West Hollywood pimp
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It hit me that I’ve said nothing about Richard of SF. Young and self-involved I never thought to ask him to tell me stories about his early days. He’d been pimping boys for decades. The nature of the trade had forced him to spend almost every hour in his flat. By the time I’d met him he’d come to look like a frog with a nasty smile and horn-rimmed glasses. Wonder how a cellphone might’ve changed his life. His conversation wasn’t much. He was the kind of man for whom looking at a guy and summing him up with “All meat and no potatoes” would never grow stale.
He’d long wished he could rent boys in Los Angeles. I’d done it in Atlanta and he’d watched me handle his phones. Equally importantly I was trustworthy. However worldly or cynical I was my first response was often naïve, trusting. Naiveté inspires trust. When I asked me I’d grown weary of spending so much time in his flat. And I’d never been to LA. Back then walking out of a bus station, airport, cab and finding myself in a city where everything was fresh and unknown was a high.
Richard of SF went south to rent a place and setup the phone. Once back he gave me a bunch of money and I flew down to LA. The house was in West Hollywood just off Santa Monica Boulevard. All I remember of it now was that the shower was in the kitchen. You can get away with anything in a city where rents are murderous. Not that I minded, it was too funny to object to.
Back then LA had the most famously homophobic police force in the US headed up by an execrable clown named Ed Davis. Being in West Hollywood put us just outside their jurisdiction. (Davis said he was opposed to gay cops because they’d share the police car microphone with straight cops and you knew where the homos’ mouths had been.)
Richard of SF had put help wanted ads in The Advocate. By now I was so inured to interviewing boy whores that I could’ve done it in my sleep. One guy did have an interesting kink. He could take it up the ass only if the guy was older. With people near his own age or younger he was as the personal ads use to put it Greek active and French passive.
There was the willowy blonde, I can remember him clearly. Partly because he wore a pullover with bright, medium width horizontal stripes, one of my odd fetishes. Bottom as a term of sexual preference had yet to be coined. Instead he said he thought of his penis as a useless anatomical adjunct. I was greatly charmed. (That I say charmed when most people would say turned on says an awful lot about my sexuality, doesn’t it?) I’d never more strongly wanted to take advantage of my ability to demand a free sample. But I was too ethical. Or maybe too stupid. He might’ve been happy to oblige.)
I’d continue sexless in West Hollywood. Some of Richard of SF’s friends visited. A few of them made passes that I didn’t welcome. And housebound I didn’t have a chance to meet people.
It never occurred to me to run a personal ad. Possibly because I didn’t like the people I met: greedy, grasping, crass, grabbing sensuality with the care most people gobble down a Big Mac. Nothing lyrical, averse to surprise – appetite was baldly accepted without any transforming aesthetic.
By then commercial carnality wasn’t exciting. I'd done it in three cities. It was like psychedelics; once you’ve done it so many times the experience is redundant. The only call I remember was someone claiming to be Robert Wagner but wasn't. (I only dealt with one famous person during these years.) He didn't pay. Only time that ever happened. The only thing to do was to give the guy what would've been his earnings and forget it. Lucky thing for "Robert" that he wasn't dealing with the wrong people.(That the mob was involved in most of the prostitution was readily discerned by the fact that most escort services accepted department store credit cards.)
Sitting in a house by myself, away from my friends, bored and annoyed after a few months I split.
Back to Atlanta I went. I had friends there, I knew the city and could get a job within hours of my plane landing. I remained in Atlanta only long enough to stake myself for a return to San Francisco. By then Gordon had moved west and I knew he’d put me up. Soon I’d be at his flat in Haight Ashbury.