.

I had to make up whole conversations, the restaurant we went to -- I just remembered Indian -- and what his apartment looked like.

It's an odd experience going through the entries, recalling people that I knew back then, as friends, boyfriends, dates, or hookups, who are probably still living and breathing and going about their daily lives in some city far away.

I wonder if they remember.

When they're sitting around with their friends, swapping stories of dates from hell, gigantic penises, guys with too many weird quirks to date a second time, and beautiful men who got away, does my name come up?

And which one am I?

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