Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My First Gay Crush

Advocate.com recently ran a fun and intriguing series called "Who Was Your First Gay Crush?", which prompted readers to submit the names of people who did it for them when they were much younger.

As you might expect, responses were typically celebrities in one field or another, and depended on the gender and age of those writing them.  Some lesbian women readers, for example, identified actresses Bonnie Franklin, Elizabeth Montgomery, and Christie McNichol, while some gay male readers selected actors such as James Dean, Johnny Weissmuller, and Richard Gere; Olympians Mitch Gaylord and Greg Louganis; and singers Sean Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, and Andy Gibb.

I admit, reading through the pages of comments from readers took me way back to a time when I didn't understand why I was so turned on to some well-known actors and singers myself.  But, given what I was going through at the time--at home, at school, and within myself--seeing them was exciting and magical, and always provided welcome comfort.

Some names from those mentioned that surely stick out for me are Burt Reynolds, Sam Elliott, Lee Majors, Robert Conrad, Clint Walker, Sean Connery, and Ricky Nelson.  (And, on a purely physical level, if you think about what's common among all of these handsome, masculine men, you'll probably realize why I found them so alluring.  Ten points to anyone who guesses correctly.)

But long before any of these men caught my fancy--and, keeping in mind, a first crush occurs when one is very young--the man I was probably most turned on to wasn't a well-known celebrity at all.  He was a resident from the same neighborhood where my parents, sister, and I lived in northern British Columbia at the time.  His name was Spike J..  He was married to Sylvia, and, together, they had three blonde, teenaged daughters, their first names all beginning with the letter "L."

My experience with Spike, which took place entirely in the fantasy world of my mind, figures briefly in the novel I'm working on now, which I've enhanced somewhat to fictionalize and dramatize.  But, no doubt, I've revealed something of myself and my homosexuality in the few paragraphs, which I share with you below:

When I was a boy, this fellow used to live across the back alley from us.  All these years later, I still remember his name.  Butch.  How can you not remember a name like that?  And he was a Butch, believe me.  

Sometimes, during the few hot days we’d get every summer up in northern BC, my father invited Butch over for a beer in the backyard.  There he sat in a lawn chair, Butch, that is, shirtless, his tangle of thick, curly blond chest hair catching the rays of the late afternoon sun.  To my young eyes, he defined masculinity.  He knew it; I'm sure my father knew it.  How could he not, his own bare chest pasty and nearly hairless?   

I had no idea then why watching Butch made me feel the way I did, my eyes riveted to his unmistakable manliness.  I can’t imagine Butch didn’t think something was wrong with Jim’s kid.  Probably thought I was a pervert, even at ten years old.  

As I stared at him helplessly, I wished with all my heart Butch was my father.  How I fantasized about being picked up in his muscular, hairy forearms, held securely against the warm pelt on his chest.      

Funny story.

My family left this northern town in October 1974 and moved to Kelowna some eight hundred miles south.  I had just turned fifteen.

Six years later, I worked in the kiosk of a self-serve gas station located at Harvey Avenue and Gordon Drive, one of the major intersections in town.  My hours were 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., Sunday to Thursday.  I did that for a year and a half.

One evening, a woman walked into the customer area of the kiosk and handed me a credit card to pay for the gas she'd put in her car.  As I processed the payment, I looked at the name on the card and saw the name Spike J.. Obviously, that name stood out, and I wondered if it was even possible the card belonged to the very same Spike J. I'd fantasized about when I was just a kid, and if, in fact, his wife, Sylvia, was standing in front of me.

So, shaking, I finally got up the nerve to ask her if she used to live in the same northern town. She looked at me funny and answered yes.  Then I asked if she was married to Spike.  She hesitated and again answered yes.  I told her who I was.  She didn't remember me, but, when she returned to her car and pulled out, passing by the kiosk, I saw a middle-aged man sitting in the passenger seat. I didn't recognize him but he looked at me, and I looked at him.  He waved.

Despite what I wrote in the passage from my novel, I'm sure Spike J. had no idea how much of a crush I'd had on him all those years earlier, when I couldn't help but stare at him, representing as he did what I hoped I'd look like when I became a man, and symbolizing, if ideally, the kind and gentle father I never had.

6 comments:

  1. When I was a kid, my mom loved to watch some 'telenovela' (drama-romance tv series from Mexico). Sometimes I watched them too because I found that the actors were so gorgeous. :) Muscular, hairy, and so on. They're my first gay crush. Years later, Baywatch TV Series were broadcasted. And those coast guards then became one of my first gay crush too. Yummy. :)

    But, like ur story, the very first man that were able to have my heart was a carpenter who worked in front of my home. He was sexy, I thought. And he was kind too. Sometimes I peeped him while he was taking a lunch break. He usually took a rest in a small room next to his workshop and got naked. I never knew the reason why he did it. But, I loved to see his body. And when I was lucky, I could see him jerking off. And, that man somehow changed me. Up until today, I always have a feeling with carpenters or builders. Several months ago, when I took a temporary leave to visit my Mom I had a crush too with a builder who were renovating my Mom's house. He looks like Jesse Metcalfe. Plus, he was so shy. He practically never spoke directly to me, even though I tried to asked him some questions. :)

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  2. Great memories, Aries Boy.

    When I was much younger, I used to play channel roulette with the TV remote control late at night. I found a soap opera from a Mexican network (Telemondo?) where many of the men were hot and hairy. Incredibly, the sex scenes could only be described as soft core porn because there was lots of nudity (although genitalia were never shown) and simulated sex.

    I certainly remember "Baywatch," too, and how hot some of the men were there. Although they sacrificed body hair for muscles, which is never a fair exchange as far as I'm concerned. I think a good amount of chest and stomach fur can accent muscles and make them look even better, but, unfortunately, many men don't feel this way.

    And I've certainly seen more than my share of hot construction workers. Once, when I was in my early teens and stayed with my maternal grandparents for the summer, I remember one Italian stud who spent most of the summer shirtless, his perfect, hairy body a constant source of fascination and excitement for me.

    Thanks for helping me to recall all these great memories of my own.

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  3. When I was in the 4th grade, I had a friend. He was sweet, caring and beautiful. We seldom spoke, but when we did, I felt so secure. It was the first time I felt something for another man. This feeling was different from what I felt towards my other male friends. I could not stop looking at him, thinking of him. Every time I took a glance or thought of him, I had flames in my body.
    From that time on, I often had crushes of my classmates but nothing serious. At the beginning of my university studies I had an interesting event on the stairs of uni. I was stepping up the stairs and he was coming down. He was peaceful, self-confident, intelligent, sweet and beautiful. Just from his movement, I froze. My mind went blank and all I could do was stare at him. I almost lost my balance when trying to take another step on the stairs. That was the first time I had a practical confirmation that I am hopelessly gay.

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  4. Elevencats, your comment started a flood of thoughts and memories:

    1). I certainly remember being attracted to some of my male classmates, going all the way back to elementary school. I've always been more attracted to men, because I like men who are hairy and masculine, but some of the boys at school did it for me because of their incredible beauty. I imagined what beautiful men they'd become down the road.

    2. I love your expression, "I had flames in my body." Who among us can't relate to that description, straight or gay?

    3. I, too, had an event on stairs, but in junior high school, not at university. I was coming down the stairs to get to my next class when I turned around the landing and saw Brent Toffenbach at the bottom, talking to several other fellows and laughing. Brent was a total dreamboat, inside and out. He was one of the few male students who spoke to me and didn't tease me (although we were never close friends), and he liked everyone and everyone liked him. When I saw him that day, I had an out-of-body experience. I imagined myself floating down and wrapping my arms around him as though we were in love. Maybe I did love him, in the way I understood love then. Very strange, but, to this day, I still remember how lightheaded I was upon seeing him and how drawn to him in an inexplicable way.

    4. I love when you wrote, "I almost lost my balance when trying to take another step on the stairs." Can I relate to that when I remember Brent. That's exactly how I felt. Good thing the handrail was there or I might have drawn more negative attention to myself than I already did, and given people yet another reason to tease me.

    What a great comment, elevencats. Thanks for helping me to take a pleasant stroll down memory lane.

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  5. Thanks for your cool story, Rick! Here's the link to my blog:
    http://myfirstgaycrush.blogspot.com

    And where the idea was inspired, on my other blog:
    http://www.BornThisWayBlog.com

    xo - Paul V.

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  6. Good to hear from you, Paul.
    Thanks for sharing the links to your blogs. I've taken a quick look, but I want to go back and spend more time. I like what I've seen so far.
    I hope you continue to drop by and leave comments when I've written something that resonates with you.
    Thanks for visiting and for your comment. I appreciate it.

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