Just 'cause, here's a story from my recently-released queer collection, Filthy Boys. I have a certain fondness for this story as it was written as a kind of thanks to all the gay men I've known - and who've changed my life for the better.
"You could have stayed with me," he'd said the first time I went to Seattle to see him, but stayed in a motel. I hadn't even thought of it, and so the disappointment in his eyes.
I never went back. After he got promoted there wasn't any point.
You could have stayed with me evolves into a fantasy in which those four days play out differently: an invitation made earlier, my discomfort of staying in someone else's house miraculously absent. Fresh off the plane, strap digging into my shoulder (I always over-pack), out of the cab and up a quick twist of marble steps to his front door. A knock, or a buzz, and it opens.
A quick dance of mutual embarrassment as I maneuver in with my luggage, both of us saying the stupid things we all say when we arrive somewhere we've never been before. Him: "How was your flight?" Me: "What a great place."
Son of a decorator, I always furnish and accessorize my fantasies: I imagine his to be a simple one-bedroom. Messy, but a good mess. A mind's room, full of toppling books, squares of bright white paper. Over the fireplace (cold, never lit) a print, something classical like a Greek torso, the fine line topography of Michelangelo's David. A few pieces of plaster, three-dimensional anatomical bric-a-brac on the mantel. A cheap wooden table in the window, bistro candle, and Don't Fuck With The Queen in ornate script on a chipped coffee cup.
Dinner? No, my flight arrived late. Coffee? More comfortable and gets to the point quicker. We chat. I ask him about his life: is everything okay? He replies that he's busy, but otherwise fine. We chat some more. I say that it's a pleasure to work with him. He replies with the same.
I compliment him, amplifying what I've already said, and he blushes. He returns it, and then some, making me smile. My eyes start to burn, my vision blurs, tears threatening. I sniffle and stand up.
He does as well, and we hug. Hold there. Hold there. Hold there. Then, break – but still close together. Lips close together. The kiss happens. Light, just a grazing of lips. I can tell he wants more, but I'm uncomfortable and break it but not so uncomfortable that I can't kiss his cheeks. Right, then left, then right again.
But his head turns and we're kissing, lips to lips again. Does he open his first or do I? Sometimes I imagine his, sometimes mine. But they are open and we are kissing, lips and tongue, together. Hot, wet, hard.
But not on my part. Wet, definitely – in my mind it's a good kiss. A generous and loving kiss. Hot, absolutely, but only in a matter of degrees as his temperature rises and mine does in basic body response.
Not hard on my part, but I am aware of his. Between us, like a finger shoved through a hole in his pocket, something solid and muscular below his waist.
Does he say something? "I want you," "Please touch me," "I'm sorry," are candidates. I've tried them all out, one time or another, to add different flavors, essences, spices to that evening. "I want you," for basic primal sex. "Please touch me," for polite request, respect and sympathy. "I'm sorry," for wanting something he knows I don't.
"It's okay," I say to all of them, and it is. Not just words. Understanding, sympathy, generosity. All of them, glowing in my mind. It really is okay.
I'm a pornographer, dammit. I should be able to go on with the next part of this story without feeling like ... I'm laughing right now, not that you can tell. An ironic chuckle: a pornographer unable to write about sex. Not that I can't write about myself, that making who I am – really – the center of the action is uncomfortable, because I've certainly done that before. I've exposed myself on the page so many other times, what makes this one so different?
Just do it. Put the words down and debate them later. After all, that's what we're here for, aren't we? You want to hear what I dream he and I do together. You want to look over my mental shoulder at two men in that tiny apartment in Seattle.
I'm a writer; it's what I do, and more importantly, what I am. So we sit on the couch, he in the corner me in the middle. His hand is on my leg. My back is tight, my thighs are corded. Doubt shades his face so I put my own hand on his own, equally tight, thigh. I repeat what I said before, meaning it: "It's okay."
We kiss again. A friend's kiss, a two people who like each other kiss. His hands touch my chest, feeling me through the thin cloth of turtleneck. I pull the fabric out of my pants with a few quick tugs, allowing bare hands to touch bare chest. He likes it, grinning up at me. I send my own grin, trying to relax.
His hand strokes me though my jeans, and eventually I do get hard. His smile becomes deeper, more sincere, lit by his excitement. It's one thing to say it, quite another for your body to say it. Flesh doesn't lie, and I might have when I gave permission. My cock getting hard, though, is obvious tissue and blood sincerity.
"That's nice," "Can I take it out?" "I hope you're all right with this." Basic primal sex, a polite request including respect and sympathy, and the words for wanting something he knows I don't – any one of them, more added depth to this dream.
My cock is out and because he's excited or simply doesn't want the moment and my body to possibly get away, he is sucking me. Was that so hard to say? It's just sex. Just the mechanics of arousal, the engineering of erotica. Cock A in mouth B. I've written it hundreds of times. But there's that difference again, like by writing it, putting it down on paper (or a computer screen) has turned diamond into glass, mahogany into plywood.
Cheapened. That's the word. But to repeat: I am a writer. It's what I do. All the time. Even about love – especially about this kind of love.
He sucks my cock. Not like that, not that, not the way you're thinking: not porno sucking, not erotica sucking. This is connection, he to I. The speech of sex, blowjob as vocabulary.
I stay hard. What does this mean? It puzzles me, even in the fantasy. I have no doubts about my sexuality. I am straight. I write everything else, but I am a straight boy. I like girls. Men do not turn me on.
Yet, in my mind and in that little apartment, I am hard. Not "like a rock," not "as steel," not as a "telephone pole," but hard enough as his mouth, lips, and tongue – an echoing hard, wet and hard – work on me.
The answer is clear and sharp, because if I couldn't get hard and stay hard then he'd be hurt and the scene would shadow, chill, and things would be weighted between us. That's not the point of this dream, why I think about it.
So, onto sex. Nothing great or grand, nothing from every section of the menu. A simple action between two men who care about each other: he sucks my cock. He enjoys it and I love him enough to let him. That's all we do, because it's enough.
He sucks me for long minutes, making sweet sounds and I feel like crying. He puts his hand down his own pants, puts a hand around his own cock. For a moment I think about asking him if he wants help, for me to put my hand around him, help him jerk off. But I don't. Not because I don't want to, or because I'm disgusted, but because he seems to be enjoying himself so much, so delighted in the act of sucking me, that I don't want to break the spell, turn that couch back into a pumpkin.
He comes, a deep groan around my cock, humming me into near-giggles. He stops sucking as he gasps and sighs with release, looking up at me with wet-painted lips, eyes out of focus. I bend down and kiss him, not tasting anything but warm water.
I love him. I wanted to thank him. I hope, within this dream, I have. The night that didn't happen but could have.
For me, writing is just about everything: the joy of right word following right word all the way to the end. The ecstasy of elegant plot, the pleasure of flowing dialogue, the loveliness of perfect description. Sex is good, sex is wonderful, but story is fireworks in my brain. The reason I live. The greatest pleasure in my life.
And he has given me that, with nearly flowing letters on an agreement between his company and I, between his faith in my ability and myself. He looked at me, exposed on the page of a book, in the chapter of a novel, in the lines of a short story, and didn't laugh, didn't dismiss or reject. He read, nodded, smiled, and agreed to publish.
Sex cannot measure up to that. Bodies are bodies, but he has given me a pleasure beyond anything I'd felt: applause, and a chance to do much, much more with words, with stories.
He doesn't have a name, this man in my fantasy. There have been a lot of them over the years, and a lot more in the future, no doubt. Gay men who have touched me in ways no one has ever touched me before, by making love with my soul through their support of my writing. Each time they have, this fantasy has emerged from the back of my mind, a need to give them the gift they have given me: passion and kindness, support and caring, and pure affection.
I worry about this. I worry that they won't understand, take this secret dream of mine as being patronizing, diminishing them to nothing but a being with a cock who craved more cock. I've confessed a few times, telling a select few how I feel about them, how I wish I could do for them what they have done for me, to be able to put aside my heterosexuality for just an evening, an afternoon, and share total affection together.
Luckily, or maybe there really isn't anything to worry about, the ones I've told, they smile, hold my hand, kiss my cheek, say the right thing and to this day, even right now, make me cry: "I wish we could too, but I understand. I love you too."
Am I bi? I know I'm physically not – I simply don't get aroused by men – but that doesn't mean I don't adore men, or for the ones I care about, the men who have touched my soul through their support and affection for my stories and writing, I wish I couldn't change. More than anything I wish I could give them what they have given me.
With a cock or a pen, with a story or hours of wonderful sex, it all comes down to one thing: love.