1996, I was a 19 year-old college sophomore and I was having a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I was 100% homosexual, and I didn’t think my girlfriend would be able to either. Of course, I never had any misunderstanding about one thing: I LOVED sex with men. From fifteen to eighteen, I exclusively had sex with middle-aged, mostly married, men that I met at Gold’s Gym in my suburban hometown of North Attleborough, Massachusetts. At the time, it never occurred to me how scandalous it was that these men were willing to risk it all to get a steam-room blowjob from a teenage boy, but I was happy that they did. These men didn’t consider themselves gay, so I didn’t either. What I knew of homosexuality didn’t fit my self-image; I was a jock, I played football. In this pre-internet period, the little I did find of gay imagery in pop culture, I found unlikable. Gay was RuPaul and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It had nothing to do with me.
My girlfriend was called Chani. She was voluptuous, overly sexual, and fun. Her mother had been a Playboy bunny and Chani had inherited her looks. She was patient with me. It took her eight months, but she finally got me over my fear of the female body. For a while, the newness of straight sex was exciting and satisfying. With the first-time freedom of our own apartments and our high velocity teenage libidos, we fucked every chance we got. It worked for a year, until an old urge resurfaced: I needed to get fucked too. My ‘heroic’ solution was to leave. I enrolled into an opportune six-week long winter class in Mexico. It was a printmaking course located in San Miguel de Allende, an ex-pat, party town. Here, my fellow classmates and I lived a fantasy lifestyle of large houses, maids, long lunches, and no drinking age. Each night ended up at Mama Mia’s, a nightlife entertainment complex made up of a salsa club, a tequila bar, and oddly enough, an Italian restaurant. The star of the salsa club was the adorable 27 year-old waiter named Arturo. He was cocky and macho and had a flamboyance that American men weren’t allowed to have. Arturo wasn’t tall, but his magnetic charisma made him larger than life. Night after night the girls in my class came to try to pick up Arturo and he would charm them with his devilish grin and invitation to learn a few steps of Salsa. I was quickly obsessed, but didn’t dare act on it. I foolishly had the idea that Mexican men were too macho and too religious to be gay.
My head spun withlust, delight and fear.
One Friday at 1.00 am, I was sitting at my usual spot in Mama Mia’s, properly wasted on five glasses of tequila and suddenly brave enough to let Arturo catch me staring at him. Within minutes, he came over to me and delivered a complimentary shot of tequila with a note on the napkin: ‘I’m off in an hour. Let’s spend the night together.’ My head spun with lust, delight and fear. A friend saw the note. I kept my cool, and lied; ‘he’s hosting an after party.’ Three more shots before closing helped me reorganize my goals. The only thing that mattered was spending the night with Arturo. My lie had spread to my classmates and soon Arturo was indeed hosting an after-party. Knowing I was nervous, he took it in stride, gathered a bunch of his friends , and lead us up the mountain to an amazing place where he had been housesitting for a wealthy lesbian couple. The apartment had an under-the-sea theme. Its stucco interior was painted sparkling purple, and covered with miniature mermaids and fake fish. It also boasted a balcony that opened to a spectacular view of the city. Arturo got the party going quickly. He put on some Latin pop music and fixed us all more tequila. Then he led me out to the balcony to be alone with him. Here, in front of all my classmates, he embraced me and we intensely kissed for what seemed like hours. Our bodies together were electric, amplified by both the satisfaction of seducing a secret crush and the shattering of my own taboos. I thought Arturo was beautiful, and for the first time ever I was proud to be embracing a man. A decade of fear, doubt, shame, suppression and Catholic conflict melted away. There was no disappointed girlfriend or disapproving parents. Desire had triumphed over oppression and a new course was set for my sexual life.
The rest of the night was a blur, but I woke up naked with Arturo naked beside me, and from then on we were inseparable. During this period I came to particularly adore one habit of his. Each night after sex, my macho Mexican boyfriend would suck his big thumb until he fell asleep. It was tragic when I left, but we had had such a great time together that I no longer feared facing up to what I needed to when I came home. I gave him a framed print I’d made in class. A small etching of a Picasso inspired abstract cat. We cried and kissed and said we would never forget each other. It was the year email was just starting to become wide spread and neither of us used it yet. We exchanged three rounds of letters and eventually lost touch.
My boyfriend Paul and I are two weeks into a trip to Mexico City, and we find ourselves out late watching gay cowboys line dance in the Zona Rosa. We are happily drunk and enjoying the scene, when I feel a tap on my back. I turn around slightly disorientated and am enveloped into a powerful bear hug. ‘Is it really you!’ a semi-familiar voice says. I cannot see his face or fully grasp what is happening. He takes a step back realizing he has not given me a chance to see him. We both stand in disbelief without saying anything. My boyfriend cannot understand what is happening. ‘ARTURO! I can’t believe it’ We spend the next few moments studying each other’s face and bodies in complete awe. How has time changed us? We both seem happy with the results. Arturo is every bit as handsome as when we first met. We hug again a bit tighter and then I introduce him to Paul. ‘You have to thank this guy. He made me gay’.
‘It’s been ten years?’ Arturo asks.
‘Arturo, it’s been fifteen…I’m 33 now’
‘I’m 41’. We order a round of tequila and briefly explain how our lives have gone.
‘I still have the print you gave me.’
He tells me he and his boyfriend opened up a restaurant ten years ago and invites Paul and I for dinner. We exchange numbers and before we part I finally thank him for how much he helped me. ‘You stopped me from my own homophobia,’ I tell him as we give each other a teary-eyed hug.
Two days pass and Paul and I accept his dinner invitation. We wonder what the protocol is for this reunion: Should Paul join me or I should go alone? How will we all work together? Is dinner just about catching up or is there more to it? Since Arturo also has a long-term partner, we decide it makes sense for Paul to join me. On the way to dinner I’m much more nervous then expected. I wonder if hanging out with Arturo sober will kill this adoring fantasy I’ve had of him since I was a teenager.
The lounge is on the corner of two busy streets in a trendy neighborhood named the Condesa. It’s small and cheerful, with an American menu of burgers and pizza. We sit down and without ordering a thing a flamboyant, funny queen serves us two oversized glasses of top shelf tequila and explains that Arturo is in the kitchen cooking. We sit alone for a half hour in anticipation. When Arturo finally joins us he is wearing a tracksuit and a dirty apron. He explains that his boyfriend is visiting his sick father in the country, and that they run the place together. When one leaves the other has to cook; morning, noon and night. He then launches into a long monologue packing every detail of the last fifteen years into twenty minutes without letting us get a word in. There is a lot of talk of his boyfriend and how much he loves him. I read it as a polite way of explaining that a sexual reunion is not on the cards. He asks us no questions about our lives and then retreats back into the kitchen to cook another order. The interaction is awkward.
‘Maybe this was a mistake,’ I tell Paul.
‘Give him a break, can’t you tell he’s extremely nervous.’ Arturo comes back serving us tapas and invites us to eat them in the kitchen so we can hang out with him as he cooks. It’s clear the restaurant and his home are the same place. The room off the kitchen is a living room and on the wall is the framed print I gave him. I choke up a little, seeing the evidence of his affection. As Arturo cooks he sucks his thumb. The gesture stops the distance time had created and brings me back 15 years. Finally, we are all getting more comfortable and it’s clear that Paul and Arturo are getting friendly. Arturo offers us a joint and says: ‘You know what tonight is … It’s Tuesday at Tom’s Leather Bar and we are all going.’
As Arturo cooks he sucks his thumb.
The only thing leather about Tom’s bar is the name. The place is a long narrow cavernous space designed to look like a medieval drinking tavern for Vikings. It’s the most popular gay bar on Tuesdays because with your 120-peso admission ($8 US) you get six drink tickets. The place is packed. The crowd is drunk and frisky, and there are five beefy, fully naked strippers on the bar doing choreographed boy band inspired dance routines. It’s roaring with a rowdy sexual energy. As we fight our way through the crowd I hold Arturo’s hand. ‘Welcome back,’ he says, and kisses me on the mouth as we drunkenly restate our affection for each other. As the night goes on and Paul and I flirt with the locals. Arturo is always just behind us, explaining each guy’s back story and slightly discouraging us from any potential suitors. ‘Don’t waste your time with that one – he has no dick…. He ‘s okay, but married with three kids. You shouldn’t fuck with that.’ We’re not sure what he’s after until he finally asks. ‘So… what are you and Paul up for tonight threesomes, foursomes, fivesomes? What can we make happen?’ His boldness cuts the tension. Paul and I grin at each other, thrilled. It’s on. Arturo wastes no time introducing us to his friend Juan Carlos, who is about twenty-three, stocky, hand-some, and doesn’t speak a word of English. ‘Do you like him?’ Arturo asks, as he puts my hand on his friend’s massive inspiring bulge. Even without words, it’s very clear that we are going to get along. My mentor, the person who taught me what it meant to having a loving homosexual relationship, was taking the lead again, and this time in an entirely different direction. ‘He likes you… and let me tell you, this is the biggest cock in all of Mexico City. Me and my boyfriend hang out with him from time to time.’ He turns to Paul and asks ‘Are you down?’ Paul responds by intensely kissing Arturo and then Juan Carlos. In an instant we are headed back to his place.
It’s 3.00 am and even for Mexico City, all four of us are pushing the boundaries of drunkenness. Arturo lets us into the hallway of his building, but has lost the keys to his apartment. He leaves us locked in his hall way as he tries to see if he can enter through the restaurant. We wait for fifteen minutes but Juan Carlos can’t hold back and pisses what must be all six of his beers into a potted plant. As he finishes up, Arturo opens the door and we race through the kitchen to the small bedroom at the front of the space. The walls are filled floor to ceiling with magazine clippings of 1990s male models. No time is wasted getting naked. The collective mood in the room is joyful. All four of us are all elated with the new bodies we have to play with.
A slow four way make-out eventually tumbles onto a brass bed with red sheets, and then reconfigures into a chain of blowjobs. Without any forethought we pair off; me with Juan Carlos and Paul with Arturo. Paul gets straight to business, laying Arturo out in front of him with his legs over his shoulders as he fumbles with a condom wrapper. Meanwhile, I am fumbling with one of the biggest cocks I have ever seen. When I come up for air, I find Paul gently pounding away while Arturo sucks his thumb with a look of complete contentment on his face. Right then, the absurdity and shock of this unbelievable pairing finally hits me. Fate had crisscrossed my personal history to deliver a custom made live porn featuring two of the most important men in my life. Reality has surpassed my own subconscious fantasies. All four of us feel the power of this moment. Paul’s pace picks up and his body quakes while Arturo’s cum explodes into the air, hitting me in the face. The show is over and my partners, past and present, fall asleep in each other’s arms. For Juan Carlos and I the challenge has just begun. I’m finally ready to try to take it, but to both of our terrible disappointment the standard condoms available in the room don’t come close to fitting him. At 5.00 am, despite our language barrier, we somehow communicate that the only solution is to switch roles. Juan Carlos lays on his stomach offering his ass. I wrap up and gently slide in. He is much bigger than me. I’m a dog mounting a bull. But once I get the hang of it and hit the right rhythm, his body language transforms and the super macho dominate happily surrenders. The unexpected rever-sal adds unknown arousal. I can’t hold it. I cum immediately and Juan Carlos follows suit with his body violently convulsing. Cuddled together we fall asleep, side by side with Paul and Arturo.