"It's not fair," I told David. "Since I left San Francisco, you've been out to visit me four times. Since he moved to London, Yuri has been out to visit me four times. But Lane won't leave West Hollywood. I always have to fly out to visit him."
"What's wrong with West Hollywood?" David asked.
"Nothing -- I love it there. But it's a long, expensive flight, and Lane has more money and more free time than I do. He should do some of the visiting."
When I met Lane in 1989, he was 33 years old, and he had only been out of Southern California twice, to visit relatives in New York and spend a year on a kibbutz in Israel.
"Why should I go anywhere?" he always said. "I'm already here."
During the seven or eight years we were together, I convinced him to go on trips to Europe and two road trips across the United States, but after we broke up, he had a relapse. For the last twenty years, he has only left Southern California once, to get married in his partner's home town of Salt Lake City.
"What you have to do is sell the Plains," David said. "Give him some overwhelming reason to come here -- other than seeing you, that is. What is he interested in?"
"Ok, don't stress the Jewish angle. Anything else he's passionate about?"
#2. Science fiction. He's read every science fiction novel ever written. But there aren't a lot of sci-fi bookstores on the Plains.
#3. Leather/bears/motorcycles. There's a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, but not until August.
"Well, what about men?"
"#4. Older guys, beefy Daddy types. But they're in short supply on the Plains. I can go on Grindr and get ten twinks in an hour, but...
#5. Thai, Indian, and Vietnamese food.
Both a rarity Finally I hit on it . #6: Mount Rushmore!
"The great stone faces that Cary Grant climbed at the end of North by Northwest? What's so great about them?"
"I don't know, but we missed them on our road trip in 1995 -- the highway was too packed to get through -- so it might be a big enough draw to get him out here."
It worked -- a promise of a trip to Mount Rushmore got Lane on a plane. He came during my week "off" between Indianapolis and Amsterdam.
The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.