At this point, we had been at the party for about an hour and it was a nice, mellow affair, with about 20 to 30 other guys of all types, from bearish dudes, to muscleheads, alterna-homos and twinks galore. There were even a few stray hags here and there (not sure about the dyke quotientâ€¦wasnâ€™t getting that vibe from anyone). As Brini Maxwell would say, a good mix of people is essential to any successful get-together.
Everyone was doing that early-in-the-party thing, hanging with their individual little groups, looking across the pool at the other little groups, a smile here, a nod there. Finally, the bear contingent (God bless â€˜em) broke the ice by stripping down to their shorts and launching huge cannonballs off the diving board, splashing some guests and amusing others. My friends and I were having a good laugh at this when I spotted my future husband chatting with his friends.
Wilson Cruz. Yes, that Wilson Cruz. Little gay Ricky from â€œMy So-Called Lifeâ€ all nice and grown up and brown and muscled and tan and goateed and smiling and gorgeous and 30-years old now and a little queeny and hot.
â€œA little queenyâ€ is not an insult in my eyes. Iâ€™ve dated guys before whom, letâ€™s say, werenâ€™t the butchest batches in the bunch. Friends then pull me aside to comment â€œDoesnâ€™t that bug you?â€ Theyâ€™re usually a little more than surprised to hear me reply â€œNot in the least.â€ Whyâ€™s that? Simple: I like certainâ€¦positions in the sack, and one of the things I donâ€™t like is ever having to hear the phrases â€œOuch, not so hard,â€ or â€œPull it out.â€ A touch of sugar in the sandals is natureâ€™s kind signal to tops that Yes, This One Can Take It and Like It. Wilson Cruz? I have no proof, but the man starred in movies titled â€œParty Monsterâ€, â€œJoyrideâ€ and â€œAll Over Meâ€. OKAY?!!? Back to our tale/tail.
So, Future Husband Wilson is chatting away with a couple of WeHo types (do I really have to explain what those are? If so, leave a comment and Iâ€™ll do it there. Where do you live? Edmonton?), and heâ€™s looking PHOINE in a tight squarecut swimsuit, no shirt, hot, ripped smooth bod and little chicken legs (which are cute on him, strangely enough). We make a little eye contact here and there, but itâ€™s a Mexican standoff, except in this case, itâ€™s more of a Puerto Rican/Irish standoff. An hour or so passes, another beer or two pass as well, and before I realize it, weâ€™re surrounded by about 200 more gay men and hags.
My friends Rob and Robert (yes, two of them, how cute) sit with me at the prime people-watching seats at a picnic table by the pool, right outside a sliding glass door (locked) that leads into Starletâ€™s home. Stuck to the sliding glass door are several Post-It Notes, pieces of paper taped to the door, and other scrawlings that are variations on the same theme: â€œWelcome Home, (Starletâ€™s name), we love you and missed you!â€, etc. I wonder who these people are leaving these notes and how they got past the gate to leave them. And where exactly has Starlet been for so long that she inspires a mass pilgrimage of people leaving notes on her back door, much like vets leaving smokes and beer for their fallen comrades at the Vietnam Vetsâ€™ Memorial?
As we sit, a man in his thirties saunters over to our table, wearing a brown tank top pushed up to become an ersatz belly shirt, complete with khaki shorts and flip flops. His longish hair is tied up with a rubber band-ish scrunchie of some sort at an asymmetrical point atop of his head, so the hair falls from its banded point like an off-kilter hair geyser, much like Suzanne Sommers used to wear hers in â€œThreeâ€™s Companyâ€. We later dub this person â€œChrissy Snowâ€.
Chrissy Snow stops at our table, looks down at us seated below and literally sneers â€œDo any of you have a light.â€ Itâ€™s not a question, but a statement. Rob gamely replies, â€œThereâ€™s a book of matches in the ashtray here.â€ There are seven books of matches sitting in an ashtray on the table, make that SMACK FUCKING DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TABLE, easily in view of everyone, save perhaps Helen Keller. Chrissy picks up a book, strikes a match, lights his cancer stick and proceeds to look away and toss the matchbook back on our table without looking. Itâ€™s tough to describe accurately, but this was done in such a manner, it was as if he was speaking aloud, â€œWe are done with your â€˜matchesâ€™. How dare you not hand them to me in the first place, but we forgive you. You may have them again.â€
I sit and stare at the matchbook thinking, â€œNahhhh, youâ€™re overreacting. That was nothing, big deal, he lit a cig and tossed the matches back, who cares.â€ I then slowly look to my left, where Rob is staring at the same matchbook, his mouth agape in shock. Our eyes meet, and upon realizing this shared experience and feeling, we begin laughing like coked-up hyenas.
You had to be there. Honest.
Then there was Holy Diver. I named him Holy Diver after the classic Ronnie James Dio album and song of the same name, a nickname that only I appreciated, since none of my friends had any clue who Ronnie James Dio was, much less that he took over for Black Sabbath after Ozzy bailed. Holy Diver earned his name because he was determined to prove to everyone at the party that he used to be a Competing Professional Diver. Each dive into the pool was an intricate, finely choreographed work of art, replete with double axels, tucks, spins and minimal splash. Holy Diver was fun to watch â€“ at first. After about a half hour of board hogging acrobatics, he got a little tiring. A consummate showman, Holy Diver sensed he was losing the crowd, so he upped the ante. He somehow got onto the roof of the guesthouse adjacent to the pool and began doing even more risky dives right off the shingles. Strangely enough, this made the crowd ignore him even more.
We werenâ€™t just sitting at a picnic table the entire time, passing judgment on other partygoers and being snarky. We did get up and mingle quite a bit, each new group of people introduced to us bringing us inches closer to My So-Called New Husband For Life Wilson Cruz and his posse of A/X Magazine models. Was I purposely pushing our group closer and closer to his? Why, fuck yes. Thatâ€™s when we ended up talking with Kaballah Ken.
Kaballah Ken was a sweet enough man, funny, well-read and engaging. That was for about the first ten minutes. Then, donâ€™t ask me how, because I swear to God if I knew I would have stopped that shit, but we ended up talking about â€œspiritualityâ€. I may be a white boy from Cleveland, Ohio, but Iâ€™m not naÃ¯ve. First thing I did was look at his wristâ€¦and there it was â€“ THE DREADED RED STRING OF KABALLAH. A cult is a cult is a cult, whether itâ€™s Madonna-inspired Jewish retexturing, Kirstie Alley-Pier One-subsidizing Scientology, or the plain â€˜ol Southern Baptist Church. Johnny donâ€™t play that shit. When I overhead Kaballah Ken say, â€œBut, the Kaballah is about so much more than simple spirituality,â€ I interrupted to say, â€œExcuse me, but I have to piss really bad.â€ Sweet escape. When in doubt, bring up the bladder.
I was directed by one of the hosts to a bathroom in the basement of the guesthouse. The basement had windows that looked out into the swimming pool, so you could play voyeur and watch people doggy paddling underwater. Or more specifically, Holy Diver breaking the water with an elegant splash. Opposite these windows was a stand-up shower. Next to the shower was a large hole in the wall, about chest-high and three feet in circumference. This hole went out about 500 feet to the valley outside, in a straight shot. At the end of this hole was a paper target. Yes, it was an indoor shooting range. In the shower.
Lather. Rinse. Fire off a few rounds. Repeat.
Another hour or so passed with more party conversation, interesting snippets of overheard dialogue (â€œYou look great!â€ â€œThanks, I havenâ€™t eaten since Tuesday.â€), and more longing looks towards Future Husband Wilson, who was now in the pool, talking to some women. Greatâ€¦no competition! Time to make my move.
Now, this story would have a perfect ending if I said I went over to Wilson, devastated him with an intensely witty opening line, got his number, went to dinner, fell in love and he was currently standing over my shoulder proofing this essay. But true-life stories rarely have those neat, tidy finales. Sadly enough, this one ends with Rob, Robert and I getting tired, slightly sunburned, and stuck on the 405 for an hour on the way home. Iâ€™m not shy. Honest. I normally would have had no problem marching up and introducing myself to this guy, but for some reason, I punked out this time. So, I missed out. But heyâ€¦I hear he hangs out at the Abbey so all hope is not lost. Or maybe one of you knows him. Tell him the scary bald muscle man wants to touch him in bad places.
Or take him to dinner. His call.