Sex With Scott
by Scott Edgar
Click on the titles below to read the various articles written by Scott - dealing with being a sexual gay boi!
By Scott Edgar
The evening has been breathtaking. He showed up with roses and a shinny new C.D. (he knows better than to bring chocolates on your diet). He whisked you away to your favorite pretentious restaurant and has made love to you with words all night long. It has been the perfect Valentine's day. In the dim glow of candlelight and with a hungry look that the four-course dinner couldn’t satiate, he says to you:
" How about a threesome?"
Does this make you creamier than the Crème Brule you just toyed with, or are you more tempted to shove the dish up your man's sculpted glutes?
How about this situation…
You are sitting alone at the bar; it's getting towards closing time. Out of nowhere appears a rippling stallion of a man. He introduces himself and proceeds to charm your socks off. He buys you a drink, cracks a couple of jokes, then escorts you to the dance floor. You look around, making sure your friends are watching you dance with this Adonis, the whole time wondering why a man like this doesn't have a boyfriend. Another god of the male flesh slides up behind you. Stud #1 slides his tongue down Stud #2's throat, then they both turn their attention to you. Oh, so he does have a boyfriend…
What if things were switched around a little? In this scenario, though, you are Stud # 2. How do you really feel about your boyfriend taking some other dude's temperature with his tongue? Does it make you wetter than a lesbian at a Melissa Etheridge concert, or are you just going along with it to please your boi? Or maybe your boi is doing it to make you happy and secretly it is making him miserable. If everyone is cool with it, then fine, then dig into him like Oprah and Rosie sharing a slab of ribs. Before you even eye your potential trick, however, there is something else you should do first (No, not stock up on lube): communicate!
A lot of guys have come to me lately telling me tales of threesomes and in every case it seems like an avoidable mess was involved. In one case, a cute friend told me that he and his hot Italian lover had reached the point in their relationship where they wanted to involve other people. Neither of them discussed it at any length with the other and it turned into an emotional fiasco that involved public intoxication, jealousy, humiliation and the cops, all at a fave Cincy nightspot. When I brought the subject up to my cute pal, he said he really didn’t know how his hot lover was feeling, he just assumed he was OK with it.
Communication is essential to every successful relationship. Make sure you talk to your partner and set guidelines. Do you want this to be an occasional thing with someone you will never see again? Is it going to be a frequent occurrence or do you want to limit it to out of town fun? Do you want it to involve strangers or a close friend you can trust? These are questions to address to avoid hurt feelings and heartache. It is also important to communicate with yourself. Ask yourself why you are doing this. Is this something you really want to do, or are you doing it to please your man? Is it going to have any negative effects on how you perceive yourself or how you see your lover?
I have heard of people in stable relationships being able to have an open relationship or who engage in threesomes, but I have never met these people. It seems to me that it is more of a theory than a fact. In most instances I have observed it as a sign of a rocky relationship that needs dialog and not new sex games. One young man I know became a neurotic mess wondering why his boyfriend of two years wanted to bring other people into the picture. He was terrified that he was "auditioning" new lovers. Had he grown tired of him? Had he become bored with him sexually? Was he falling out of love with him? The sad truth was the answer was yes to most all of his fears. If you are unhappy or having serious doubts about your relationship, then there is probably a problem that letting your man fuck someone else won't fix.
Something else to consider is who are you going to do it with, and how are you going to meet him. One could advertise in the classifieds of a nowhere weekly (Hot and Hung Horny Guys seek a Bad boi for a Good Time) but that’s weird and frightening. More than likely, you will meet him in a bar. Striking up a conversation to feel him out (I said out, not up) is a good start. If he seems shy and conservative, he almost assuredly won't like you proposing that he be the filling for your hot meat sandwich. Asking point blank is a really, really bad idea if you do not know the fellow. Not only will you come off as an ass, but also you pretty much just told him he looks easy. Not exactly seductive. You need to use a little finesse, and I ain't talking cheap shampoos. Another reason to scope the guy is for your own protection. You want to make sure he's not offended, but also not offensive, i.e., a nasty 'ho. It is best to make sure you share the experience with someone you have a feel for and can trust to make it a more comfortable and satisfying encounter.
Threesomes and Open relationships in our gay culture are a common practice. Some of my fave occurrences were simply adult play with friends, something that just happened. None of us were committed in any way to the others. Make sure you consider your partners true feelings. If you are in love with someone, then you swear off all others and commit yourself to that one person. Out of respect and as a symbol of your love you forego the urges that press you to wander. Sanctioned or not, sex with someone other than your significant other is a violation of the laws of love. However, if you are comfortable with it and do not feel it could harm or change the way you and yours feel about each other, then have at it, boiz. Just wear a condom and keep a first aid kit nearby. The more partners a boi has at one time, the higher his chances of pulling a muscle!
Porn is your friend. For some of you poor chaps, it is your best friend. Pornography represents a sexual fantasy world that we all love to escape to from time to time. Most gay men couldn’t name their state representative. Yet, how many us could recite a list of our fave Bel Ami Bois or Falcon men? It really isn't all that surprising, though, it is a Pavlovian thing. Lukas Ridgestone makes us drool, Tony Hall does not - unless you have some weird, old guy fetish.
Lukas, Johann, Billy Brandt- they reign supreme in our fantasies. They are to a gay man what Barbie is to an eight year old girl (ok, and some gay men): a perfect being to get our imaginations racing. They are an ideal of beauty we desire to be, though one very few can live up to, and one many suffer to try to emulate. Each of us has something about us that is sexy, it just may not be as obvious as piercing blue eyes and a nine-inch cock.
That said, let's get back to our examination of celluloid sex. As I stated, the point of erotica is fantasy, which is my argument to the prudes who attack porn on the basis that it creates unrealistic views and expectations of sex, that it does not mention HIV, and that it objectifies people. The world we create inside of ourselves is our own private Utopia. In our perfect little universe there are no STDs or AIDS. It is where we go to escape the harsh realities of life. We are free to be the sexual supermen and women we cannot be in the "real world". As far as objectification, let's face it, the act of intercourse is about as objectifying as ya get. You're fucking someone's ass, not their vocabulary. Personality and emotion may play an important role in attraction and seduction, but the sheer act of using each other's bodies for sexual gratification is pretty objectifying. The men and women of porn are there voluntarily. They enjoy being someone's wet dream; they feed off the sexual energy that buzzes around them. They are not forced to do interviews, and photo shoots, or collects their paychecks. They do it because they want to, so stop being naive. To paraphrase Patsy (of Fabulous) when Saffron screeches that porn is objectifying: "she's the one with the whip!"
There are drawbacks to porn. Having worked in various video stores that offer adult entertainment, I see men spend unbelievable amounts of money on videos and magazines with such an alarming frequency that I wonder why their wrists aren't in a sling. It seems to be a habit that can become addicting and costly, but then again, so can knitting if taken to the extreme (hmmm…and both involve manual dexterity).
There is a fine line between fantasy and obsession, but if you have the financial means and no apparent life, then pump that baby like an oil rig in Texas.
There are pluses to porn, too. I don't know how many times those studs at Falcon have kept me from hitting the bars and slipping on my beer goggles. With porn, you know you are going to have a safe sexual release. With the bars, or whatever, you are taking your chances. Gay Erotica can also be used as an educational tool. It has given me a million ideas! I didn't even know I could put my legs there! It seems that the things one can do with a bottle of lube and a hard boi are limitless! Porn can also help someone discover who he or she wants to be, by safely exploring gay sex before he may be ready for the real thing. It may be hard for some of you sex kittens to believe, but some men are just plain scaredy cats when it comes to man-on-man action.
Pornography, like everything else, has plenty of pros and cons and it is up to the individual to decide if it is a moral dilemma. It is a bad idea to live in a fantasy world, whether it be one that is based on sex or baseball, as is trying to make everyone measure up to Julian Armanis, or some other Bel Ami Boi. As long as you remember that, then a good fantasy life is normal, healthy and fun. So have at it bios, just be careful you don’t sprain anything, and that you don’t go blind!
Saturday night. The music's thumping, the lights are swirling, people are
moving in mass around me, like a tide of flesh, ebbing and flowing. Hip cocked I
lean suggestively against the counter. A glittering twink approaches me. With an
impish grin he asks:
" What are power-balls and how do I use them?"
Sigh. Another night at the Celebrity - Q shop. Working at the Q has been a lesson in human sexuality. I am constantly being asked, " what is this?" and "how does this work?", as if I have some infinite knowledge of every orgasm extracting gizmo available. More often than not I tell people to shove it up their asses, mostly because I am a bitch, but also because it seems that is what you do with a lot of them.
The most commonly used and inquired about sex toy/aid is the cock ring. The name would imply that it is a band that goes around the base of the penis. It does not. It is to be placed at the base of the genitalia, behind the scrotum. It is used to restrict blood flow and to maintain erection. In less clinical terms, it is a tourniquet for your dick. It sounds painful but it is not if you do get the right size. To determine what size is right for you, measure with a tape measure (preferably the cloth kind used by tailors and seamstresses) and measure around the base of your built-in fun pack (i.e. where you will be wearing it), then divide that number in half. For beginners, a cock ring that stretches or has snaps is recommended. Once you have learned what size you take and are comfortable wearing one, then you can tackle the metal. Remember you are trying to prolong your hard-on and control climax by restricting the blood flow, not cutting off circulation. It tends to dampen the passion if your dick falls off.
The prostate is a fun reproductive gland that for some odd reason loves to be massaged. It is located below the bladder, is the size of a walnut and produces part of the seminal fluid. It is the reason some men find anal intercourse pleasurable. A little stimulation of the gland will definitely make your boi-pussy purr, which is why there are so many toys that involve anal penetration. Dildoes are probably the most popular item and really, they are self-explanatory. Penises, be they real or fake, are a lot like food. They are a yummy taste-treat we can't wait to wrap our lips around, but when it comes to portions, sometimes our eyes are bigger than our, umm…stomachs. The rectal muscles are fairly resilient, designed to expand and contract without losing elasticity. That does not mean you should go shoving something the size of Jeff Stryker's Powertool up there without some proper lube and stimulation. There are surprisingly few nerve endings in the tender membranes of the rectum or else using the restroom would be a painful experience. The ones present are not real fond of being stretched which is the big boiz hurt. It is best to slowly open the rectum with gentle stretching, in other words, a few fingers before the beer can. Those boys you see taking it in the movies are professionals, do not try that at home! Ok, go ahead, just be careful.
Anal beads, vibrators and butt plugs…Oh My! Those are a few more popular items that can be purchased for hours of wholesome (HOLEsome? Hmmm…) fun. Anal Beads are placed in the anus, creating pressure on the prostate, and pulled out at the moment of orgasm to increase the intensity. I haven't tried it (No, really, I haven't) but I hear it’s a real hoot. I will just have to take their word for it. Vibrators and butt plugs? If it has to be explained to you, then you don’t deserve the joy of playing with them. It is important to keep in mind that the membranes and tissues that make up the intestinal tract are delicate, so be careful what you go sticking up there. Bottles, broom handles or various vegetables aren't made for such things and could potentially hurt something. Be careful and follow the directions. Ruptures and fissures in the tissue is a major contributor to the contraction of HIV. If none of this sound pleasurable to you, then have "Exit Only" tattooed on your ass and look for the boiz walking funny, grinning real big and you should be fine. It seems there is a shortage of good tops around here anyway.
Penis Pumps advertise that they can add length and width, but these claims have no medical support. The pumps creates a vacuum which expands the penis to its' fullest potential, but the effect is temporary and does not endure outside the vacuum. The makers assert that the chambers that fill with blood and cause erection will stretch and "grow," but this has never been proven. It is possible to burst blood vessels, so be careful. Some men swear by them, but it is best to see them as just a toy. They feel good, so why not? After all, if you are going to play with yourself, you might as well go all out. Have your own Super Bowl of masturbation; except the balls are never out of bounds and Britney Spears ain't gonna show for halftime. How weird would that be? Oops I did it again! But Sorry Britney, it should come out in the wash…
There are also toys made to simulate other naughty acts as well. Rubber orifices molded to mimic some nasti-boi's tight buns create nice, tight spaces, but tend to be pricey. There are inflatable alternatives, but eeewww…for one, and two, the only people who should have to worry about plastic popping during sex is whoever is fucking Pamela Anderson. If you are looking for all the joys of a blowjob without the hassle of getting some twink drunk, there are devices for that as well. Personally the idea of sticking my naughty bits into something electrical with moving pieces frightens me. I am scared to use the garbage disposal for goodness sake. I mean really, we've all read Pet Cemetery…
In a world that runs rampant with disease, it is fun to explore safer alternatives to sex with strangers (which I'm not knocking, mind you). There are toys for all kinds of boiz. I have mentioned some of them, but for safety's sake, and because some of you are just plain stupid, I will mention some things you shouldn't use: rubber bands, coke bottles, wet dry vacs, and most importantly- GARBAGE DISPOSALS! Read the directions, and don't forget about hygiene. Clean and sanitize your toys and don’t share them with others. If you were smart and played safe while petting you’re boi-pussy, then it should purr for hours!
Imagine you are at your fave hotspot having a gay old time. Your friends are all there and you have been chatting away like the diva you are. Suddenly a man saunters up and asks you point blank: " You wanna fuck?" After you finish handing the man him his jaw, you nicely explain to the skank that such behavior is not appropriate in polite society, or a gay bar for that matter. I mean really, what does he think this is? A chat room? Ahhh…but what if it was? Would your reaction be the same? With no one to see what you were up to, would you still put up a front of respectability, oozing hostility and indignation? Or would you check his profile first to make sure he wasn’t some hot stud before you told him to screw off?
Chat rooms have become a 21st century cruising spot, replacing back rooms and public parks. The Internet has made sex just as easy to access as music downloads or some collectible on E-bay. The supply of horny and married men, BI-curious and str8 boiz looking for a BJ seems endless. O-so-clever screen names like "HornyBiDude", " HotMuscledTop" or "YoungDumbHung" generally clue one into what he is looking for at the moment. Other guys spell it out for you in their profiles, telling you that "if I am on, I am looking", their info sounding like a centerfold bio: " I love the outdoors, sunrises and big cocks". The ones that crack me up are the ones that announce "I am not looking." One of my fave pastimes is to IM them and see how long it takes them to ask if you are a top or a bottom. There are genuine guys who do just want to chat and I have come to think of them as modern pen pals. They are nice men who I have never met or even seen, but with whom I exchange pleasantries and flirt a little, all in the spirit of fun.
Not all chat room regulars have that spirit of fun in mind, though, and I strongly caution inexperienced chatters about the sexual predators that lurk and prey on the young and naïve. When I first began to frequent the chat rooms, I met a man whom seemed too good to be true, and as it turned out he was. Yes, he was handsome and had a great body, but I did a little research on him and it turned out that is not all he had. Considering the pressure he put on me to have sex and his desire to BB (bareback), I was not amused. When I confronted him about it, he acted as if he was doing nothing wrong. His attitude of sexual " Buyer Beware" was shocking and disgusting. Since our meeting I have watched him in the chat rooms, and not only does he lie about his age in his profile, but also he encourages only smooth, young boiz to respond. Several friends have told me that he has practically stalked them and tried to coerce them into unsafe sex as well. A friend with connections to the Ohio Aids Coalition informed me that they were aware of at least a dozen known HIV+ men who frequent the Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton chat rooms and lie about their status. It is an act of a sad soul when one so flagrantly disregards the sanctity of human life and threatens to cut short a young existence that still has so much to see and offer the world still. Plain and simple it is murder, or at the very least attempted homicide, every time a man engages in this behavior.
Preaching aside, there are other things a gay boi should be aware of when cyber-flirting, mainly the youthfully and attractively challenged. I am no spring -chicken, more of a summer- cock, but the amount of chickenhawks circling is just amazing. One gentleman went from 24 to 34 in minutes. In a moment of hormonal weakness I agreed to meet him and he looked closer to 44. He also looked nothing like his photo or his profile. I really wondered if he thought I wouldn’t notice or if I would just say " o well' and let him service me anyhow. Untruthfulness seems commonplace on the net and has happened to me more than once. Both occasions I simply walked away, which may seem harsh, but at the risk of sounding shallow, I just don’t have sex with nasty people. If I wanted to do charity, I would have joined the Peace Corps, or the priesthood, which seems to be getting more action than I as of late.
When you are dealing with people on the net, sometimes you have to be a little blunt, i.e. rude. Some guys will pester the hell out of you until you tell them to go away and leave you alone. Be careful not to go to far, though, the web is an almost faceless experience and it seems easy to forget you are dealing with a person and not a computer. I have found a lot of younger men seem to think they can be bitchy little Twinkies and act like asses for some odd reason. I am not sure if their mamas raised them to be ill mannered or what, but attitude and bad manners seem to abound in the chat rooms. If someone takes the time to say hi to you, or more importantly if you initiate something with someone, don’t suddenly act like a little queen and say something bitchy or disappear. A lot of the younger men online seem to think their youth gives them special privileges. If being 18 is all you have to offer someone, then screw off. Yes that sounded bitter, but I went off on the old guys, so equal time, baby, I gotta bitch at the youngins too. To often chatters forget to treat others with respect and dignity. Personally I will not respond to Pvts that start out asking my stats, if I am looking, or dick size. While I am an extremely sexual person, I do not like being reduced to my sex organs. If I want to get physical with someone it is generally because I find the overall package desirable. Seduction involves stimulating all the senses, most importantly the mind. If a guy wants to get with you, he should take the time to get to know you - or be really hot and have a 9-inch tool.
The Internet can be a fun way to meet new people or a useful way to indulge in anonymous animalistic sex. It can also be a potentially dangerous situation. You really have no idea what you are getting. A few exchanges through cyber-space isn't a good way to gauge someone's mental stability. He could easily be a psycho or a gay basher. If you are going to meet someone from online for the first time, meet in a neutral, public place. A gas station, an all night Denny's, or a well-lit parking place with people nearby is good. Just keep in mind that public indecency is frowned upon. It may also be a good idea to be able to defend yourself, carry a little Pepper Spray or work on your right hook. I have heard of rape and other awful things happening to careless young men. Remember you are under no obligation to do anything with someone. If you are uncomfortable with the situation, then GET OUT!
A simple fact of life is that men suck. Just because they advertise it on the net, however, doesn’t mean you should be so quick to give them your meat flavored Jolly Rancher to lick on. Be smart, use your head and always practice safe sex, no matter how hot he is. And most importantly, if you are going to engage in cyber-sex…keep some Kleenex nearby…some stuff is just a bitch to clean out of a keyboard.
Starting In April a local doctor and a counselor will be online once a month to answer medical or emotional questions in a discrete and anonymous way. The time and place will be posted on GayDayton.org, or you can e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. I will also be happy to forward any questions to the proper medical authorities or provide any help that I can. I am interested in hearing what issues face the young people of our city and all questions will be dealt with in a confidential manner.
The house looms before me. It sits nonchalantly on a small hill, blending so easily with the houses around it. The modest dwelling differs greatly from the homes that surround it, for it hides a secret. I was supposed to come several nights before to investigate the extraordinary going-ons of the house, but chickened out. So now here I am, on the threshold of someplace notorious, a place of whispers and rumors. My heart quickens. I ring the doorbell. The door opens and I step into..The GayWatch House.
So it's not a haunted house, but it is a place of spirits: spirits of fun, frivolity and youth. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the house or the boys who live within it, but after being in the house for only a few minutes, I am already certain none of it is like I thought. Being a bit of a Celebrity nightclub brat, I am privy to the gossip that runs amok and one of the favorite topics is the GayWatch House and the young men who reside in it. There are tales of sexual deviance and unbridled fornication, how the house consumes more drugs than Columbia can produce… all of which seem to be untrue. The guys are laid back and amazingly unaware of the cameras and microphones that are placed strategically through the house. It doesn’t take long before I, too, forget about them.
Friendly and outgoing, the boys are not at all the snobs they are rumored to be, actually they all are very approachable. Each of the three (there are 5 all together) that I am hanging with today have distinct personalities. Cody is the "college prep…G.Q.", Jamie the "daddy-type." Timmy, who dominates most of the interview, seems to be the most sexually adventurous -the epitome of a free wheeling (and loving) gay youth. There are two other boys, who live in the house and are not present: Mickey, the mysterious one, as well as Jamon, who is the current house Twink.
GayWatch differs greatly from the other online houses I have checked out. In addition to the young men being more down to earth, the house also boasts audio, so one can listen to the lives of the boys as well, something other web sites don’t offer. It is a more complete experience. The other houses and dorms are inhabited by muscular pretty bois with huge dicks, which is nice, but you know in real life they wouldn’t give you the time of day. The guys here love to meet all kinds of people and frequently entertain out of town guests. Says Timmy: " We are just average guys. " All the guys agree that that is something that contributes to the success of GayWatch.com., which has been online a little over a year.
After a quick tour of the house, we settle into the leather couches and fall easily into conversation. It is almost an afterthought that I turn on the recorder. We chat for several hours, touching on many topics, more than I can go into in this column, so we will just touch on some of the highlights and more frequently asked questions.
Scott: " So what is required of a GayWatch boy?"
Jamie:" When we first move in we do a photo shoot and the video and we have to chat."
Cody: " And live in the house."
Jamie: " Its not required that we have sex or masturbate in chat, nothing like that"
The boys go on to say that, for legal reasons, they are discouraged from having sex in the house, though they are frequently pressured to entertain.
Cody: (imitating the less courteous GayWatch subscribers) " ' You going to have sex?' Ummm no, it's not scheduled…if it happens, it happens….Its like so and so's down in the bathroom, go and give him a blow job…go jump in the shower with him"
Scott: " You mean you fell objectified? Like some sort of a sexual robot?"
Jamie: " With some people on the site it is like that, they come in and they demand. I take requests, not demands."
Cody: "There are so many of them that have been like 'I have been here for such and such and I haven't seen anybody have sex' and I'm like, ' Dude…were not on a schedule…we don’t have sex between this and this time, you can't schedule it, we're here to live our lives. I'm not going to go out and find somebody just to fuck that night…the not the kind of person that I am."
Timmy:" But I'm different…these people are paying to see us.."
Scott: " So you are going to put on a show?"
Timmy: " I'm going to put on a show for them."
Timmy is a small town, Midwest boy from a poorer family and speaks contradiction fluently. His drive to get out of Dayton, make it big and " be on the cover of a magazine" seems to come from his humbler beginnings. His eyes glaze over when he speaks of the West Coast, modeling and Hollywood, but says he doesn’t need it. He claims that he would be happy with a boyfriend, dog and a trailer (hmmm, do they have trailer parks in Beverly Hills?) and that he wants to take care of his mother financially. He mentions his family several times and tells me they are supportive of him living in the house. Timmy's idol is Marilyn Monroe, with whom he shares a sexual vulnerability, and like her he appears ready to use whatever means necessary to escape the harsher conditions of life, most of all his body.
Scott: " So how do you guys get paid?"
Timmy: " Everyone gets paid different, depending on how long they are here…I get two hundred a week and all the amenities…plus the week we clean we get an extra eighty bucks. We live here for free, the groceries are free ..we don’t pay one bill here, we get the cable for free, all the pay-per-view movies we want, the phone is free. You also have the chance to make money by, what we have is a tip system. People that like you on the site can actually tip you off their credit cards…I have phone sex with people a lot. The opportunity to make money is really good here."
Jamie: " We are going to set up an auction too"
Timmy: " I'm going to make a lot of money off that. I got lots of dildoes and stuff."
Also much like his goddess Monroe, it is easy to see that beyond Timmy's façade of promiscuous promise is someone who wants to be loved and understood. As he put it " I want everyone to know everything about me. "
In sharp contrast to Timmy's outrageousness is Cody, a college student and the most educated of the three. The "college, rich boy" and Mr. "GQ," Cody came from an upper middle class family that moved around a lot, instilling in him an apparent restlessness. He states: " I do not feel I have to (have sex), I don’t feel it is part of my job… I haven't had sex in three months." Currently a theatre major at Sinclair, he found himself interested in the GayWatch house intellectually. He thought the site would make an interesting psychology paper: the reasons people would chose to live in front of a camera, the loneliness of people and how the environment of the house effects the people who live in it. Cody admits that when he first moved into the house it changed him a little and that he went "wild" for a little while, but that he eventually settled down and returned to more of his normal self. Cody is also a stripper and uses his travels to other cities as an escape from the house. He is ambitious and hopes to direct one day, certain the whole experience will make a good movie (Timmy would cast Angelina Jolie in his role) and would like to use his time in the GayWatch house as a springboard to higher places in the entertainment industry. Cody seems more thoughtful when answering, choosing his words a little more cautiously than his housemates.
Scott: " Do you ever get lectured by people who say you are giving a bad image of homosexuality? That you are promoting stereotypes?"
Timmy: " Oh God yes."
Cody: " I did! When I was going to school at Wright State… I had someone tell me that I was basically buying into the stereotypes that people have of Gay Society. The only difference between that person and me is the fact that my life is on camera. I am not buying into anything. I believe that sex is natural…Everybody does it. The only difference is you all know when I do it. I have seen so many people who pick up someone every night they are there (at Celebrity), but no one bothers to call them a slut…I am labeled a slut just by living here."
Cody was also involved with gay activism at his University, a board member of the Lambda group there. He was forced to leave the group due to double standards set for the gay community by a heterosexual tyranny that does not want us as homosexuals to be able to claim our sexuality. As gay men we are forced to be neutered creatures, like a family dog, cute and fun as long as we are not humping anything. Often, in an era of oppression through political correctness, we accept this gladly, just to be a part of that illusion of a happy, well-adjusted America.
Cody: " He was saying that by me moving in here, if anyone from the university found out, that the organization on campus could lose it's funding, because I was in a board position."
All me: " Is that why you left Wright State?"
Cody: "Yes it was."
Me: " That’s seems like a double standard. All those frat boys go out and get drunk and fuck a different girl every week and they are considered all- American studs."
Cody: " It’s a huge double standard."
Strangely enough, it was his gay friends who gave him the most grief about moving into the house. Cody tells me he really found out who his friends were when he moved into the house and that " a true friend will stand by me no matter what I choose."
Jamie, the quiet one of the three, can relate. When he came to the house he had friends who freaked as well. He found out about GayWatch originally as a subscriber. He knew Mickey (the mysterious one) and was eventually offered the position as house manager. A native mid-westerner, he has a strong work ethic, has worked hard his whole life and has looked at his past year as a break, a chance to relax. " This past year I have had the most fun of my life," he informs me. The oldest of the GayWatch dwellers, he takes on the "house father" role. His darker looks, mustache and goatee appeal to those who like men to be men and helps add flavor to the mix, which helps give GayWatch a "wider fan base." Jamie doesn’t say much, which is because he can't " get these two to shut up" he teases. He doesn’t need to say a lot, though, his presence is the most masculine and experienced. He seems to just be taking it all in. Drama does not appear to effect him like the others. Still waters run deep.
The three young men seem to have adjusted easily to living in a voyeur house. Having gained a local stardom has not turned them into the prima donnas they are rumored to be, though in Cody and Timmy's case it has given them a taste of fame that has left their mouths watering. As for Jamie he has "no clue" what the future holds for him. In his typical laid-back style he is just taking life one day at a time. All of them are aware that this is just a temporary way of life, advising future GayWatch boys: " don’t plan this as a career, its just for fun. "
Scott: " What advice do you have for future GayWatch Boys?"
Jamie: " I think they should just have fun with it as long as they can."
Cody: " Don’t try to fit into the stereotype, be your own person. Everyone who lives here is their own individual, don’t try to be someone that you are not. Have fun. "
At 21, Timmy says that he is all partied out. He tells future GayWatch guys " If you move to quickly, you lose yourself. "
The boys are weathering the online scrutiny well. Though they feel pressured to put on sex shows, Cody points out there is a big difference " between feeling pressured and giving into pressure." The gossip and catti-ness that is aimed at them doesn’t seem to faze them much, realizing that it is part jealousy and that people should take the time to get to know them before judging them. Oddly enough, they consider themselves ordinary guys, not at all porn stars or celebrities, though they admit to being vehicles for peoples fantasies and that they let many men live vicariously through them. I do sense that the whole thing is beginning to take a little bit of a toll, but none of them are throwing in the towel just yet. It seems that a piece of advice none of them offered was that if you are going to live in an online house, you should posses a sense of humor. Oscar Wilde tells us " Life is too important to take seriously" and I tend to agree. These boys don’t seem to have that problem. When asked what would be the first thing they would do if the cameras were to suddenly go off, states Cody: " fart."
I hope I'm not around the house when that happens. Hell, I hope I am not even in the state.
A slight breeze carried in a placid evening and dispelled the humidity that had clung to us throughout the day. Maybe it is all the concrete and asphalt, but summer days in the city are brutal. In hopes of catching an early evening breeze, we sat on the patio at Franco's and got tipsy on Pinot Grigio and Merlots as we watched the darkness invade the skyline. I was flanked by two of my best friends, both of whom were puffing on Menthol cigarettes and making loud and scandalous observations. An older couple a few tables away shot us self-righteous looks that melted to complacency the more they drank.
"Our waiter sucks, I think he hates us," announced Lucien, who we call Luke. "I would fuck him though, he's cute and I checked out his package when he served the Calamari. Huge," he informed us with a wicked grin and a flick of his tongue.
"You are so going to hell," I told him after a sip of my over priced pinot.
"I couldn’t help it! The thing was practically poking me in the shoulder!" Luke retorted in his pouty, come hither way. "Besides, everyone I know is going to hell. Maybe if we act now we can get a group rate or something near the pool."
"You need counseling, and an HIV test, I am sure," sighed Nickoli, our voice of reason and sometimes conscience. Nick hit his cigarette, then changed the subject. "Lost any more jewelry up your ass lately?"
I groaned as I pictured the face on the old woman nearby. I am sure we were living up to every stereotype the old WASP had.
Luke feigned offense. "I didn’t lose them, I thought I did but found them on the DVD player later. That turquoise was an expensive antique! I was so afraid I would never see it again."
"Ahhhh, well lucky for you nothing stays up your ass too long," Nick smirked, always the antagonist.
"Does losing jewelry up your butt depreciate the value?" I wondered out loud." Do you have to tell the appraiser something like that? I mean, you have to tell people weird things about your car when you sell it."
"Fortunately Lucien has not lost a car up his ass yet, but I am sure it is just a matter of time," attacked Nick's viscous wit.
Luke crinkled his pretty brow and bit at the fleshy part of his full bottom lip. "I can't help myself. When my mangina starts aching…"
"Argh," is all I could think of to say, so I hid my face in the carry out menu. I disliked the word "mangina" intensely, and judging from the reaction of the waiter who had chosen that moment to serve our entrees, he was not a fan of the word either.
We sat quietly as the young man finished presenting us with our dishes. "Is there anything else I can get you?" he nervously asked, avoiding eye contact with Luke. Bright boy.
We chatted on about fairly benign topics as we grazed on our enormous dinner salads. As the feasting gave way to disinterested picking at our food, a gay boy whose acquaintance I had made the previous week ambled by on the sidewalk.
"Hey Scotti!" the kid called at me. "What are you doing?"
I looked down at my half-eaten dinner, then back to the cute 23-year-old. "Yoga," I answered, hoping the sarcasm would set the tone for a brief conversation.
"Kewl," he said, a little bewildered looking, but with the same enthusiastic puppy dog demeanor on his face. Evidently I had set my sights too high 'cause the sarcasm went right over his head. One could actually see his hair standing up, though that could have been an overzealous use of hair products.
"What are you doing tonight?" he asked.
"Just hanging with my friends, I think," I told him.
"Kewl." Awkward silence danced in on its' two left feet. We stared at each other for a second through the wrought iron that encircled the patio. "Umm, well I had fun the other night. Maybe we can hook up again sometime," he smiled.
Shit. I could feel Luke's and Nick's eyes drilling into me, I could anticipate the line of questioning that would begin as soon as the boy departed. Now I almost didn’t want him to go, but of course he did, making his way to the Dayton Towers (or Gayton Place as we liked to call it) looming behind us. It hadn't been a week since I was in them, staring out the window as the young man fumbled behind me and I gazed at the city, overlooking the very spot at which I now sat.
I turned to face my friends; both had big stupid smiles on their faces.
"So, what a gorgeous night. Want to go for a drink somewhere?" I asked in a vain attempt to deflect the upcoming interrogation.
"Robbing the cradle again, are we?" Nick asked smugly, launching right into it. "Ahhh, a thirty-two year old man fucking a teenager, how…sad."
"He was twenty-three, and he fucked me, smart ass." I heard a slight gasp from the seniors that I forgotten about. Oops. Too much information.
"Bravo!" Luke said cheerfully, happy to be back on his favorite subject. "After that 42-year-old you were fucking, I thought you gave up chicken for daddies,"
"Hey, Horse was not your typical forty something!" I said in his defense. Horse was a nickname for the best lay I had ever had, also the biggest dick. He used to show horses and I joked that the stallions would say they were hung like him. I fell for him madly and immediately, but he informed me that I was simply a fuck toy, though one that was smart and cute. Great, I am a blow up doll with a Pentium Processor, just what every boy wants to hear. He turned out to be a player. Even though I knew better, I had a tendency to compare potential trysts to him.
"So where did you meet the chicken?" Luke inquired.
"Well, I umm, was horny…Horse wouldn’t come over, and I …" I stammered.
"Ahhhh, Bacon Street," Nick concluded. It drove me nuts how he was always saying "ahhhh," I felt like I should be checking out his throat or something.
"You dirty whore!" Luke screeched gleefully.
So there it is. That word. If I decide to go out and cruise for sex, I am a whore, but if I go to a nightclub, get drunk and take home a stranger who will probably be to drunk to get it up, I am normal. Kind of. What is considered acceptable promiscuity? When does one cross the line from sexual liberation to whore? If I would have started the sentence out with: "I was sooooo drunk last night," would that have been permissible? I could have said that I picked up four guys and let them bang me silly and because I was in a bar and drunk it would have been cool? Instead I take the bull by the horns, metaphorically speaking, and skip over the cover charges and martinis and go straight for the fucking and I am acting in a less than appropriate manner. Go figure. Why is it that I see guys taking home different guys night after night and they aren't as bad as someone who occasionally cruises?
"I would have never thought of you slutting around behind the post office," Luke said, excited that someone else was going to get the lecture. "How dangerous of you!"
"Yes, it was stupid of you," said Nickoli with his standard disapproval and contemptuous sneer. "You could have picked up a psycho, or gotten a disease."
"Gee I guess I can't do that in a bar. Serial killers and ax murderers are discouraged by $2 cover charges." I shot back at him with as much bitchiness as possible. "And Luke said 'dangerous' not 'stupid'."
"Fine, but it is stupid, too."
"Well yes," I conceded. "It was mostly old guys looking to blow someone. And married ones at that. There were more wedding bands back there than in a jewelry store. I don’t understand why people are always saying it's shameful how gay men are having sex in parks, when the problem is married men having gay sex in the parks."
Luke gestured to the frightened waiter for another drink. "Wait, isn't it illegal to be back there? I mean what if you got arrested. I read something about a guy in Vandalia who was arrested for public indecency and he says all he did was talk to the cop."
"Why are you acting like you don't know? Need I remind you about that threesome you had not that long ago?" I asked him, my head cocked and eyes scrunched to give more potency to my indignation. "Besides, entrapment is against the law and the courts are starting to strike down cases involving importuning, though undercover sex stings still take place in some places. From what I heard, the head of the Metro-parks has decided to target a certain "element" in the reserves and parks. I guess only straight people are allowed to fuck in public."
"Ahhhh, so we are an element now. I wish I had read up on the periodic table. I propose our symbol be F.U.," Nick laughed - alone.
Lucien simply stared at Nick with bewilderment. Apparently geek humor was beyond him. "I think sex in public places is fun, but only with someone I know. I mean, god, how embarrassing would that be, having to call someone in the middle of the night to bail you out for asking to see a cop's nightstick," he said. "But what do you do if you are busted, I wonder."
"I would imagine you have the same rights as anybody else who has been arrested. Ask for a lawyer. Don’t sign anything. And other than your name and address, you do not have to answer any questions. Only a judge can order you to answer questions, " I advised.
Nickoli looked slightly shocked. " Christ. When did you suddenly become a lawyer?"
A sudden reinterest in my food overtook me and I shoved one last fork full of salad in my mouth and shrugged. "I don’t know, I was checking out links at GayDayton.org," I mumbled through a clump of spinaci balsamic.
Nick inhaled deeply.
"If you say AHHHHH one more time," I warned him with a jab of my fork, "I will remove your tonsils with a spoon."
His eyelids lowered a bit. "Anyway," he said in his tone that meant I am irritated but wont say it," It is probably good information to have." He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back to make way for the server to clear our plates. Somehow he still managed to sip his fave Merlot. Nickoli gave off the air of one pissy fag. He and I dated for a few months and were struggling to remain friends. Well, I was struggling actually. We both managed to get under each other's skin in a way that only ex-es can.
I rolled my eyes and bit at the inside of my cheek. "I am sorry about the spoon thing. I am just being touchy."
"Ahhhhhh," is all he said.
Lucien babbled away about something kinky for awhile and we both nodded occasionally and pretended to listen until the waiter returned looking frazzled. "Oh, did I already take your plates?"
"Ummm, yeah," Nick replied. The look he tossed at the waiter suggested his displeasure with the service. The poor boy had gotten our orders wrong, but I am sure we made him a tad bit nervous. God knows what the old woman had said to him. The waiter managed a weak laugh, in hopes that it would disarm. "I wondered, I was like: Whoa, their plates are missing. Or I thought maybe I had lost them."
"Ahhhhhh," I impersonated, "Did you look up Lucien's ass? A lot of stuff goes missing up there."
The waiter looked mortified, his eyes compelled to seek out Lucien.
"Well, how about it, big guy, wanna take a look?" Luke queried wickedly.
Oh my god, I thought. This is my life….
I have decided that I am going to go on a sex sabbatical. It sounds like something fun, a retreat where one is blown by cute boys or attend workshops on multiple orgasms, but I am going on a sabbatical from sex. In other words: abstain.
While at a Dayton Dragons game I announced this to my friend Boss. The poor dear almost choked on his over priced Bud Light. Boss is my nickname for him because he generally knows the answers to things and has an aura of being in charge. I generally value his opinion and consider him a good pal, though we do make an odd pair, he being twenty years my senior and a little shorter and stockier than I. People frequently mistake him for my sugardaddy, but I consider him more of a confidante.
"Why the hell would you do that?" he asked with predictable incredulity.
"OH MY GOD! Is that all you got number ten?!" I screamed at the pitcher, "YOU SUCK!" I forced my attention from the hot bodied, tightly garbed ballplayer and back to Boss. "Sex has become boring, " I stated.
Boss's lips pulled tight across his teeth and his eyes narrowed. "Maybe you aren't doing it right, " he offered.
One of our boys smacked the ball hard, causing that exciting CRACK sound. I jumped to my feet and cheered, then replied to Boss without taking my eyes off the yummy young Dragon. " I am pretty sure I have it down….NO WAY! ARE YOU BLIND UMPIRE? HE WAS SAFE!"
The look on Boss's face had not changed since I had made my announcement.
"What's the big deal?" I queried him as I settled back into my seat and reached for the warm peanuts and warmer beer.
"You can not retire from being a wild child. Who am I going to live vicariously through?" Boss half asked, half ordered.
"I will assume that was a rhetorical question, " I responded with a tinge of bitchiness. " I mean damn, cant a boy just take a break?"
We sat quietly for a moment, caught up in the vision of a dozen buff men in form fitting pants all bent over the dugout railing just below us. Baseball players have great asses.
"Ya wanna get outta here?" Boss questioned in a false New York accent.
It was the seventh inning and the Dragons were ahead five runs. The outcome seemed obvious so we departed. Shortly thereafter we found ourselves on the Courtyard at LeMonde in the Oregon District. Eva, the glamorous owner/hostess presided over the newest addition to Café Boulevard in her signature black garb. She swirled into the room and greeted us warmly as we made our way to the table. The dimly lit patio combined with the warm rusts and terracotta under a starry night put me right at ease. The hidden speakers pulsed pleasantly with a techno ambient groove that gave the place a hip, European feel. A small fountain reigned in the center of the courtyard and the landscaping was simple, though lush and splendid. We ordered a bottle of Pinot Blanc, as well as a cherry cocoa crepe, and fell quickly back into conversation.
"I am over dating. It sucks. I feel like I am on this everlasting search for a significant other and I am sick of it." I grumbled to Boss. "I need to concentrate on other things, build a life of my own. I don’t want to keep waiting to build one with someone some day."
"Why can't you do both? Develop your own interests and date? You are just giving up too soon."
The waiter presented us with our wine, "a tasteful selection with hints of melon and apple and a creamy finish." We savored it for a moment then resumed our conversation.
"I am not giving up, I am just not going to actively search. I have better things to do with my time than date losers and players," I bitched at him, a sneer twisting across my face like the Rio Grande snaking across a harsh landscape.
"Bitter, dear? It really doesn’t become you," Boss said in his dry manner.
"I am not bitter, " I hissed at him. I sipped at my wine. It splashed across my tongue and soothed my scream-ravaged throat. "I am just tired I guess. I realized after Horse that I am done being played. I am tired of men and their bullshit. They all seem like inexperienced boys or men who are still desperately trying to be a boy. No one can just be a sincere man, they all have to be players of some sort."
Boss leaned across the table. "I think the player has been played and he doesn’t like it," he semi-whispered at me in his low husky voice.
Quietly I regarded him. He was right. I had always been a wild child, not caring who I hurt as long as I bedded them first. That was what was freaking me out about Horse, it wasn’t him screwing me over, it was Karma, and it doesn’t use lube.
Boss said something but a train rumbled by on the overpass a short distance away. It sliced across the Dayton skyline that rose above the courtyard walls almost as if the midwestern monotone buildings were trying to eavesdrop on our conversation.
"What?" I muttered, still contemplating Karma.
"I said you should have never broken up with Nickoli, he was good for you, " he stated as a matter of fact.
Immediately I flew into defense mode, my arms drawing across my chest. "Nickoli was not good for me, the relationship was good for me," I corrected him. "Nick and I were too different. I wanted space…"
"You wanted to get laid by Horse is what you wanted. Your eyes got bigger than your stomach…so to speak."
"It wasn’t my eyes that got bigger, asshole" I spat at him.
"You took the word right out of my mouth, " he retorted. "No need to get snippy with me. You are the one who cheated, so don’t bitch about what jerks men are, honey. You may have been in an unhappy situation, but it didn’t give you license to mess around. Horse may have played you, but you should have never been on the playing field."
Once again he was right. I was the type of man I hated. Unable to commit and not trustworthy. If I really want to attract a man I can respect, then am I going to have to become respectable? If I expect men to offer me something of substance, then what do I have to offer in return? How many times have I gone out with a sizzling hottie only to discover they have no interests, ambitions or even a life? If I want someone else to take the time to get to know me, shouldn't I know myself first?
The Cocoa Cherry Crepe finally arrived and I devoured it quickly, the bits of dark chocolate medicating the regret and hormones starting to flare up. I am confident that I can give up casual sex, I just fear I am going to gain twenty pounds in the process.
"Why does love have to be so confining?" I asked as the chocolate settled into my bloodstream. "Why must I give up my time and space?"
Boss sighed, a sign I was being difficult. "I told you love requires sacrifice. It doesn’t mean that you have to kill who you are, just compromise on somethings. Relationships have a certain degree of maturity as a pre-requisite. Just because you are old enough to stick your dick into something, doesn’t mean you are ready to love. That is also why we date first, so two people can decide if their ideas of love are the same, if things would work out in the long run. "
The wine slid me into a philosophical mood. I beheld a group of exquisite twenty- somethings chatting and flirting on the otherside of the fountain. They made it all look so easy, like a movie or a music video.
"I blame this all on the media," I informed him.
"Your stream of conciseness way of thinking is hard to follow. What do you blame on the media, dear? The fact that you cant get a boyfriend or men are pigs?"
I summoned my best "please die" look and presented it to him with a flourish of a hand gesture. "I blame the fact that people are so co-dependent on the media," I said with a slight slur. "The entertainment industry makes it look so easy. In the course of a thirty -second commercial two people can meet and fall madly in love. It sends out the message that you are a loser if you are not paired off or in love."
"And all because you didn’t use the right breath strip or wear the right clothes," Boss added.
"Why have we become a nation of wusses afraid to go it alone?" I paused for the sake of drama. "Sure it is great to be in love, but why should we feel like we are less than human if we are not romantically linked? How much time and energy is wasted in the pursuit of couplehood?"
The waiter came to clear my plate and I batted him away impatiently, annoyed with his timing. Being as we were well aquatinted, he simply called me a bitch and took the plate anyhow.
"I have watched friends tear themselves apart trying to make a bad relationship work simply because they were too afraid to deal with being single again." I continued. "They stress and fret and cause themselves pain instead of just saying enough."
"I know what you mean. "Single" has become a four letter word," he joked.
"Exactly. I would rather be alone then trapped in an unfulfilling relationship. I have enough baggage as it is."
"Bitch, all you need is the matching carry-on and you have a full set of emotional baggage." Boss laughed, throaty and masculine.
"Yeah, but its Gucci, Baby."
We fell silent again, overwhelmed by the perfection of the moment. I felt as if we had wandered into a glossy magazine ad for some upper- middle class white-bred extravagance. There was wine, conversation and resplendent young people laughing and whispering over sumptuous smelling coffees.
"I think I will hold out for love. Maybe sex will mean something again if I care about the guy." I said, snapping us back to this dimension. "A guy doesn’t have to be drop dead gorgeous to intrigue me, just have a life and a brain, know what he wants."
"The looks are just a bonus, right?" Boss asked slyly.
"Hell yeah, " I responded just a little too quickly.
Boss smiled. "Don’t worry, kid, you'll get there. Just remember: bitterness kills!"
"I guess" was all I could think of to say in response. "We should get out of here before I order another crepe. This time ,though, I will forego eating it and just drop my pants and mount the thing."
"American Pie part three," he chuckled. "Actually, I might like to watch that."
"Sir, you are a cad," I informed him with a smirk.
"Awww, you always say the right things to make a guy feel special."
We paid the check and waited for the valet to bring around Boss's Lexus hard top convertible.
"So you still going to go on this sabbatical?" Boss asked.
"Going to try, I guess. For awhile at least, or until the next hot guy gets me drunk."
Boss shook his head. "Naughtiscotti, you are incorrigible."
And we sped off into another forgiving night.
It’s a lovely Indian Summer day and as I stroll across the University of Dayton campus, I bask in the sunshine and enjoy the eye candy the mills about the grounds. Virile young men seem to be in plentitude and I stop more than one to inquire where I would find the Kennedy Ballroom where Greg Louganis would soon be speaking. With suggestive smiles I thank each one for his help and move in the indicated direction keeping a sharp lookout for another hottie to feign lost and helpless with and to ask directions. I fight back the urge to ask a particular fresh, young stallion if he could tell me how to find the fifth floor men's room in the library, but decide I am too young to be a dirty old man and head off to find Nickoli and Lucien.
UD is Nickoli's Alma Mater so he had no problem finding the place and has been waiting for me for awhile. Nick always has a look of exasperation smeared across his thin features, impatience contributing the only color to his pale face. "Ahhh, there you are," he informs me, as if I didn’t know where I was," what took u so long?"
"I got lost," I say and flash him what I hope is a disarming smile.
His hazel eyes narrow. "I doubt that. I gave you clear directions," he says suspiciously.
With a shrug I attempt to change the subject to the upcoming speech, but just then one of the frat looking boys who helped me find my way passes by and tells me he is glad to see I made it. Nickoli's eyebrow, which is in need of some plucking, arches at me. Thankfully, Ms. Demure, dressed in pearls, a fur trimmed business suit and skirt and crowned with a neon yellow wig, whirls by and blowing kisses and greetings.
"How's your TV show going?" I inquire.
"O great!" She answers with her usual enthusiasm. Her lack of mean-spiritedness and negativity is almost a trademark. "I am here to tape tonight for my next show, I hope I can get on the cover of "OutLook News", too!"
I chuckle; Ms. Demure is a master of self-promotion. Her Public Access show makes up in heart what it lacks in budget.
"I will make sure to keep an eye out for it!" I tell her. She seems pleased by this and goes off to finish setting up her equipment.
"We should find our seats," Nick says. I agree and we make our way to the back of the room, scanning the crowd for Lucien, who is late as usual. Finally I spot him and wave him over to the empty seat next to me. He makes his way through the crowd, a virtual who's who of gay Dayton, flirting in the process with just about everyone. To Lucien, life is a movie premiere and he is Julia Roberts.
Lucien flops down in the chair next to me with a small yelp. Nickoli shoots an inquisitive look at me. I shrug unaware of Lucien's malady. With an exaggerated sigh Lucien stuffs his belongings under the uncomfortable fold out chair, providing me with the quickest of glimpses at his bruised and reddened wrists.
"What the hell?" I gasp and catch hold of him before he can hide his injuries away.
"Oh that," he says with an attempt to dismiss. "Its no big deal, don’t make a fuss, Scotti." Lucien snatches his wrists away from me.
"Don't make a big deal?" Nickoli growls with his standard playful contempt. "It looks like you watched Steel Magnolias too many times and decided to hang out in a hot bath with a razor blade!"
Lucien's upper lip curls into an Elvis Presley sneer. "Don’t be such a drama queen Nick, " he hisses. "I didn't do it too myself."
"Oh my god!" I squawk with increasing alarm. "Who did this to you? Are you ok? Did you call the police? Have you seen a doctor?"
Nick's thin lips purse. "It was that leather guy, Jersey Devil, wasn't it?" he asks, almost daring Lucien to lie.
"Umm, maybe," he says evasively.
"I cant believe you went back to see that psycho again, you said you were going to stay away from that guy," I lectured him. "What the hell is your deal? He bruised you last time."
Lucien's almondine eyes suddenly sparkle and his lips grow lush and full. With his blonde hair falling in a casual, seductive wave, he is a male Marilyn Monroe. His sexual heat is his weapon to achieve goals. It is boys like him that Bjork croons about in her song "Venus as a Boy." With exaggerated innocence he tries to convince me that "he just can't help it." I know better, I am immune to his charms.
Nickoli, who is not only immune to his wiles but seriously detests his act of the cocky coquette, guffaws loudly. "How can you let someone tie you up and beat the shit out of you? It's sick. I simply do not and will not understand the whole S&M scene," he says with sincere disgust.
"I don’t either," I tell him in a less confrontational tone. "What is it that turns you on about it?"
A dreamy look plasters itself across his face, as if he were a billboard for sexual fantasy. "I don’t know, " he breathes. " I really enjoy being completely dominated by a man, submissive to his desires; his slave."
"Ahhhh, sound like the reasoning of an insatiable bottom. You are aware slavery is a bad thing? It degrades people." Nickoli said with his no nonsense approach. Nick is really a sweet guy at heart, but his logical outlook on everything is too "Spock" for most people. His lack of imagination and adventure tends to put him at odds with Lucien. Long and lean, pale skinned and dark eyed, with a close cropped crown of auburn hair, he is every bit as attractive as Lucien, but represents a different mindset. He always has a boyfriend and finds casual sex vulgar and beneath him. He is Susan Sarandon to Luke's Carmen Electra.
"Well not all of us like the same old boring piece of ass day after day," Luke shoots, serving up the opening shot in their endless game of venomous wit.
"If being a slut who dresses like the love child of Pamela Anderson and Kidd Rock is excitement, then call me Mr. Tedious," he volleys back.
"I already do," Luke says, spiking the final insult.
"Stop already, I am so not in the mood for your constant berating each other, " I chastise. "Besides, I am serious. I want to know what the fascination is with the leather scene."
The chatter that pervades the room subsides as a young, boyish looking woman makes her way to the platform. In a nervous manner that suggests she is not use to the spotlight, she introduces Greg Louganis. I try not to giggle when Lucien voices his hopes that the diver appears in his Speedo, and when a short film flickers on, I hear an unmistakable sigh of gratification when the swimmer is shown emerging from a pool, wet and scantily clad. I briefly consider having Lucien neutered, then turn my attention to the guest speaker.
After Mr. Louganis's talk, we stand in the lobby and chat.
"Well his diving may win medals, but his public speaking won't win any awards," Nickoli quips.
"Hey, it was inspirational.kind of," I defend. "I think It's really kewl that the DLGC and UD put this on. This whole "Being Out Rocks Dayton" thing is a really big accomplishment for out community."
"Yeah, I guess," agrees Lucien, but maybe next time they should find a speaker who hasn’t taken so many blows to the head." Luke shrugs. "He was hot though."
After we finished mingling and harassing Ms. Demure for asking a gold medal Olympic diver what he thought of her hair, we decided to head to LeMonde and have a few drinks. Once we were situated at our favorite booth and ordered drinks, we pick up on our conversation about leather and quantity versus quality when it comes to sex.
"So what is the big attraction to the leather scene? What would make a man want to be degraded?" I ask Lucien.
"I think it varies from guy to guy. Some men like to dominate; some men like to be totally submissive, other guys want to be tortured and pissed on. It is all a matter of preference," he said in a half assed attempt to explain. "Personally I just like to be tied up a little and spanked."
I am pretty sure Nickoli has stopped breathing. "That’s not healthy. Why would you want someone to tie you up and beat on you? Or even to just have a man treat you like an object for amusement. That sounds like a personal problem to me."
"It’s a game…"
"No," Nick cut him off, " Monopoly is a game. Being pissed on is sick."
"I don’t let men do that stuff to me, " says Lucien defensively. "and I don’t see why a little rough sex is sick."
"Ahhh," droned Nick, "Well you wouldn’t. All you care about is getting laid and doing it as much as possible. Those of us who care about love instead of lust realize that sex is something that is supposed to be something special between two people, not something dirty and cheap…much like most of your wardrobe."
"That’s your opinion, "growls Lucien. "So what if I want to have fun while I am still young and pretty. One day I won't be and no one will want me, so I am going to have my fun while I can."
"So being a pretty young slut is ok because you will be old one day? You realize if you would find a nice guy to settle down with being old doesn’t have to mean being alone," says Nickoli.
"So is that what you are doing by being Mr. Co-dependent who cant stand being single for more than a week, storing up for the winter years?" laughs Lucien.
This was degenerating quickly into something less than civil. "Guys, enough." I ordered using the same tone; I use when dealing with my dogs. "Some people think because we are gay we do not have to abide by the same sexual morals as everyone else, that free love and casual sex is acceptable. Others in our community feel that by celebrating our base feelings we are leading a wicked and destructive lifestyle. What it all boils down to is that we have to choose what makes us happy, not only now, but in the long run. If Lucien feels that he can be sexually free and not sacrifice he mental and spiritual well being then more power to him."
"But he can't," interrupted Nick. "There is no way that subscribing to primal lusts and being promiscuous can lead to anything but an unstable mental state."
"That is your opinion, Nick. Maybe meaningless sex isn't right for you. Maybe it isn't right for Lucien, either, but it is his life to live and we shouldn’t tear him down for living it."
"Yeah, so mind your own business, Nicki" hisses Lucien. Nickoli could handle being called Nick, but Nicki was not an option. Luke only used it when he was out to push Nick's buttons.
Suprisingly, Nick used restraint. "You are my friend, Luke, you are my business."
The comment took Lucien by surprise. He was literally stunned into silence. A first as far as I could tell.
"Not to break up this sudden love fest, but where do you go to meet leather guys?" I query.
Luke's face lit up. "Well there is the Stage Door, and a local group called the Dayton Gryphons. I started getting into it online, but I don’t recommend you try to meet guys from there. Too Many weirdoes."
"Isn't that where you met Jersey?"
"Yeah, well, see what I mean." Lucien shrugs. "You have to be able to trust the person, especially if they are going to be tying you up. That is something you should never do with someone you do not know well. Also, make sure you discuss your limits and a safe word. If you are enacting a "scene," which is a fantasy, you need to have a signal that you are no longer comfortable and the scene has to stop. A good Sir or Master will talk this all over with you."
"I just don't get you, Luke. This whole life of meaningless sex or these strange fetishes, it just seems too odd for me to comprehend."
"Well, Nick, you don’t have to get it, that's the point," says Lucien. "We are free to be who we want to be as sexual beings, we are sexually liberated. That means I have the right to pursue my happiness in whatever form I chose as long as I am not hurting anyone else or violating their rights."
As much as I hate to do it, I find that I have to agree with Lucien. "He's right Nickoli. I don’t get Transgender issues, but I do not deny them their right to express who they are. I think it was Harvey Milk who started the whole idea of diversity in our movement. We have to stand up for all sexual minorities, and that includes sluts and leather freaks," I say with a sideways look at Lucien.
"Gee, thanks, " he replies after a sip of his Stoli Vanil and tonic. " I think."
"No prob," I grin. The conversation has run its course. "I don’t know what the big deal is anyway. Everyone has sex or fetishes of some sort." I grimace a little. "When it comes down to it, sex is messy, sticky and kind of gross in retrospect, but then again, so is barbecue chicken and I would nude mud wrestle Anna Nicole Smith for a good plate of it."
"Oh my god," groans Nick, "that should be Kentucky Fried Chicken's new advertising campaign."
"Eeeeewwww" whines Luke "I do not ever want to hear Anna Nicole Smith utter the words 'finger licking good'."
We all shudder at the thought and decide a round of shots are needed to clear our minds. As I stare out the large plate glass window into the brick streets crowded with drunken college kids, I contemplate leather, fetishes, Anna Nicole Smith and Kentucky Fried Chicken. We live in a time and place where we are free to be who we want and explore who we are without fear of stigma. However, the day I turn on E! and see Anna Nicole Smith dressed in leather while eating a bucket of the Colonel's chicken with transsexuals having meaningless sex, I will know it is truly the demise of western civilization.
Make sure you tune in to Harper's Bizarre World Mondays at 5 on Dayton Public access. I will be appearing next month with Jamien from the GayWatch House to promote a calendar for Charity that we both appear in called Men of Dayton.
I am sitting in my old beat up truck that is idling outside a sprawling building that I haven't visited in years. It's December in Ohio and everything around me is frozen. Cold is trying to invade the little space in which I nestle, its frosty fingers searching for a way to pry through the thin sheets of glass and metal separating me from the harsh elements. While mismatched Christmas lights blink and buzz on the nearby aging houses that besiege the East Side of Dayton, Amy Grant croons about "Another Tender Tennessee Christmas" on the radio.
A digital version of "Jingle Bells" suddenly sings out from my breast pocket. I pull out my cell phone and "Lucien" flashes across the tiny little screen. I consider not answering it, but figure in the long run Lucien is impossible to ignore, so I may as well see what's up.
"Hey, whatcha doing," he wants to know.
I tell him that I am sitting outside a church I used to attend as I a child, contemplating going into the warm bright building and praying. "I don’t know what to pray for, I just feel the need to" I say to him. Predictably, he is quiet for a moment.
"What the hell is going on with you?" he abruptly asks. "You have stopped drinking, stopped having casual sex, getting all involved in shit. You are no fun anymore, Scotti. You are becoming boring."
I sigh exaggeratedly so that he can hear my annoyance. Leave it to Lucien not to see the big picture. It's true that I have, or attempted to at least, abandon a lot of the rituals of my younger years. The partying and meaningless sex and become more habitual than fun. When I looked up at the man sweating on top of me one night and realized I couldn’t remember his name and it probably didn’t matter anyhow, it dawned on me that something had to change. I was empty inside and no man could fill it, no matter how huge his dick.
"Lucien, I love you, but I can't be like you anymore. I want something more, I need something more, " I stress to him. " I admire the fact that you can be so in control of your sexuality, in charge of your desires, but I can't do it. I want something to ground me, to give me a starting point for the rest of my life." I fall silent for a moment, trying to figure out what to say without hurting my friend's feelings. "You, your whole life, Lucien, is so fly by the seat of your pants. You find excuses to push men away whenever they get too close. I have been the same way. I turn men away because I don't like the way they chew their food or because they don’t have 0% body fat. I find trivial reasons to dismiss men from my life because I am scared to open myself up, scared to grow up. At some point the frivolity of our twenties has got to come to end. Life adores the youthful, but abhors those who cling to it."
"So you think hanging out with Jesus Krispies and singing "Amazing Grace" is going to make everything alright?" Lucien says, obviously annoyed but what he perceives as an attack on him. "You realize those people hate you, that God hates you because you are a fag."
I expected this reaction from Lucien, but it still irritates me nonetheless. "You are so full of shit, Luke" I snap at him. "Which is really surprising considering that you probably have to douche daily." I regret saying it even as the words finish tumbling out of my mouth.
"Fuck you!" Lucien spits at me, the cell phone's weak connection not diminishing his anger. "I can recall more than one time I looked across the bed at you as we both screwed the same guy. You are just as much of a tramp as I am, so don't get all "holier than thou" on me cause I am not buying it."
I have to stop and catch my tongue. I do not want to argue with my pal. I just want him to see I need to try something else. I am 32 years old and being gay is the only thing I am good at.
Flurries begin to fall and melt on my windshield, tiny little ice kamikazes. Amy Grant has given way to Mariah Carey, who fades away to be replaced by Bing Crosby singing "Silver Bells." His thick, bass voice proves to sugary to be the current soundtrack for my life, I switch off the tuner.
"I'm sorry, Luke" I offer. "I shouldn’t have said that. I am just frustrated with life, tired of the emptiness of the clubs and parades of pretty boys."
I know Lucien has forgiven me before he even says so. "Its kewl, " he replies. "I just don’t see what running to the church will do for you. I never took you for the type to "find Jesus."
"I am not trying to find Jesus," I explain to him," I am trying to find my spirit, my soul. I need to put some balance in my life if I am going to be a whole person. I work out, I take care of my mind and body…why not my soul, too? Isn't that a part of who I am? Besides, I have to discover who I am before I attempt to find out who someone else is or let them try to explore me."
"But Christians? They are such hypocrites. They preach "God is Love" then scream hatred at us. They will never except you, Scotti, you are simply setting yourself up to be hurt. Jesus loves you if you are an affluent, white heterosexual. If you challenge anything the church deems incorrect or immoral, then they have no problem condemning you to hell."
These words of Lucien's are all things I have pondered in my heart, arguments I have already had with myself. "Luke, I simply do not believe that. God is love, he doesn’t hate me, though I am sure he is not to fond of the life that I have been living. In the end, it is all between God and me anyway. I am not looking for acceptance from the church, I am looking for a sense of peace and well being with God. And when I say God, I am not talking about the Old Testament guy who sits up in the clouds and fucks with people, I am talking about whoever or whatever it is that controls the universe. He may be Jehovah, Allah, Buddha or Yewah, he goes by many names, but in the end he is still there and I believe we need to come to terms with who he is before we can come to terms with who we are." I pause for a second, the words are spilling out of me like water from a burst dam. " It seems to me that the gay community is using the misinformed hatred and misappropriated preaching of the religious right as an excuse to indulge itself in decadence and moral decay. What is a better excuse to be wicked, then "I am going to hell anyway?"
"I disagree, Scotti. I do not even believe in God. I go out and have fun because I want to do so, not because I want to party before I am unjustly damned for eternity."
"But you are still using God as an excuse. By saying that you do not believe in God, you are trying to justify moral bankruptcy by claiming to be a sexually empowered gay man. At what point will you stop trying to shock the heterosexual tyranny with your outrageous and stereotypical behavior? When will you simply acquire the self esteem necessary to lead a healthy life and stop acting like the hormonal animal you think you have evolved from?"
The cab of my beat up blue truck was plunged into silence again. I had struck something with Lucien, I am not sure what, but I pressed on before his instincts towards bitchiness kicked in.
"I care about you, Luke, I really do, I just do not want to be like you anymore. And so what if there is no Heaven and Hell, what have I really got to lose? The worse case scenario to there being no God is that I lived a life of compassion and love in vain, and when you think about it, God or no, love and compassion is never in vain."
The attempt to bypass Lucien's wrath is successful. I can hear him breathing on the other end of the phone, his confusion beaming into space, bouncing off satellites, and rushing still apparent, into the little piece of technology that I press up to my ear. After a few attempts to vocalize, he finally finds the words he wants.
"It isn't fair," is all he says.
Without having to explain, I know what he means. Having to give up the freedom to do as one pleases just because there may or may not be some mystical babysitter up there seems hard, almost cruel. When it compounded with us being asked to turn away from everything he has made us to be, it becomes an even more despicable joke.
"No it is not fair, Lucien, but then again, being born to poverty, living a life of selflessness only to be nailed to a piece of wood doesn’t seem all that fair either. It is even more unfair if after all that sacrifice, people still turned away, denied him or claimed him only to hate in his name. I think a lot of people are in for a shock on Judgement day when God tells the Jerry Falwells or Reverend Phelpses to go to hell."
A small laugh falls into my ear. "But Jesus, Scotti? It just seems so…childish."
Lucien has always prided himself on being hip or cutting edge. I knew the simplicity of a belief that had been handed down for centuries would be too backwater, middle America republican for him. "Well then find your own God. Maybe it's not Christianity for you, but make an effort to find something, Lucien. Faith is a powerful thing and when you finally find it, everything will fall into place. You just need to start looking."
I have gotten through to him, I can see it on his face even though he is miles away from me. We exchange a few bits of holiday banter about Christmas shopping and dinners, make plans to meet that weekend, then say our good-byes.
A plastic nativity glows on the front lawn of the church, a tiny artificial baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, oblivious to the cold. Yes, I had given Lucien something to think about, but I had given myself something to think on as well. I put the truck in drive and start back home. No, what I am searching for is not inside that church, it is somewhere inside of me.
The truck grumbles at me, annoyed by the bitter winter air. I turn on the stereo to drown it out and yet another Christmas carol floats up at me from the speakers. I sing along, voicing the only wish I have for the season:
"Peace on Earth and mercy mild…"
Wednesday Night at Celebrity, otherwise known as Wantsome Wednesdays. I am nursing a Stoli Vanil and Coke, waiting for my only female friend to show up. Of course she is a lesbian, so it's not like it really counts. On the stage a bad drag queen wannabe is impersonating either some pop diva or a fish. Her mouth just keeps opening and closing, not even trying to form words. I think that maybe Candi Wantsome should be canonized for her work with the poor. Well, those of poor taste. Eve finally makes her appearance. She stands out just a little, a blonde amazon with an evil wit and an oddly hip fashion sense for a small city dyke.
"Bitch!" she exclaims as she settles her lanky Nordic physique onto a barstool. "What's going on? Whatcha drinking? What am I drinking?" she asks. She eyes her surroundings. " You understand you are getting me drunk for coming here, " Eve tells me in a way that suggests it is the least I could do.
My eyes rest on an especially pretty boy with an ass I could ski on.
"Yo fudgepacker, I am over here," says Eve impatiently.
"You do realize I hate you and am only being nice to you because you are incredibly wealthy." I tell her.
Eve shoots me a puzzled look. " I am not rich, " she says.
"O shit, then why do I hang out with you?"
Candi teeters onto the stage and announces the dance floor now belongs to us. Thank God. Britney Spears is suddenly crooning about being a slave, which I find ironic considering this is a twink club and not a leather bar. Maybe twinks grow up to be leather daddies. I hope not. I do not need some 120-lb, glitter-dripping, platinum blonde trying to handcuff me to a bed.
Nickoli joins us long enough to bemoan the quality of the crowd. "Why do I come here?" he asks.
"More importantly, why do you feel the need to talk to us when you do?" I ask back.
We continue this banter for a moment, then Nickoli moves off to the bar. I watch him saunter off and wonder why I ever cheated on him. He was such a good boyfriend in so many ways, and yet I fell into lust with a well-endowed, aging gym bunny and screwed it all up. At least we were able to remain friends.
Lucien, who has been amusing himself on the dance floor, suddenly bounces up. His blonde hair glows under the black light and his shirt is cut off to expose his tight midsection. He kisses me on the cheek, then spots Eve.
"Oh look, a lesbian, " he says with as much disinterest as he can muster.
"Hi Lucien, " she responds dryly. " Shouldn't you be getting fucked in a bathroom stall somewhere?" She smiles sweetly. "O don't be mad, I am only looking after your best interest… I mean, don’t you get dizzy if you stand upright too long?"
"At least I can stand upright you Neanderthal bitch, " he verbally stabs.
" Neanderthal is still a step up on you. Unlike the rest of us who evolved from apes, I am pretty sure you evolved from a Howler monkey," Eve parries.
Strangely enough, Lucien lets out a small shrill noise and bounds off to continue gyrating suggestively. Lucien has no use for anyone he can't charm, so lesbians are pointless to him. The two of them together is volatile.
"He is such a retarded little whore," she declares after we order our cocktails and find an out of the way spot. "I mean really," as she is so fond of saying," why cant he just keep it in his pants?"
"Lucien is all about having a good time, all about the flash and fashion of being young and gay. Maybe he will grow up one day and find himself. Assuming there is something of him to find," I semi-defend. "O and 'retarded' isn't a very nice word. It's degrading to the mentally challenged, or whatever."
"O, you are so right. I am a bad person. Hey I have an idea. Let's go to my house and hug the trees in the backyard. I have been neglecting them something fierce." Eve responds.
On the dance floor, caught in a whirlpool of young flesh and a hurricane of music and lights, Lucien is wedged between two hot boys simulating acts that would send Texas into a frenzy of moral outrage. I wonder about the straight people who might find their way into a gay club and see such lasciviousness. Would they understand this is not representative of gay culture on a whole? How would they know that there are more serious minded conservative gay men and women who find the drunken orgy of fashion and pleasures just as immoral and disgusting as many of our community's critics? The dichotomy of our subculture intrigues me. I also find my own split personality when it comes to good boy/bad boy annoying as well. How could I have left the security and stability of a great guy for the momentary pleasure of a player wannabe? Does the schizophrenia of the club scene take its toll after awhile?
"How did this become the image of gay men and women?" I ask Eve. "Why is it that we have become pigeon holed as party boys who live for the circuit scene and clubs? How did that happen? There are plenty of gay men and women who do not fit this stereotype, and yet we don’t see them in sitcoms. How did Style beat out Substance?"
"Take a look around you, this isn't exactly a church picnic."
"No it is not, but have you ever hung out in a straight college bar? It’s a mess, fights and sex everywhere. I see more cocks and tits in a straight college bar than at a pride parade. Yet when we do it, we are being deviant."
"They are the majority," she explains, "they have to prove nothing or answer to no one. As a persecuted and oppressed minority we have to behave twice as well to be taken half as serious. All stereotypes are based on some real behaviors, but exaggerated to include all peoples in that group instead of the few who participate in the practice. It is up to us to set an example through personal manner when dealing with people on an individual level. That is the only way we will dissuade negative attitudes."
The mass of muscle on the dance floor moves gelatinous, swaying and wiggling to a fast tempo of Missy Elliot. It is a place where Abercrombie is king and current events is J Lo's marriage to Ben Affleck, not the war in the Mideast and our unholy alliances with countries that violate human rights. Will we ever reach a place where style and substance are no longer opposed but married harmoniously?
When Stonewall and the gay rights movement of the seventies liberated the libidos of homosexuals everywhere we were like a starving peasant suddenly offered the king's feast. We were out and open and allowed to be gluttons for pleasure. While we were not the only partygoers in that decadent decade, it is the gay bars and discos that stand out. It is where the image of the gay man as a sexual iconoclast was formed. It is time for us to reject the images of gays as fun boys who only care about sex, fashion and pop culture. Reinvent ourselves as responsible men and women if we ever intend to win the right to marry, adopt, or be offered domestic benefits.
"Hey guy, I need another drink," Eve announces.
My reflective trance broken, I notice that Nickoli and Lucien have joined our table.
"Get me a shot before I go! I am taking off with those hot boys I was dancing with," Lucien imparts.
Eve grimaces. "You need to have a Motel Six sign above your bedroom door, " she hisses.
"From what I've heard, it's more like Motel Five and a Half," Nickoli quips with a smug air and a satisfied little laugh.
"Better a Motel than a monastery you frigid bitches," Lucien counters.
I move off to get the drinks. Some things will never change.
It’s New Years Eve and I have opted to spend the evening alone. I heard somewhere that a person should spend the evening doing what one wants to do throughout the following year. My past celebratory activities of getting drunk and laid just don’t hold the same appeal. It seems there are better things I can be doing now and throughout the upcoming year than dancing, puking and having sex…not necessarily in that order. Mies Van Der Rohe was attributed as saying "God is in the details," so I have decided to lose myself in some detail work on a painting I have been playing with and also in some home improvement projects I have been putting off for awhile.
The clock on the wall tells me it is approaching midnight so I take a break form what I am doing to visit Laptopia, the wonderful land of the technologically privileged, and see who is online. Seconds after I log on, an instant message from capricornboi appears.
Capricornboi: Hey Baby. What’s up with you tonight?
Capricornboi is the screen name of my intimate friend JJ, who I have known for many years. I have made no secret of my strong feelings for him, but he insists that we keep it platonic. It never quite works that way, for whenever we get together we generally go at it like rabbits on Viagra. Whenever he has a boyfriend, I am depressed for the duration of his relationship, and when I take a paramour he does everything but piss on my leg to mark his territory. Not the healthiest of relationships.
Naughtiscotti: Hey JJ, Happy New Year. Nothing much going on here, what’s up with you?
Capricornboi:I just got off work, feeling a little lonely I guess. You want to come over?
The word "lonely" suggests he is horny, not craving companionship. As I contemplate this, loud booms echo behind me and I turn to see the fireworks from downtown through my window. Colors bloom like giant fiery flowers and I sit entranced for a moment by the blazing blossoms. I remember the first kiss JJ and I shared and the fireworks that went off inside my head. I remember when I told him that I thought I was falling in love with him and his anger exploded in a display that made the New Years Rockets over Riverscape seem like fireflies. My experiences over the years with JJ had been a roller coaster and now I was ready to get off and find an amusement that is a little more stable.
Naughtiscotti: No, I think I am going to chill here tonight.
My words float in the little window, no response forthcoming. The phone rings. I know it is him before I answer.
"How come you want to be alone on New Years Eve?" He asks me right off the bat.
"What’s the big deal, it’s just another night. I don’t want to deal with the drunks."
"New Year’s Eve is only once a year!" he persists.
"Whatever. Everyday comes once a year."
"Yeah, but won’t you get lonely?" he pressures.
"Nah, thanks though." I answer him.
It dawns on me that I am not lonely at all. I am actually enjoying my time of reflection, something we all need from time to time. At this moment what I am feeling is something that I value more than the temporary high of a party or nightclub; I feel content. Suddenly the realization that I have more to offer than sex overwhelms me. I am better than desperate groping to fend off solitude and boredom. I deserve something real and meaningful, not hormone driven escapades with someone who can’t make up his mind or simply wants me as a toy. I am torn by the desire for casual sex with a hot guy and my growing need for self respect. I come to the conclusion that at some point we need to stop fooling ourselves that as homosexuals we are not governed by the rules of monogamy imposed on us by heterosexuals. Limiting our sexual practice to only experiences that have true value make us emotionally stronger, and in turn also strengthen our mind and spirit. It also makes the encounter more beautiful and special when we do find someone we have intense feelings for and wish to share more with than body fluids. The realization of self worth becomes the key to liberation from the treadmill of stereotypical and unhealthy behavior and the motivating factor to self improvement.
JJ is still waiting for me to respond.
"Hey JJ, I think we need to have a talk," I tell him.
"I hate it when you say that." The tone of his voice is irate and impatient. "Why don’t you just come over?"
I sigh. Not a sad sigh, but the deep soulful exhale of a man freed of some burden. As much as I love him, JJ has his own demons, I have exorcised mine and do not wish to traffic with them any longer. I need for him to let me go. More importantly, I need to let him go. If there is something real between us, he will come back looking for something other than a heated release. I won’t hold my breath, just my heart.
"I love you, baby, but I have to go," I say. "Happy New Year."
He doesn’t say anything for a moment. He senses something is happening. Careful not to use the word "goodbye," we simply leave it with well wishes for the New Year and hang up.
I sit quietly in front of my computer screen, wondering what happened to the fireworks. How long ago did they end? How can I feel so liberated and tortured at the same time? It had to be done, I tell myself. If I want something real and meaningful, I have to free myself of everything that holds no worth.
The doorbell snaps me out of my trance. My dogs go into fits, but quickly quiet down when I open the door to reveal Nickoli, an ex boyfriend, yet close friend. I had ruined the relationship we had as lovers, but as friends we had grown closer and learned more about each other than before. Sometimes I imagined there was still a spark, an ember still glowing deep down, but I never breeched the subject. I had hurt him once and was so afraid of doing it again.
"Nickoli...hey what’s up...I thought you would be at the club," I stammer, a little perplexed by his sudden arrival.
"I was. We were all having a great time, but when the clock struck midnight, I realized the only place I really wanted to be was here with you."
I am shocked into speechlessness, a rare and tremendous feat. I gaze at him; short shallow breathes promising words that never come. Nickoli moves forward and gently cups his large hands around my face, his lips seeking mine. We share a fevered kiss. Still wrapped around one another we stumble into the living room and fall onto the couch.
Maybe this is what the New Year has planned for me. Maybe the New Year is pushing me towards more than home improvement; maybe it is pushing me towards self improvement.
As I lay there beneath Nickoli’s body, his weight crushing me into a mound of pillows and slip covered cushions, I feel that familiar feeling again. I am content.
Three roses, each a different fading, warm color, lay across the windowsill drying to a delicate beauty. The drabness of winter threatens to overwhelm but the various hues fend off the icy grays of the frozen scene beyond. It strikes me that sometimes we can find something charming in even the dullest moments if we open our eyes and minds. I remember a drive through the country a few days before and how I came across a stand of sycamore trees reaching imperialistically towards a crystal blue sky scattered with opalesque clouds. A snow blanketed horse pasture lies beneath the tree’s reigning branches. As my little car speeds past, a startled flock of starlings takes wing and swims in the sun that falls like rivers to the earth. It is these moments that get us through the ugliness of our lives.
I awaken from my trance. The soundtrack of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon flows from the stereo, drums and flutes dripping exotic melodies throughout the house. The normally soothing strains do little to calm my nerves. Nickoli is on his way over and I anxiously await his arrival. We are having dinner with a friend of his and I am really not looking forward to it. His pals barely tolerated me the first time Nickoli and I dated, when we broke up they just plain despised me.
Finally the doorbell rings and a chorus of canines herald Nickoli’s entrance. He senses my discomfort and slips his arm around me, his hand finding the small of my back, something that instantly settles me. Nickoli nuzzles at my neck and playfully nips at my ear.
"Stop worrying about it. If I don’t have a problem with you, then they shouldn’t either," he attempts to reassure me.
"Since when do people need permission to be judgmental?" I ask him.
The conversation turns to the news of our days and we decide we have time to do a little sweater shopping before dinner. Later we find ourselves circling like fashion vultures over a clearance rack of woven wool at American Eagle. Our clothing cravings satiated we focus on the rumblings in our bellies and head to the restaurant where Nickoli’s friend Peter is meeting us. Still stoned from our capitalistic binge, I feel a little more confident as we enter the pre fabricated Italian eatery. I spot Peter through the Friday night crowd of hungry suburbanites and offer him a smile. He waves, though the look on is face is disapproving. We greet Peter and order glasses of Merlot while we wait for a table. Nickoli immediately excuses himself leaving me alone with his pal. We attempt small talk.
"So did you hear the GayWatch house is closing down for awhile?" he asks me. "It seems they are doing some renovating. They also decided to fire everyone and start all over!" The tone in Peter’s voice suggests scandal.
"Why," I inquire though I am not sure I care.
"Well the house became full of drag queens and the subscribers started to bitch."
"Who can blame them? Who wants to see a boy tape back his dick and put on a wig?" I offer. The taste of shoe leather floods my mouth where I have just placed my foot. I realize Peter does drag quite a bit, though to me he resembles Xena warrior princess with shoulder pads and a cheap blouse.
Nickoli appears, distracting from my faux pas. Peter has connections and we are seated right away leaving my social fumble forgotten. At the table we all flirt carelessly with the waitress who takes our orders and disappears.
"So Nickoli, why are you seeing Scotti again? What the hell is that about?" Peter asks as if I am not even present. Evidently he has not forgotten the drag queen comment after all.
I consider smacking Peter in the head with the wine bottle, but it is a nice Merlot and I am so picky about red wine. Instead I simply envision him onstage, cheap wig aflame. This settles me for the moment.
"I have forgiven Scotti and we are moving forward from there. It’s really no one’s concern but mine," Nickoli defends.
My blood had cooled from a boil to a simmer. "What it comes down to is that people should mind there own business. I understand that as his friend you are looking out for him, but what is between Nickoli and I should stay between Nickoli and me."
Peter’s jaw clinches and his eyes narrow. It is apparent that he wants to tear into me, but thankfully he does not.
"You destroyed him. I was the one who was there with him the night you broke it off and let me tell you, he was a mess," hisses Peter. "You will forgive me if I find the two of you cooing and cuddling a little shocking."
"I made a mistake, I am human. Everyone makes mistakes. I chose to face up to mine instead of hiding it. After we broke up, I realized a lot of things about myself. I have grown and changed. So has Nickoli. We are trying this again." Suddenly I wasn’t sure who I was explaining all this to- Peter or myself. "I do not know if this will work, but I can promise you this: I will never intentionally hurt Nickoli again. His forgiveness of me speaks volumes about him as a person."
I felt lighter all the sudden. I had argued and won my case against one of my toughest critics: myself. Could it be that I have realized that love is not about looks or bodies, but about integrity, forgiveness and compassion?
The waitress appears with our food. Being as all three of us are afflicted with Attention Deficit Disorder, we quickly move on to a more pleasant topic. By the end of the night I find that I actually like Peter and respect him for so fiercely protecting his friend.
Nickloi’s car glides through the night as he steers us to my place. Darkness surrounds the highway like an ocean, the city lights twinkle like the crests of waves tossing about bits of reflected moonlight. I dream of far off beaches and I feel Nickoli’s hand settle upon my knee.
Maybe if we all could just learn to mind our own business and concentrate on forgiving others instead of tearing people up behind their backs, we could all be as happy as I am now.
"Oh! Guess what Peter told me about the GayWatch House!" I exclaim.
O well, it’s a nice dream.
When I started writing this column almost a year and a half ago I had no clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish. I knew from the time I spent working at the Q shop inside Celebrity that a lot of young people had some misguided notions about sex, STDs and our community in general and I wanted to address those concerns in a manner that would be fun to read. Last fall I decided to experiment and take a core value and wrap it in prose to see how readers responded. I created characters and placed them in familiar settings to make it more accessible to the audience, i.e. so the reader could connect, hence making a stronger impression.
The characters in my little soap opera are not real. I thought this was obvious to everyone. The protagonist of the story, Scotti, is based on me, but he is not me. I gave him my name because the column is called sex with Scott and because he was at times mouthing my thoughts. My principal interest with him was to act as a conscience for our little community, to get people to ask questions about themselves and examine habits they may have fallen into that could be self- destructive. Lucien Lane, the antagonist, represents the stereotype of a young gay man: the twink. He is self-obsessed and blissfully unaware. Lucien merely wants to have a good time, though deep down he is a good person. The conflict between the two is about the conflict I have with myself at times, my desire to let loose and flirt with any hot guy I meet versus the part of me that finds such behavior base and vulgar. On a larger scale it is also about someone who has decided to confront the problems and dysfunctions he perceives in the gay culture. That is where the problems start.
Last December I wrote a piece about religion and spirituality. The main plot was a conversation via a cell phone between Scotti and Lucien; however the subplot was that we should all search for our own spirituality. The setting was inside a truck, outside a church. Being as this is fiction, the conversation never happened. However, I had people calling me asking is I was alright, what was I doing haunting churches at night? While I appreciate the concern, I had to continually stress that it was all made up. Later that month I was at a Christmas gathering, hosted by the ultra generous Rubi Girls and someone made a snide comment about my "finding Jesus." At the time I blew it off but in the following month I found myself in hot water again. This time I had supposedly attacked Candi Wantsome and Celebrity Nightclub. This was never my intention. The column was edited down from four to two pages and somehow allegedly came off as anti Candi and Celebs in the final edit. After I found myself being bitched out at Celebrity I reread the piece and realized it may have sounded as if I was poking fun at Candi and not some of the novice performers she patiently endures. That is why I suggested she be considered for canonization, which by the way means to be made a saint, not taken out and shot with a canon. I realize someone has to be dead to be made a saint and I was not suggesting she die either. I find Candi to be a wonderful performer and applaud her efforts to entertain; it is not an easy thing to do at all.
As far as Celebrity goes, I think it serves a needed place in our community. I have no problem with dance clubs, I enjoy them very much. It is great to be able to be surrounded by people who enjoy the same things. In our day to day lives we are bombarded with the heterosexual culture. It is nice to be able to immerse oneself in a place that celebrates who we are and encourages us to express our individuality. I do believe that it should be handled like all other things in life: in moderation.
Most recently I have found myself in trouble with the GayWatch house. Last month’s subject was Rumors and how they can be destructive and hurtful. As an example I used the rumor I had heard about the GayWatch house. Scotti was mouthing the rumor that all the boys were being fired because there were too many drag queens. I had spoken to Jamie at the GayWatch house before the article ever went into print and told him about it. Other people, however, did not get the heads up and I still ended up hurting the feelings of someone I like. That is why I feel it is necessary to explain in detail that the column "Sex with Scott" is complete fiction. I may base characters and stories on actual people and events, but it’s like a Scorcesee film, I take a lot of artistic license with history.
I am sorry this month’s column was really boring and a bit tedious, but I felt I needed to clear up some things in hopes that people will understand what I am trying to do and that I am not purposefully attacking anyone. Please remember I am an amateur, I write for fun so sometimes I am going to fuck up. I was not my intent to offend Candi Wansome, Celebrity or the GayWatch house. Next month I will be back to writing the on going drama. I realize that I may offend people regardless, but hell no one can make everyone happy. So anyhow, later all …till next month,
The queer subculture can be a vicious scene with a dangerous obsession for physical perfection. The Greeks may have invented the ideal for male physical beauty, but it s modern day gay men who worship at the feet of Adonis. "Gay" television shows like Queer as Folk or Will and Grace help perpetuate negative stereotypes, as does the advertising aimed at our community, marketing that offers young, hard bodied men as the standard for homosexuality.
Take for example Queer as Folk which opens with g-string clad strippers and features throughout an orgy (both literally and figuratively) of male flesh and Muscle Marys. Even the seemingly benign Will and Grace makes a running joke of Jack taunting an almost anorexic Will about his weight problem. When one flips through the gay and gay friendly television programs, not one overweight character can be found. A reflection of television’s overall under- representation of the "average" person, the Gay men and women on Queer as Folk, Will and Grace or even Six Feet Under are well dressed, amazingly coifed and hard bodied. Even the geekish accountant, Ted, on QAF is seen frequenting the gym or surrounded by the sculpted men of his pornographic website.
So what message are we sending to GLBT youth and people struggling with their identity? That to be gay one must work-out, dress right and be aggressively hip to fit in with our community? A disturbing thought, considering that a large percentage of young or closeted people already feel isolated or outcast from the mainstream culture. In the past it was easy to escape the pervasive lookism that ran rampant in the nightclubs simply by staying out of them. Now that gays and lesbians have a more mainstream representation, we need to portray the physical diversity of our community and not force people into an unreasonable physical mold.
Statistics show that gay men are sensitive to the images in marketing and TV and are more prone than our heterosexual counterparts to develop an eating disorder. Society is now placing more emphasis on the importance of appearance for men. Studies suggest that 10% of all eating disorder cases are men and that up to 80% of those are gay men. According to one study, two thirds of males suffering from eating disorders have a history of being overweight; however other factors include stress, low self esteem and depression, as well as sexual or other forms of abuse in childhood. There have been numerous studies linking gender and sexual orientation to eating disorders. One done in 1988 hypothesized that heterosexual women and gay men were more likely to develop eating disorders due to physical dissatisfaction of their body type versus media imposed standards. The study verified the theory.
Most people would be led to believe that because of the focus on gay men and straight women, that heterosexual men and lesbians are not affected by eating disorders. This does not appear to be true. With the current expectations of men to be lean and defined, straight men are reporting more physical dissatisfaction. Lesbians, who are more likely to be accepting of physical diversity, still report negative body image. In 1992, a report published by the International Journal of Eating Disorders showed that "gender was a more salient factor than sexual orientation." Surprisingly lesbians engage in more dieting than gay men because women, be they straight or gay, feel pressure from society to thin.
Preoccupation with body image starts early in life. A 1988 survey of 30, 000 Minnesota students found that gay boys were more likely to engage in binging and purging and report poor body image. Lesbian girls were more positive about their bodies than straight teen females. However they still involved themselves in frequent dieting and bingeing and purging.
There are several kinds of eating disorders.
Anorexia Nervosa is a disorder that involves extreme dieting and starvation. A person suffering from Anorexia is underweight by at least 20% and refuses to reach healthy body weights for his or her height. An Anorexic can not see the seriousness of the problem and has self image problems. Women have been known to miss menstrual cycles.
Bulimia Nervosa is sees to be more common in our community. There are two types of Bulimia, purging and non-purging. With purging bulimia the bulimic regularly engages in self –induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas. In non-purging, the person involves themselves with inappropriate behaviors such as fasting or excessive exercise, but does not exhibit the symptoms of purging bulimia.
Many medical complications can arise form Bulimia. Calluses on the back of hand and fingers, salivary gland enlargement, erosion of dental enamel, fluid and electrolyte abnormalities, dehydration, and even heart problems may also develop. Gastric ruptures from induced vomiting, laxative dependence and severe constipation may also result.
Muscle Dysmorphia is a more male based problem, though exercise addiction is prevalent in both genders and is usually secondary to anorexia or bulimia. A man suffering from Muscle Dysmorphia believes his body is not sufficiently lean or muscular. Symptoms include missing work, social or leisure activities to work out, avoiding situations where the body is exposed to others, or does so but with extreme stress and anxiety; uses performance enhancing drugs despite knowledge of adverse affects or is unable to function day to day due to preoccupation with body size.
Recently I sat down with a gay man, whom I will call Tom, who suffered from Bulima for almost twenty years. His story is almost textbook. As an overweight child of abusive alcoholic parents, Tom’s self esteem was low and he felt he had no control over his life. In 1974 Tom began purging after he watched a Donahue show about eating disorders. The disorder lasted almost twenty years. At First he began to induce vomiting a couple times a week, but ended up purging "eight to twelve times a day." Says Tom: "I had crossed the threshold into hell," and warns "you don’t realize what’s in store. Eventually it takes control." Food became Tom’s best friend. He would eat large amounts of food then immediately have to purge it from his system. At times he would stand on his head to get all of it out.
Alcoholism and drug dependency have also been linked to eating disorders both prior to and after their onset. Tom found himself abusing pills, and soon his life began a downward spiral. His business began to suffer; he was unable to focus on his work. "When you are starving yourself your mind wanders off, you can’t concentrate." Eventually Tom lost his business, but then his personal relationships began to feel the pressure as well. His lover of nine years, tired of watching him slowly kill himself, left him. The strange and sad part is Tom’s lover never once approached him about his Bulimia. A lot of people afflicted with an eating disorder try hard to hide it from their loved ones, but when someone has been Bulimic or anorexic for an extended period of time, it becomes hard to miss. Many people close to someone with an eating disorder do not know how to address the problem, especially in the less known about cases of male body image. Tom’s lowest weight was 125 pounds, extremely thin for his tall build. When asked if his friends noticed he replied, "you would have to be fucking blind not to."
Depression and other mental illnesses have been connected to eating disorders. Throughout Tom’s long battle with Bulimia he tried to kill himself on three occasions. "My self image was shit," he says, "Your life is shit." Therapists and support groups were of little help. It was the third time he attempted suicide that something clicked inside him. A friend of Tom’s throughout the ordeal sensed something was wrong and decided to pop in on him. Finding him near death, he called the paramedics who told the friend Tom would not make it out of the apartment alive. "I was five minutes from dead," says Tom.
That extreme closeness to death caused Tom to re-examine his life. He realized he had a problem and more importantly, he realized he wanted to live. "It is amazing I didn’t pull a Karen Carpenter." Though Tom did have his mouth redone to repair what years of corrosive stomach acids and bile had done to his teeth, his doctor tells him it is a miracle he didn’t do more damage to himself. Many men and women are not so fortunate.
Tom was able to salvage his life and has been healthy for almost ten years. He realized "you can only blame others for so long before you have to take responsibility for yourself." He urges people with eating disorders to get help, and for those who suspect a friend or loved one has a disorder, to say something.
Some symptoms to watch out for include binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behavior such as excessive exercise, use of diuretics or laxatives and vomiting, rapid or excessive weight loss, fasting, depression, and unrealistic body image.
Treatments for Anorexia and Bulimia are similar. The use of anti-depressants and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors combined with cognitive and interpersonal therapy seems to have a positive result. Being as eating disorders are both emotional and physical, a range of support is needed. A nutritionist is employed to regain and maintain a healthy weight and instill good eating habits. Once malnutrition is addressed, psychotherapy, individual, group or both, is usually introduced to deal with self-esteem, body image and depression. Only after a healthy weight has been attained will psychotropic drugs be prescribed. Relapse is common so long term treatment is usually recommended. Individuals suffering from body image disorders often are not aware of their problem and are resistant to intervention. Once a physician is consulted, the medical professional will determine if hospitalization is needed. Conditions that warrant hospitalization are rapid and excessive weight loss, serious metabolic disturbances, risk of suicide, severe binging and purging and psychosis.
There are many ways to get help for yourself or someone close to you. There are many online support groups, for example. Both yahoo and msn host sites which are easily found by simply typing "eating disorders" into your search engine. To find help in your area, a physician’s referral service is a good resource, and most hospitals have programs to treat eating disorders. If you have one, a family doctor can also provide a referral.
Eating disorders are a condition that can result in serious medical problems and even death. Much attention has been given to females suffering from negative body image, though not as much is known about male eating disorders or the link between sexual orientation and body image. This ignorance can be lethal. More and more studies are being done, and if you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, then the best route is to educate yourself and contact help immediately. We have all heard the phrases "he has a body to die for," or he has "killer abs," but it is easy for us to overlook just how literal those words are for some people. Until the media choses to represent the diverse body types of the gay community, it is up to all of us to reaffirm that each one of us has a unique quality whether it be face, body or personality. Gays and lesbians have many types of oppression to deal with throughout our lives. Victimization from unrealistic body image due to super-model-centric advertising and an ambitious marketing industry does not have to be one of them.
The following websites were used during my research for this article. Please visit them if you have any questions or would like more information.
The following two articles were found through www.findarticles.com:
Childhood Gender Nonconformity and Body Dissatisfaction in Gay and Heterosexual Men, Scott M. Strong, Devendra Singh, Patrick K. Randall, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, October 2000
Role of Sexual Orientation and Gender Related Traits in Disordered Eating, Jacqueline Lakkis, Lina A. Ricciardelli, Robert J. Williams, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, July 1999