Monday, November 23, 2015

Checkout Line

I had the pleasure of waiting at the express register behind a really handsome man a couple of days ago. Buying cereal is rarely so satisfying.

I felt a freedom and euphoria in appreciating his beauty. And at once noticed the contrast with an all-too-familiar sort of longing that has very little to do with genuine pleasure.
That other, less happy brand of desire, which was more or less all I knew in my teen years and twenties--and which has continued to get way too much air time in my head in the decades since--leaves me feeling like a dog straining at a leash, if not like a fish thrashing on the sand. It comprises equal parts of (1) impossible fantasy scenarios, (2) frustration that there’s no socially graceful (or even acceptable) way of getting his attention--at least the kind of attention I might like--(3) ancient insecurities about whether a man I’m attracted to could possibly find me attractive in return and (4) painful, ridiculous comparisons between how fabulous my life would be if only I had his attention and how unfabulous it presently is without it. I’ve always been more or less incompetent at flirting. If I were better at it, the dog on my leash might at least be a little less desperate to dash across the street through oncoming traffic.
This, instead, was more about just being glad the man between my bran flakes and the cash register was part of the world, and that I had the pleasure of a couple of minutes crossing paths with him before we walked out the door in opposite directions. What I was experiencing was desire without attachment.
I guess some people figure this out early on. I’m glad I’m getting it now.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

At the Sistine Body Shop

Yes, this is camp. And somehow, also tender, sexy, playful, and profound.

With thanks, as so often, to Hoppergrass for the link to this image by photographer Freddy Fabris.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Topsy Turvy

I've just e-published an erotic novella on LuluBooks. I wanted to tell a story that exemplified the ways that our sexual energy, when we live it out in good faith and mutual respect, can transform our lives for the better. Two middle-aged men trying to make it work in a small college town; a sexy flirt in a wheelchair; a snowdrift; some rope... Here's the opening, and a link to the download.


The music is insipid and too loud and the lighting stinks, but Underdog is the best bar in town for our Saturday night tandem cruise–the sort of place that can only exist in a fair-sized Midwestern college town, with enough gay guys around to create critical mass, but not enough to split apart into erotic niche markets. Corn-fed blond farmboys (more often than not, they desperately want to get their legs in the air, but you’ll never read the signals if you aren’t a corn-fed blond farmboy yourself); willowy, epicene aspirants to the remake of Brideshead Revisited (one kid, I swear to God, came in every weekend last fall wearing tweed and shlepping a teddy bear); daddies like my Jim; a gaggle of drag queens from the music department (who regularly arrive en masse as the cast of the opera the music school is currently performing); vanilla frot enthusiasts like me; and several extremely hot transmen (one of whom, with quite possibly the most perfectly defined chest in town, and almost certainly the hairiest, is chair of the economics department). It’s a scene that could go horribly awry with rampant bitchiness: everybody knows everybody, at least by face. But somehow, it all holds together with good humor and good will, and the gossip remains if not minimal, then at least mostly benevolent and playful.

It took Jim and me a lot of time and some very rocky steering to work out the arrangement that had brought us here together every weekend and reunited us at home by Sunday noon to compare notes, usually to end up back in the sack together for another hour, getting each other off on common ground while swapping stories of scenes we couldn’t imagine sharing.

Nearly three years ago in 1997, at the September reception for new faculty, we zeroed in on each other across a room awash in academic small talk. Within fifteen minutes we’d sequestered ourselves in the corner. So much for networking with the other new hires. Jim’s thick white hair, his close-cropped beard, his ice-blue eyes, the obvious heft of his shoulders under his shirt, all drew me like a bee to clover. His tanned, thickly muscled forearms reminded me of my grandfather’s as I sat as a little kid on the arm of his chair, watching him blow smoke rings while the Cincinnati Reds ran the bases on TV.

Before I’d screwed up the nerve to ask him back to my place, he asked me back to his.  We tried to be discrete about it, though the matching bulges in my freshly pressed chinos and his faded jeans would have given us away to anyone who glanced our way below waist-level.

We’d barely closed his door before we started clawing off each other’s shirts....
The full text of Topsy Turvy is available for download here:

Sunday, November 1, 2015

On the Feast of All Saints

The Redeemer (Philip Hitchcock)
Lazarus, Brother of Mary and Martha (John Dugdale)
Sts Sergius and Bacchus (Philip Gayton)
Sts Sergius and Bacchus (Robert Lentz)
A saint known only to God (photo received from Hoppergrass)