Recently while rifling through my files, I came upon a story I had written about fifteen years ago. I had been divorced about five years and during those years I had two relationships with two women and a few flings with men, but after I broke up with the last woman, I went through a period I called my “divine madness”. I sucked a lot of cock during that time. Sex clubs, saunas, steam rooms, glory holes, video booths, anywhere men gathered and exposed themselves. This story was written before I came out to my family. I was out to a few close friends and my ex, but a few years later I came out and it was a whole lot better than I had expected. My kids were great and my family still loves me and accepts me. I'm posting it in two installments. The first is my attempt at a date that night and the second installment is about the sex club I went to after the date.
Divorced, gay, white male seeking someone who is patient, trustworthy, has a sense of humor, kind with a big and open heart. Possible long term relationship.
He called the first day the ad came out. He hadn't read the ad but had put an ad in earlier and although the ad had run out, the computer continued to link him up with possible dates that fit his criteria. Wonderful, the computer did the work and he responded and sounded great on the phone. Forty-four, he had been in a relationship for seventeen years and his lover died four years ago. HIV negative and art director for a large engineering firm. We set a date for the following Friday and then he called me to meet him at his house in the Castro. I was a little hesitant about meeting at his house and suggested we meet at the restaurant, but he wanted to meet me there first. I thought it was a little risky on his part to invite a total stranger to his house. I mean, what if I was a gay Ted Bundy or that guy that went all over the States killing gay guys and eventually killed Versace? What if he was? On my way down to the City I thought about calling someone and giving them the number in case I got a weird vibe, but then I'd probably be dead by the time someone thought to call the number because I hadn't shown up for a couple of days. Boy, dating can be a scary proposition without even worrying about the sex.
I dropped my roommate off at the Oakland Airport and then drove to the City, arriving an hour and a half before the appointed time and decided to roam around the Castro. I parked the car and walked around, getting money form the ATM and spent some time in the bookstores and a few of the “gay” shops. I stopped at a florist and bought a single red rose.
“This is in sincere appreciation for going out with me.”
“This is for you, for being the first to answer my ad.”
“This is a token of my appreciation.”
I bought some Mentos at Walgreens and walked back to the car after deciding to drive to his place and see if I could remember where he lived because I had left the address and instructions at home. I found it without a problem in a very nice neighborhood on the upper side of 17th. It was a beautiful white shingled three story townhouse that I found out was built in 1913. Then I drove around and began to work on my fear and self-esteem.
We didn't discuss our appearance much on the phone. Was it because we both didn't have a lot of confidence in our physical attractiveness to snag a fellow? Was it because he was grossly overweight and didn't ask me about my appearance for fear that he would have to describe himself? I knew he had blond hair. That was it. Was it natural? I had this image of a bottle blond Oscar Wilde or Quinten Crisp with rouge and a little lip color and foundation. Then I would think about the fact that the computer had linked us up and how that could possibly have some cosmic connection and finally the universe was going to pay off the big jackpot and this gorgeous man would answer the door and we would never even make it to dinner and would end up eating breakfast in bed.
I walked up the steps and looked into the windowed porch. So clean and tasteful. I rang the bell and waited. And waited. Oh, my God! He saw me walk up the street and called off all the bets. He's not answering the fucking door! Why isn't he answering the door? The front door opened and he came to the porch door and unlocked it.
I had on my black leather jacket, light blue jeans, black shoes and my leather gloves. Gay chic.
“Oh, that's alright. This is for.” I handed him the rose.
“How nice, thank you. You look like you just rode your motorcycle. Do you have a bike?”
“No, my hands are cold.” He shook my hand before I could get the glove off. I thought I looked like a was there to rob his house.
We the entered the house and I removed my gloves. My God this guy was clean. Immaculate. I began to panic a little and feel uncomfortable, thinking about him coming to visit me and running his finger along the window sills and bookcases. He's gotta have a maid.
There was a gas fire in the fireplace making the living room appear somewhat inviting. He didn't offer to take my jacket, so I threw it over one of the two couches in the living room. He had actually run into the other room and was shouting to me.
“Can I get you something to drink?”
I froze. What should I ask for? Just water? What if he's an alcoholic? Or worse, in recovery?
I had to make the leap. After all, I was in the wine industry. “Do you have any white wine?”
“Somewhere.” He began rummaging through the refrigerator as I entered the kitchen.
He had straight strawberry blond hair and a matching mustache. Perfectly groomed. I got more nervous. I realized I like them a little rougher around the edges. Should have put that in the ad. He immediately reminded me in coloring of a friend I'm not too fond of. Poor guy. He doesn't stand a chance. His lips were on the thin side. Actually, practically non-existent. I realized I like full, sensual lips. I began to feel shallow and superficial. Let it go. Give it a chance. I relaxed a little. He still couldn't find the wine.
“Well, if I do have some, it's not chilled.”
“Red will do.” I noticed some pictures on a shelf. “May I?” I asked as I took one down to look at it.
“Sure. I have some vodka.”
“I'm OK. Is this your lover?”
“Yes. Here's some wine. This is red wine isn't it? A girlfriend gave it to me.” He handed me a bottle of red zinfandel. This wasn't a good sign.
“Yes, this will be fine.” I placed the picture of his lover in some Mediterranean setting and noticed four bottles of wine standing straight up on the shelf. I thought about saying something and about how they should be stored and decided to drop it.
I walked back into the living room and started to case the joint.
“You have a beautiful home.” I shouted as he opened the bottle in the kitchen. I felt like I had already made a giant nuisance of myself by asking for the wine and now he was in there struggling with the opener.
“What?” he asked as he walked into the room with the bottle and the opener. I met him at the drafting table in the center of the room.
“You have a beautiful home.” I repeated.
“Thank you.” he replied as he struggled with the cork. Finally it was open and we were sitting on the two couches across from one another in the living room before the gas fire and the coffee table with the magazines beautifully arranged. Out, Desire, The Advocate. The he began to ask questions about my kids. I rambled and when he asked me about what their reactions were when I came out to them, I lied. I made up this beautiful whopper about how cool they were about it and tolerant and loving and how it hasn't made a bit of difference in our relationship. As I sat there lying my ass off I thought about how I may someday have to either tell him that I had lied or actually come out to my kids and hope that it turns out as nicely as it did in the lie. It became a matter of speaking it into existence. And then I thought, how can I elaborate and make this lie even more believable. I spun a yarn all over that immaculate living room and wove a tale of such infinite beauty and love, that when I had finished, I sat back on the couch, crossed my legs, took a sip of wine and said, “I love my children very much and we have a beautiful relationship. Which was true.
I told him about my marriage and how I've known I was gay since High School and how my wife knew and how the marriage ended and it didn't have that much to do with the fact that I was gay. I poured out the whole story, feeling like I had said too much. There wasn't any mystery left. Did there really need to be? I could feel this date going nowhere fast. I mean, this should be perfect. This guy was obviously loaded. He owns a beautiful home in San Francisco. Very stable. But where was the bang? The chemistry? Click? Electricity? He wouldn't maintain eye contact long enough and his cat was scary.
He must have weighed at least twenty pounds. I bent down to pet the cat and my date said, “Watch out.” I pulled my hand back as the cat eyed me with these big gorgeous eyes. “He likes to play rough.” I waited to see if there was any innuendo intended. Nothing. Damn!
He showed me the upstairs. Even more clean and sterile than the downstairs. Two bedrooms. They reminded me of hotel suites. We walked out onto the balcony and stood at the railing as he pointed out all the neighbors houses and his garden and patio below. I began to get the feeling that the house was part of the date plan. The lure. The attraction. The chemistry. It began to appear rehearsed, premeditated. As I leaned on the railing and looked at the stars, I began to feel a bit romantic and thought, make a move, do something, so I don't have to make a decision. Something spontaneous. I realized I loved spontaneity. Should have put that in the ad too.
We walked to the restaurant after touring the garage and the backyard. I have never seen a garage as clean and neat. He took me up two blocks of steps that were adjacent to his house. As we started up I asked if this was the way to the restaurant. There was a young man seated on the bottom step who I hadn't noticed as we approached who replied, “This is the entrance to the Starship Enterprise.” We were walking in the opposite direction I knew the restaurant to be. When I mentioned this he told me wanted to show me the steps. More the tour. I was relieved when we got to the top and started back down. What was this? Was he testing my endurance?
Dinner was uneventful in a series of uneventful moments and then it was time to walk back. We chatted and talked about wanting to move to Sonoma County someday. I rambled a lot of nonsense about my involvement in theatre and my play-writing. We ended up again sitting across from each other on the two couches in his impeccable living room and then I lied again and said I had a 9:00 rehearsal in the morning and needed to get going because I had a long drive back. I thanked him for a lovely evening as we hugged. He asked for my address and said he would never stop by without calling first. I left and drove immediately to the Campus Theatre.