Apr 23, 2016

Lane and His Trophy Boy

West Hollywood, Summer 1989

You can easily tell whether heterosexual partners have broken up.  They begin going to social events alone, and no longer spend the night together.  Usually they never see each other again, period.

In gay communities, the boundaries are more fluid.

Romantic partners who have broken up continue to run into each other all the time (there aren't many gay places to hang out, after all).  They may still go to social events as a pair.  They may still spend the night together.

So the question "Are you still a couple?"  comes up often:
1. Should I ask about the other guy?
2. Should I invite them to things together?
3. Should I try to fix him up with someone else?
4. Is he free for me to date?

It's gauche to ask, or tell.  You're expected to just know.

My soon-to-be partner Lane met Danny at a gay Passover seder in April 1987.  He was an intensely hot Tropy Boy, 19 years old, newly out, with  a handsome male-model face, short blond hair, flawless pale skin, a smooth chest, and muscular legs.  Jewish, not observant.


[Description of their bedroom activity censored.]

After only three weeks, Danny moved from his parents' house in the San Fernando Valley into Lane's apartment.



Danny was so hot that Lane became the envy of West Hollywood.  Suddenly everybody at the Gold Coast, the gym, and the gay synagogue was his bosom buddy, and wanted to "share."

The problem was: Danny was so used to being a Trophy Boy that he didn't do anything, except drink milk right out of the carton and leave dirty dishes piled on the coffee table.

 He was ostensibly studying education at Cal State L.A., but he didn't go to class, and got straight D's (how do you get a D in an education class?).  Mostly he watched Duck Tales, went to lunch with his Cute Young Thing friends, and spent Lane's money on grooming products and clothes.

Lots of clothes.  55 shirts, 21 pairs of shoes, and 32 belts (he had something of a belt fetish).

The clencher came in May 1989, when Danny failed all of his classes and then cleared out the joint checking account on a Beverly Hills shopping spree.  Lane had to dip into his savings account to pay the rent.

He was furious!  There was crying.  There was yelling.

Danny's wardrobe was thrown, fancy belt by fancy belt, off the balcony.


By the end of the evening, Danny had packed up and moved back in with his parents.

Lane spent two days in his apartment, eating ice cream and listening to sad songs.  On the third day he went to the Zone, hoping to pick up a sleazy one-night stand.

He picked up me instead.  We were together for the next ten years.

But of course, Lane and Danny didn't cut off all contact.  About two weeks after the breakup, Danny came over for dinner and sharing.

[Description of bedroom activity.]

But the change of boyfriends happened so quickly that Lane's friends were clueless.  He introduced me around, of course, but they seemed to think that I was just a new friend, or maybe a temporary fling, a mere setback in the Saga of Danny and Lane.

When Lane and I went to the gay synagogue, the usher tried to seat us separately.

His friend saw us at the Greenery, and asked, pointedly, "So, where's Danny?"

I ran into another of his friends at the Different Light Bookstore, and was asked "How are Lane and Danny?"

A full month after we started dating, a party invitation came in the mail, addressed to Lane and Danny. 

I was getting upset.  "You have to do something about this!" I told Lane.  "Let them know that Danny is history, you're with me now."

"They see me with you all the time.  They never see me with Danny," Lane said.  "What else can I do?  Obviously I can't make an announcement!"

I had an idea.  Danny was a trophy boy, so hot that no one could believe that Lane would break up with him willingly.  But Danny could break up with Lane.

On the night of the party, I drove to the Valley, picked up Danny at his parents' house, and came as his date.  Lane came by himself.

Danny and I stood with our arms around each other, flirted, kissed, brought each other drinks, sat together at the dinner table.

Lane said "hello" politely, but otherwise ignored us and sat by himself.

Heads turned.  Tongues wagged.


At the end of the evening, Danny and I opted to go cruising at Mugi instead of "sharing" with anyone.  Soon Lane joined us, effervescent.

"That was incredible!" he exclaimed.  "'How are you holding up?' 'He wasn't good enough for you!' Trying to fix me up with Cute Young Things!  Offers of sympathy sharing.  I never had so much fun in my life!"

Finally all of West Hollywood knew that Danny and Lane were no longer a couple.

And when Lane and I appeared together, no one commented on my sudden change in allegiances.  Obviously Danny was so hot that I couldn't handle him, so I latched onto Lane as the next best thing.

It's better than being Lane's "new friend" for the next 10 years.

The uncensored post, with nude photos and explicit sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.


Adrian Zmed After Dark

On an episode of The Simpsons, the family goes to a review featuring the once-famous:
     We are the stars that you thought were dead,
     Like Bonnie Franklin and Adrian Zmed.

People who weren't watching television or going to moves during the early 1980s probably thought "I didn't think Adrian Zmed was dead, I never heard of him."  But during that brief few years, the sultry black-haired Romanian-American actor -- and his amazingly ripped physique -- was everywhere.

He sang and danced as a John Travolta clone in Grease 2 (1982), also starring Maxwell Caulfield.

He partied with Tom Hanks in Bachelor Party (1984).

He bonded with William Shatner in the police drama T.J. Hooker (1982-85).



He hosted Dance Fever
He guest starred on Bosom Buddies, Love Boat, Hotel, Glitter, and Empty Nest.















He appeared in Battle of the Network Stars (a reality series that was really an excuse to get male tv stars into speedos).  He didn't win any awards, but he got to hug Scott Baio.

His full-body speedo shots were more than enough to draw the attention of gay fans, but his characters always had a blatant interest in same-sex chums, regardless of whether they got the girl in the end.

In Grease 2, for instance, the plot revolves around an "opposites attract" between greaser Johnny (Zmed) and uptight British newcomer Michael (Maxwell Caulfield).

And, unlike most beefcake stars of the 1980s, he was aware of his gay fans, and actually played to them.  He remains a strong gay ally, like his "bosom buddy" Tom Hanks.

By the late 1980s, the Adrian Zmed train had stalled, perhaps overloaded by overexposure.  Though he has never stopped acting -- in 2007 he appeared in the soap Passions and in Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Special -- the era of speedo shots is long gone.

Apr 21, 2016

When Doves Cry

The summer of 1984 was the summer of "When Doves Cry," by androgynous musician Prince.   I don't usually like sad songs, but there was something so wistful about the self-rencrimination, something so poignant about the fear of being abandoned in cold, cruel world:

How can you just leave me standing,
Alone in a world that's so cold?
Maybe I'm just too demanding.
Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold.
Maybe you're just like my mother,
She was never satisfied 

It was especially evocative because I heard it constantly as I drove south from Rock Island toward Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas, a cold, dark, perilous realm bereft of light and hope, where I would spend the worst year of my life.

This is what it sounds like
When doves cry

Of course we all thought that Prince  was gay.  He was so svelte, so androgynous, so downright feminine.  He wore make up and women's high heels, and purple.   In his 1981 "Controversy," he himself seemed to be unsure:

I just can't believe all the things people say
Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay?

In "I Would Die for You" (1984), he announced himself as genderqueer:

I'm not a woman, I'm not a man.
I am something that you'll never understand.

He was a breath of fresh air amid the ultra-macho cowboy Reagan years.

But "Cream" (1991) eliminated all speculation, with lyrics that are too dirty to reprint here, and an utterly disgusting music video.  Let's just say that he was proclaiming his heterosexuality, big time.

After that I didn't pay much attention to Prince.  I was vaguely aware that in 1993 he changed his name to a combination of the male and female symbols, again announcing his androgyny, then in 2000 back to Prince again.

And in 2001, that he had become a Jehovah's Witness, a hard-core fundamentalist church that flly embraces that ancient Hebrew text about ritual purity as evidence of God's hatred of non-heteros.

In 2008, he compared gay marriage to the horrible abominations that caused God to destroy all of humanity with the Great Flood: "God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough."

He then clarified that he meant gay marriage, gestured at his Bible, and said "It ain't right."

Later he said that he had been misquoted, but when asked again about his opinion concerning gay marriage, he refused to answer.

In 2013, his song "Da Bourgeosie" describes his disgust over a girlfriend who claimed to have left "the dirty world," but was still having sex with women.

Prince died earlier today at his home near Minneapolis.

I feel strangely melancholic, like I'm 23 years old again, driving down Interstate 55 south of St. Louis in my Dodge Dart, staring into a bleak, desolate future as everything I know and love recedes into the past.

How can you just leave me standing,
Alone in a world that's so cold?

David Hooks Up with the Bible Boy of Castro Street

San Francisco, Summer 1996

I'm starting a new part-time job at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.  During my all-day orientation, I meet a newcomer to the City, David:

Older than me, balding, handsome, with a bright open preacher's face. Rather buffed, with a thick neck, thick arms and a furry barrel chest.  That aggressively friendly, ever-cheerful "How are ya!"  manner that you see with guys whose jobs require you to like them.

He tells us that six months ago, he was a conservative Baptist minister in Arkansas, married with children.  Then, on his 43rd birthday, he came out.  He had his first same-sex experience, divorced his wife, read a lot of pro-gay books, and moved to San Francisco.

He has moved into an apartment in the Castro with another ex-Baptist minister, joined a gym, and found a (full time) job at the AIDS Foundation.  Now he's anxious to try everything the gay world has to offer, especially the sex.

"No sex for the first 43 years of my life!" he exclaims.  "Unless you count my ex-wife.  Just fantasies.  I have to get up to speed.   I bet I can get with a thousand guys in the next year, three a day, if I work at it."

He glances at the concerned faces of the other employees of the AIDS Foundation.  "What?  I'll be safe, of course.  I carry a package of condoms with me at all times."

After orientation David and I take the Muni to Castro Street for dinner.  We bond over tales of childhood deprivations and crazy fundamentalist relatives -- and hot men.  He is relishing his freedom to talk openly about hot guys for the first time in his life.

There's no question that we'll hook up -- that's a given.  You make new friends in San Francisco by sharing their bed. But I'm more interested in hanging out, in exploring the gay world through David's eyes.

Outside the Castro Street Station, we come across two screamers.

You see screamers frequently in gay neighborhoods, at events like Gay Pride and the AIDS Walk, or sometimes on an ordinary summer afternoon:  heteros waving signs and shouting Bible verses and generally expressing how much they hate us.

Usually they come in groups, but today there are only two:

1. A middle aged man, slim, grey-haired, sweating in a business suit, carrying a sign that reads "Homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord," snarling and shouting invectives at the passersby:

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind!"

2. The Bible boy, slim and blond in a business suit, but considerably more handsome, with blue eyes and sharp features, looking down at his feet -- because he doesn't like being around sodomites, or because he doesn't like being around his dad?  He's carrying a large King James Bible.

I know the drill -- cross the street if you can.  Don't make eye contact, don't speak, don't engage with the screamers in any way.

But does David?  Will the former Baptist preacher engage?  Or will his fundamentalist brainwashing kick in, resulting in guilt, self-recrimination, and a decision to turn "ex-gay"?

I don't want to find out.  "Come on, let's go this way," I say, pulling David's arm.

"Are you kidding?  That boy is hot!"

"He's a screamer!"

David laughs.  "I hope so.  Do you like twinks?"

"Sure, but...cruising a screamer?  Are you crazy?"

"Yes.  And horny.  Do you mind if I bring in a third for tonight."

Soon I will be used to David cruising anyone, anywhere, but now I'm shocked.  A screamer, in front of his Dad!

We approach Bible Boy while the main screamer is yelling at a heterosexual couple for promoting sodomy.

David smiles and holds out his massive hand.  Bible Boy smiles shyly.  I can hear him thinking, "This isn't what a sodomite looks like!  Why isn't he wearing a dress?"

"My name is David, and this is Boomer."

"Kyle.  Have you ever heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?"

That old soulwinning routine?  I learned that in high school!

David says "ἐγὼ ἦλθον ἵνα ζωὴν ἔχωσιν καὶ περισσὸν ἔχωσιν."

Bible Boy stares.

"John 10:10: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  B.A. in Classical Studies from the University of Arkansas, M.A. in Latin from Tulane University, M. Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary."

His eyes widen.  "Wow, that's impressive.  How did you..."  He stops himself from saying "How did you sink into such unholy degradation..."

"Can you take a break?  I'll tell you all about my journey from Pine Bluff, Arkansas to Castro Street."

"Um...I don't drink."

"Do you eat hamburgers?"

He yells to the Preacher that he's going witnessing, and we go to Orphan Andy's for burgers and fries.

Kyle is 18 years old, a new high school graduate who plans to attend UC Santa Cruz next fall ("Boy, did my folks squawk about that!  A heathen college full of atheists and sodomites!")

The older guy is actually his youth minister.  There are six other members of his youth group scattered around town, brandishing signs and screaming to spread the Good News, but Kyle, a shy, sensitive, quiet boy, couldn't find a partner, so the preacher said 'Just stick by me.'"

"I wasn't even going to come.  I hate soulwinning," Kyle explains.  "But I wanted to see what real sodomites look like.  Besides, we're going to get ice cream later."

Nice youth group outing, screaming and fudge ripple!

"You don't really believe all that 'abomination in the eyes of the Lord' stuff, do you?" David asks.

"Well, I have to believe what the Lord says in His Word, even if I don't understand it.  I mean, you look at cute guys, and think, what would be wrong with touching them?  But the Lord says it's an abomination, so...."

Chuckling,  David pulls out his Greek and Hebrew and demolishes every homophobic interpretation of the "Big Five" Bible verses.  From the story of Sodom to the "strange flesh" of Jude.

We end up back at his apartment.

The rest of the story, with nude photos and sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.



Apr 20, 2016

Public Penises of Eastern Europe

You'll find a lot of muscular guys in Eastern Europe, where bodybuilding is nearly as popular as soccer (pictured: Bulgarian bodybuilder Dimitar Dimitrov).  But outside of the Czech Republic and Hungary, beefcake in public art is scarce.  The combined influence of Slavic churches and Soviet-era puritanism has taken its toll.











When someone does erect a nude male statue, there's usually a public outcry.  This statue of a nude Roman Emperor Trajan, one of the founders of Romania, placed on the steps of the National Museum of Romanian History in Bucharest, has caused jeers of derision.

Both for his nudity and for the fact that he's holding a wolf with a scarf (it's actually the Capitoline Wolf, who fed Romulus and Remus, attached to the Dacian Dragon).





When a nude statue of Prometheus the Fire-Bringer was erected in the Park of the Heroes of Macedonia in Skopje, public outcry forced Macedonian officials to give the god golden underwear.

But there is still beefcake to be found, often in the most unexpected places.








Like this naked man seemingly hovering in mid-air over the Bryda River in Bydgoszcz, Poland, commemorating Poland joining the European Union.














Or the Naked Swordsman at the University of Wroclaw, erected to warn students against incautious spending (apparently he was a student who bet everything he owned, except his sword, and lost).


More after the break.









Apr 19, 2016

10 Things I Hate About the Wizard of Oz

From 1959 to 1991, The Wizard of Oz, was shown on tv every year, on CBS until 1968, and then on NBC.

Nazarenes weren't allowed to go to movie theaters, but watching movies on tv was fine, so our parents sat us down every year and forced us to watch the "beloved children's classic."

Apparently it was shown in November or December, but I remember it in the springtime, one of the traumas of the end of the year.

It's old-fashioned, outdated, incomprehensible, and...well, horrifying.

1. Dorothy, played by 16-year old Judy Garland, the queen of angst, lives a horrible life on a Depression-Era Dustbowl farm in black-and-white Kansas. Her parents are dead; her elderly Uncle and Aunt appear to be raising man-eating pigs.

 Her only source of joy is her dog Toto, but the evil Miss Gulch is planning to take him away and have him killed.  She wants to go to a place where there "isn't any trouble."

2. A giant tornado destroys her home and zaps her off to Oz, where at least things are in color, but the main residents are disturbing munchkins who look like little adults with mouth deformities, but act like kids.  Could this be the place with no trouble?

3. She's assassinated the dictator of Munchkin land and stolen her ruby slippers, which apparently are powerful.  The Wicked Witch of the West, the dictator of Winkie Land, shows up.  She thinks Dorothy is hot ("I'll get you, my pretty."  But she wants to kill her anyway, get the slippers, and take over Munchkin land.

In Oz five minutes, and Dorothy has already started a war.  No wonder she wants to go home to Kansas.

4. She goes on a journey through an empty postapocalyptic Oz to get to the Emerald City and ask the assistance of the great and powerful Wizard.  Along the way she picks up adult male companions, mutants with their own quests: a brain, a heart, the "noive."

She's uncomfortably intimate with the Cowardly Lion.

Meanwhile the Witch burns, poisons, and otherwise terrorizes the group.  I hated the poppy field -- that's opium poppies, the source of heroin -- where Dorothy and company are almost smothered to death.

Incomprehensible: when the Scarecrow's body is torn up and scattered around, the Tin Man says "That's you all over," punning on 1930s slang.  Who makes a joke about a friend being torn to pieces?

5. At the Emerald City, where the bourgeoisie live in glorious excess, working one-hour work days and ignoring the deprivations of the proletariat, Dorothy and company enjoy a spa day.  Dorothy asks about getting her eyes dyed, which is disgusting.  There's an incomprehensible reference to "a horse of a different color."

6. After trying to terrorize them for awhile, the Wizard says he'll help, but only if they steal the Witch's broom.

They undertake a second long and perilous journey to the Witch's castle, where they are captured.  The flying monkeys are horrifying, as is the hourglass that counts out the minutes Dorothy has to live.  Nightmare time!

After almost being murdered, Dorothy melts the witch, frees her slaves -- at least in The Wiz, they were hunky guys in speedos -- and brings the broom back to the Wizard.

7. Who has no power at all!  He's a complete fraud!  He sent her on the quest assuming she would be killed, and his secret would be safe. Too cowardly to commit your own murders, Wiz?

The Wizard suggests that the companions defraud their way through life.  The Scarecrow gets a diploma he didn't earn and spouts some gibberish that sounds brainy but isn't.  He'll probably become a math professor.

Unfortunately, Dorothy can't defraud her back to Kansas.


8. Glinda the Good Witch, the dictator of Gillikan Land, shows up and, with an infuriating smirk, tells Dorothy that she always had the power to go home.

Why not tell her this before she went through all of the agony and terror, you sadistic jerk?

Were you trying to get her to do your dirty work for you, assassinate two world leaders so you could consolidate your power?  Were you the brains behind this whole trip?

And why is the matra that takes you back to Kansas "There's no place like home"?  That is, don't stay in Oz.  Is Glinda worried that if Dorothy sticks around, she will be a threat?

9.  Upon arriving back in Kansas, Dorothy discovers that it was all a dream that occurred when she hit her head during the tornado.  All of that trouble, pain, betrayal, fraud, and behind-the-scene machinations for nothing.  Besides, the plot about Miss Gulch taking away Toto is never resolved.  Dorothy's life is still horrible.

10. After all that, there are no same-sex relationships, and there's no beefcake. Where's the gay content?  (The "dandy-lion" doesn't count.)

Oh, well, here's a picture of a shirtless guy.

See also: The Wiz; The Boys and Men of Oz


Apr 18, 2016

What's Wrong with Open Relationships?

In gay communities, people who have open relationships are often criticized as shallow, sex-obsessed, afraid of true intimacy.

Or sometimes they're pitied.  If only they could experience the unmitigated joy of monogamy, being with only one person for life!

I've spent five years in monogamous relationships, and twenty in open relationships.  I'll take the open.

Here's why:

The cultures of the world have many ways of determining who is responsible for raising children.  The most common are:
1. Polygamy: several women have children with one man.
2. Polyandry: one woman has children with several men
3. Mixed: anyone in the clan can have children with anyone else.

17% of the world's cultures practice monogamy: one woman has children with one man only.




Monogamy ensures that men know that they are the biological father of the children they are raising.  But it has some drawbacks:

1. The wife becomes property, her vagina a commodity that can be bought and sold.  Through the 18th century, if a married woman was raped, the husband was assumed the victim.  If she was unmarried, the victim was the father.






2. The penalty for a wife who "cheats" is severe, but for the husband, the penalty is mild.  It is even expected that he have a "mistress" on the side.  90% of the people prosecuted under the adultery laws are female.

3. The husband and wife are expected to live alone, with their children, in"single family homes" which puts a severe strain on the world's economic resources.  Multiple-family dwellings are much more efficient.

Same-sex couples don't need to worry about pregnancy from an extramarital encounter, so why do they practice monogamy?  I have heard the following objections to sexual activity with people outside the relationship:

1.It increases the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases.

Unprotected sex increases the risk of STDs regardless of whether you are in a relationship or not.  Should single gay people avoid sexual activity, also? Wrap it up!

2. The partners may find someone they likes better, and end the relationship.

Will spending an hour in the bedroom with this guy tell you if he likes The X-Files and Buddhist philosophy, if he will be supportive of your career, if he will fit in with your friends?  Of course not -- all you will find out about is his bedroom performance.  If your relationship is so fragile that it will end because you found someone better at oral sex, is it really worth preserving?

3. Heterosexuals don't do it.

Of course they do, just not as often as we do, for an obvious reason: women lose prestige by having sex, but men gain it. Think of the terms used for men and women with multiple partners: stud vs. slut.  So it takes work to persuade a woman to have sex with you, but to get a man to have sex with you, all you need to do is ask.

4. It must be disgraceful.  You wouldn't want people to find out, would you?

I would prefer that my mother, minister, and boss not be apprised of my latest three-way.  Also I wouldn't want them to know what I did with my partner last night.  And I don't want to know what they did with their partners, either.

5. It detracts from the joy, fulfillment, and fun of the relationship.

I don't see how.  It's a joy to cruise together, to evaluate prospects.  It's fulfilling to watch your partner in action with someone they finds especially attractive. And it's fun to discuss afterwards.


6. I prefer monogamy, and everybody on Earth has to do things my way.

If you and your partner are both into it, feel free to only have sex with each other.  Or to not have sex at all.  It's really none of my business.  But at the same time, you don't have the right to judge me over something that my partner and I enjoy.



Semi-Open Relationships

I don't have strictly open relationships, where either partner can do anything with anybody at anytime.  What's the fun in that? I want to be there.

My relationships have usually been semi-open.

1. Either partner can engage in social activities with anyone he wants, including events that are typically considered dates: dinners, movies, and so on.

2. BUT no bedroom activity can occur without both partners being present.  All three will participate, or if one of the parties isn't into it, he can just watch.

3. At bath houses, sex clubs, and bear parties, the partners will cruise together whenever possible, but separate sexual activity is permitted.

4. If the partners are in separate cities, they can engage in bedroom activities with close friends, including "sharing" dates and romantic partners.

It's worked so far.  Twenty years of semi-open relationships with no STDs, no jealousy, no crying and recrimination, no breakups because he found someone better, and a lot of fun.

An uncensored version of this post is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Apr 17, 2016

Spring 2016: Doing What Straight People Do

Plains, April 2016

It's a "nice" day on the Plains.

You know: bright sizzling sun like an angry gash in the world, sky so blue and cloudless that it makes your eyes ache, endless horizon that makes you feel like you're going to go zipping off into the stratosphere?  One of those days.

I rush through my work and try to get to my car and get home before anyone can stop me.  But unluckily, I run into every straight person I know, and they all start the refrain:

"What are you going to do to enjoy the outdoors?"
"You should get outside and enjoy the day!"
"It's too nice a day to be cooped up inside!"
"Don't days like this make you just ache to be outside?"

No.

1. The outdoors is not to be enjoyed.  It's to be traveled through to get to the things that are to be enjoyed.

2. Cooped up, in a low-heat, low-humidity, low-UV ray environment with optimal ventilation and light, a minimum of dirt, mud, ants, snakes, flies, mosquitoes, and mean dogs, and snacks, a bathroom, and entertainment nearby?  

I prefer rain, or snow, or at least some clouds.  No one orders you to "Get out and enjoy the day!" when it's cloudy.

In West Hollywood, nearly every day was "nice" -- we averaged 285 sunny days, 43 cloudy days, and 37 rainy days every year, and the temperatures never went below 50 degrees.  But we didn't "play outside."

In ten years I went to the beach three times, went hiking in Griffith Park once, and ate on those redwood picnic tables outside maybe six times.

In Florida, nearly every day was "nice," too -- there were 128 precipitation days per year, but the clouds usually rolled in and out during a couple of hours in the afternoon, leaving blank skies and blazing suns.  But, again, we didn't "play outside."  We went from air conditioned apartment to air conditioned car to air conditioned building.

It's only in the Straight World that people spend every possible moment outdoors.  Ball games, sailing, camping, skateboarding.  They even invite you to eat outdoors, shooing the bugs away from their hamburgers and hotdogs while their paper plates get buffeted around by the wind, as if it's a big treat.

And whenever the sky turns into a cerulean bowl and the sun starts to blaze in fury, they start the refrain: "It's too nice a day to be cooped up inside!  Why don't you go outside and enjoy the day!"

Ok, well, it's been almost nine years since I left Florida.  I guess I should try to assimilate.  What do I enjoy that can be transferred to an outdoor environment:

Going to museums and art galleries? No.
Going to the theater and the ballet?  No.
Watching movies and tv?  No.
Studying languages, history, and archaeology?  No
Reading comic books and graphic novels? No.
Touring old churches? No.
Working out? No.

Cruising?

I haven't been to a public cruising spot for 15 years, and I haven't actually done it outside, with the dirt and bug, for 25 years.

But if that's what the straight people want....

I check the online gay directories, and find three sites for public sex in Plains:

1. The restroom on the third floor of the library, with a 1 1/2 foot gap between toilet stalls.  No.

2. An adult video store with glory holes.  No.

3. A public park with trails through the tall tree, scrub, and mush.

Ok, I'll give it a try.

It's near downtown, along the river.  I drive over around 5:00 pm to get the after-work crowd.

There are five other cars, at least five people wandering the nature trails.  Will one of them be my key to "enjoying the outdoors"?

I walk briskly down the trail, past thin, barely-budding trees and prickly bushes.  When the trail forks, I take the left.

Car 1: A short, black-haired guy, college age.  I say "hello" as we pass.  He smiles and says "hello," also.  But that doesn't mean anything -- people in the Plains are polite.

Car 2: A woman with pink hair and a nose ring, taking photographs.

The left path ends.  I turn down the right.

Car 3:  A father and toddler-aged son, walking slowly and talking about nature.  I overtake and pass them, saying "Excuse me."

Car 4, or maybe Cars 4-5: Two high-school aged boys in t-shirts, laughing and jostling as they rush past me toward...the parking lot.  Could they have finished a hookup?

I return to the parking lot, take a drink of water from the fountain.  One of the cars is gone, but a new car has arrived.

I pass the Car 3 father and son again.

Car 6: An elderly fat man in white pants, walking so fast that he's wheezing.

"Nice day," I say.

"Got to get out and enjoy outdoors," he says with a leer.

There's Car 1, the short, cute college-aged guy, again.  This time I walk alongside him.

"Don't let it bother you," he says.  "That fat guy tries to hook up with everybody."

Ok, this guy is gay, and here for a hookup.

"Oh, I don't mind -- he's mild.  I lived in West Hollywood for 13 years -- we had some aggressive guys there!"

Mentioning West Hollywood always gets them interested.  "West Hollywood!  I'd love to visit someday.  Did you hook up with any celebrities."

"Oh, no one special.  Just Michael J. Fox, Richard Dreyfuss, Rob Lowe, and Leonardo DiCaprio," I lie.  "My name is Boomer."

"Michael."  We clasp hands.  "So, what's Leonardo like?  I used to have such a crush on him!"

Michael works in an office nearby, and often comes here after work to walk and cruise.  He's seen guys going off into the woods together, but he hasn't gotten the nerve to do anything himself.

It's not hard to talk him into an erotic encounter.  Not on the scratchy grass and mud, of course.  We go back to my apartment, where it's warm and safe.

I guess I'm never going to be that assimilated.

The uncensored post, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.