Aug 3, 2017

My First Asian Hookup, with a Little Help from My Friends

West Hollywood, July 5th, 1985

I arrived in Southern California two days ago, on Wednesday afternoon.  Thursday was a holiday, but today I'm getting started with the three things I need.

1. An apartment.
2. A job.
3. Asian men.

I've been into Asian men for as long as I can remember, at least since I read My Village in Japan in third grade, or got a fleeting glimpse of a cute Chinese boy, Chi Ehr Ma, in fourth grade.  But I've only met a few.  Heck, I've seen only a few (even in 2017, Rock Island has an Asian population of only 0.75%).

But there are 1.4 million people of Asian ancestry in Los Angeles, more Burmese, Thais, Cambodians, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, and Indonesians than anywhere outside their home countries.

1.4 million people means 40,000 adult gay men, and probably 20,000 who are single and available.   I'm going shopping!

I have dinner at the Greenery and hang around the Different Light Bookstore and the Gold Coast until  cruising time, 9:00 pm.

My Gayellow Pages lists two gay Asian bar in Los Angeles, but one is "full of hustlers," so I go to the other, Mugi.  It's about a 20 minute drive from West Hollywood, down Santa Monica to Highland to Hollywood, past the 101, almost to Echo Park.

The neighborhood makes me a little nervous.  There are panhandlers and leering drunks and sleazy hotels.  Finding parking is not easy!

Mugi is a long, narrow room with a bar at the far end and some tables in the middle.  No dance floor.  No patio.  No theme nights, trivia games, best physique contests, or drag shows, nothing to do or watch.

You come here for only two reasons: to talk to your friends; and to cruise.

There are a few men sitting alone at the tables, and a few standing against the walls, lined up, facing the opposite wall like boys and girls lined up on opposite sides of the school gym on dance night.  But most are in tight groups of four and five.

More Asian men than I have ever seen before.  Thin, fat, muscular;  tall, short; young, old; masculine, feminine.  This is heaven!

It's the middle of the AIDS epidemic, so of course I'm not interested in "tricking" -- going home with someone that night.  I want a telephone number -- or two or three -- to make dates for next week.

There doesn't seem to be much tricking going on, anyway.  Most guys seem to come in groups, and leave in groups.

Maybe this isn't a cruise bar after all?

I don't care -- I'll make it a cruise bar!

Some guys are walking slowly along the rows, eyeing everybody as if they are merchandise on sale. I try that, and get major attitude, no eye contact at all, except from a white guy, a middle-aged Daddy with a short beard and an enormous basket.

"Hi, I'm Boomer, from Texas.  Quite a crowd tonight."

He shakes my hand.  "Travis.  Yeah, it's early, so most of the rice queens aren't here yet.  This is the social hour."

"Rice queen?"

"White guys looking for soft, passive Asian cocks."

Travis tells me that this bar was originally set up for rice queens to easily pick up "Asian cock," which is why Asian-Americans, guys born in the U.S., stay away.  It's all recent immigrants, mostly from Southeast Asia.  Some are refugees. Some are ladyboys who escaped from the sex trade.  Some were thrown out of their families for being gay.  All have stories of pain and degradation.

"Um...I just think most Asian guys are hot," I say, meekly.  "I just want a date."

"Don't we all?  But you have to know what you're up against.  They're suspicious of rice queens, worried that they're going to be exploited or abused. They won't even date Asian guys from other countries.  Look --"  He points at the various groups along the left wall: "Burmese, Thai, Filipino, Vietnamese."  And along the right wall: "Malaysian, Chinese, Thai but from a group that won't talk to the other Thais, Korean."

He puts his hand on my shoulder.  "If I were you, I'd go down to the Rage, have a drink, dance, and cruise some white twinks.  It'll increase your chances by about 500%."

I thank him for his advice and walk away.  I stand on the other side of the bar from a cute guy, tall, light skinned, lightly muscled physique, standing alone.

Attitude.

Another.

More attitude.

Travis is doing the same thing, with no success.

I'm getting annoyed!  24 years of fantasies about Asian men, and this is what I get?

Biting the bullet, I approach three guys standing together in a clump.  Short, dark-skinned, handsome grinning faces.

"Hi, I'm Boomer.  I just moved here from Texas."

One holds out his hand.  "Dato, from Malaysia.  Your friend is cute.  Tell him ok."

"Um...ok what?"

He frowns.  "To meet, of course.  What you think?"

"I'm new here.  I don't know..."

They burst out laughing.  I'm about to retreat when Dato grabs my arm.  "Ok, you new here, so I tell you.  At Mugi you don't cruise.  It's rude."

 "Your mother never told you, don't talk to strangers?" his friend asks with a giggling laugh.  "You like a boy, you send a friend to see if it's ok.  Then if he says yes, you bring him over, meet all his friends."

"So now you go tell Travis it's ok," Dato says.

How did Travis, a regular, miss this rule?

I look around the bar for him, so I can offer to introduce him to Dato -- and ask him to return the favor.

He's vanished, maybe gone on to the Rage to cruise some twinks.

I hang out with Dato for awhile, telling him and his friends all about Texas (yes, they grow them big there!).  Eventually a guy approaches and offers to introduce me to his friend Huan.

A 23-year old from Shanghai who has only lived in the U.S. for a few months, and doesn't speak English very well.  He has a job, though,  working as a liaison at the Community Redevelopment Agency.   Short, slim, young-looking, with thin arms but nice hard shoulders.

On our date, we go to Chinatown, just north of downtown L.A., to browse in the shops and have dinner in a Chinese restaurant.  Then we go back to his apartment.

[This part is censored.]

Huan, now my friend, could introduce me to anyone at Mugi that I wanted to meet.

Plus he got me a job at the Community Redevelopment Agency.

I returned to Mugi at least once a week, often twice, for the next eight years.  I met many more Asian guys.  And I found that almost everything Travis told me was wrong.

Either he didn't know what he was talking about, or he was trying to discourage me with a weird cock and bull story.  Mostly bull.

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

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