Upstate, March 2011
Troy, my boyfriend in Upstate New York, was a high school French teacher and soccer coach -- rather an anomaly in a town obsessed with baseball -- 25 years old, tall, slim, athletic very handsome, except for the big black earrings and a pink triangle tattoo.
He had never been farther west than Buffalo, so in the spring of 2011, I offered to fly us to West Hollywood and San Francisco.
"That sounds cool," he said, "But you know where I'd really like to go? Texas. Cowboys, sage brush, cattle ranches, oil barons, all that glitz and glamour. You know what they say: 'they grow them big in Texas."
"But...after 210 miserable days in Hell-fer-Sartain -- um, I mean Houston -- I vowed to never set foot in the state again!"
It took several conversations, but finally I agreed: three nights in Austin, Texas, a liberal, bohemian college town nowhere near Hell-fer-Sartain, and then March 15-19 in West Hollywood.
We stayed at a gay bed and breakfast on Lavaca Street, just south of the State Capitol, near the Mexi-Arte Museum, a gay bar called Rain, and a sushi restaurant. Adequately Bohemian. I could stand spending three nights here.
But then Troy had another surprise: "I want to drive out to Houston. It's only 165 miles."
"The Montrose is one of the oldest gay neighborhoods in the country. And besides, I've heard so many stories about Hell-fer-Sartain that I want to see it for myself. We'll drive up tomorrow, spend the night, and drive back the next day, ok?"
"No way, Jose! You talked me into coming to Texas, but no way I'm going near that place! I haven't been there in 25 glorious years, and I'm up for at least another 25 years without setting foot in Hell-fer-Sartain."
"Ok, ok! But would you mind if I go myself, just for curiosity's sake? I'll keep a complete log of what happened. Oh -- and carte blanche for cruising?"
"Sure, whatever. You won't find anybody in Hell-fer-Sartain, anyway. Lord knows I tried."
So I spent all day Monday and Tuesday by myself in Austin. Troy returned in time for dinner Tuesday night. As promised, he kept a log.
The rest of the story, with nude photos and sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood