It's my 28th birthday, near the end of my "twink" years, and my friends are pranking me with oldster gifts: a VHS tape of Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), a record of Andy Williams' greatest hits, a cane, a fedora hat. Then we settle in for a regular West Hollywood party, with dinner and discussions of enormous penises, dates from hell, and celebrity hookups.
One of the guests is Marcus, the first gay person I met in West Hollywood in July 1985: he was working in the film library at Paramount, when I went there to apply for a job. We went out on one date, until he revealed that he was planning to be celibate until there was a cure for AIDS (he abandoned that vow sometime in 1986).
He's 32 years old, shorter than me, muscular but a little chunky, African-American with very light skin, freckles, a hairy chest, and a very thick Bratwurst.
Well connected in Hollywood, with a lot of celebrity friends, some gay, some closeted, some straight. Just paging through his address book is an adventure: Peter Barton, Kevin Costner, Michael J. Fox, C. Thomas Howell, Tom Hulce, Ralph Macchio, Dean Paul Martin, Robin Williams. You'd expect him to have some great celebrity dating stories, but he never tells any.
"Oh, I don't have anybody interesting. Let someone else go."
But tonight, he came prepared: "Ok, I'm going to tell you my best celebrity hookup story. I'll give you some choices, and you have to decide who it was. Whoever gets the right answer gets to go into the bedroom with me for ten minutes. But -- whoever gets the wrong answer, I get to go down on them, right here."
That's not much of a penalty, but ok...
Los Angeles, May 1980
Fresh from his theater arts degree at the University of Montana, Marcus was working at NBC as a "production assistant." His actual job was to look up questions and answers for the game show Hollywood Squares.
Peter Marshall, the host, took Marcus under his wing, inviting him to lunch, introducing him to people.
"No, we never made it," Marcus announces. "He's straight, but not homophobic. But you'd be surprised how many of the guests were gay, and openly cruised the production assistants."
So it came as no surprise when Peter took Marcus aside and said "One of the celebrity guests thinks you're smokin', and wants to have dinner with you tonight. But it has to be very hush-hush. No one suspects that he is gay."
Actually, Marcus had always suspected the Celebrity. And he was very hot -- tall, goodlooking, sophisticated -- and, most important in Hollywood, well connected. He agreed to the date.
The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.