Jul 21, 2017

Bob Hooks Me Up with the Wrong Guy

Davenport, Iowa, July 2017

That's the last time I let Bob, the19-year old economics major, arrange a hookup for us.  On the way east to New York, he somehow found the most disgusting guy of all time, and on the way back, he got the wrong guy!

We stayed overnight in Rock Island again, and went to the Figge Museum of Art, across the river in Iowa.

I had never been there before.  It opened in 1997, after my parents moved to Indiana, and on the rare occasions that I returned to the Quad Cities, there wasn't time for much sightseeing.

The second floor had galleries devoted to Spanish Colonial art, Haitian art, Grant Wood, and contemporary art.  The third floor was devoted to a corn maze, and the fourth floor to a collection of black dolls.

Some of the galleries had a nice view of the Mississippi.

No beefcake art to speak of, although I did notice a surprising number of Cute Young Things and twinks among the patrons.  A lot of cruisy smiles and up-and-down glances going on.

I found out why when I heard a lot of raucous noise from downstairs, and left Bob in the Haitian Art gallery to investigate.

The downstairs exhibition room was full of people, very cute college-age boys in grey t-shirts with "Metro Arts" logos, some girls, a few kids, very well dressed adults mingling with glasses of wine and little sandwiches.  Some were already sitting on folding chairs facing a stage.  There were t-shirts for sale, and tables of snacks.

Was this a private function?  In my t-shirt and jeans, I looked more like one of the college boys than an adult.

I milled about, pretending to belong, trying to find someone alone, not in a group, to pump for information.

No luck.  Some of the teenagers were in groups, doing voice exercises and giving each other encouragement.  Some were talking to groups of adults.  No one was alone.

As usual, I got cruisy glances from the twinks, suspicious glares from the adults.

Then the program began: it turned out to be the showcase of the Quad City Metro Arts Summer Youth Program.  Thirty college students from all over the Midwest were selected for the five week program, where they worked on projects ranging from public art to graphic design to comedy improv.

The adults were parents, friends, and community leaders.  Later I discovered that the mayors of both Davenport and Rock Island were there.

First up in the showcase: a comedy improv with three performers.  I milled about, taking photos.

Soon Bob joined me, drawn by the noise. I apprised him of what was happening, and we watched in silence for a few minutes.

My eyes were drawn to a father and son standing alone, with no mother.  Gay?

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

Jul 20, 2017

The Bad Boys of Boston

When you think of Boston, you think of Harvard, Boston Commons, the elegant shops and restaurants of the Back Bay, the gay bars and bathhouses on Tremont and Boylston.  Most traveler never get any farther west than the Museum of Fine Arts.

But there's another Boston: Jamaica Plain, out past Brookline,  Mattapan.  Hyde Park.  And "The Combat Zone," east of Washington and south of Boylston, near the Tufts Medical Center.  Neighborhoods of unmown lawns and broken windows, unemployment, poverty, and battling gangs, where kids grow up fast and tough, where fun, friends, work, and school are equally dangerous.

Several photographers have taken the train south and west to document these bad boys, their games and sports, their fights, their gay and heterosexual loves.

Here John Goodman (the photographer, not the actor) shows a carload of cute guys in the Combat Zone in th 1970s, driving with their Saturday night entertainment, a six pack of Schlitz beer.

Jules Aarons (1921-2008) spent his career investigating Boston street life.  Here two boys in the 1950s chat beside their car.

A muscular South End boy in the 1970s offers his friend a light.

Jerry Berndt (1943-2013) taught at the Art Institute and photographed Boston street boys from 1955 through 1985.  These smoking boys look like they're from the 1980s.

Jack Lueders-Booth (1935-) taught at Harvard and, in the 1980s, photographed the Neighborhoods of the Orange Line.  He found this father and son working on their car in Jamaica Plain.

 Sally Mann (1951-) specializes in images of decay and death, although she mad an exception for this very muscular Boston boy.

Who is Tony Dow's Boyfriend?

This photo is causing a bit of speculation.

It looks like Venice Beach in Los Angeles (the cabana in the background says "Charter 0").

The guy on the right is Tony Dow, the teen hunk of Leave It to Beaver, shirtless, in his standard white shorts. Sometime in the early 1960s.

He's with a guy who is about his height and age, buffed, with a severe military haircut, wearing a dark t-shirt and cut-off jeans. They're both barefoot, and they both bulge to the left.

Tony is looking at the photographer, while the other guy is facing away, not sure what to do.  It's not a posed photo, it's a candid, two guys caught in an informal moment.  Hanging out together, or on a date.

But who is Tony's boyfriend?

I cropped the photo, but the original doesn't display any more information.  There are three guys sitting on the left, and there's a partial watermark: eart.ltd edit

Three possibilities have been suggested:

1. In "Wally the Lifeguard," a episode of Leave It to Beaver that aired on October 22, 1960, Wally thinks he has been hired as a lifeguard, and is embarrassed to discover that he will be selling hot dogs in a ridiculous outfit instead.  Some scenes are set at the beach, where the real life guard is played by 25-year old Dick Gering. Maybe he and Tony Dow bonded.

Severe military haircut, but the guy in the photo doesn't look like him.

2. Tommy Rettig, the star of Lassie, four years older than Tony Dow, became one of his closest friends during the early 1960s, and starred with him in Never Too Young (1965-66)

The guy in the photo is definitely not Tommy Rettig.

3. John "Butchie" Davidson.  Not the actor, the physique model. He was in Los Angeles for only a few months in the spring of 1965 before shipping out to Vietnam (he died tragically en route).  But during those months, he starred in several Athletic Model Guild films and got the cover of Physique Pictorial.  

Same haircut, same hands, same face.

Tony Dow never appeared in Physique Pictorial, but he mostly likely knew about it.  It's not inconceivable that he met Butchie, and was showing him the sights that day when an anonymous photographer snapped his picture.

There are nude photos of John Davidson on Tales of West Hollywood.

See also: Tony Dow Dating and Hookup Stories

Jul 19, 2017

Nude Wrestling in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Rock Island, July 2017

It's the morning after the most disgusting hookup ever.  Bob the 19-year old economics major and I are at having egg white omelets and fruit cups at the Quad Cities Pancake House.

"So, what's on the schedule for today?"  Bob asks.

"Chicago, about three hours from here.  We'll hit a couple of the museums, spend the night, and then drive on to Cleveland tomorrow."

"Would you mind if we take a little side-trip first?  I have a cousin I haven't seen since we were kids.  It's a couple of hours out of the way."


"Fond du Lac, Wisconsin."

4 hours out of the way!  But this is Bob's trip, too, so he should have a say in the itinerary.  Besides,  I have a history with Fond du Lac.

During my senior year in high school, although I was still Nazarene, I became obsessed with all things Catholic.  I read The Seven Story Mountain and The Dark Night of the Soul, learned to say the Rosary, and even went incognito into a Catholic Mass. I didn't actually convert, but I was considering it.

 And I considered applying to Marion College in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

One day in January 1978, Dad drove me up for a tour.  I remember a vast snow-covered campus with round white buildings, pristine, pure, as quiet as a cloister.

You could feel the presence of God everywhere.

I imagined living in an austere dorm room, all white, empty except for a bed with white covers, some statues of saints, and a shelf of contemplative classics: the Little Flowers of St. Francis The Cloud of Unknowing.  Of walking among buildings of brilliant white other-worldly splendor every day, en route to my classes in medieval philosophy, Catholic theology, Ecclesiastical Latin, and Koine Greek.

On the four hour drive to Fond du Lac, Bob tells me more about Cousin Tark (short for Tarkington).  He's older than Bob, a big brother who used to babysit him and sneak him into R-rated movies, until he went away to college in Wisconsin, and then got a job in Fond du Lac.

"Was he cute?" I ask.

Not an athlete, but big and tall, with a thick beefy chest and nice biceps.

"Any sausage sightings?"

"Man, we used to wrestle in the nude.   Really big -- and thick!  Man, that thing was like a beer can!"

 A beer-can penis somehow seems out of place in a world of quiet contemplation.  Surely trivial matters like sex fade away when you are in the presence of the Divine.

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

Tony Dow Stars in the Teen Soap "Never Too Young"

Never Too Young (1965-1966) is famous as the first teenage soap opera, an attempt to draw the Beatles crowd into daytime tv.

It was set in Malibu, where Alfy (David Watson) ran the High Dive, the local teen hangout, and negotiated the angst-ridden lives of three high school girls, Joy, Rhoda, and Susan, and their boys:

Dack Rambo, who would go on to star in All My Children and Dallas, played all-around good guy Tim (shown here with his twin brother Dirk Rambo).  Both were bisexual in real life.

John Lupton (shown here with Michael Ansara and, apparently, their child) played rich kid Frank.

Tony Dow of Leave It to Beaver appeared in 10 episodes as brooding, always shirtless race car driver Chet.  Then he joined the California National Guard and temporarily retired from acting.

Tommy Rettig of Lassie played his boyfriend Jojo.

Michael Blodgett, a beefcake star of the 1960s, played injured football star Tad.

Never Too Young ran daily at 3:00 in the afternoon from September 27, 1965 through June 24, 1966.

That's a pitiable short life span for a soap; apparently teenagers were staying away in droves.  But not to worry, they grooved on the vampires and werewolves of its replacement, Dark Shadows

Only five episodes have survived  You can sometimes find them on Ebay.  But be warned, the reproduction is not very good.  Check out John Lupton's bulge, if you can.

Jul 18, 2017

The Most Disgusting Hookup of All Time

Rock Island, July 2017

When I go home to Rock Island, I usually do quite well with hookups.  Being the new guy in town, I get approached a lot, I have the "I grew up here!" conversation starter, and in the absence of gay bars there's a lot of old-fashioned cruising going on.  But earlier this week, when we stopped in Rock Island on the way to New York, I had the MOST DISGUSTING HOOKUP OF ALL TIME.

I blame Bob, the 19 year old economics major I met at the dentist's office a few weeks ago. He was with only one guy before me, but quickly warmed up to the idea of sharing and hooking up.

He had never heard of gay dating apps, and was eager to try out Grindr, so I promised that on our night in Rock Island, he could arrange some hookups for us.

We got to our hotel about 6:00 and had dinner with my brother.   I couldn't resist posting a picture of the pizza (the highlight of the evening).

Then I went to the gym while Bob got to work on Grindr, with the profile name "visiting" and nude pictures of us  both to share.  When I returned, he had the hookups arranged.

"I invited two, in case one doesn't show up, like you taught me," he said. "One for you, a teenager."

I'm actually more attracted to guys in their 30s.  I just go with the twinks and Cute Young Things because they approach me all the time, and there aren't a lot of "regular aged" guys on the Plains.   But I wasn't going to tell that to Bob the 19-year old, especially when he was so proud of himself.

"And one for me," he added.  "Old, muscular, hairy chest, big cock."

Sounded like Bob's would be more my style.

Little did I know.

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

Jul 17, 2017

Tales of the City: Gay Guys, San Francisco, Who Cares?

Year after year, people tell me "The Tales of the City books are stupendous!  Amazing!  Wonderful!  The best thing every written!"

"And they're historically vital!  Gay author Armistead Maupin originally published them in serial form in the San Francisco Chronicle, back when gay characters were unheard-of in mainstream literature!"

"And you lived in San Francisco! They will resonate strongly with your experiences!"

"And they're hilarious!  You've never laughed so much in your life!  You'll love them!"

So, again and again, I pick up the first volume, Tales of the City (1978).  Midwesterner Mary Anne Singleton comes to San Francisco on vacation, converses with her old college friend Mona Ramsey, and decides to stay.

This is not the least bit humorous.  It's dull, dull, dull!

She moves into 28 Barbary Lane, where her free-spirit landlady, Anna Madrigal, tells her, "My dear, I'm not opposed to anything," and gives her a marijuana joint as a housewarming gift.  Mary Anne is determined not to be shocked.

My life in San Francisco was nothing like this!

She goes shopping, sees two guys, and wonders if they might be gay.  She's determined not to be shocked, if they are.

Maupin eases into the revelation of their gayness.   I guess he had to be very, very careful, writing for heterosexuals in the 1970s.

I can't go on.  I'm so very, very, very bored.

But sooner or later someone will start praising the books again, and I'll try again.

I already know what happens next: Mary Ann befriends a gay man named Mouse.  He starts dating A-gay gynecologist Jon Fielding, who is dying, Mona Ramsey dates D'Orothea Wilson, and Mary Anne has an affair with Beauchamp Day. Anna Madrigal turns out to be a MTF transwoman, who has an affair with Beauchamp's father-in-law, who is dying.

Got all that?

 Through eight books and thirty years, Mary Ann, Mouse, and their huge group of friends encounter angst and tragedy as life hits them with unemployment, failed romances, homophobia, transphobia, death -- lots of death -- and AIDS -- lots of AIDS.

This by you is humor?

The tv miniseries (1993, 1998, 2001) were a bit more palatable, maybe because they were not so episodic, and they got into the gay characters right away, instead of hinting around for weeks and weeks.

Besides, there were naked guys. (Pictured: Thomas Gibson as Beauchamp Day.)

I can't think of any other reason to care about Tales of the City 

Alan's Friend Has Sex on the Beach with Tom Selleck

You have celebrity hookup stories about Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark-Paul Goesselaer, Tony Curtis, even Groucho Marx.  Why not one about Tom Selleck, one of the beefcake icons of the 1980s?

He certainly seems like a good possibility. Born in 1945 in Detroit, Selleck began his career as a model, and moved into acting while attending the University of Southern California.  He wandered around the studios for several years, doing guest spots as pretty boys and hunks -- you can see him nude in Coma (1980).

 His big break came when he passed up the role of Indiana Jones for Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988), about a sardonic private detective.  Magnum lives in Hawaii on his rich friend's estate (in his absence), and has carte blanche to use all of his fancy toys (apparently they are very close).

Magnum has a couple of scoobies (Roger E. Mosley, Larry Manetti), and butts heads with the officious, gay-coded but heterosexual Higgins (John Hillerman), who comes with the estate.

I never saw it, but I heard a lot about Tom Selleck.  His feminine mannerisms, short-short pants, hairy chest, and Castro Clone moustache set off everyone's gaydar, making everyone believe that he was "one of us."

In spite of his two marriages (to Jacqueline Ray from 1971 to 1982, and to Jillie Mack from 1987 to the present).

In spite of (or maybe because of) his 1991 lawsuit against a tabloid for printing a story alleging that he was gay.  He wanted damages of $20 million -- that's either extreme homophobia, or an extreme attempt to stay in the closet.

In spite of his interview in The Advocate in 1997, in which he protests that he is straight, and yells that "It's not anti-gay to say that you aren't gay."

Um..gee, Tom, when you say it so vociferously, and so expensively, it kind of is.

I heard a lot of Tom Selleck hookup stories in the 1980s.

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

Ten Steps to Successful Boy Watching

"Boy watching" is not about underaged boys.  It's the gay equivalent to what straight men used to call "girl watching" -- looking at the cute guys you see in public every day -- with a 21st century twist.  Since you go everywhere with a camera in your pocket, you can take pictures of interesting subjects.

Sure, you can go on the internet at any time and download hundreds of pictures of cute guys, clothed and naked, but it's much more fun, interesting, and exciting  to photograph someone that you've actually seen in real life.

Here are ten steps to successful boy watching:

1. Know the law

In the United States it's legal to photograph people in public places, or in private establishments open to the public, like bars, restaurants, and shopping malls.

Except where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and doctor's office waiting rooms.

It's usually legal to photograph them in the parts of their property clearly visible from the street.

It's usually illegal to loiter (hang around with no legitimate business), especially near schools, playgrounds, and bus stations.

2. Be polite

If you want a close-up, ask first.

Don't follow, importune, annoy, or harass your subject.

Don't photograph the same subject more than once.


3. Don't be afraid of surreptitious photographs

The most interesting photos are taken of subjects who aren't aware that they're being photographed.

Pretend to be photographing something else, and they just happen to be "in the way."  It doesn't have to be something of great historic significance.  An interesting decal, a crowded restaurant, a highway truck stop.

Or have a confederate stand or sit in front of your subject, and photograph him.

If you're caught taking a surreptitious photograph, say something like "I'm doing research on this establishment.  Can I take your picture for local color?"

4. Take high-definition photos

There aren't any telephoto lenses for cell phone cameras yet, but you can take a hd photo from a distance of 20-40 feet and still have a nice image when you crop out everything but your target.

5. Try different locations.

It's boring photographing guys at the same gym, coffee house, and restaurant time after time.  Look for new locales: a shopping mall, a museum, a baseball game, a theater.

6. Don't cruise and photograph at the same time.

Trying to meet a guy for dating or sex requires a different set of skills from photographing him.  You can't do both at once.  If you want to pick him up, put the cell phone away.

7. Don't expect miracles.

Unless you're at the beach, you're not going to get shirtless shots.  Bulge shots are rare.  The face and physique are enough.

8. Don't worry if you miss your mark.

Don't worry if he turns at the wrong moment, or obscures his face, or sees you with the camera and "politely" steps out of the way.  There are plenty of other guys out there.

9. Keep careful records.

In six months, you won't remember where you saw him.  Record the date, time, location, what he was doing, who he was with.  It will make reliving the moment much more interesting.

10. Don't forget your main goal.

Don't let your search for a good shot keep you from appreciating his face and physique then and there.

Choose subjects who are less than spectacular.  When you encounter supreme beauty, you want to stay in the moment, forget the camera and just look.

Jul 16, 2017

A Gay Connection at a Gas Station in Rural Illinois

Rural Illinois, July 2017

On our way back from New York, we stop at a travel plaza: a Sinclair station with a giant dinosaur outside.  I haven't seen one since I was a kid.  It gives me a weird feeling of going into the past, being dislocated in time.

Something important is about to happen.

While Bob is getting gas, I head toward the convenience store.   A family is just leaving, walking toward the Subway sandwich place next door.

Mom wears a veil, like the Blessed Virgin in art.  I briefly wonder if the family is Amish. Are there Amish people around here?

The teenage son smiles and says "Hi."

I'm so surprised that I stop and stare without responding.

He is wearing an orange t-shirt with a sports team on it and short black pants with a bit of a bulge.  He's tall, a little chubby, deeply tanned,with short black hair, dark eyebrows, flawless smooth skin, and square workman's hands.  He's holding a cell phone.

 The store is huge, selling food, souvenirs, DVDs, auto supplies, even coats and jackets.  There's a fountain in the middle.

I pace around, pretending to look at the merchandise.  The clerk eyes me suspiciously.  I pick up a banana to buy so he won't think I'm shoplifting.  My mind is racing.

I should have said "hi" to that boy.

What for? You're cruised by a hundred twinks a day.  You should know the difference between a cruise and being friendly.  That was just being friendly.

Friendly, at a gas station in rural Illinois?

He's not even hot.  Kind of cute, but not beautiful, certainly not the "supreme beauty" that you remember forever.  And no athlete...he had a little belly on him!

This is close to where Ryan H., the college track star, lives.  Maybe he knows him.  That could be my in.

Who says he lives near here?  He could be from anywhere.

Yes, but....

What were you planning to do?  Pick him up in front of his parents?  Have sex in the bathroom?

No, but...

Get his phone number, exchange selfies for six months, and then drive 500 miles back here for a date with him?

No, but...it was rude to just stand there.  

It's a gas station in Illinois!  He'll get over it!

The full story is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Detective Adventurers of the 1980s

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a fad for sly, antiheroic, self-referential adventurers.  We saw them on BJ and the Bear, The Fall Guy, Magnum P.I., Vegas, and even in science fiction like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Man-mountains like Stallone and Schwartzeneggar were not yet in style, so they had lean, muscular bodies, hairy chests, thick wind-blown 1970s hair, 1970s gold chains, and sometimes a moustache.  They mostly looked alike; I dare you to distinguish between Gil Gerard and Robert Ulrich at a distance.

They lived in glamorous locations like Hawaii and Las Vegas, had unlimited incomes, and solved crimes.  But unlike the suave gay couples of the early 1960s, they didn't come in pairs.  Indeed, the premises seemed deliberately designed to eliminate homoerotic buddy-bonding.    

Buck (Gil Gerard) of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-81) hung out with a woman, Col. Wilma Deering (Erin Gray) and a robot (who began every sentence with "Bleep..bleep..bleep").

Private detective Dan Tanna (Robert Ulrich) of Vega$ (1979-81) had a female assistant, Beatrice (Phyllis Davis).  His main client was casino owner Slick (Tony Curtis), but Slick was older and slightly seedy, and they never buddy-bonded.

Trucker BJ (Greg Evigan) of BJ and the Bear (1979-81) hung out with a chimpanzee.

Private detective Magnum (Tom Selleck) of Magnum, PI (1980-88) lived on an estate in Hawaii with the prissy, gay-coded  Higgins (John Hillerman).  But no subtext -- they hated each other.  He also had two buddies, TC (Roger E. Mosley) and Rick (Larry Manetti), but never expressed any particular fondness for either.

There's a Tom Selleck hookup story on Tales of West Hollywood.

Jim Rockford (James Garner) was an exception, an antihero who lived in a ramshackle trailer.

Stunt man/bounty hunter Colt Seavers (Lee Majors) of The Fall Guy (1981-86) had an apprentice, Howie (former beefcake model Douglas Barr).  But the homoerotic potential was minimized by making Howie a comic relief character, and adding a stunt woman buddy, Jody (Heather Thomas), to the mix.

There was some beefcake, of course, but it was overwhelmed by the endless scenes of women with enormous breasts.

A couple of episodes involving homicidal drag queens (one tries to kill the British Prime Minister on Magnum, and on Vega$, she tries to kill her own "male side," however that would work).  Otherwise no gay characters.

It's no wonder that most gay teens watched Laverne and Shirley instead of Buck Rogers, Barney Miller instead of Magnum, and ran whenever Lee Majors came on the screen.

The actors have a spotty record concerning gay people.  Tom Selleck has been denouncing gay rumors, loudly and angrily, for 30 years.  Gil Gerard came out in support of Chick-Fil-A's homophobia. Lee Majors has been mostly silent, although he did play Grace's Dad on Will and Grace.