Persecuting by personal ad
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In my earlier note about regional gay history slipping off into oblivion I did what people do best and most readily: bitch. Not that I've done anything to recover any portion of the American queer past.
I've missed a good chunk of it. Thanks to my interludes of heterosexuality and asexuality it as if I went to bed with The Advocate a fat tabloid financed by thousands of personal ads and woke up to find it a think slick magazine funded by HIV medication and cigarettes (not dying already: can we enroll you in our starter program).
The Advocate that I encountered looked like a down-market edition of your neighborhood shopper. At least in design, there were more pages of personals than there are in the current magazine total.
The writing was amateurish but the tabloid was required reading for the Homo 101 class that my life had become. I don't remember much of it. There was a column written by a bodybuilder who went by the improbably name of Rod. One reader wrote in to complain that many muscular men wore loose fitting clothes in the bars instead of snug t-shirts. Rod civilly explained that the men were more interested in being comfortable than drooled over.
The first time I bought a copy of The Advocate the newsstand man called me "Honey." I'm fairly sure he was straight and just trying to be nice. It gave me the willies. Really I doubt that I bought more than a half-dozen issues. In Midtown Atlanta boys were everywhere and easily had: who needed to read?
Several years later in another city I helped a friend use The Advocate to get revenge. Never, ever be rude to store clerks. At least if you've paid with your credit card.
A reptile with a charge card had thought to abuse my friend when making a purchase. My friend reached into the trash, took the card's carbon copy home with him. Mr. Reptile's phone number was easily discovered.
Into The Advocate went a personal ad that read something like this:
Rich sugar daddy seeks all kind of guys for almost anything. I'll even fly you out to [glamorous city] for fun and pay you royally.
The ad ended with Mr. Reptile's telephone number and was paid for with his card.
Unsurprisingly his number remained busy until disconnected.
That was the last time I looked at The Advocate until I opened the boring magazine on the newsstands today. I might buy the homespun, slightly shabby periodical of years ago. Can't imagine why anyone would now.
I think I started with the intent to say something edifying. You'll have to settle for my little story.