Welcome to the fourth and final part of Savage Love’s very special “How Sleaze Is Lived in America” series, Sleazy Anonymous Gay Meetings. (I would like to thank the Pulitzer Prize committee in advance for their consideration.) This week we hear from gay men who met their true loves in bathhouses, in porn video booths, at jerk-off parties, and in toilets at the late, great Penn Station. But before we begin this week’s column, I would like to thank my friend, colleague, and former college roommate, Ann Landers. It was Ann’s series of we-met-cute columns that inspired my series of we-met-sleazy columns. This one’s for you, Ann!
My partner and I met ten years ago at a baseball-themed jerk-off party. Everyone at the party was assigned to a “baseball team” and given an identifying armband (I was blue, he was red). Then we were turned loose into a huge jerk-off session. Each time you blew a load you had the bartender mark down a “run” on the scoreboard for your team. At the end of the “game,” it was red over blue. I don’t remember the exact score, but over 60 runs were scored. We’ve been together since. We tell folks we met at a party and leave it at that. –Batboy
I met my lover in the men’s room at Penn Station. The sordid details aren’t really suited for print, but you may find them amusing. He stood next to me doing the usual thing men did in such times and places, and got himself off standing there. I assumed he was some sleazy type, and to blow his mind I said, “Gee, that was a terrible waste.” I was all of 25 at the time; he was 41. It turned out we caught the same train and exchanged phone numbers. Before the year was out we were together permanently. The relationship lasted five years until he died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack, leaving me a widower at age 30. –Penn Station Memories
My boyfriend and I have been together almost seven years. We met the evening of New Year’s Day. I had got back from a “fun-filled day of family” when I realized I was horny. I called the local free line (why pay by the minute?) and after a few misses, I connected with this hot voice. We went through our stats: height, weight, dick size, age, sexual preference. I walked into his apartment 30 minutes later and felt Cupid’s arrow hit. I actually spent the night rather than slinking home in the wee hours. The next morning he took me to brunch with one of his oldest friends, leaving the details of our relationship vague. He was surprised that I was intelligent and witty outside of the bedroom. He gave me his business card and I surprised him by calling. I don’t think I spent more than two nights a week in my place from that point on.
For me, what really was so great about this sleazy encounter was that it settled the question of my sexual identity: I was gay. Within two months, I outed myself to family and friends and began losing 15 pounds of self-loathing/self-pitying fat. We waited about 18 months before offically moving in together. Nearly seven years later, we still lust after one another. –Dial XXX for Love
About ten years ago, I stepped out on a not-so-good but well-established relationship. I ended up at the local bathhouse to try my luck. After wandering aimlessly for a while I crossed paths with the cutest boy I had ever seen. My boyfriend was out of town and I was desperate to get this hot guy home and desleaze the situation a little. I talked him into coming over to my house, but then in an attempt at honesty I made a big production about telling him I had a boyfriend and that this would be a one-time encounter. He took it to mean, “I know I’m hot shit so don’t go getting attached.” Being patronized was apparently not what he was into and soon my fantasy boy had slipped out the door with his friends, leaving me alone. A year later I was working out at the gym when I heard a slightly familiar voice say hello. I looked up and there he was. We talked for a while and agreed to be workout partners. Soon we were friends. Now we’re hooked up for life with a house in the burbs. From damp and sleazy beginnings some good things do grow.
–Got a Second Chance in San Jose
It was August 24, 1984, and I was lonely. So I went to a small, musky, dark basement bar where men were doing things I will not describe. I introduced myself to a pleasant-looking man. There was a kiss, and I spoke the original and romantic line, “Your place or mine?” He said, “Yours.” We have been together nearly 17 years. There have been camping trips, operas, and rock shows; travel to Italy, Denmark, England, and New York; being dad and co-dad to my daughter with two women friends (mom and co-mom); weddings and funerals; laundry, shopping, thousands of meals shared–you know, the gay lifestyle. We have never had infidelity sully our relationship because, as Duane explained to a dear woman friend several years ago, “You have to have fidelity before you can have infidelity.” We go to the tubs together sometimes and have other “friends.”
Our love still includes passion for each other, as well as humor and trust. When I remember our meeting in that sleazy, dank bar, I am much amused when people say, “You can’t meet nice people in places like that.” We will be celebrating our 17th anniversary in Spain and it would be an added joy to be able to see our first meeting detailed in Savage Love. –Still in Love
I met my lover 12 years ago in a video booth in a gay porno store. He was 33, and I was all of 17. I was an aspiring musician, he was an aspiring partner in a law firm. I blew him, he blew me, he took me home, and I never left. Twelve years later I am a successful musician playing for a philharmonic orchestra and my lover is a senior partner at his firm. We have both fathered two wonderful boys who are half brothers thanks to the good offices of our best lesbian friend. The grandmothers are over the moon with joy and fight over whose turn it is to help us out. Our dear bike-dyke birth mother has visitation rights and lives in the basement apartment of our town house.
We are fulfilled emotionally, physically, and professionally. What can possibly be sleazy about that? –One Happy Organic New American Family
I want to thank everyone who sent in their sleazy meeting stories, even those of you who sent in letters lifted from Penthouse Forum. I wish I had the space to run ’em all. Next week in Savage Love: Back to the same ol’ Q & A.
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.