'O fairest mover on this mortal round,
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His body was as straight as Circe’s wand;
Jove might have sipped out nectar from his hand.
Coincidences are surprising and seemingly against the odds.
While working for an Atlanta gay newspaper, the Atlanta Barb I answered one of the personal ads sent to us. The boy was in Chattanooga; whatever his couple of paragraphs said must’ve been mighty appealing. We didn’t meet but once while he was on a layover in the Atlanta airport he called and we chatted..
On my first trip to San Francisco to stay with Richard of SF I was scanning The Advocate personals and – damn! – there was an ad from the same fellow. I called and you can imagine our startled pleasure at a chance to finally meet.
I’ve always called V*. the boy who was so beautiful that I was scared when I met him; fear can be a species of awe. At his apartment I was awed, stupefied, dazzled by the fair creature who opened the door.
Green, ironical, sexy eyes, flawless pale skin, his brows, ears, even the slight beakishness of his nose: I couldn’t imagine more concentrated beauty. I’d always liked skinny boys, the details didn’t matter – boney, soft and shapeless. Months would pass before I saw all of his narrow-shouldered body. But his arms had a finely finished sculpted quality unlike anyone I’d met before. V. had that special slightly campy southern gay boy voice that has always made my will bend.
As a beloved bad writer of once wrote: I could’ve bitten myself in the back of the neck and run around in circles. I felt I was out of my class and stood no chance with him.
We only got to meet each other a few times on my first time in San Francisco. Once I took him out to a nice Chinese restaurant. The food was overcooked and I sent it back. V. was impressed by my display of seeming expertise. I was shamelessly delighted.
Richard of SF sent me to West Hollywood to peddle boys there. That didn’t last long and I went back to Atlanta for a few weeks.
One night back in San Francisco I was listening to a straight woman who’d invited me to dinner all but say that she wanted me to father her child. Restless I borrowed her phone to “call an old friend.” V. was something like that and when he heard I was back he told me to come on over. The woman had a resigned look as I sped out the door.
V. did find me attractive (otherwise I couldn’t be writing this) and greeted me in a white dress shirt, faded blue jeans and sneakers. I’d told him I had a nutty passion for that ensemble (later he’d visit me in work in mime drag after I said I thought mimes were sexy).
He was the only guy to provide me with a toothbrush and a key to his flat. And the only person I’ve ever really dated. He took me to see Martha Reeves and Ain’t Misbehavin’. I took him to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show which was in the beginnings of its cult phase. I didn’t care as long as I could snuggle up to this charming, funny, sexy boy. Afterward he’d call me up and vampishly invite me to see “What was on the slab.”
The ardor cooled, as it will. Our relationship devolved from lovers to friends, painlessly and sanely. For a long time I though he’d be my last boyfriend. My next relationship was with Siobhan. I felt it was wonderful luck that my ‘last boy’ was the most beautiful I’d ever known. Not long after Siobhan and I started living together V. invited me to spend the night. I desperately wanted to be in bed with him again. But I knew Siobhan would’ve spent the night alone crying. Thankfully at twenty-five I was too old to play the shit again.
Months later V. sent me a few clippings of reviews he’d started writing for a small SF weekly. I’ve always refused to let anyone show me what they’ve written, drawn or painted. A wise policy it proved. Foolishly I told him that although they were well written they were too slick and facile, that he was neglecting to find his own voice. That ended our friendship.*Thanks to Google I learned that he died of AIDS. For some reason this leaves me unable to use his name.