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Time and again I've said I'm glad to be of my generation. It certainly isn't that I wouldn't pay good money to be younger. Gay men who came of age in my time could come out of the closet if they moved to a city and never let themselves be hired by a homophobe. That latter may sound tricky even nowadays but thankfully it never was for me.
You could sleep with any nice guy you met, if you couldn't get enough you could mingle with the bushes in public parks, go to the countless places that called themselves bathhouses. You might get scabies or minor VD, easily fixed by scrip. When I was a young gay man nobody worried about having lots and lots of sex. Nobody wore a condom.
Call it happenstance but when AIDS surfaced I was living as a monogamous man with a woman. The places in which I'd played grew vacant. When I resumed life as a gay man sex had become a mix of prudence, fear as well as joy.
Though Google I've learned that the most beautiful young man I ever went to bed with wasted away. As did the sweet fellow who told me I had steely blue eyes and a scary voice then taught me how wonderful it could be to be on top of another gay guy.
Several years ago I wondered why a regular customer stopped dropping by. One day his partner came to the shop to sell his dead lover's books.
I've lost people to AIDS but never knew it until their corpses were interred. I've never watched a loved one disintegrate or writhe in pain. Millions of my fellow gay men have stood vigil as someone important in their lives suffered and expired.
There's no moral here, no edification. I write this only to honor Mizzou Guy as he finds himself sharing a dark night with a loved one.