One thought on “[Episode – 121]”

  1. Hello

    It’s taken a while to get to writing and for this I apologize. A couple topics from the last two episodes overlapped and I’m not sure you even realized you were doing that.

    In 120 you talked about growing older, moving out of the bar and bear scene and the changes in your lives. Then, in 121, talking about the changes in the way people view marriage and the idea of living through an important moment in time.

    You are indeed living through an historic moment in the history of gay people. More importantly, you grew up in an historic era in the history of gay people.

    A little background; I’m 59 and didn’t come out until I was 38. I did the whole straight marriage thing and stuck to that pretend existence until 1987- 88. Those were the years when aids was still a mystery, truly a plague. I couldn’t watch people die while I stayed in my protective cocoon. That would have been immoral and inexcusable. I found out why “I Will Survive” was the theme song for the ’80s.

    This story might sound unreal now, but this is what gay men did – they pretended, they led hidden lives, they met in video arcades or rest stops and had five-minute sex hoping the guy wasn’t a cop or some slasher. Yeah, some of it was really hot … like that guy on the Jersey Turnpike with a dick as big as your forearm and was a total bottom … but I digress.

    Going to an actual gay bar was out of the question; you knew that you could get to work on Monday and be called into the boss’s office to hear: “You were seen coming out of …”, ending with “… we can’t have that type of person working here”. And you clean out your desk knowing you may never get another good job because of this.

    It happened to me. It happened to several people I know. And those people all know several people it happened to. And those people etc etc etc. That’s how the system worked – you were frightened into the closet.

    Given all that, it makes sense that when liberation politics arose in the late 60’s, gay men who could come out, came out with a vengeance. And it makes sense that the baths & back rooms became so important: having gay sex and having it with no shame or remorse was truly a revolutionary act. This is why closing the baths in the 80’s was such a big deal – it symbolically pushed everyone back into the closet.

    So you see, my young cubs, while you may have missed the “wild sex”, you get to go into work and not worry about where you may have been seen. You get to have sex on an actual bed indoors with the lights on. When you meet other guys, you get their name and don’t have to remember them as ‘that guy on the turnpike’ or ‘that Greek guy who was really sweaty but could make you come using just his forefinger’.

    And when you meet the love of your life, you can tell him.

    I couldn’t.

    OK, enough chit chat. You boys need a crash course in Homo History 101:

    1 – If nothing else, watch “How to Survive a Plague”. This is true, this is real. I lived it and can attest to it. It’s on Netflix, go watch it now.

    2 – Read “And the Band Played On” by Randy Shilts. The movie is fine, but the book is a fantastic read and you won’t be able to put it down. It’s unforgettable.

    3 – Also by Randy Shilts: “The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk” – a book and a documentary. The film is great, especially the pix of early early pride parades in San Francisco. God, everybody was so SKINNY back then!

    4 -“Faggots” by Larry Kramer. Maybe the best novel about gay life pre-aids, shows how much and how little has changed. Look for the juicy bits about the original Marlboro Man.

    5 -“Gay New York”, by George Chauncey. Gay culture before WWII. Fascinating, tells us where we as a people come from. Our naughty forefathers, indeed!

    That’s all for now, kids. The old man needs to refresh his cocktail.

    Love to you all,
    Tim G (from Baltimore)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *