Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mitchell Gold, Charlie Rose and "Faith in America"

If you possibly can, please treat yourself to the Mitchell Gold-Charlie Rose interview. The interview focuses primarily on Gold's new book Crisis, but Gold also talks about his growing up gay in America during the approximate time I did. He reveals his crush on Richard Chamberlain as "Dr. Kildare" at age 12, a crush he shared with me and probably thousands of gay boys of that era. (How many of the boys in junior high wore "Dr. Kildare" shirts?--unfortunately I wasn't one of them.) The book, consists of essays about the pain involved in growing up gay by a diverse group of people, famous and not so famous. Gold mentions that several people he approached about writing for the book told him that they really couldn't write in the book, as being gay was not really a "big issue" for them and that there was no "crisis", conflict, or struggle involved.

I guess I like to think of myself as conflict-free in this area as well. Obviously, that's not true. At eleven I was concerned that I was a "faggot" because I stunk at athletics. My excellent singing voice and competency at dance made me a prime candidate for female roles in plays at my all-boys summer camp. Although, I loved these roles because I often got to play opposite Scott, the boy of my dreams, the teasing that accompanied them did little to enhance self-esteem. Late puberty, accompanied by adolescent gynecomastica , engenderd feelings that something was wrong with my masculinity while arousing my curiosity about the growing adolescent penises and secondary sex characteristics of other boys.

Sexual play with my friend Fred during several sleepovers (mostly after going to Bar Mitzvahs) fed this curiosity, peaking after the first time Fred produced a few drops of cum for me. I don't think I was all that troubled by the sexual play per se. After all, sharing Fred's developing sexuality was just part of sharng between friends (we used to get naked together when we were five). However, I was increasingly troubled by my slow development, wondering whether somehow God was punishing me for an early sexual interest which started at age eight when two girls at school told me where babies really came from and I began checking out books from the library such as "The Stork Didn't Bring You", "Your Growing Body (for boys)", etc., and stealing peaks into copies of "Tropic of Cancer" and "Lady Chatterley's Lover" which we had in our house.

Fred and I sort of drifted apart after we were fourteen. We were in different grades (I had skipped two--putting me at least three years behind in my development with my classmates), and both of us developed new friends. Finally, at age 15, masturbating on the bathroom floor, I produced my first drops of cum. A few weeks later, I began jerking off regularly, usually humping the bed, fantasizing fucking Marjorie, a girl I was attracted to, but really more concerned in my fantasies with my penis, what is was doing, and what it was producing.

New Years Eve 1966 brought my first full-blown (no pun intended) homosexual experience with my friend Michael, who was only five months older than me, but who was already shaving. After a night of partying where, I believe, I made out with Susan S, we went back to Michael's house. No one at Michael's house was expected home that night, and so we had the house to ourselves. My recollection is somewhat vague, all I remember is eventually being naked with Michael, humping and jerking each other off, but I don't remember how we reached that point. I think we were both passionate (we really liked each other) and I remember Michael telling me that I would be a "great husband" someday, a comment on our lovemaking. I felt wonderful. Michael's acceptance of my naked body was real important to me and we repeated the experience whenever we could. We were concerned about other people finding out, but we weren't concerned about being homosexual ourselves. After all, we didn't kiss (at least not at first) and you were only queer if you did "it" after you were eighteen. We were only sixteen. Therefore no problem. Q.E.D.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Last week I was in Ft. Lauderdale. For those of you who don't know, Ft. Lauderdale has one of the most vibrant and eclectic gay communities in the country. If you go, I recommend that you first visit either "Rosie's" or "Georgie's Alibi", both located on Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors. Both of these eating and drinking establishments (Georgie's is more of a bar, Rosie's is more of a restaurant) are filled with a broad array of gay people (mostly men, although Rosie's tends to have about 30% women). It's always party time at both places, the folks are extremely upbeat. What's really unusual, especially for someone from NYC, is that both places have really variegated crowds. You see young and old, gym bods, regular bods, and flabby bods, bears and pretty boys, white collar and blue collar, and the amazing thing is that every one seems to get along and respect each other.

That said, I must confess that in addition to visiting "Rosie's" and "Georgie's Alibi", my partner and I paid a visit to "Slammer Club" . Slammer opens at 8 pm and advertises that it stays "open till you're done". Another ad states something to the effect that you're guaranteed to "get off". The building is identifiable only by "321", written large on the rather stark building. An amenity is the fact that the parking lot is attended by a very friendly attendant who helps you find a spot. Once inside, you pay at a window, and you're offered a wallet and phone check. You can also rent a locker, but we were told that "most guys keep their clothes on". The attendant at the window was, of course, dressed in leather, mustache, chain jewelry, the works. Posters reminiscent of "Tom of Finland" decorate the lobby. Once inside, there is a bar that I imagine sells mixers (you seem to have to bring your own alcohol), and is tended by a bartender dressed in leather jockstrap which does not contain his huge cock, a requisite leather vest, combat boots, and chains.

The rest of the place is painted black and is very dimly lit. Despite the lighting, one can't help noticing the "hand sanitizer" dispensers placed throughout. The one area of warmth and light is a big fireplace that looks like something out of an old Vincent Price movie. The center of attraction is a raised platform with cage-like vertical bars as well as pieces of plywood that are cut out to allow those standing below to suck those standing on the platform. Big rooms and smaller rooms provide spaces for group and individual play.

So, was the place a turn-on? Yes and no. Raised in the 1950s, somewhere in my psyche there is still the notion that sex and especially sex with "other boys" is naughty. The idea of touching another boy's penis or having him touch me is dangerous, thrilling, and bad---and that idea gets me aroused. We have all been little once, and seeing erect penises, seeing whether they're bigger or smaller, thicker or thinner is a lot more than just interesting. Watching male asses as guys pump their cocks into other guys mouths is very hot. We're all being bad together. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn watching Jim's big dick as he goes for a swim, and touching each other. This is not love - this is rebellion. And rebellion is a turn on. You could get killed, but there's some sense of safety in numbers. So if we're all being bad together and we get caught, we can save ourselves.

But we can't. Despite the "hand sanitizer", places like Slammer are still breeders of disease. Many HIV positive men go to places like this because nobody's asking, and, in the bad boy frenzy, nobody cares. To its credit, Slammer provides plenty of condoms throughout the labyrinth, and people are using them for anal sex. But the down side is that all this bad behavior can get you into real bad trouble.

So, what did I do there? I watched, I got excited, I jerked off. I was always a cautious boy. Luckily.

Beginning this blog

How to begin? Well, at first I thought I should introduce myself. I'm nixing that because I think that there is enough information about me in the blog title and I hope you will get to know me as I post on the blog. Besides, I think, in all modesty, that an autobiography would run at least a thousand pages--a line or two for every day of my life thus far. So here goes!