Jan 28, 2017

Fall 1997: Gay Panic and the Obnoxious Roommate

When I first started out in grad school at Setauket University, I couldn't live in Manhattan right away: everything there was frightfully expensive, $900 to sleep on someone's couch, $1000 for a walk-in closet in someone's bedroom.  So I moved into a graduate student apartment near the campus: four bedrooms, a bathroom, and a living room-kitchen area.

You were assigned roommates. Mine were all heterosexual: Huang, a slim Taiwanese guy who talked on the telephone loudly at 4:00 am; a beefy Turkish guy who mostly stayed in his room, and Max from Brooklyn.  Cute, rather muscular, and THE MOST OBNOXIOUS PERSON ON EARTH.

1. He played VERY LOUD rap music all day and all night. He would leave the apartment with the music still blaring from his room.

3. He smoked -- in a nonsmoking apartment -- got drunk every night, and had the annoying habit of calling everyone "Negro," when they weren't black.

For that matter, it was annoying to hear Black English coming from a white guy: a'ight, I axed her, word, I'm a bust a cap, chill out, peace out.

4. He brought girls into the apartment to spend the night, and in the morning  they walked around in bras and panties.

5.  When there were no girls, he invited eight male friends over, to smoke, drink, call each other "Negro," have LOUD discussions of the "tits" on various "honeys," and eat all of the food in the refrigerator, including my food.

6. He walked around wearing only a towel.

Well, that part was ok.

The rest of the story is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Bug Hall: Always Undressed

Bug Hall was nine years old when he won the role of scrawny Alfalfa in Little Rascals (1994), a modernization of the 1930’s shorts, but heavy on heterosexual romance.   He was asked to appear in his underwear (and he loses it, off camera).

Then, after some minor girl-gawking in The Big Green (1995), The Stupids (1996) and The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas (1996),  he starred in Safety Patrol (1998), an unusual teen nerd comedy in which The Girl is an ally rather than a goal.

After transferring to a new school, Scout (Bug Hall) instantly acquires a girlfriend, cheerleader cum valedictorian Hanna (Alex McKenna).  His heterosexuality established, we can get on to the main plot arc: a desire for homosocial fulfillment.  Bug joins two all-male gangs, a lunch-table full of outcast Barneys, including the gay-vague "Walt Whitman," and the school's Safety Patrol, a goose-stepping paramilitary organization involved mostly in extortion and bullying. Its leader is the evil Kent (Philip Van Dyke), the principal's son.

When the Safety Patrol frames Scout for a series of petty thefts, he realizes who is true friends are, and sets out with the Barneys and Hanna to catch the real crook. In the process he remakes the Safety Patrol. No significant buddy bonding, but gay characters, sort of.

Becoming less awkward as he moved through adolescence, Bug took roles reminiscent of Mark Lester’s twenty years before, as naifs who nevertheless are swept up by strong, unconscious heterosexual passions. He played a fourteen-year old who gets his girlfriend pregnant in the indie film Skipped Parts (2000), a high school journalist who begins to “notice” the brainy girl-next-door in Get a Clue (2002), a fan obsessed with an older writer (Candace Bergen) in Footsteps (2003), and a high schooler struggling to lose his virginity in American Pie Presents: Book of Love (2009).

He was usually asked to appear in his underwear, or in a skimpy swimsuit.

As an adult, Bug had a lean physique, with a tight ribbed chest and ball-shaped biceps (not to mention rugged good looks).  He also did quite a bit of buddy-bonding, in Arizona Summer (2003), in Fortress (2012), and in some of his television appearances; it's actually hard to find a movie or tv appearance where he DOESN'T hug a male friend.

No gay characters, but in Mortuary (2005), he played the homophobic bully who harasses Grady (Rocky Marquette).

And lots and lots of shirtless, underwear, bulge, and swimsuit shots -- it's hard to find a movie or tv appearance where he DOESN'T display his fine physique.

So it was interesting to see the "evidence" of Bug taking the next step, allegedly posting nude pictures of himself on the internet.  Tattoos, Prince Albert, the whole nine yards.

Next stop: frontal nudity in a movie?

You can see the nude photos on Tales of West Hollywood.

Jan 26, 2017

The Only Gay Guy at a Straight Party

Plains, January 2017

The Unitarian Church hosts regular "circle suppers," where eight or so people assigned "at random" meet at someone's house for a potluck.  It's not really random: I am usually assigned to a group consisting of mostly gay people.

But the other night my group consisted of four heterosexual couples and me.

Still, I was rather looking forward to it, since last time I went to a completely straight party, I met a cute college boy, the host's son, and we dated for about six months.  I've had good luck meeting guys so far in 2017. Could lightning strike twice?

No.  The couples were all "my age" (chronologically, anyway), which means that their kids had all "got married and moved away."

Well, maybe the food would be good.

No.  Craggy, tasteless chicken enchiladas, green beans with a weird minty tang, a macaroni salad loaded with mayonnaise, and two kinds of cheesecake.  Plus a lot of alcohol.

Beefcake?  Half the fun of gay parties is cruising the new guys.

No.  I'm fine with older men, but they should know their way around a gym.  Three of the heteros were sagging, wrinkled, and speckled, "my age" but about 100 in gay years.  The fourth was obese, with ham-hands and medic id bracelets and complaints of sciatica.

An enormous penis would make up for any number of physique imperfections, but of course at a straight party men don't typically get naked.

Well, maybe the conversation would be ok.  At gay parties, we start with conversations about gay subtexts or actual gay characters in books, movies, and tv programs.

"Has anyone seen Sleepless yet?  I hear it has a kidnapped son, instead of the usual kidnapped daughter."

They talk about quarterhorses, the use of Amazon Kindle way up in the mountains where there's no electricity, scuba diving in the Caribbean, and how you would like to die (the consensus was: instantaneously while on the way home from a nice dinner with your husband or wife).

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

Mary Tyler Moore and the Two Richies

The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) was before my time; I don't remember seeing any episodes when it first aired, although I saw some later on.  The first season is on Netflix.

It was a hybrid workplace-nuclear family sitcom:   Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) had a job writing comedy bits for The Alan Brady Show, along with his coworkers (Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie); meanwhile, he had a wife and son (Mary Tyler Moore, Larry Mathews) back home in New Rochelle.

Larry Mathews, born in 1955, played Richie Petrie.  He was less than ten years old during the show's run, so he didn't get any teen idol attention, that I know of.  Or many plotlines.  The only one I remember has his parents explaining why he got the gender-transgressive middle name of "Rosebud."

I'm sure they named the character of Richie after Mary Tyler Moore's son, Ritchie (Richard Carleton Meeker, Jr.), who was born in 1956.  Magazines of the era were fond of photos of Mary with her "two sons."

Here Ritchie is on the right, and Richie on the left.

Ritchie Meeker went to the University of Southern California, and took a job at CBS.  In 1980 he died in a tragic accident while cleaning his gun.

Larry Mathews retired from show business after 1966, although he has appeared in Dick Van Dyke reunion shows.  He graduated from UCLA in 1976 and went on to a business career.  I can't find any photos of him as a young adult, but here's one from 2004.

No evidence that either was gay, but Mary Tyler Moore was a strong ally.

See also: Looking for Muscle on the Dick Van Dyke Show

Jan 25, 2017

My First Word Was My Boyfriend's Name

Garrett, Indiana, July 1978

When I was born in November 1960, my parents were living in a house on South Randolph Street in Garrett, a small town in northern Indiana.  We lived there until I was four and a half-years old, when we moved to Wisconsin.

I have very few memories of those years, and none about anyone who lived in the house next door.

But we returned to Garrett for visits once or twice a year, and drove down Randolph Street, past our old house, many times.  My parents often pointed it out, and the house next door:

"That's where your girlfriend lived!"

I didn't have a girlfriend, at age six, or ten, or fifteen, and I didn't want one.  I liked boys.

But nearly every time we drove past that house on South Randolph Street:  "That's where your girlfriend lived!"

It was the most annoying of the "what girl do you like?" interrogations that tormented me as a kid.  I roiled at the blanket assumption that I, like every boy who had ever lived and ever would live, swooned over feminine curves and smiles, that my destiny lay in the prison of wife, kids, factory job, and small square house.

Like the two-story frame house with the ugly gray paint and the broken front door where, according to my parents, I had a girlfriend at the age of four.

We drove down Randolph Street on the way to visit my grandparents -- both of them.  On our way to Auburn or Rome City to visit my aunts and uncles.  On the way home.  On the rare occasions that we did something in downtown Garrett.  Ten times per visit.  And at least once:

"There's your girlfriend's house!"

Sometimes Mom added a few details: The girl's name was Rebecca.  She was three months younger than me, brown hair, blue eyes.  We played in our bassinets together.  My first word, other than "Mommy" and "Daddy," was "Becky."

My first word was a girl's name.  I found that horribly depressing.

In July 1978, I was 17 years old, a new high school graduate.  I had just figured "it" out, but no one knew except my brother.

We usually left Rock Island as soon as Dad got off work, at 4:00 pm, and drove six hours to Rome City to spend the night with Aunt Nora.  The next day all of Mom's brothers and sisters gathered at Grandpa Prater's farmhouse outside Garrett and spent the day playing horseshoes or board games, watching tv, and talking, with a picnic or barbecue in the summer.  But today Grandpa Prater wasn't feeling well, so we just stopped in for a brief visit; the family gathering would take place at Uncle Paul's house in town.

"There's your girlfriend's house!" Mom exclaimed as we drove down Randolph Street.

I started to worry.  Was it possible that at the beginning of my life, I liked girls?  Did something happen to turn me gay?  And if you could turn gay, could you turn straight again?

Going out with a girl, sitting with her on a couch, touching her on the face and shoulder, squeezing her breast, kissing her, seeing her naked...gross!  No muscles, no penis, nothing masculine, nothing attractive!  Was that my fate?

Garrett is a small town.  Uncle Paul's house was only five blocks from my girlfriend's house.  In the afternoon, while everyone was getting ready for the barbecue, I put on my t-shirt and shorts, said I was going for a jog, and ran over to meet this girlfriend I had at age four.

The full story is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Mary and Rhoda and Gordie the Weatherman: 1970s Hip Sitcoms

During the 1970s, the success of All in the Family led to a fad for sitcoms with hip, relevant, "mature" themes.  Most were set in "real places,"  not New York or L.A., and juxtaposed the work and home lives of young adult professionals (if they were white) or poor families (if they were African-American).

All of the adults watched, but kids were leery, unless there were teenagers in the cast (Alice, One Day at a Time).  

But who wanted to watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77), with the former star of The Dick Van Dyke Show as a Minneapolis tv writer, when the other channel had The Most Deadly Game, with gay actor George Maharis (left) as a crime-fighting criminologist?

Or The Bob Newhart Show (1972-78), about a psychologist with wacky patients, when the other channel had The Streets of San Francisco, with the hunky Michael Douglas as a detective?

Or Rhoda, Phyllis, Maud, Good Times, That's My Mama, MASH, Sanford and Son, Chico and the Man, Archie Bunker's Place....

So I didn't begin watching until 1974, when I was in ninth grade and trying to fit in with a hipster crowd, and then only occasionally, when I had nothing else to do.  I found some gay content.

1. Beefcake.  Not a lot, but occasional bulges or hints of hairy chests. Paul Sand had a hot older brother.  Joe (David Groh), the contractor who married Rhoda, deserved special attention.

As did John Amos, who played Gordie the Weatherman on Mary Tyler Moore before scoring his own sitcom, Good Times.  He also starred as the older Kunta Kinte on Roots (1977).

2. Bonding.  I missed the overt homoromantic bond between Mary and Rhoda on Mary Tyler Moore (left), but what about Hawkeye and Trapper John on MASH, or odd couple Chico and Ed on Chico and the Man?

3. Gay-vague characters. Not a lot, but I wondered about Howard Borden (Bill Daily, right), the next-door  neighbor who dropped in every five seconds on The Bob Newhart Show.  Bill Daily also played Tony Nelson's best friend on I Dream of Jeannie, and Leif Garrett's boyfriend on an episode of Chips..

4. The first gay characters on television.

Jan 24, 2017

The Smiling Boy at the Gym

The other night at the gym, a college boy cruised me.

This might not seem unusual.  I've been a twink magnet for years. I picked up the waiter at a restaurant in Indianapolis just a couple of weeks ago, and last week I picked up a guy at the campus food court.

But this was different.

1. In the straight world, no one cruises at the gym, except for little kids who haven't learned the norms yet.  Some of the guys are homophobic, and will respond with violent rage.  You check out biceps and bulges with very brief, nonchalant glances, and never make eye contact with someone you don't know.  I rarely pick up guys at straight world gyms.

2. It was at the YMCA, not the campus gym.  Very few college students go there.  The cardio center is occupied primarily by older men, the free weight room by serious bodybuilders and an occasional group of giggling high school boys.

This was a twink.  Around 20, cute, with a long face and sharp features.  Wearing a red baseball cap, so I couldn't see his hair.  Too far away to see his physique.

On an exercise bicycle that faced the weight machines, staring at me while I did incline presses.  Smiling.

At me, or in my general direction?

One way to find out: the preacher curl was the only other machine that faced the exercise bikes.  It wasn't nearly time for biceps, and I don't use the preacher curl, but I sat and did a few sets.

I have nice biceps, but you can't tell from a distance.

But the twink kept smiling at me.

There were half a dozen buffed older men in the weight machine room.  Why me?

I went back to the free weight room, did three set of butterflies and some ab crunches, and returned.

The twink had finished his cardio and was on incline press machine.  I chose another incline press a few feet away.  Both looked directly at a mirror.

He was wearing one of those slit-side t-shirts.  Pale skin, pinprick nipples, tight but not muscular -- I could see his ribs, and some tattoo writing on his chest.  He was lifting only 130 pounds (I do 270).

Smiling at me.

I looked away, flustered.

How could I concentrate on my weight training with this kid gaping at me like a lovesick puppy dog?

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

Ed Fury

On January 5th, 1955,  My Little Margie  (1952-56) featured the first bodybuilder on prime time television.

Like I Love Lucy and I Married Joan in the 1950s and I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched in the 1960s, My Little Margie was about a stable, conventional man befuddled by the madcap antics of a woman.  In this case the man was investment manager Vern Albright (rumored-to-be-gay actor Charles Farrell), and the woman his adult daughter Margie (Gale Storm).  

This episode had Margie going to work as a fashion model, getting a crush on the oblivious photographer, and trying to make him jealous by flirting with an oblivious muscleman (Ed Fury).

It promotes the two main myths about bodybuilders in the 1950s: 
1.  They are self-absorbed, shallow, and narcissistic.
2. Women do not find them attractive.

Ed Fury was a bold choice for Hercules, even more gay-coded most of his bodybuilding peers.  Born in 1928 as Edmund Holovchik, the former Mr. Muscle Beach was one of top models for such gay-vague studios as Bruce of LA and the Athletic Model Guild, and for fitness magazines as Physique Pictorial, Today's Man, Vim, and Adonis.  

He was even filmed in a posing strap for home distribution in the days before gay porn.  No full-frontal nudity, but some rear shots.

After several small roles in movies, including one of the shirtless Seabees singing "There's Nothing Like a Dame" in South Pacific (1958), he went to Italy to participate in the sword-and-sandal craze, playing Ursus, Maciste, and similar peplum heroes, often paired with fellow bodybuilders like Rod Taylor.

Then it was back to the United States for guest spots on tv series, including The Odd Couple, Colombo, The Magician, and Police Story.  He continued to work as a physique model well into his 50s, but retired from both acting and modeling during the 1980s to devote himself to quieter pursuits.

Ed has  never made a public statement about his sexual identity -- few men of his generation would even consider such a thing.  But he inspired a generation of gay men, so it doesn't really matter.

Jan 23, 2017

My Date with Nate Richert and his Kielbasa

West Hollywood, March 2000

In March 2000, I was back in West Hollywood for my friend Larry's annual Oscar party.  March 25th, the night before, Lane and Randall (the bear with the pierced penis) took me out to all our old haunts: Bodhi Tree, Different Light, the French Quarter, the Gold Coast, Mugi, the Faultline.

But we never made it to the Faultline.

I was struck by a twink sitting at the bar in the Gold Coast. A little shorter than me, broad shoulders, very handsome round face with sandy hair and glasses, kind of a Harry Potter look except for the lumberjack shirt.

I sat next to him.  He said "Howdy, pardner," and held out his hand to be shaken.

I made a quip about Hogwarts.  He countered with a quip about Lemony Snicket's Unfortunate Events.

Our legs pressed together under the bar.  "Can I buy you another beer?" I asked.

"Heck, I'll buy you a beer.  I'll buy everybody a beer.  Drinks are on me!"

"Well, I don't really drink."

"A virgin margarita, then.  You have to let me buy you something.  I can afford it.  I'm Harvey, and I'm always going to be Harvey, no matter what they say!!"

Was that name supposed to mean something?  All I could think of was Harvey the Giant Rabbit in the James Stuart movie.  "Ok, Harvey, a Coke will be fine."

He seemed a little soused, but not unbearably so.  I reached out, unbuttoned a couple of buttons of his lumberjack shirt, and slid my hand down to feel his firm, hairy chest.  Few twinks have that much hair -- I was hooked!

I reached down and groped him.

The full post, with nude photos (not of Nate Richert), is on Tales of West Hollywood

Jan 22, 2017

Searching for a Gay Connection for Jackson Lueders

Someone found his way to this blog by searching for "Jackson Lueders shirtless."  I'm pretty sure there is no reference to Jackson Lueders on Boomer Beefcake and Bonding.  I never heard of him before.

So I googled him.

Ok, here he is shirtless.  A skinny blond teenager at the beach. 17 years old.

Here's another shirtless shot, again at the beach, darker hair, a bit younger.

But why should Jackson Lueders get a post?  Why is he famous?

Google reveals Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, a high school sports timeline, and a site that will tell you his height, weight, and eye color.

Still no idea why he's famous.

Jackson is second from the left.  According to Google Images, another of these people is his friend Jordyn Jones.  The farthest right is his brother Carson.

 I blocked out the girl in the bikini.

Carson, age 15, seems to be more famous.  He has Twitter, Instagram, Facebook (2.2 million likes), Pinterest, and his own website, where we hear that he's a singer.  He has performed on The View, and his music is available on Youtube and Spotify.

Ok, but you can't get on this blog unless you are gay, or there's some gay content in your work.

 Carson's songs include "Get to Know You Girl" and "Bae Back" (2015), about losing his girlfriend.  Sounds hetero to me.

There are gay "accusations" by homophobes on the internet: "ur gay bro" and "Carson is GAY!!!!"  I'm not sure that they qualify.

Nor does having a soda with Greg Marks, another pop singer who tweets "I need a girl who will be my best friend."

Carson's beach buddy here is pop singer Dylan Summerall, who tweets that it doesn't matter if a girl is "thick or thin," he likes them all.

Dylan Summerall is seen here with his brothers Hayden and Jimmy, who are also pop singers who write extensively about girls.  I blocked out the girl in the bikini next to them.

I've got nothing.  No gay content, just a lot of photos of  shirtless hetero kids.

But at least that guy who found his way by searching for "Jackson Lueders shirtless" won't be disappointed.