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Of Men and Men

I would like to introduce Paul. His story is one many of you will recognize. Paul, although a real person, is like so many others. An amalgam not easily disentangled from the people and places that have surrounded him over the years. His earliest memories are, oddly enough, erotic ones. One image in particular remains quite vivid for him. The setting is a simple, working-class neighborhood, and Paul and some of his friends are playing house in the little secluded alcove separating the rectory of the local parish from the adjacent building (it was probably a store of some kind). The children were too young to know for sure. Paul was the daddy and Jay was one of several children. All the players were no more than four or five years old. As when playing "doctor," there came a time when an activity involving exposure was to occur. Jay had just been a bad boy and it was Paul's role to spank him. Paul sat down on the platform behind the rectory and told Jay to come stand in front of him. They had all played these games before and knew quite well how everyone was supposed to behave in theirrespective roles."Why did you hit your sister?" daddy asked of Jay. "She took my toys and wouldn't give them back," he responded defensively. "I've told you before what would happen if you hit your sister," Paul said to Jay, in the most authoritative voice he could muster. And then the ritual began. While the other children looked on, the daddy told the child to unfasten his shorts (it was high summer) and bend over his knee. Jay did as he was told, and Paul proceeded to pull both the shorts and the underwear down, exposing the silken cheeks of Jay's tiny buttocks. For some unknown reason, the ritual was rapidly approaching its climax. Paul's heart was racing with excitement as he began to strike Jay's bottom. They weren't the sort of strokes that caused pain. The children were playing and exploring, and the unspoken rules were clear that no one should be hurt. They were erotic spanks. They were a perfect excuse for Paul to touch the flesh of his companion's behind, even if only for the fleeting moments that spanks allow. They were always unusually long spankings which would end only when daddy had made the child's buttocks a light shade of pink. Paul's tiny penis had grown erect as his friend lay over his lap. For reasons no one could understand at the time, the entire experience had been exhilirating.



Call it lucky or unlucky (it all depends on how you view these things), the frequency of these erotic experiences waned as Paul's ability to understand and appreciate them developed. There were countless episodes of playing house and doctor that could be conjured up if he thought hard enough about them. There was the time, for instance, when Jay and his two brothers slept over Paul's house and Jay produced his penis for everyone to look at and giggle about. It was not funny, however, when he decided to take the "game" a step further by urinating (inexplicably) on the floor next to the bunk bed Paul shared with his brother James. Suddenly Jay was the focus of much reproach as the assemblage of young boys were confronted with the equally unpleasant choices of somehow cleaning up the urine or being punished by the adults who, given the pandemonium in the room, were sure to appear at any moment. For reasons which can be explained another time, from this night forward Jay was always associated in people's minds (or at least in Paul's) with pee and poop. It was only in reflecting back on these very early experiences that Paul was able to figure out what made them so intensely exciting, and thus memorable. It was not until he was twelve that anything even remotely erotic happened to him. It was that year that he entered junior high school. The transition was more than just switching buildings from his elementary school to the middle school. It was a quantum leap in his understanding of what it meant to develop as a male. No single experience was more intriguing and eye-opening than the evening he accompanied one of his friends to the junior high school to pick up the friend's older brother, who was a ninth- grader (and a symbol of unachievable maturity from the perspective of the younger boys just arriving in seventh grade). The gymnasium, and sports in general, take on a new meaning after elementary school. Through the initiation to the locker room and the gang shower, it is the first time boys come to associate sports explicitly with its erotic dimensions. When Paul and his friend entered this new environment in search of the older brother (who was on the basketball team), it was as if they had entered into a steamy cavern, darkly lit, full of echoing sounds coming from everywhere and nowhere. Paul's eyes were drawn to the shapes of the dozens of bodies he saw milling around the locker room. The sheer level of activity, combined with the fact that all the boys were moving about with only towels wrapped about their waists, bewildered Paul enormously. He didn't know where to look next. He began to be aware of where he wanted to look. Moments later Paul was face to face with a most astonishing sight. When they came upon the older brother in front of his locker, he was standing completely uncovered. He was reaching into his locker for his white underwear. When he stepped back and turned slightly in the direction of the two younger boys, Paul's eyes dropped to the ninth-grader's groin, which had a patch of dark hair clearly visible above a penis which was substantially larger than anything Paul had ever seen before (and certainly larger than his own and Jay's -- the penis he'll never forget). In that moment, Paul felt his first consciously homo-erotic impulse. He wanted desperately to touch the older boys penis. It was, in a word, simply beautiful.



Being transfixed by the sight of the maturing genitals of the older boy was Paul's earliest conscious realization of his attraction to people of his own sex. He was both excited and mortified in the same moment. Suddenly he was jolted backward to a playground experience in early elementary school. In kindergarten teachers always made the little kids walk hand-in-hand, forming parallel columns. It was an effort to keep the kids from scattering in several directions at once. The normal thing to do was for boys to hold hands with other boys, and the same for the girls. Neither group had the slightest interest in holding hands with members of the opposite sex. Children are still innocent at this age. They haven't been taught to abhor physical contact with same-sex friends. Paul was in first or second grade, and he was about to learn a formative lesson in being a "normal" male. He was on the playground at recess time, and he was moving about the area with his close friend Mark, with whom he would walk to school each morning. They were holding hands, as they had always done--indeed, as they had so many times been required to do. The playground attendant, a youngish housewife from the neighborhood who volunteered at the noon hour to keep an eye on the children as they frolicked, was walking in a determined fashion toward Paul and his companion. Their faces brightened as she approached, thinking she was going to invite them to join in a game or something. "Hi Mrs. Clemson," Mark said. Paul expressed his greeting with a broad smile. Without saying a word, she leaned forward and slapped the two boys' hands just hard enough to break their light grip on each other. The two were dumbfounded. After a moment, Mrs. Clemson spoke. "Haven't you two learned yet that boys don't hold hands with boys?" she demanded. They looked at each other in horror. Paul was so shaken he began to cry. Meanwhile, all Mark could think of was was the stinging sensation on the top of his hand, where Mrs. Clemson had connected. "Do you want people to think you're sissies, or something?" she added insistently. "No," the two boys answered in unison, not having the faintest idea what sissies were.



These images from the past swept in rapid succession through Paul's mind, mingling bitter-sweetly with the sensations he was now feeling as Michael's strong hands and tender lips were exploring every reach of his body. Paul had matured into a handsome young man. Standing a solid six feet, he caught the attention of men and women alike. It was only the men, however, who saw the flash of Paul's brilliant smile and the look of recognition in his eyes as he passed them on the street. Moaning almost inaudibly as Michael's tongue slipped down toward his groin, Paul's palms alighted on Michael's head, gently stroking his thick black hair and half-consciously encouraging the motion downward. Michael has been teasing Paul with his kisses and strokes for what seemed like an eternity, and Paul was now beside himself with the desire to feel that first delirious sensation of Michael's mouth on his cock. Paul arched his back slightly as he felt Michael's warm breath over his hardened penis. But Michael would not relent. Rather than plunge his mouth on Paul's cock, he extended his tongue fully and ran it slowly from base up to the head, and then back down again. Paul arched still higher as Michael slid his hands under the flexed muscles of his ass. And in that same ecstatic moment, Paul is spanking Jay again, in a steamy locker room, and sounds echo from every direction, sounds of little children playing at recess, saying unintelligible things like boys shouldn't touch boys.



It was a dreary Monday morning. The sunshine of the weekend had given way to a gray rain that looked like it was going to be around for some time. Making the morning even more depressing was a stack of dozens of reports and memos piled precariously high on Paul's desk. He could work non-stop all day and not get through them, he thought to himself. The idea of dumping the whole pile into the trash and starting with a clean slate was very appealing. But it was also a nice way to get sacked, and he was just beginning to enjoy some of the nicer things about being out of school--finally--and supporting himself comfortably. Paul was a strong achiever. In terms of brightness, he was definitely placed on the high end of the curve. His office had worked extremely hard to recruit him. He couldn't help wondering sometimes if being wanted so badly actually made him more able than most gay men to be open about his romantic interest in men. Would they have hired him if they knew he had actually clocked many hours sucking on other mens' cocks? How could the straight men and women surrounding him at work deal with the image of Paul with his legs raised in the air and his ass swallowing another man's enlarged penis to its base? Surely such images would be foremost in their minds! But could they also imagine the joy, the pleasure, the satisfaction? Could they ever appreciate the fact that the love he had felt for other men was no different from what they felt for their partners? It was amusing to Paul that images of heterosexual intercourse did not disgust him in the least--not even the part about licking a woman's vagina and clitoris. And this despite hearing from not a few men that the odors and fluids down there were not always the most palatable. No, he was not disgusted or revolted. He was just indifferent--which was all he felt he asked of straights in return. But this, apparently, was asking too much. Just that weekend, in fact, as he lay blissfully in Michael's reassuring arms, one of his acquaintances was having his skull split open by three young men who had lured him into a secluded area. The source of the fear and anxiety behind attacks like these was deeply puzzling for Paul. What could possibly provoke such anger and violence? What possible justification could society offer?



The buzzer sounded on Paul's desk. "Yes?" he asked, leaning closer to the intercom. "Will you take a call from Michael, Mr. Peterson?" the secretary asked. "Yeah, thanks Sandy." Paul paused a long moment, then hit the flashing button. "Hi Michael. Are you at work already?" "It's 9:30, silly. Of course I'm at work," Michael responded, in a playful tone. Paul glanced at his watch. The morning was passing fast, and he really didn't have the time to chit-chat with Michael. "The gym is pretty empty right now, except for a couple old farts wandering around," Michael added, amused with his observation. Paul's response was delayed. He could tell Michael was bored and trying to fill his vacant morning. "Look, Michael," Paul began, "I can't really talk right now. I'm buried under my work this morning. Are we getting together at your place tonight?" "Sure," Michael said brightly, "I'm already hard just thinking about it." Paul, too, had a half-erection imagining Michael in his work outfit, his broad shoulders and strong arms nicely accented by a tank-top shirt and his firm, rounded ass outlined by a pair of spandex shorts. Paul's secretary came in as he was hanging up the phone. He pulled his chair forward slightly so she wouldn't notice his bulging crotch. The smell of Michael's cologne drifted upward as Paul lowered himself and kissed his neck. He continued downward to his nipples, which were already fully erect from more than an hour of foreplay. Paul's penis was slowly sliding into Michael's lubricated anus, and Paul knew from experience that his partner's moans were a mixture of pleasure and pain as he adjusted to the penetration. Michael's legs were resting over Paul's shoulders, and his hands were wrapped around Paul's ass, pulling his firmly inward. Paul began biting on Michael's right nipple as the pace and length of his strokes increased. With one of his hands, Paul had applied a liberal supply of lubricant to Michael's cock and was also working its full length. Paul knew that few men could long endure what he called "the ecstatic triangle" of nipple, ass, and cock stimulation. Michael's hand was now on Paul's, trying to slow the masturbation. The explosion of cum was building rapidly, and he wanted to prolong the sensations of the fuck. Paul could feel himself building to a climax too. He would let himself go as soon as he felt the spasms of ejaculation in the muscles of Michael's asshole. "Oh, god," Michael exclaimed, "I'm going to come!" "Yeah..... come... come," Paul said, as he fucked Michael's ass so hard that his balls slapped up against his bottom. Paul pushed his cock in to the base as he too shot in delirious waves.



Selecting a tie was never easy for Paul. He stood in front of his wardrobe holding several ties up to his many shirts and jackets. His high position of status and power would surely surprise his friends and associates from childhood. Who would believe Paul had grown up from such simple working-class origins to become an Associate Vice-President for Investment and Finance for a major American University? And by the young age of thirty! Ties and suit-jackets were not an element from his past. Paul's father held a series of factory jobs, while his mother worked nights to help make ends meet. It was a combination of luck and hard work that permitted Paul to attend one of the country's leading liberal arts colleges, and then continue his graduate studies at Yale's School of Organization and Management. By the time he finished school, he was being courted by all the top financial houses on Wall Street. But he had nothing but disdain for the high-stakes, material existence of big-city investment bankers and analysts. Although he was not a scholar, he had come to love the university lifestyle. He jumped at the opportunity to manage the investment portfolio of one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning on the West Coast. Even if Paul lacked a designer's flair for picking the ideal tie, he nevertheless had a wardrobe any man would envy. He cultivated his eye for the sharp lines of a fine suit and trousers back in his mid-teens when he worked after high school in the Suits and Shoes section of the Macy's store in his town. For the most part, working in a department store (even Macy's!) was astonishingly boring for Paul. There were long stretches when no one would walk into his section. All the "associates," as they were called, had strict orders not to wander out of their designated areas, and like the others, Paul would prowl the outlines of his territory in search of ANYTHING to break the boredom and make the clock turn faster. The single redeeming aspect of his job was that as a salesman of suits, he was permitted great license in touching the bodies of his customers as they tried on different jackets and pants. (Paul hated kneeling down and placing shoes on men's stinky feet, by the way!) He loved running his hands over the broad and strong shoulders of the men in their twenties. "How does that feel?" Paul would ask, as if he was referring to the fit of the jacket. "Great," they would always reply. The best part, and at times the most dangerous, was when Paul would be down on his knees measuring the inseam of his customer's trousers. It was enormously erotic for Paul to be a breath away from all these men's crotches as he placed his tape-measure just below their balls and stretched it to their heels. And they'd just stand there for him!! The worst part was when he'd have to stand up again. Although he was still quite young, his cock was already mature enough to be prominent when erect.



Sandy was on the phone when Paul paused in front of his secretary's door. She looked up as Paul motioned toward the office door. "I'm going out for a short while," Paul whispered loudly, exaggerating the words on his lips. "I'll be back in time for the portfolio review meeting, ok?" Sandy smiled and nodded as she jotted something down from the phone caller. It was just before 2:00 p.m., and Paul would have to hurry if he was to avoid being late for the 2:30 meeting with his boss and the university provost. He took the elevator down to the ground floor and headed toward the computer engineering building. It was on the other side of campus, and most importantly, in a realm of the university far removed from Paul's post in the administration building. He entered the side door of Barrows Hall and took the stairway down to the basement level. With neither classrooms nor labs on the lowest floor, there was very little traffic. The quiet of the area made Paul brave. He walked in steady and familiar strides to the door marked "men" at the end of the darkly lit corridor. As he approached, a youngish man, maybe nineteen years old, emerged looking slightly embarrassed. After a lingering look at each other, Paul averted his eyes, passed the young man, and entered a small atrium. It had all the classic characteristics of a T-room. Off the beaten path. A squeaky outer door. A second one before entering the area with the urinals and stalls. Paul's pulse quickened slightly as he walked forward several paces and pulled the inner door open. To the left was a line of six stalls with dark wooden doors on springs. Paul glanced downward and noticed that two stalls were occupied, with one empty stall between them. He was sure that the guy who just walked out must have been in the middle. In front of the stalls was a line of sinks, and Paul considered walking over and giving his hands a long wash as he tried to make up his mind about entering one of the empty spots next to the two men already waiting. Directly in front of Paul was a large mirror. He looked again at his suit and tie. He still wasn't sure the match was right. To the right was a line of seven or eight urinals, and Paul noticed that someone was standing at the one farthest from the door. The man had jet-black hair and was almost as tall as Paul's six feet. From his profile Paul could see the man had very handsome features. Paul decided to step up to a urinal two positions away from the end spot where the man was standing. Paul looked straight ahead at the wall as he unzipped his trousers and pulled out his cock. He didn't have to urinate too urgently, but he was able to muster a respectable flow. He listened to hear if the man to his left was still relieving himself. There was no sound. Paul turned his head slightly and glanced for the first time to get a closer look at the guy. He became slightly excited as he realized that the man was even more strikingly handsome than he looked from afar. His cheek bones were high and his facial features were sculptured. His nose was not prominent, but he had a strong chin. His skin looked firm and healthy, and was a soft brown. The man did not glance back in Paul's direction, and so Paul did not let his eyes linger too long. Before facing forward, Paul swept his eyes downward in hopes of catching a glimpse of the man's penis. But he was standing too close to the urinal. Paul was unsure. Clearly this guy had been standing at the urinal for an unusually long time. "I've heard of long shits, but nobody pisses this long," Paul thought to himself. He was strongly attracted to the man, but knew that police sometimes tried to trap gay men with undercover operations. The man looked old enough to be a police officer. Maybe he was in his late twenties. Asian men always look younger than they really are. Just as Paul got up his nerve to move over one urinal closer to the man, he heard the outer door opening. Startled, he reached up and pulled the toilet plunger. In the same instant, the mysterious man turned his head in Paul's direction. He would never forget those eyes! "Am I late?" Paul asked Sandy, as he rushed into his office to gather the folders opened on his desk. "No, they just stepped into the conference room," Sandy said, handing Paul his phone messages. "Michael called," she added. Her face was blank, but Paul wondered if her mention of Michael signified she suspected something. Paul organized his thoughts as he walked down the hall toward the conference room. "Stop thinking about him," he muttered to himself.



Paul's boss, one of the university's four vice-presidents, was wrapping up the meeting. A new system for managing the university's huge investment portfolio was about to be designed. Paul had taken copious notes, and his hand was a bit tired. "We've asked one of our new professors in computer science to come over and discuss the sort of customized software we'll need to design," Paul's boss said, while peering through his bifocals at the name at the top of the memo in front of him. "Dr. Adrian..... Roxas will be stopping by this afternoon to confer with you, Paul," he added, mispronouncing the last name, despite a long pause to think it over. Paul's eyes flashed a look of approval as he gathered his notes and papers. On his way into his office Sandy handed him his phone messages. "Michael called again," she said in a monotone. It was unusual for callers not to leave their last name. Paul nodded, trying to look as undisturbed as possible about Michael's frequent calls. Closing his office door behind him, he turned his chair toward the window and propped his feet on the ledge. His eyelids drifted shut as he slipped into a restful daydream. In a matter of moments he was carried back to the afternoon hour, and he was once again standing next to the dark and commanding figure in the T-room. Now in the limitless realm of his subconscious, Paul was recreating every detail of that electric moment when the mysterious man at the urinal turned and looked at him with deep brown eyes that almost made Paul gasp in the moment they fixed on his. But instead of the door opening and startling Paul back into reality, the two men were not disturbed. Paul was transfixed by the young man's gaze. There was a massive intelligence behind his eyes. Slowly, a faint smile formed on the man's lips. And in the same moment, the two turned toward each other--still silent so that the others in the stalls remained unaware of the events unfolding just a few yards from where they sat. Both men had their genitals exposed, and as they moved closer, they reached out to stroke each other gently. The man's features were even stronger head-on than they appeared to Paul from the side. His skin was flawlessly smooth, and his hands had an almost manicured, but still quite masculine, look to them. This same, beautiful hand was massaging Paul's cock as it grew larger and larger with every thump of his heart. Paul tried to control his breath, but his chest was heaving from the excitement. Paul was feeling the man's balls, which were enclosed in a perfect sack of warm and hairless flesh. Above his hand, the man's penis, which had more girth than length, stood fully erect with a pearl of precum forming at its opening. Paul was startled nearly out of his chair by the sound of the buzzer on his desk. He was certain it was yet another call from Michael. "Yes, Sandy?" Paul said, adjusting his hard-on with one hand. "Prof. Adrian Roxas is here to see you," the voice from the box announced. "I'll be out in a minute," Paul responded, releasing the talk button on the intercom. He put on his sport coat to help cover what remained of the rise in his crotch, and walked toward the door. When he opened it, he looked so stunned that Sandy rose from her desk in a reflex of concern. "Prof. ....... Roxas?" Paul stammered. The mysterious man was a mystery no more.



The expanse of Michael's back was truly a sight to behold. It was a perfect triangular form, starting at his massive shoulders (the sort most queens try to approximate with pads in their garments) and narrowing gently to his belt-line. Every time Michael lowered his head onto Paul's shaft, Paul caught another glimpse of his back. Paul was seated on a black leather sofa in the living room of Michael's modest flat. It was still light outside, but there were no neighboring buildings from which a lucky voyeur might look on. Michael was kneeling on the floor in front of Paul, and his well-define arms were wrapped comfortably behind the small of Paul's back. Each slow, rhythmic raising of Michael's head revealed the glistening length of Paul's cock protruding from the zipper of his trousers. Although he was having a terrible time pulling himself away, this is not what Paul wanted. He had tried hard not to let Michael turn his visit into a sexual encounter, but Paul had become almost addicted to this man's erotic magic. Half lost in the sensations of Michael's warm, wet mouth on his penis, he struggled once again to collect his thoughts. "Michael...," he said, in as unsexual a tone as he could produce. "Ummhmm," came the response, followed by an especially pleasurable downward thrust on Paul's cock. Paul knew that if he didn't stop Michael soon, he would be on the verge of a very powerful ejaculation. "Michael, I don't want to come," Paul pleaded. "Yes you do," Michael returned playfully, plunging his mouth yet again to the base of Paul's cock and holding it there while moving his tongue wildly around its shaft. "Look," Paul began, trying to push Michael away, "I don't know how to say this without hurting you..... but I don't think we should see each other anymore." Michael stopped abruptly and looked up to see if Paul's eyes would hint he was joking. His lips were wet with saliva. Paul's cock felt cold as his erection started to subside. "I've wanted to tell you for some time now that I'm seeing someone else," Paul added, after an interminable pause. "I'm in love with him."



To hear Paul say he had fallen in love with another man came as a complete shock to Michael. Sure, Paul had been acting a bit differently, and he seemed to have a lots less free time. But the idea that Paul was becoming deeply involved with someone else had not occurred to Michael. "What do you mean you're in love another man?" Michael asked, rising slowly to his feet. Paul was fumbling uncomfortably with his fly, trying to zip his zipper without catching any foreskin. He was hurting Michael, despite trying so hard to find a way of letting him down gently. As Paul searched his heart and mind for the right words to say, he was certain of one thing: he could not reveal to him that it's not an issue of being in love with "another" man. Though he felt a genuine warmth for Michael, Paul never loved him. "I don't know what to say," Paul responded, trying desperately to buy time and to fill the void of silence left in the air by Michael's question. Despite his size and strength, Michael appeared deflated as he settled back on the sofa. Paul turned toward him to offer comfort, but it was clear Michael did not want him near just then. Certainly not under these circumstances. In the midst of the quiet interlude between them, Paul's mind replayed the conversation he had had with Adrian that morning. "I know it's not going to be easy, but you've got to tell him," Adrian whispered. He and Paul were lying on their sides, with Adrian's arm draped over Paul. It was a bright morning, and Paul felt at peace in Adrian's arms. Paul didn't answer. He reached behind him and pulled Adrian's naked body more firmly against his own. He didn't remove his hand from the smooth, tight flesh of Adrian's thigh. Paul could feel the erection rising slowly against his buttocks, but he decided not to turn and respond. He wanted instead to just lie there a bit longer and savor the moment. Adrian remained motionless. After a long silence, he spoke again. "If the commitment we made to each other last night is to have any meaning," Adrian said in a gentle tone, "both of us need to talk to the men we've been seeing." Again, Paul was silent, but he knew that his lover's words were reasonable and true. And despite the anguish he felt as he thought about how Michael would react, in that moment, with Adrian lying next to him, he felt content. "I want this never to end," he said to himself.



The three months since Paul and Adrian met in the T- room (and later the same day in Paul's office) had marked a new chapter in the lives of both men. Even as he sat there next to Michael, who was now sobbing in a way no one could imagine possible for a man of Michael's demeanor, Paul's heart was not entirely in touch with the emotions of the moment. Had he just been stronger and ended his liaison with Michael as soon as he realized he was falling in love with Adrian, he would not be facing the mess he was now in. Paul had been aware almost from his first date with Michael, nearly a year ago, that their relationship would always be mostly physical. Paul was fond of Michael. Everyone was! He had a charming personality and a body to die for. But he was not very bright, and his work as a trainer in a health club was a fairly good indicator of his intellectual potential. What Michael lacked in the intellectual stimulation department he more than made up for in bed--and on the sofa, and in the shower, and on the living room floor, and on the highway heading to Portland, and in a dozen other places they had fucked and sucked and masturbated. Paul had had sex with quite a few men in his day, but no one could stimulate and satisfy him in the way this man could. And this was Paul's weakness when it came to not telling him about Adrian. The cruel and selfish part was that Paul knew Michael was falling in love with him. And by sleeping with him again and again, he let his "fuck-buddy's" feelings deepen. "You've never loved me, have you?" Michael asked quietly. This question, put so directly and with so much pain, sliced even through Paul's granite exterior. He turned and pulled Michael tightly into his arms. Michael cried uncontrollably. And for the first time in more than five years, tears filled Paul's eyes and slid slowly down his cheek.



Three months had passed between the day Paul first met Adrian and that heart-wrenching afternoon when he held Michael in his embrace for the last time. The contrast in emotions could not have been greater. Paul quickly regained his composure as Prof. Adrian Roxas rose to his feet and walked toward Paul's office, extending his hand and looking as if this was the first time they had ever laid eyes upon each other. Paul wasn't sure, as he closed the door behind them, whether this man even realized that he and Paul had met earlier that afternoon in the T-room, standing by the urinals. And because just a few moments before, Paul had been enjoying his fantasies about what the two men COULD have done together had they not been interrupted, he was having a little trouble as the two were entering his office separating reality from fiction. When he turned from the door dividing his office from his secretary's, he was startled to discover that Adrian had not moved into the open space of the office, but instead was standing directly behind Paul. Before he could say a word, his visitor stepped forward and wrapped his arms over Paul's shoulders and pulled their two bodies firmly against each other. Adrian's lips, which were full and warm, landed squarely on Paul's. Paul's eyes closed--partly as a reflex and partly because of the collision of their faces. Adrian's tongue was now parting Paul's lips and probing the space which was slowly opening between his teeth. Still a bit off balance, Paul reached his arms around the small of Adrian's back, coming to rest on his belt. Paul's tongue met Adrian's now, and for a while they danced playfully under the two men's lips. Then Paul thrust his tongue deeply into the man's mouth. Adrian's head was pressed backward slightly, and he made an almost imperceptible groan as his embrace behind Paul's neck tightened. His heart pounding with excitement and fear (Sandy, his secretary, could open the door at any moment!!), Paul finally broke away from Adrian's passionate kiss. "My God!" Paul exclaimed in a whisper. "How nice to meet again... and so soon," Adrian responded, his breath quite irregular as his chest heaved in the ecstasy of the moment.



It was mid afternoon, and Paul had just come home from school. His mother, who was usually still at work, happened to be home. Paul was thirteen at the time. He loved his mother very much. No one in the family of six communicated together as well as Paul and his mom. They shared a special bond others in the family could not match. Paul's older brother seemed jealous at times of this relationship. Paul, meanwhile, never envied his brother's closer relations (such as they were) to their father. Everyone was watching the TV. The Phil Donahue show was on. The year was 1973--long before the genre of TV shows parading every imaginable social oddity was the norm. Phil was a trail- blazer in this regard. A pioneer. Paul only glanced at the screen for a moment as he strolled into the living room. He was distracted by the way his mother's eyes appeared to be frozen to the screen. She looked up and smiled uncomfortably for a fleeting second. They both looked back at the screen. Something was not right. Paul listened carefully to try to figure out what Phil's guests were talking about. There were two sets of adults, husbands and wives from the look of things. One of the couples was holding hands while the other two sat back in their chairs in a more relaxed position. Paul's mother was leaning slightly forward on the sofa. "We're not ashamed of our son," said one of the men, somewhat sheepishly. The woman next to him, who looked like she was about the age of Paul's grandmother, nodded her head in silent agreement. "What did he do, mom?" Paul inquired. There was no immediate answer. "He's a fag," Paul's older brother filled in, laughing derisively. He wasn't completely certain what a fag was or did, but he knew there was something disgusting and repulsive involved. Paul's eyes flashed back to his mother's, but she continued to stare at the screen. Phil was holding a large microphone to the mouth of a member of the audience, who kept saying the word "sin" over and over. Other people in the audience were nodding their heads as the camera panned out. Now a caller from Florida was speaking excitedly. Everyone was looking up as if the voice was coming from heaven or somewhere. Paul just stood there in visible discomfort as the male voice coming over the speakers blathered on. "I'm sorry, but people like your sons are just perverts," the anonymous caller opined, pausing to organize his thoughts. "And I can't believe you've got the nerve to come on this show... displaying your soiled laundry for the whole country to see...." Paul was mortified inside. He looked again at his mother. As she got up and headed past Paul toward the kitchen, she sighed, "I hope none of you ever tells me you're gay......."



Of Men and Men -- 15 Paul sat in the room he shared with his brother. Most early evenings he had the room to himself because his brother was always at one athletic practice or another. Paul was strong, agile, and dexterous like his older brother, but team sports, with their accent on macho-bonding, had very little appeal to him. So many thoughts were swimming in Paul's head at once. The tantalizing image of the boys he had seen in the locker room. How his math teacher would look without clothes on. How it would feel to touch his arms, chest, or the sculptured, firm roundness of his buttocks. Paul never looked at the equations when his math teacher turned his back to write at the chalkboard. It had not been a good day overall. At school there were the games to be played about chasing girls. As Paul sat in the cafeteria with his friends, the talk turned quickly to who was "going" with whom, and what sorts of sex games the various boys had engaged in recently with the girls. Paul did his best to chime in, but the others seemed to sense how his stories fell flat. It wasn't just that they were wild concoctions--all the boys were engaging in beefy exaggerations. It was that Paul could not conjure convincing images. There was no passion or excitement in his tall tales, and Paul fell silent after a few awkward comments. Then there was the episode before dinner with the Donahue show. Paul had been terrified by the discussion. His worst imaginable fears of being discovered were realized in that moment when his eyes met his mother's. Pride and courage were clashing with hatred and narrow-mindedness right there on the tube. And in Paul's own living room. Why did they have to talk about this subject so openly like that? Paul felt like a frightened little animal caught with his eyes a-glow in a harsh and exposing light, leaving him suddenly blind and naked with no retreat. And as these thoughts swirled in Paul's mind, they mixed with the vision of being rejected by his mother, the only person he truly believed loved him. Until just a few hours before, he was sure that her love was unconditional and forever. But after seeing the face of his mother's own desperate fear, after hearing her say, in effect, "please don't ever tell me such a thing," Paul was no longer sure of anything. He moved to the bed and lay down, burying his face lightly in his pillow. He now felt more alone than he had ever been. More alone than most people can ever fathom. And for the first time, he actually said the words out loud to himself. Muffled into the pillow he whispered a truth he had known for years, one he could no longer deny inside: "I am gay.... I am gay...." He began to cry with a shudder that reverberated through the mattress. He cried for a lost and searching thirteen-year-old. He cried for a little boy named Paul.



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