Mar 26, 2016

16 Naked New Yorkers

I lived in New York from 1997 to 2001, while in graduate school at Long Island University: a year in a graduate student apartment on campus, and three years in the East Village, sharing an apartment with Edward the Art Appraiser.  It never felt like home, in the way that West Hollywood was home; I always felt like a visitor, dropping in on other people's lives.

But the hookup opportunities were enormous.  Maybe we knew so much about safe sex that anonymous encounters no longer seemed risky, or maybe  the East Village never developed the "date first, bedroom later" culture of West Hollywood, but cruising was constant, and intense.

Here are my top "bedroom first, dating later" stories from four years in New York.






Year 1

1. Conrad, who came to my room to fix my computer.

2. Dustin, who invited me to an all-nighter after a meeting of the New York Bondage Club.

3. The fireman who came by when my crazy roommate left an open can of tuna in his room during Christmas break.  We thought something died in there.

4. The Lebanese guy I met online, who asked "do you want to hang out?" by which he meant come to my room for oral.






Year 2

5. The older bear who lived only a few blocks from my parents' house in Indianapolis.  I dropped in for a "quickie" on the way to the bars.

6. The unhung hippie who Yuri and I shared after a conversation of about five minutes.

7. I was conducting a research project that required me to interview gay men.  Carl refused to be interviews, but agreed to show me his Kielbasa+.

8. Prasert, the chef in a Thai restaurant in Paris.  I ate there almost every night.  One night he invited me into the kitchen to show me a "new recipe."  In the stock room.





Year 3

9. Barry, on the night we exorcised the homophobic demon.

10. The Man in Black who cruised me on Christopher Street.

11. When Yuri came to Manhattan for the weekend, we went cruising at the Eagle, and he was approached by a Korean gym rat.  He was reluctant, having heard that Asians are small beneath the belt, but I talked him into it.

12. When I was visiting Zack in Providence, we went to a bar that had a little enclosed patio, the equivalent of dark rooms in European bars.  I went down on a guy while he was staring straight ahead, pretending to not even know I was there.  You can't get more anonymous than that!






Year 4

13. I broke every rule of cruising, and followed Jorge out into the cold, dark night with only an exchange of first names.

14. Shen the Chinese history major.  We spent the whole evening in his room, watching tv.

15. Carey, the Football Player Who Got Unstuck in Time.

16. The NYU undergrad who came to my apartment in the rain and refused to leave until the sun was out.  The next afternoon.

The uncensored list, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.



Adam West: Playing Gay before Batman

In the 1960s, when my friends and I watched the camp superhero series Batman (which, by the way, we didn't realize was camp), we zeroed in on Burt Ward's Dick Grayson/Robin, because he was a teenager, and because of incredibly bulgeworthy costume.  We all but ignored Adam West's Bruce Wayne/Batman.

During the decades since Batman ended, Adam West has had a substantial career playing quirky, out-of-touch parodies of himself on everything from The Adventures of Pete and Pete to Family Guy (where he plays "himself" as the Mayor of Quahog). Delightfully quirky, but not much in the muscle department.



But before Batman, the future Caped Crusader was a bona fide beefcake star.

Born in 1928 in Walla Walla, Washington, West started his career in comedy, as the host of a live children's show in Hawaii and someone named "Ham Ector" on the Philco Playhouse, but in 1959 he moved to Hollywood to join the beefcake craze -- dozens of hunky actors, many discovered by Henry Willson, were tearing up the screens with shirtless and swimsuit shots.

He became very busy immediately, with 10 roles in 1959 alone, notably in The Young Philadelphians, as a man who cannot consummate his marriage for unspecified reasons (i.e., he's gay). He rushes off and dies in an auto accident.  His wife has sex with someone else, and his "son" grows up to be Paul Newman.



 During the next few years, West guest starred in Westerns -- Sugarfoot, Cheyenne, Bronco -- notably fighting "Tarzan" Jock Mahoney on Laramie.  He starred in swinging detective dramas and sitcoms, and in 1961 he got his own tv series, The Detectives.  His movie credits included Tammy and the Doctor, the gay-subtext classic Robinson Crusoe on Mars, and the hunk-meets-feral-girl Mara of the Wilderness.










Then came Batman, and everything changed.  Beefcake roles were hard to come by: West played Cleander opposite William Shatner's Alexander in Alexander the Great (1968), and a two-fisted adventurer in The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969), but his presence alone made them campy.

Like many men of his generation, West is somewhat homophobic; in the 1980s, he was flown to London to appear at an event, but when he discovered that it was gay-themed, he refused to appear.  More recently he has commented on the gay undertones of Batman: "gay, straight, whatever.  Add them to the ratings.  If gays like the show, wonderful!"

See also: Lane's Hookup with the Joker.

Mar 25, 2016

It's Garry Shandling's Show

I was saddened to hear of the death of Garry Shandling, the 66-year old comedian best known for The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998), and before that, It's Garry Shandling's Show (1986-1990).

In West Hollywood we watched It's Garry Shandling's Show on Showtime every Wednesday night.

It was a precursor to Seinfeld and a throwback to the old radio sitcoms where the characters were aware that they were characters and commented on their own plotlines.  Garry played "himself" as the star of a sitcom about a comedian.


His George was the nebbish next door neighbor Pete (Michael Tucci), who had a wife and a nebbish teenage son, Grant (Scott Nemes).

His Elaine was "platonic" neighbor Nancy (Molly Cheek), who dated and eventually married Ian McFyfer (Ian Buchanan).

His Kramer was Leonard Smith (Paul Willson), the owner of his condo.

There was a steady stream of other friends and associates, including a lot of Garry's girlfriends, and a lot of celebrities playing themselves: Rob Reiner, Tom Petty, Martin Mull, Red Buttons, Chevy Chase, Norman Fell, Jeff Goldblum, Gilda Radner.




Plots were mostly about "nothing."  Garry babysits.  Garry gets a pet.  Jeff Goldblum visits.

Sometimes they were elaborately self-referential:

Grant wins a trip to Hollywood, where he goes to a taping of the show.

Grant is accused of beating up a kid at school, but the a member of the studio audience saw what really happened, and tells the principal.









Not a lot of beefcake except for an occasional bulge, and no explicit gay content, but lots of subtexts.
1. Garry and Pete had a nice bromance going on.
2. Grant rarely expressed interest in girls, and often came across as a gay kid.  Notice his obvious interest in Garry's basket in this shot.

Besides, it had a great theme song:

This is the theme to Garry's show, the theme to Garry's show. 
Garry called me up and asked if I would write his theme song. 
I'm almost halfway finished, how do you like it so far?
How do you like the theme to Garry's show?

See also: 10 Things I Love and Hate about Seinfeld.

Fall 1993: Cruising East of Alvarado

West Hollywood, Fall 1993

"Where are all the Hispanic guys?' I asked Lane one day. "The population of Los Angeles is about 50% Hispanic, but you never see any here.  We don't even have a Mexican restaurant."

"I can buy some Old El Paso at the Safeway if you want," Lane said, "And make tacos tonight."

"I'm serious.  We bring home lots of Asian guys, and lots of Anglo leather bears, but no Hispanics, except for that waiter that we met by accident."

"What do you expect, when you cruise at Mugi, and I cruise at the Faultline?  If you want to meet Hispanic guys, you have to go where they are."

He was right.  The Hispanic gay population of L.A. had its own distinct culture, predating the white-middle class-male "gay" culture of West Hollywood.  If I wanted to meet them, I had to head east of Alvarado.

So on Saturday night, I dropped Lane off at the Faultline for his weekly cruise, and drove a mile farther to the corner of Sunset and Hollywood, and a bar called Basgo's.

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














Mar 24, 2016

Top 12 Public Penises of South America 1: The East

Since I was doing the public penises of Central America and the Caribbean, I thought I would South America as well.  I visited Colombia once, 30 years ago, but otherwise it is completely uncharted territory.

But it looks like most countries in South America match Europe in the size and complexity of their gay communities, and in the legislative response: no sodomy laws, same-sex partnerships, anti-discrimination laws.

And, especially in the countries straddling the equator, ample beefcake.

Here are the top 12 public penises of South America:

1. If you work your way down from the public penises of the Caribbean, the first country you hit is Venezuela, In Maracaibo, a buffed Saint Sebastian is falling out of his clothes as he's pierced by arrows beside a concrete tree.















2. Next come three colonies or recent colonies. Guyana is the only South American state that still has sodomy laws (what do you expect from a former British colony?).

This monument in Georgetown depicts Kuffy, the leader of a slave revolt in 1763.  He's not doing what you think.










3. Suriname is a former Dutch colony, so Dutch is still the official language.  A muscular freed slave named Kwakoe, is the symbol of the city of Parimaribo.  He's regularly dressed by clubs and organizations, and the Surinamian community in the Netherlands holds an annual Kwakoe Festival.














4. Guiana (not to be confused with Guyana) is a department of France.  The capital is Cayenne, but the economy has nothing to do with pepper.

At the entrance to the city, three people holding up a pyramid symbolize the African, European, and Indian races who constitute Guiana.  The Indian apparently has quite an endowment.











5. Also in Cayenne, you can see a statue of French abolitionist Victor Schoelcher freeing a grateful slave in a loincloth.

More after the break.















Mar 23, 2016

Do Levis Show Bulges Better Than Armani Wool Slacks?

When I was a kid, my family was distinctly working class.  Dad worked in the factory, and Mom worked at the mall.

Our house was about the size of small apartment.

90% of dinners consisted of spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, tuna casserole, fried eggs, or -- shudder -- chipped beef on toast.

My parents' friends and relatives were distinctly working class, too.  Not a college graduate among them.  A lot of pick up trucks, country-western music, and Goodwill t-shirts and jeans.

Fundamentalism.

Right wing politics.

Country western music!

So it came as a shock to discover that I am related to one of the wealthiest families in the world.

In 1982, when I was in grad school in Bloomington, I found out that Dad was adopted.  His biological father was the "black sheep" son of a wealthy northern Indiana businessman.

More research revealed a connection with the McCormicks of Chicago.

You know, Interntional Harvester, the Chicago Tribune, McCormick Place, McCormick School of Engineering, McCormick Theological Seminary, the Art Institute of Chicago, Villa Turicum, the House-in-the-Woods?

A vast dynasty of industrialists, publishers, politicians, and philanthropists descended from the eight children of Virginia inventor Robert McCormick (1780-1846)?

It's a complicated genealogy: I can give you the details if you're interested.  But it turns out that I had a 3rd cousin named Justine McCormick Grossman, 73 years old, daughter of a senator, granddaughter of the U.S. ambassador to Russia and France, living on a farm near Wolcottville, Indiana.

It was only a few miles from Rome City, but Aunt Nora didn't know her.  I guess when you're adopted, you have enough trouble keeping up with your biological father, no time to worry about second cousins.

A relative who was wealthy, sophisticated, a world traveler, who listened to Mozart instead of Willie Nelson, who went to the opera instead of Nazarene revival meetings, who served beef bourguignon instead of chipped beef on toast!  And who, I assumed, was gay-friendly.  After all, weren't rich people tolerant of eccentricities?

So I called.  It took a few minutes to impress upon her who I was, but then she began to reminisce about life in the 1930s:

"Your grandfather was quite a scandal in our family!" she told me in a scratchy voice.  "He ran off to become a singer in a music hall, of all things!  And then he married his...his housekeeper, who was young enough to be his daughter!  My, how tongues wagged!"

"So -- when his wife died, and he wasn't able to take care of his kids by himself, why didn't...um...someone in the family adopt them?"

That is, why didn't you take in my Dad and his sisters, and raise them in luxury, and send me to Harvard?

"Oh, he wanted nothing to do with us.  He preferred to spend his time with riff-raff, actors and artists and music-hall singers.  Like that Lloyd Davis."

My Grandpa Davis?  Hey, I thought rich people were accepting of eccentricities and foibles!

I was starting to rile up a bit, but I calmed down when Justine began describing her two children and four grandchildren.  Her grandson Cyrus, named after the original Cyrus, was a theater arts major at Indiana University.  He went by his middle name, Michael.

My cousin, the scion of the ultra-wealthy McCormick family, was walking on the same campus as me?

He was probably more liberal.

Maybe we would become friends.  We would hang out in House-in-the-Woods or Cavigny, sail on his yacht, fly over to London and Paris, chat about caviar...

Or we would become lovers.  He no doubt had a handsome, aristocratic face, dark hair, a gym-toned physique, and an enormous Mortadella beneath the belt.  I knew from my doomed pursuit of Richie Rich that virgin wool slacks show baskets a lot more effectively than our working-class Levis.

I fantasized about spending the night with him in the  gild-and-wood bedroom where he once prepared for polo matches and studied his Latin lessons.

Cousin Justine was mistaken -- there was no one named Cyrus Michael McCormick Grossman Hawthorne on campus.

"Oh, maybe he graduated already," she said.  "You know how time flies when you get older.  I think he's in Philadelphia now.  Let me look up the address for you."

The address was around the corner from a Philadelphia gay bar listed in my Gayellow Pages.  Michael was obviously gay!

Still, too far to go for a rich relative, gay or not, so I forgot about it until the summer of 1983, when Cousin Justine died.  Her daughter found my name in her address book, and had her assistant call me.

It was an odd prospect, going to the funeral of someone I'd never met and only spoke to twice. But, I figured, it would be a chance to meet other McCormicks, including my fifth cousin, the gay Philadelphia theater arts major named Cyrus Michael.

In July 1983, I drove from Bloomington up to an Episcopal Church in Elkhart, Indiana for the funeral.  The reception was held at the home of Justine's daughter and son-in-law: an English Tudor with sculpted grounds.

As I mingled among the McCormcks, Grossmans, Hawthornes, Dressers, Jacksons, and Bialis, I heard the same right-wing politics as among my working-class relatives.  Maybe worse.

But at least Cousin Michael was gay.  Tall, lithe, rather feminine, with glasses and a short beard.

"I grew up on stories of your grandpa's dirty tricks," he told me.  "I always thought it was so cool to be able to do your own thing, without all the obligations that come with being a McCormick.  In fact, I think that's what gave me the motivation to become an actor."

"Besides," he added with a grin, "Hanging out with the working class has some advantages. That manual labor builds biceps, and those Levis show baskets a lot better than Armani wool slacks."

The grass is always greener....

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

Mar 22, 2016

Wahlburgers: 4 Seasons, No Underwear

Marky Mark Wahlberg, who rose to fame as a pants-dropping rapper and later spun his mega-buffed physique into serious dramatic roles, is now in his mid 40s, and the star of a reality series, Wahlburgers (2014-)

32 episodes so far in two mini-seasons per year, in the spring and summer.

It's actually about Wahlburgers, a "family" restaurant run by his brother Paul, back in Boston. Of course, Mark gets into the act, as well as two other actor brothers, Donnie and Bob, plus various wives, children, and family friends.

Plots involve scouting out new restaurant locations, scoping out the secret sauce, helping friends get their careers off the ground, and various family squabbles.  Pretty dull stuff.

You weren't a big enough star to make your family intrinsically interesting, Marky.


Still, there are the physiques...

Mark is fabulously built, of course, and Donnie, a New Kid on the Block back in 1990, now a regular cop/soldier/tough guy in tv series like Blue Bloods, is not bad.

Unfortunately, neither disrobes often.  An occasional chest, no underwear.

And the other brothers are less than droolworthy.





Family friends/investors look like they belong on the set of Cheers.  They're either Cliff or Norm.










Most of the brothers' children are still preteens.  Donnie's sons, Xavier Walhberg and Elijah Hendrix Wahlberg, are 23 and 15, respectively, but do not appear on the show.

That leaves Brandon, son of sister Tracey, an aspiring actor who works at a warehouse.  He had a Marky-style physique.

But he doesn't take his shirt off on camera.  This photo of his impressive arms is from his twitter page.







Well, at least the food looks good.

See also: Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.












Madame's Place: TV's First Drag Queen Sitcom

In 1982, I got my B.A. in English and Modern Languages and moved to Bloomington, Indiana, to study for a M.A. in English.  I wasn't planning on an academic career; I thought the M.A. would assist me in reaching my career goal in publishing.

I was taking courses in Old English, Victorian Literature, Fiction Writing, and for some reason Chinese, working in the dormitory cafeteria, listening for gay subtext songs on the radio, and reading the Gayellow Pages, so I didn't have much time for tv.    In 1982-83, I watched a few old-standby sitcoms: The Boomerersons, One Day at a Time, Alice, Taxi -- plus The Powers of Matthew Star (with Peter Barton, left) and Madame's Place (1982-83).











Gay actor and puppeteer Wayland Flowers (1939-1988) began voicing Madame in the 1970s.  She was a new twist on the drag queen persona, an elderly former movie star who had a potty mouth and told outrageous stories about her exploits with men.

Baby Boomers used to thinking of the older generation as skittish, easily-scandalized, and sexually repressed found Madame's bawdy humor mesmerizing, and soon she became the most famous puppet since Charlie McCarthy.

Wayland and Madame were everywhere in the 1970s and early 1980s, on  Andy Williams, Merv Griffith, The New Laugh-In, The Chuck Barris Rah-Rah Show, Playboy's Roller Disco and Pajama Party, and Solid Gold.  They hosted the 1982 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  They were regulars on the Hollywood Squares game show.


A tv series was inevitable, a throwback to the old "celebrity home life" sitcoms of the 1950s, with Madame as a talk show host asking inappropriate questions of real celebrities like William Shatner and Peewee Herman.  At home, she interacted with her butler (Johnny Haymer), uptight assistant (Susan Tolsky), dumb-blond niece (Judy Lander), and kid next door (Corey Feldman, left).

There were no references to gay people, but it was easy to imagine Madame as an aging drag queen.  In fact, it was expected.

 It's not on DVD, but you can see clips on youtube.

Wayland never actually came out, for fear that a public statement would end his career.


He died in 1988, but Madame has recently begun a new act with drag entertainer and Liza-specialist Rick Skye (who is out).





The Sausage Sighting at the Film Festival


The Plains, Spring 2015

When I lived in the gay neighborhoods of Los Angeles, New York, and Fort Lauderdale, there were annual Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals to attend.

In the Straight World, not so much.  You can go to mainstream film festivals to see an occasional gay-themed piece (mostly about gay teens being bullied at school) amid the many selections about lonely, isolated heterosexuals and melancholy children:

A woman tries to keep the rattling suitcase of her dead husband closed.

A young boy walks through a deserted city to a house where a little girl is ballet-dancing.

A man chases a balloon through a subway station.

A young girl collects fallen leaves.

There is occasional beefcake.  Graham Patrick Martin, who played a gay hustler on Major Crimes, plays a guy who hires an "authentic girlfriend," and instead of sex, gets a nagging harridan.  But at least he takes his shirt off.


















Buffed Polish actor and dancer Rafal Iwaniuk, who has posted a "like" of a gay sauna in Warsaw on Facebook (unless it's another Rafal Iwaniuk) plays a tough who sits next to a guy on a train and makes him feel threatened.

The festival of short films here on the Plains last year was sponsored by the University, and held in three venues downtown.  Most of the shorts I saw were held in a t-shaped theater with folding chairs and couches.

My date (Jimmy the Boy Toy) and I sat on a couch on the left side of the "t," where we could see the screen and the projection booth, a narrow room separated from us by a curtain.

The projectionist stood and walked into the "t" to adjust the sound and so on.  Otherwise he slouched on a couch just in back of the curtain.  He didn't realize that I could see his legs and crotch perfectly, especially when the screen lit up with a bright scene.

The rest of the story is too risque for Boomer Beefcake and Bonding.  You can read it on Tales of West Hollywood.

Mar 21, 2016

Greatest American Hero

None of the science fiction comedies that filled the airwaves in the 1970s and 1980s (Automan, My Secret Identity, The Powers of Matthew StarMisfits of Sciencewere entirely heterosexist; the bumbling hero is usually "allergic to girls" or "shy around girls."  But The Greatest American Hero (1981-1983) went even farther, portraying not only a lack of heterosexual interest but intense homoerotic buddy bonding.

It starred curly-haired blond William Katt, who had previously displayed ample buddy-bonding (and a pleasantly muscular physique) in Big Wednesday (1979) and the Broadway musical Pippin (1981).








He played mild-mannered teacher Ralph Hinkley.  The show premiered on March 18, 1981, and on March 30th, a man named John Hinkley tried to assassinate President Reagan. Skittish producers fudged on his name for the rest of the season, and finally gave up and changed it to Hunkley.

While driving in the desert, Ralph and FBI Agent Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp of I Spy) encounter a UFO.  Its occupants assign them the task of fighting evil, and give Ralph a special flying suit.  Unfortunately, he loses the instruction book.

Plots veered between the realistic and the ridiculous.  The kids in Ralph's class get a piece of the action, as does attorney Pam Davidson (Connie Selleca), who eventually marries Ralph.  But in spite of the "fade out kiss," Ralph's main emotional connection is with Bill.  And since Bill doesn't have any superpowers, he gets captured by the bad guys quite often, prompting a daring rescue and a "my hero!" moment.



Since Ralph was always putting his uniform on and taking it off, there were many shirtless scenes, revealing a physique quite a bit more muscular than one would expect for any mild-mannered schoolteacher.  Katt appeared fully nude in Playgirl magazine in 1982.

In its second season, Greatest American Hero was put in a Friday night time slot -- when teenagers were usually out -- and opposite the mega-hit Dallas -- so ratings declined, and it was cancelled.

Robert Culp was not dismayed -- he had already been on tv for many years.  William Katt went on to star in the buddy-bonding horror movie House (1986), plus several  Perry Mason movies (his mother, Barbara Hale, played the attorney's secretary in the original series).  He's still working constantly, with eight projects in 2010 alone.

Quentin Crisp: Homophobic Gay Pioneer

This elegantly-attired, feminine person, who looks a lot like my Grandmother Davis,  is Quentin Crisp (1908-1999), who spent his life saying and doing exactly what he wanted.

He didn't like doing housework, so he didn't do any: "after four years, it doesn't get any worse."

He liked to wear makeup and feminine clothing, so he did, on the streets of London in the 1930s, even though he was constantly accosted, screamed at, and beat up.  Asked "Who do you think you are?", he replied, "I don't think I'm anyone but myself."

Like Jean Genet and Yukio Mishima, he grew up in an era where gay people were expected to hate themselves and each other.  And he never got over it.  He denigrated "homosexuals," even to gay audiences.  They usually laughed, thinking that he was joking.

He wasn't.

For most of his life, Quentin Crisp lived in poverty, working mostly as an artist's model, thought he had a wide circle of affluent friends charmed by his nonconformity and acerbic wit.

Then in 1968, he published The Naked Civil Servant, arguably the first gay autobiography -- at least the first I ever read -- a trenchant, witty account of of being completely true to yourself as gay and feminine in homophobic London. (The title comes from his job, posing naked for art students, for which he was paid by the government.)




In 1975, The Naked Civil Servant was made into a movie starring John Hurt, probably the first gay biography ever broadcast on American and British tv.  And suddenly the 67-year old Quentin Crisp was a celebrity.  He moved to a one-room apartment in New York, where he didn't do any housework.

He wrote more books -- How to Have a Life Style, How to Go to the Movies, The New York Diaries.  He appeared in movies -- Hamlet, Orlando, Homo Heights.  He went out to dinner, said witty, trenchant things -- actually, whatever he wanted -- and was taken to events, including Gay Pride events.

He was uncomfortable with his new role as a gay icon. The Gay Rights Movement was ridiculous.  "Homosexuality" was a disease, an affliction, and a curse.  Mothers who discovered that they were carrying a gay child should get an abortion.  And why hold AIDS benefits?  AIDS was just "a fad."

He went to his grave believing explicitly that every heterosexual, however vile, was superior to every gay person, however noble.

That didn't stop him from accepting invitations to appear at Gay Pride events.


Mar 20, 2016

Handsome and Small or Sleazy and Gigantic? Corbin's Choice

San Francisco, Spring 1996

A few weeks ago, Lane and I drove back to West Hollywood for the annual Oscar party.  Then, unexpectedly, he had to take care of something about the apartment building he inherited from his mother, so he stayed, and I took the bus back to San Francisco.

It's been three weeks, and he's still there:  "It's more complicated than I thought.  We need to completely remodel the foyer, and there's a zoning issue with the pool, and one of the tenants needs to be evicted."

Yeah, right.  The boy just likes being home.  Face it: he's not coming back at all.

To cheer me up, Drake the teddy bear artist and his boyfriend Zack ask me out to dinner at Almost Home, a Castro Street restaurant that specializes in "back home" cuisine: pot roast, fried chicken, chipped beef on toast.

There are dozens of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Greek, and Filipino restaurants in San Francisco, and I'm offered chipped beef on toast?  This evening won't go well.

 They invite Zack's friend Corbin: in his 20s, tall, Mediterranean, very muscular, smooth hard chest visible beneath a white silk shirt unbuttoned five buttons.  Very handsome face, big black eyes, aquiline nose, a prominent chin.

Are they trying to fix us up?

He's very attractive, but there are thousands of eligible gay men within a five block radius.  Why Corbin in particular?

They know about my preference for extra-large beneath-the-belt gifts.  Maybe Corbin has a Kovbasa beneath the belt.

We choke down our down-home American food and start swapping stories of dates from hell, hookups with celebrities, and gigantic penises.  I tell about the time Alan and I accidentally picked up the kept boy.  Zack tells his coming out story.  Drake tells about his date with John Stamos, star of Full House.  Now it's Corbin's turn.

"I'm going to tell you about my choice: handsome or hung."

The rest of the story is too risque for Boomer Beefcake and Bonding.  American household in Bakersfield, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. During college, he and his friends often went to drag shows and male strip shows at the Casablanca Night Club on N Street, downtown.

The gay community was rather small, so when you met a new guy, chances are one of your friends had dated him.

One night Corbin was approached by a rather ugly, sleazy looking guy with ridiculous hair.  His opening line was: "What would you like for breakfast tomorrow morning?  Besides me, that is?"

"Sleazy!" Zack exclaims.

Corbin almost gave Attitude, but then one of his friends gestured with his palms spread wide, indicating that the guy was gigantic.

Who cares if he was sleazy?

There were no hookups in Bakersfield in 1990.  Corbin made a date with Sleazy for next Wednesday night.

After awhile, Corbin was approached a second time: tall, rugged male model looks with a little beard, very muscular bodybuilder physique and a honest opening line.

"Hi, do you mind if I stand here and talk to you awhile?"

Corbin practically swooned as they made initial small talk.

He glanced at his friends.  One signaled with his fingers that the guy was very small.

Who cares if he was tiny? Corbin made a date with Mr. Handsome for next Thursday night.

When he returned to the table, his friend said "Wow, what a stud you landed!  How are you going to break your date with Sleazy?"

 In Bakersfield in 1990, it was taboo to accept dates with more than one guy at a time. You had to evaluate the first, and get him evaluated by your friends, before you could go on to the second.

Corbin had to make a choice.

1. Sleazy but hung.
2. Handsome but tiny.

San Francisco, Spring 1996

"You stole that story from 'The Canterbury Tales,'" I protest.  "Where the man has a choice of a partner who is attractive during the day and ugly at night, or ugly during the day and attractive at night."

"Never read it," Corbin says.

"I'd pick Handsome," Drake says.  "He'll be the envy of all your friends, and you can work around the deficiencies beneath the belt."

"I think I'd go with Sleazy," Zack says.  "No competition, everyone wondering what you see in him.  It'd be fun.  And you'd know what was waiting for you at home."

"Which one did you pick?" I ask.

Corbin grins. "Why, Handsome of course!  He had everything I was looking for in a guy, except for that one little thing.  And in the end, who cares about that?"

I look at Corbin.  Is he trying to tell me something, to "out" himself as small beneath the belt?

After all that buildup, there is no way I am going to reject Corbin.  After dinner and cruising at the Midnight Sun, I agree to go back to Drake's place for "sharing."

The rest of the story is too risque for Boomer Beefcake and Bonding.  You can read it on Tales of West Hollywood.