Apr 4, 2015

Red Hot Chili Peppers: What the Socks Covered

Anyone who performs wearing only a sock over his penis is ok in my book.

But I have no idea who he is.

Well, now I know he's Anthony Kiedis from the band Red Hot Chili Peppers, but I never heard of him or the band, until on the Simpsons episode "Krusty Gets Kancelled" (May 13, 1993).  And hardly at all since.

They apparently haven't made much of a splash in traditional pop venues, but they've torn up the alternative rock charts, with lots of albums and singles reaching #1, including "Give It Away," "Soul to Squeeze," "Scar Tissue," and "Californication."

So that's where they got the name of that tv series starring David Duchovny.

I listened to these songs, to determine if I've ever heard them before.  Nope.

Some of the lyrics seem relatively heterosexist:

"Scar Tissue" is about feeling the breasts of a young Kentucky girl.
"Californication" is about a pregnant teenage girl whom the singer wants to marry.

Some aren't:
"Give It Away."  I don't know what he's giving away, but he's giving it to his mother, father, and brother, so I imagine it's not sex.
"Soul to Squeeze": he's in love, but doesn't specify with a man or woman.

Another member of the group, Flea (Michael Peter Balzary), has become quite a prolific actor, appearing in My Own Private Idaho, Motorama, The Big Liebowski, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and The Wild Thornberries.

He's straight, not to be confused with fellow insect-named performer Ant, who is gay.

Both performers are pro-gay, supporters of gay marriage, and open to speculation about their own sexual identities.

There have been 12 other members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers over the years, but these four are the "classic group."  From left to right: Chad Smith, Anthony Kiedis, Flea, and probably John Frusciante.

Chad Smith and John Frusciante both have wives and children.  I haven't been able to determine if they're gay-friendly or not, but at least John Frusciante had a nice pecs and abs abs.

Fall 1970: What is Gym Class For?

When I was a kid in the 1960s and 1970s, I hated gym class.
1. Trying to catch a projectile aimed at your head.
2. Not catching it, and being jeered by your classmates.
3. Or catching it, not knowing what in the world to do with it, and being jeered by your classmates.

Ok, I liked one thing about it (see left).

Why was gym even a class?  What were we expected to learn?

Gym class derives from the 19th century "muscular Christianity," which tried to remedy the increasing "feminization" of Western culture through hard physical labor.

But it got a kick start in 1956, when President Eisenhower decided that American youth were too sedentary, not able to compete with the Russkies, so he established the President's Council on Physical Fitness.

By the 1960s, an hour of "vigorous physical activity" every day was mandated for middle school and high school kids (grade schoolers made do with recess).

There were regular "Fitness Tests" to see if we were adequately muscular. The one I hated the most: push-ups, sit-ups, and chin-ups.  The number you could do at one time was your grade:
Less than 60, F
60 to 69, D
And so on

I have never in my life been able to do 100 push-ups in one set.

The Canadian Council on Physical Fitness says that, for a 20-year old, 36 push-ups is "excellent."

But I liked the public-service announcements that the President's Council broadcast during the 1960s, lots of smiling, muscular, semi-nude all-American boys exercise.

The one I remember most clearly -- is a President's Council on Physical Fitness PSA.

 It depicts a muscular teenager named Eddie Lewis, naked except for skimpy gym shorts, doing push-ups, the camera lingering on the interplay of muscles, while the narrator says that for each push-up, he's "a little bit hotter, a little bit healthier, and a little bit happier" than before.

Just watching made me a little bit hotter.  And a little bit happier.

See also: How to Survive Gym Class; the Trauma, Terror, and Beefcake of Shop Class.

Apr 3, 2015

Sausage Sighting #2: The Korean Muscle Bear Forgets His Underwear

One of the most interesting of my Sausage Sightings was the Asian muscle bear.

When I was growing up in Rock Island, you were white or black. There was one Chinese kid in my junior high, and my judo instructor was Japanese.  And that was it.

So I was surprised, during the summer after my junior year in college, when a Korean family moved into the house next door: Mr. Kim, an engineer in his 30s, his wife, who worked in a bank downtown, and two young daughters.

Mr. Kim was a surprisingly buffed muscle bear.  He often mowed his lawn or played with his dog with his shirt off and sometimes he sat in a kiddie pool in the back yard in a swimsuit, reading a magazine.

Very hot.  I wanted to get to know him better.  Of course, he was married with children, but so were many of the guys who cruised at the levee.

I took a class in East Asian Civilization at Augustana.  Unfortunately, we barely touched on Korea, but I tried an opening on Taoism, the Way of Non-Resistance.

Mr. Kim cut me off.  "I don't know anything about that stuff.  I'm a Presbyterian."

Ok, so how about Korean history?  The Joseon dynasty that threatened Tokugawa Japan?

Cut off again.  "I don't know anything about that stuff.   We moved here when I was five."

The Korean language, maybe?  "Annyeong  haseyo! Good morning."  

"Sorry, I don't know much Korean.  I took Spanish in school."

"Tengo una verga grandissima para ti!"  Ok, I didn't say that.

By this point it was obvious that Mr. Kim was not particularly interested in buddying around with the teenage boy next door.

But there's more than one way to get a Sausage Sighting.

My brother and I shared an attic room with windows on each end.  His bed was beside the south window that looked out on the lawn, and mine was beside the north window that looked out a very narrow side yard and then Mr. Kim's house.

I could lie in bed and look down into his kitchen.

It usually wasn't very interesting -- people cooking and getting things out of the refrigerator.  But sometimes late at night I was awakened by the light coming on from next door, and I saw Mr. Kim making a snack.

In his underwear.

And one night, something more spectacular happened.

The light came on about midnight, just after I went to bed.  I peered down, as usual, to see Mr. Kim talking to his wife.  He was gesturing, pacing, so maybe it was an argument.

The underwear was off!  Mr. Kim was completely naked!  His impressive Bratwurst was swinging in and out of view as he paced back and forth.  His backside, too.

His wife was wearing a bathrobe.  She started making tea.

Eventually they sat at the kitchen table, and the Bratwurst was hidden from view.

The nude kitchen stop was never repeated.  A few months later, the Kims moved away.

Recently I read somewhere that the Korean penis averages 3.8 inches, the smallest in the world.

If Mr. Kim was small, I'd like to see big.

See also: 6000 Words for Penis

Apr 2, 2015

Spring 2008: Carlos and His Two Secrets

For many gay men, the ideal is on the left: thick biceps, shoulders like epaulets, xylophone-abs, minimal or no chest hair, with the icy perfection of a Greek god.

For others, he is on the right: soft and warm, with liberal body hair, and a belly so big it feels like a pillow beneath your head.

I like them both.  As long as he has some mass, I don't care if the guy is a marble statue or a plush teddy bear.

So when I saw Carlos' profile on gay.com stating that he was shorter than me, Hispanic, with  "a few extra pounds" and extra beneath-the-belt gifts, I thought "Just my type!"

Everyone on the internet misrepresents themselves, so he probably had 20-30 extra pounds.  A cute bear!  Great.

I didn't even mind when he wanted to meet at the Iron Chef, the worst Chinese buffet in Dayton, housed in a transient hotel next to a pool room.

Carlos was waiting for me on a bench outside the restaurant.

Guess what "a few extra pounds" meant:

You got it.  He was a superchub.

Easily 400 pounds, as wide as he was tall, with hanging breasts, sagging arms, and multiple bellies.

A lot of guys like their men massive, the heftier, the better.  They even practice forced-feeding to increase the heft of their objects d'amour to room-size.

But I do not.  Aside from the lack of masculine body contours, superchubs probably don't share my interest in physical fitness, and they're beset-upon by major health issues.

Besides, their penises get lost in the folds of flesh.

But I couldn't just walk away from this poor guy grinning sheepishly at me.

And I couldn't call him on his "a few extra pounds" misrepresentation -- who hasn't dropped pounds or years, or added inches in personal ads?

The least I could do was have lunch with him.

As Carlos ate a remarkably petite plate consisting of a dab of kung pao chicken, a single fried chicken wing, one egg roll, and a lot of cucumber slices, grapes, and pineapple chunks, we talked about his attempts to lose weight, Weight Watchers and fad diets and liposuction.  He was down to a svelte 250 at one point, but it all came back.

We talked about his weight-related health problems, from hypertension to diabetes to a broken ankle that still wasn't healed (he walked with a cane).

We talked about the everyday hassles of being a superchub -- having to buy two seats on an airplane, the look of horror when he sat down next to someone at the movies, the stares and whispers.

I was feeling more and more guilty about my plans to dump him after lunch.

And especially in gay communities: Carlos was refused entry to bath houses and back-rooms.  He was ignored in twink bars and even in bear bars. Guys he met online usually rejected him outright, without taking the time to get to know him.

I couldn't dump him -- I would feel guilty forever.

"Gay men can be so shallow.  There's a lot more to me than being big!  I speak two languages, I write poetry, I go to church, I have a niece and nephew who love me."

Ok, enough is enough.  I was going through with this date to its logical conclusion -- Carlos's apartment!

The bedroom activities were actually quite nice. Carlos was very passionate, and so creative that I hardly missed the lack of access to his frontside and backside.

Afterwards we watched a movie, he read me some of his poetry, he invited me to a pro-gay Methodist church where he worked as a deacon, and I found myself asking him for a second date.

"That sounds great," he said, "Do you mind if I share you with my partner?"

"Partner?" I repeated in shock.  What happened to the constant rejections?  I had been congratulating myself for taking pity on this guy, and he had a partner?

"Jerry -- we've been together for 8 years now.  He has his own place in Columbus, but he drives out to Dayton on the weekends.  And during the week, we can hook up or date other guys -- but only once.  The second time, we have to share."

"Does that happen a lot?" I asked weakly.

"Not often -- once is usually plenty," Carlos  said.  "I get tons of action -- you'd be surprised how many guys are hot for superchubs, and the rest get guilted into it.  But most of them are just plain lousy in bed.  They don't know how to handle a real man."

"Well...um...I'm flattered that I meet your standards."

He laughed.  "What can I say?  I'm picky."

Jerry turned out to be a Hispanic muscle god with gigantic arms, a hairy chest, and a bratwust+.

So much for a waif who can't get a date.

What's Gay about Sesame Street?

Come and play, everything's a-ok
Friendly neighbors there, that's where we meet.

Sesame Street premiered in 1969, with the goal of giving inner-city kids a "head start" in reading and math skills.  We didn't get it in Rock Island until our PBS station arrived in 1972, when I was too old to have muppets teaching me numbers and letters.  But my baby sister watched, so I saw some episodes.

Was Sesame Street a "good place"?

1. Beefcake: None.  Some of the human characters were cute, such as Alex (Alexis Cruz, left, who starred in Rooftops with Jason Gedrick).  And there was a never-ending supply of hunky guest stars, from Tony Danza to Zac Efron, but I don't recall a single bare chest.

2. Lack of Heterosexual Romance:  No.  There was no hetero-romantic interaction among the muppets, but among the humans: Bob dated Linda, Maria dated David, and finally married Luis.

3. Homoromance: No.  Neither muppets nor humans expressed any particularly strong same-sex friendships.  Indeed, pairings seemed mostly random.

The exception was Bert and Ernie, who were shown living together.  Some people have pointed to them as a homoromantic couple.  The Children's Television Workshop has issued a homophobic statement strongly condemning any suggestion that any character on Sesame Street is gay -- apparently gay children are unwelcome on The Street -- but that in itself should compel us to look for a subtext.

I still don't see one. Their friendship is neither intense nor passionate enough to qualify as homoromance. They behave like brothers.  Bert, the older, has concerns that little kids would find boring -- a paper clip collection, a devotion to the letter "W" -- and finds Ernie childish and naive.  Meanwhile Ernie keeps trying to  get Bert to play with him or read to him, exactly as a younger brother might.

They live together, but they are not homodomestic partners, like Yogi Bear and Boo Boo.  They do not have adult responsibilities, like paying the rent and buying groceries.  They are children, not adults; their parents must be hovering about nearby, supervising their play.

4. Validation of Difference: Yes. The muppets are unique in temperament, and often "queer" in interests, tastes, and abilities: Oscar the Grouch's love of trash, the Cookie Monster's obsession with cookies, the Count's compulsion with counting.

But validation of difference (other than gay difference) is not enough for Sesame Street to qualify as a "good place."

See also: Burr Tillstrom, the gay puppeteer behind Kukla, Fran, and Ollie.

Apr 1, 2015

Bob Paris: The World's First Out Gay Bodybuilder

 I started working for Joe Weider's Muscle and Fitness in  July 1985.   Bob Paris was on the cover.

We had a lot in common: he was one year older than me, grew up in Columbus, Indiana (near where my parents live today), attended Indiana University, and escaped to the gay haven of West Hollywood.  Originally he intended to become an actor, but he soon found his way into the world of competitive bodybuilding.

He won many competitions, including Mr. Southern California in 1981, and both Mr. America and Mr. Universe in 1983.

I met him sometime in 1986 -- we never dated, but I learned that he was gay.

He came out publicly in July 1989, in an interview in Iron Man, by mentioning his lover, fellow bodybuilder (and Playgirl model) Rod Jackson, whom he had just married in a Unitarian service.

No professional bodybuilder had ever come out before.  Actually, no professional athlete in any sport had ever come out during his career.

His friends advised him to stay closeted, but he was optimistic that, with all of the gay people working in bodybuilding and all of the gay fans, there would be no problem.

But there were lots of problems. His career didn't exactly end -- he continued to compete through 1991 -- but he lost a huge amount of business, including advertising tie-ins, and extensive homophobic harassment, including death threats.

But many fellow bodybuilders and fans applauded Bob's decision to come out.  Even the rather homophobic Joe Weider put him on the cover of Muscle and Fitness three times in 1990 -- the "Sexual Response" tag near Bob's crotch wasn't an accident.

In 1991 Bob and Rod retired from bodybuilding to concentrate on being the most famous gay couple in the world.  Eventually the stress of having to be perfect all the time put a strain on their relationship, and they broke up.

Rod has been busily acting, writing, and advocating for gay rights, especially gay marriage.   He has published several books on fitness, plus fiction, poetry, and two autobiographies: Straight from the Heart: A Love Story (with Rod) and Gorilla Suit: My Adventures in Bodybuilding.

He has appeared frequently in theatrical productions in Los Angeles and elsewhere, including the Broadway musical Jubilee.

Today Bob lives on an island near Vancouver, British Columbia, with his second spouse, Brian LeFurgey.

He continues to act, write, and inspire a new generation of bodybuilders, gay and straight.

Mar 30, 2015

Spring 2003: A Sikh Sausage Sighting at Barney's Gym

I've always been attracted to religious guys.  There's something erotic about the juxtaposition of the physical and the spiritual, muscles and Bibles, penises and prayer shawls.

I've dated or had other experiences with religious guys (not necessarily clergy) from several Christian traditions, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and paganism.

But not guys from some of the lesser-known religions, like Druze, Jains, Zoroastrians, Baha'is, and Sikhs.

The Sikhs, followers of a monotheistic religion founded by Guru Nanak (1469-1538) in northern India, are particularly interesting.  They have uncut hair, beards, turbans, white cotton underclothes, iron bracelets, and kirpans (ceremonial swords).

The men all have the middle or last name Singh ("lion").  They often choose macho careers like police officer, soldier, or bodyguard.  Physical fitness is very important; quite a large number are bodybuilders.

Are you getting the idea?

Unfortunately, their religion tends to be highly conservative, obsessively heterosexual-marriage oriented, and homophobic.  I've never met any out-and-proud gay Sikhs, or even Sikh guys on the downlow.

There was a Sikh gurdwara (worship center) near my first apartment in Los Angeles, so I often saw them walking down the street or shopping at the 7-11.  They gave us cool, disdainful Attitude, refusing to acknowledge our existence.

Once I was talking to a group of friends when a curious Sikh child started walking slowly toward us, staring as if mesmerized.  But his mother screamed "Katala!  Katala!  Get away!"

Katala doesn't mean gay in Punjabi.  It means murderer. 

So much for my goal of hooking up with a Sikh!

Fast forward to 2005: I'm living in Florida, working at Barney's gym, and a Sikh named Narveer Singh comes in and asks for a tour.

Doesn't he realize that the gym caters mostly to gay men?   I don't want him screaming katala!

So I ease into the subject: "As you can see, we draw a diverse crowd.  Old, young, different races and religions.  Mostly men, though we get a few women."

"Good, good.  I wanted a gym with mostly men, to avoid the temptation, you know.  Where is your free weight room?"

"A very diverse crowd," I emphasized.  "A lot of young, single guys come here....um, a lot of gay men."

"Good, good.  Could I try out the treadmill?"

"We..um..don't discriminate.  Black, white, gay, straight, everyone is welcome."

"Good, good. What hours are you open?"

"We offer family memberships, so your wife or partner can work out with you.  A lot of gay couples get them."

"Oh, my wife goes to Curves [a female-only gym].  Could I do a trial workout?"

Narveer must be completely oblivious!  He buys a membership and begins working out every morning, just as we open, wearing a tight blue sweatsuit that accentuates his beneath-the-belt gifts.

So even if I can't hook up with a Sikh guy, I can at least get a Sausage Sighting!

Easier said than done.  Sausage Sightings in the gym have to be very discrete.  No open gawking -- you have to arrange to "accidentally" be in front of him while he's naked in the locker room.

But Narveer comes to the gym in his workout suit and leaves immediately afterwards. He never uses the lockers, shower, or sauna.

I wander around the gym, sometimes offering him instructions on stance and reps, sometimes just watching from a distance at his lean, muscular frame and blatant bulge.

Come on, God, give me a break -- don't I even rate a Sausage Sighting?  

Then one day Narveer comes in wearing a business suit, carrying a gym bag.

"You're looking chipper today," I tell him.

"Oh, I have a job interview nearby, so I thought it would be easier to go directly from the gym rather than driving all the way home again."

Today he's going to use the locker room!  Certainly the shower, maybe the sauna.

I wait until he's finished with his workout, give him a few minutes, then grab a clipboard and head back to the locker room.  I hear the shower running, so I "decide" to check the temperature and water pressure.

I walk past Narveen's stall.  His back is turned to me!

"How's the water pressure?" I ask.  "We've had a couple of complaints...."

"It's fine, it's fine."

I go out to the bathroom to "check" something else.

Narveen comes in while my back is turned.  I wait for him to finish urinating, and then turn back.  He's already at the sink, washing his hands, his penis hidden from view.

Darn!  So close!

I go out to the locker room to make sure all of the locks work.  Narveen stands on the scale to weigh himself, dropping his towel to the side.

Now's my chance!  "Um...that scale is running low.  Let me check the calibration."

"Or I could just let you see it."   Narveer steps off the scale and faces me.  His Bratwurst+ hangs down in full view.

He knew what I was up to all along!  "Oh..um...." I stammer, blushing.  "You..."

"Well, what do you think?  Am I big enough to attract gay guys?

"I would date you," I admit.

"Thanks!  My wife didn't believe me -- she said 'You're crazy -- none of the gay guys at your gym are into you -- you're not big enough!'  She owes me five dollars!"

He turned and headed back to his locker.

See also: Cruising Priests, Preachers, Monks, and Rabbis; The Naked Gods of Southern India.

Mar 29, 2015

Finding the Mormon Missionary Who I Cruised 30 Years Ago

In the summer of 1980, I left my first boyfriend in Omaha and drove cross-country 3 days to Los Angeles, looking for a safe place, with no idea that I would one day be moving there.  One the way back to the Midwest, I spent the night in the Delano Hotel in Beaver, Utah.  I had a five-minute conversation with the night clerk, whose name I forgot.  I called him Eli.

He was about my age, handsome, muscular, with short black hair and brown eyes, on his way to Brazil to be a  Mormon missionary.

And, at least in my memory, we cruised each other:
I asked about "guy-only fun."
He said, "You can get anything you want in Saint George"
I protested that Saint George was too far, and he said, "It comes to you, if you're patient.  I'll be here all night, if you get lonely and want to talk...about God and stuff."

I fell asleep before I could muster the nerve to call, and the next morning he was gone.

I've been kicking myself for the missed opportunity ever since.

Could I use my internet sleuthing skills to find him again, and determine if he was actually gay?

Clue #1: "You can get anything you want in Saint George."

Cruisingforsex.com lists 3 cruising areas.

Clue #2: "My church is sending me to Brazil in September to be a missionary."

You had to be 19 to become a missionary, so  Eli was probably a year out of high school, a 1979 graduate of Beaver High School.

I managed to scrounge up a copy of the Beaver Utah high school yearbook.  I removed guys who didn't look anything like him (or how I remembered him, anyway), and got a list of four prospects.

Clue #3: The Beaver Kid

The Beaver Kid is an underground movie by Trent Harris, who blogs on Utah oddities.  In 1979 he met a young man named Groovin' Gary (Richard LaVonne Griffiths) in a Salt Lake City parking lot.  Awed of the boy's impressions of Sylvester Stallone and John Wayne, Trent agreed to come to his hometown of Beaver and film a local talent show at the high school -- where Gary performed in drag as Olivia Newton-John.  He's not great.

Afterwards the harassment of the conservative Mormon townsfolk forced Gary to flee Beaver for Salt Lake City, where he worked in electronics and later as a truck driver.  He died in 2009, a practicing Mormon with a wife and children.

Ok, so Gary wasn't gay, and of course he wasn't Eli -- wrong job, wrong hair, wrong age.  But Eli would probably have been in the audience. Or on stage -- the guitarist looked a lot like him!

Clue #4: A Christian Billy Joel

One of the four possible Elis from the yearbook looked like the guitarist.  His real name was Derek, and his goal in life was to"become a Christian Billy Joel."

Next, classmates.com, facebook, and reverse white pages, looking for a Derek (with his distinctive last name) from Utah who was around 54 or 55 years old.

Found one!  No wife listed, a good sign. Living in Yuba City, California, not a good sign.

Of course, he looked quite different, and his facebook profile gave no indication of gayness.  Was he the guy from the hotel? Was he gay?

I shot off an email saying something like: "I happened to stumble across your profile, and you reminded me of a guy I met in Beaver, Utah in 1979.  He was a night desk clerk at the Delano Hotel, and he was planning to become a Mormon missionary.  We had a conversation that had a big impact on me."

Cool, huh?  Noncommittal -- could be about either spiritual discovery or sexual awakening, in case he turned out to be the wrong guy, or a redneck homophobe.

Derek's Response:

 "Guilty as charged!  I worked at the Delano that summer. Wow, was that a long time ago!"

Further emails revealed that Derek is indeed gay. He's now married to Rodney, his partner of 15 years.  Still hot, a white-haired muscle bear with impressive beneath-the-belt gifts.

And he remembers me!

"You were that cute college kid on his way back from California?  Wow, was I ever into you!  I wanted to come to your room, to bring you more towels or something, but I kept chickening out. I've been kicking myself for it ever since!"

I'm not the only one who missed an opportunity that night.

Derek invited me to come to Yuba City for a visit.  Maybe I'll take him up on it.

See also: The Mormon Missionary