Nov 17, 2017
Hollywood, Fall 1975
One morning Johnny Crawford called his Rifleman co-star, Chuck Connors.
"I found a guy for you," he said.
Instead of "What's he look like" or "Are you sure he's gay," Chuck immediately asked "Does he like Greek?"
Johnny expected it. He had known for years that Chuck Connors was Greek active, an anal top. Even when he was a kid growing up in Brooklyn in the 1930s, Chuck was a sucker for a shapely derriere -- his first time, in fact, was when he was an altar boy, 13 years old but already hung and horny, already a top. (The bottom was his parish priest.)
Men or women, either were fine. With men, Chuck liked them masculine, muscular, dark-haired, cowboy sidekicks. No femmes, no fairies, and especially no "Gay is Good" liberationists. Keep it in the bedroom where it belonged.
Back in the 1960s, he used to cruise Sunset Boulevard looking for hustlers to bring back and "share" with his second wife Kamala, but since gay liberation took off, the hustler population had declined. He was too famous, and besides, he claimed that the nightclubs were full of hippie chicks and gay liberationist boys who thought getting plowed was degrading. So he had some friends scope out the studios, looking for cute young things and ingenues who might like to get plowed by the Rifleman.
Like Johnny Crawford, 29 years old, his teen idol days long gone, trying to make it as a serious actor, but he mostly getting offers to play cowboys. Johnny was bisexual, but he and Chuck had never tricked together. It would be creepy, like a father and son. Besides, Johnny was into the young, slim, androgynous hippie sort, and Chuck Connors had never been androgynous. Or a hippie.
"I'm filming The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (1976), about a couple of hot chicks who rob a bank and go on the lam," Johnny told Chuck. "I play a cowboy they pick up on the road. The three of us stop at a fancy hotel and have a bisexual orgy with this hot bellhop."
"But that's not the best part," Johnny continued. "In the first scene, a naked girl walks across the set to seduce him, and he wasn't at all interested. No interest. Nothing. And in the orgy scene, he wasn't looking at the girls at all -- he was trying to get a peek at me."
"Nice, but that doesn't answer my question," Chuck said. "Does he like Greek? Remember, I'm well hung, and I like to take my time."
The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.
But I have a sure fire way to tell that a movie is homophobic: is Justin Long in it?
Ironically, the IMDB calls him "likeable," and he makes pro-gay statements. But every movie I've seen him in has been overwhelming homophobic.
Jeepers Creepers (2001): the soon-to-be murdered teenager is driving with his sister. They see a Gay Pride bumper sticker, and she quips "That one's for you," teasing him with implications of gayness.
Ok, maybe that one wasn't his fault.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004): a group of misfits play the sadistic grade-school game in order to save or win something, while making endless "Aren't gay people gross?" jokes.
Waiting (2005): a group of waiters do disgusting things to customers' food while making endless "Aren't gay people gross?" jokes.
Accepted (2006): a high school slacker can't get into college, so he starts his own, while making endless "Aren't gay people gross?" jokes.
The Break-Up (2006): Horrific gay stereotype character (played by Justin, naturally).
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008): Justin plays a gay porn actor with a ludicrously homophobic list of starring roles. He gives Zack and Miri the idea of making money through hetero porn.
For a Good Time, Call (2012); Two women start a phone sex line. They have a gay-stereotyped best friend (Justin, naturally).
Surprisingly, after all the hatred and disgust spewing from his characters, Justin says that he has "respect" for gay people.
When I was a Nazarene, most Sunday school classes were about finding God' Will for our lives.
It was an important question. If we followed God's Will, we would be blessed with riches, love, and infinite happiness. If we didn't, we would be poor, unloved, and miserable.
There were two main questions for boys: God's Will for your career (usually it was the ministry) and God's Will for your future wife. (Girls just had one question, their future husband, since they were expected to be housewives.)
But there were thousands of smaller questions. God was intimately concerned with every detail of your daily life. Should I have the chicken or the fish? Should I do my math or English homework first? Should I walk down this street or that street? If you followed God's Will in those minor decisions, you would be blessed: you might meet someone whose soul you could win, or find a dime on the sidewalk. If you didn't, you would miss out on those opportunities, and maybe get hit by a truck.
So life was a continuous series of "What should I do next?" questions sent up to heaven along with the various requests in Jesus' name (which God was honor-bound to agree to):
"Is it Your Will for me to take the early bus or the late bus?" Ok, the early bus.
"In Jesus' name, let there be donuts in the cafeteria."
"Is it Your Will that I sit with my regular crowd or next to that cute guy?" Ok, regular crowd
"In Jesus' name, let that cute guy look at me."
40 years later, I still believe in God, but I don't believe that the Creator of the Universe is deeply concerned with which bus I take, or that He provides hookup opportunities, whether or not you end your request with "in Jesus' name."
Most of the time, anyway.
Once, instead of shaking hands at the "Sign of peace," I hugged him. Wow, definite chemistry!
I keep wondering if he's gay or bi.
I want to make a move, but there are problems. What if he's straight? What if his abuse was sexual, and my cruising triggers something from his past? Or what if I start something, and he wants a deep, lasting romance rather than a hookup? He should be with someone his own age.
Why can' I stop thinking about this kid?
I friend him on facebook, finding nothing that indicates gay or straight identity. I talk with him at church. I see him at the art center, smile and nod at his chatter.
I want to kiss him.
Once he's getting something off a high shelf, standing on a footstool, and I grab his sides to steady him. Erotic desire shoots through me like getting zapped by electricity.
I try to get my mind off him with hookups and classes. No use. I'm totally infatuated with a kid half my age, who is a victim of abuse and probably straight.
What to do? I pray. It feels like being a 15-year old Nazarene boy again. "God, if it is Your Will that I interact with Derek, help me to get alone with him. In Jesus Name."
That night I get a phone call. "Hi, Boomer..it's me, Derek...um...I have...I mean, I have to...um...interview someone...for my class..could you...I mean..."
A prayer in Jesus Name actually worked? God's Will is for me to hookup with Derek?
Or just mentor Derek, help him come out?
I invite him over the next day to be interviewed.
We talk, drink sodas, play with the cat, sit on the couch to talk about art.
I have to play this cool -- no sexual harassment, no predatory behavior, nothing that makes him uncomfortable.
He's sitting with his arms crossed, classic "keep away" form.
We both pet the cat. Our hands touch.
Every time we touch, I go crazy! I can't stand it! How am I supposed to mentor this kid when the erotic energy is so overpowering?
Is he gay and into me, or gay and not into me, or straight, or suffering from arrested development, still a kid? I can't tell.
We do the interview. It's about my job. Nothing about being gay, except I say I'm writing a paper on LGBT issues. He nods.
We discover that we both have birthdays coming up next week, 1 day apart. "I'll buy you a present," he says.
"Great. I'll buy you one, too." I grab his shoulder. Electric energy! I can't stand it.
I look at his crotch. No bulging. He is not aroused.
It's been two hours. He says "I'd better be going" and puts on his coat and backpack. I escort him to the door.
Was he just trying to kiss me?
I release him from the hug. He says goodbye and leaves.
And I still don't know if he's gay but not into me, gay and into me, or straight, or asexual, or not yet developed....
"God," I pray, "That was fun, but I have another request."
Later in the day, I get a text from Derek:
"Want to hang out again sometime?"
I can't stand it.
This story with nude photos is on Tales of West Hollywood.