So every Sunday only 30 or so people gathered in a sort of chapel on the second floor of a building on the corner of Santa Monica and Fairfax, down the street from the French Quarter Restaurant, for a service that borrowed heavily from Roman Catholic liturgy, with robes and incense and chants of "Peace be with you," but old-fashioned Methodist hymns and a conservative evangelical-style sermon.
(Most members of MCC were raised in homophobic denominations, usually either Protestant fundamentalist or Roman Catholic, so the church tried to accommodate both.)
For those who attended every Sunday, it got a little redundant.
There was a pastor and two student clergy, quite a lot for such a small congregation, but the positions were highly prestigious -- ministering in the heart of the Gay World! -- and therefore sought-after:
I have a thing for clergy. The pastor was in a long-term monogamous relationship, and one of the student clergy was a bit too old for me (a Baptist minister, married with children, before he came out).
He had a boyfriend, too, but by mid-October, they had broken up, and I saw my chance to move in. I wrangled an invitation to his house for dinner on the Saturday after Halloween.
He turned out to be a former English major who almost went to grad school in Medieval poetry, so we had lot to talk about. Still, the date didn't go well.
1. He served canned ravioli, with no salad or vegetables in sight. This is what you serve to impress a date?
2. Instead of The Golden Girls, the West Hollywood staple, he wanted to watch The Love Boat. Geez, my grandmother watched that!
3. An hour of mind-numbing boredom later, I said, "Are you ready to go out?" Nearly all dates in West Hollywood included an hour or so at the bars, mainly because being in a gay-friendly public place was so new and novel for most of us.
"Ok. We can go to the baths."
A bath house! On a date? Unheard of! And, for that matter, weren't clergy supposed to be into monogamous relationships, not hookups?
4. "Never mind, we'll just stay here," I said.
"Sure. Wanna f***?"
I stared, speechless. Maybe I did, but no one had ever used such coarse language to ask!
"Go in the bedroom and take off your clothes. I'm going to take a shower first."
I just sat there, speechless, infuriated. The student clergy was treating me like a hustler! I heard the shower run, then go off. Alan came out in a towel.
"I thought you would be naked in my bed by now."
"You didn't pick me up at Plummer Park" I yelled. "This is supposed to be a date, not a sales contract! And you call yourself student clergy!"
"Hold it-- I didn't mean to offend you," Alan said, perplexed. "I was just trying to speed things up. I'm nervous -- I like you a lot. Um...do you still want to go in the bedroom?"
"No, I want to go to the bars, and find someone who acts like a gentleman. Like about a thousand other guys in West Hollywood!"
I stood and moved toward the door.
"Come on, I said I was sorry..." He rushed toward me. His towel fell off.
Whoa, what do you call that thing? I stared. He smiled. "Did I mention that I used to do porn movies?"
I forgave him. Turns out that being gifted beneath the belt (#2 on my Sausage List) got Alan out of a lot of faux pas.
We dated for about six weeks, until I went home for Christmas, and a Norwegian con artist moved in.
Next: A Norwegian Con Artist Steals My Boyfriend.