It's the weekend before my 31st birthday, and I'm in Nashville, Tennessee, 2,000 miles from West Hollywood, taking classes in Biblical Hebrew and Protestant theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School.
Back home I would go to a museum during the day and then have a party, but I have no gay friends here except Larry, who just came out at age 35. So he has no gay friends, either.
"At least we can do the museum," Larry said.
"Ok, well, I've already been to the Parthenon, and I'm not really interested in the Country Music Hall of Fame...."
"Something a little less country-western: I'm thinking the Space Center down in Huntsville."
"Alabama?" I said dubiously. "Isn't that a little redneck?"
"It's fine -- I go down there all the time for work. And while we're in Alabama, I thought we could try to fulfill my biggest fantasy."
"What, a bondage scene?" Larry had only just recognized an interest in BDSM a few weeks ago.
"Being spanked by an Alabama boy."
He explained: For years his job had taken him through the small towns of Alabama. He saw the hot Southern boys on the side of the road, with their slim chests and sweat-soaked t-shirts and bulging jeans, and he wondered what it would be like to be dominated by them.
In his fantasy, Larry was the stuck-up Northern boy who took a wrong turn through the woods, and came across three Alabama boys working on an old pick-up truck and drinking beer. One was in his 30s, very muscular, with a hairy chest. The second was in his 20s, smooth chest, short beard. The third was a teenager with big hands and a big basket.
He stopped and asked for directions to Chicago. They didn't know the way, so he insulted them, called them "ignorant barbarians wallowing in filth."
"Now that's not very neighborly," the older one said. "I reckon we're going to have to teach you some manners." The two younger ones grabbed him and tore his clothes off and tied his hands behind his back. He tried to run away, but they tripped him and threw him down into the dirt.
"You're a naughty little boy," the teenager said in his hot Alabama accent, "So now you're going to get spanked."
[The rest of the fantasy is too explicit for Boomer Beefcake and Bonding}
That's quite an elaborate fantasy," I told Larry.
"I know -- I've been thinking about it for quite some time. But maybe we could do the basics, just get an Alabama boy to spank me."
So we drove south two hours to Huntsville and took a tour of the Space Center -- not very interesting, driving past rockets 500 yards away. We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant, waited around a few hours, and then hit Huntsville's only gay bar, Deja Vu.
Larry had no experience cruising and was too skittish to try, so he sat at one of the small red booths while I tried to find someone to fulfill his fantasy.
No luck -- until finally an older black guy returned my eye contact. In his 40s, taller than me, shaved head, sort of chunky.
Black guys were unlikely to be into BDSM, but I approached anyway, introduced myself, pointed out Larry, and said we were visiting for the weekend.
The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.