Around 1990 KA and I were “driving (up) the turnpike to New England, sweet New England” and stopped for a night in Boston. This was at a time in our relationship where we occasionally talked of my sexual desires relating to guys and the possibility of a threesome. These discussions usually occurred in bed, during glorious sessions, and never saw the light of day.
While driving to Boston, we had time to kill and KA suggested this was our chance – one night, a foreign city, and then on with our lives. Well I had waited my entire existence for this moment so no shock. I’m in. The problem was that this was pre CL, pre-internet (hard as that is to imagine). We get to Boston, late Saturday afternoon and check into a modest hotel. We have both been battling colds and just spent four or five hours driving – my driving (KA leaves that for me) – all in all a good night to curl up in bed together. We do not.
That evening at a respectable hour, I go off alone, find a cab and ask him where the gay bars are. That alone was an act of will – if I am asking for gay bars how will he ever know that I am just your typical straight married guy. Of course he knew where the gay bars were and we head off towards that Citgo sign lighting the Fenway night.
Got to hand it to the cabbie – one block, two gay bars. There was the college bar and the leather bar. Now I do need to digress (something I am legendary for): I am not a bar person. Thirty-six years old then, married twice, urban dweller, and I have never picked up a girl – no less a guy – in a bar and for that matter never been picked up either.
I start with the college bar – I do have a degree. I’m a little on the old side, fighting a cold, and with a tad of a confidence problem. Nada. Head down the street to the “real bar”. Now this place is its own world. When I headed from the bar to the side room – the bullpen if you would – the pillory at one end should have said it all. I was out of my league.
Now any other man would have called it a night - a short cab ride away was a hotel with a bed being warmed by my one love. But any one who has been following my tale will guess, I am not just any other man – when I abandon my good judgment, I do it right. I find a cab. Do I ask for my hotel – no! – I ask for the combat zone.
Now I am not sure what I am expecting to find and I was clearly not thinking of Bruce’s song:
It's midnight in Manhattan, this is no time to get cute, it's a mad dog's promenade,So walk tall, or baby don't walk at all.
So here I am – a little shy of six feet, a skinny 145 lbs – walking the “mad dog’s promenade” but not walking so tall. I ask someone about finding a guy – no problem locating women here - and this girl starts to walk with me; she will give me advice. As we’re walking she holds me close and I immediately realize my cash has left. Now for an evening like I had planned, I left my wallet and much of my cash in the hotel, but I still do not like being picked. Words ensue, a shoving match, my glasses fly and the frames break. This is not the night I envisioned. Finally there is a cab and as she pushes me into it she gives me a twenty for cab fare – my twenty. The cab pulls away, me in it; it’s over. My pocket is lighter, my glasses are broken, my forehead is scratched, and I am broken.
The post should end on that note. I spent the night recovering in my KA’s sweet arms. But as I lay in bed a few hours ago, writing in my head, I realized another aspect of it all. For all these years I was a straight guy who went to the wrong neighborhood and was robbed. But as I lay in bed writing, I realized that I was surely in the eyes of the one who rolled me, a “faggot” who was an easy mark. She knew I was not going to the cops – “yes officer, I was looking for a guy to fuck me.”
This post opened with a Paul Simon song - Duncan. That night was supposed to end with the same song:
“Oh what a night, what a garden of delights, even now that sweet memory lingers.”
It did not.
Next stop- Washington DC