I have met a lot of interesting people in my wide and varied life.
I am especially enamored of old people. Mostly because as I get to know them, I get to hear the stories of their lives- and to me, there's nothing more interesting than people and their stories. I also love that their stories often directly contradict the first impression- which is usually along the lines of: "What a sweet, lovely, peaceful, old person with little or no sexuality, political preference or opinion on popular culture."
I love hearing the stories of our elders- LGBT Elders. And, yeah, I know I might be getting into trouble for calling them that, but that's what they are. And that's exactly what we need. We need the voices of experience and wisdom in our community. We've forgotten that in the wake of parties, anti-retrovirals, botox and high fashion.
We lost many (mostly gay men) in the 80s and 90s to AIDS. We ignore the ones we have now in deference to our cultural fixation on youth. We call them "trolls", "hags" etc. It ain't right. I mean, seriously, it's incorrect. They are human beings. With stories.
I have a friend, who is of an "advanced age." He made mention of his rowdy youth once in our correspondence, and I asked him exactly what he meant. He responded. Wonderfully, graphically, he responded.
How did I get rowdy?
Let me count the ways.....
Now let me see, in the beginning there was sex. Usual sex, sucking and fucking.
Then I moved to San Francisco. I lived in the Haight-Ashbury just when the 'movement' got under way. Had to move since I was going to night school and worked days. Gray Line buses blocked the traffic and overhead trolley wires were moved to a parallel street.
Then came the 70s. Most of my inhibitions (but not all) were slowly eroded as I started on drugs. The usual: weed, LSD, hash, Amyl, speed & occasionally cocaine. I didn't really like coke since it cost too much and you never knew what it was cut with. Just give me old acid, black beauties (speed) and booze. Thus prepared, off I went to the bath houses, aka the tubs. The sleazier the better, to wit, THE BARRACKS, sleaze central, kinks galore.
But I was bashful, no S&M, no fisting please, we're proper & catholic. But sex, pure unadulterated sex, any which way, up down, in and out and someone once mentioned a goat but I think that was drug induced delusion- but ya never know. Pile of bodies in the orgy pit, a Norwegian freighter was in town and a bunch came to the Castro Rock Bath House and I was on the bottom. "Do not sit on my face, you have hemorrhoids. I do have my standards. More amyl please. Ah, yes, that's better. Giggle, giggle, fuck me again. You want me to do what?"
Then there was the Halloween costume party down at the Garden of Earthly Delights at the foot of Potrero Hill. A hotel and restaurant, catering to the non-discriminating gay man and lesbyterian. After the evening meal, coffee was served with a fine selection of the drug of your choice. Ah, good choice Monsieur, guaranteed debauchery for your evening's pleasure. A little cognac to enhance?
I must have looked odd since I was dressed in a full Benedictine habit but encountered someone outfitted as an Augustinian - Luther in disguise? - 'fraid not. Just another perv.
I ended up in a flat on Mission Street, swapping drugs with someone who had the proverbial dick of death. It's a wonder I could walk when I finally left...in daylight. Getting on the bus to go back to Castro St. The driver did cast a wondering eye but I spied Betty Grable in the back with a one piece bathing suit, brief case, high heels and beard. No one batted an eye. This was in 1973. Sure was making up for lost time. It was 9 years before I left paradise and returned to the east. Another chapter, another life. I had a full time office job with tie, the entire time.
Today the young ones look and all they see is an old man - if they only knew.
Indeed. And maybe we could all try harder to give the elders in our midst a bit of respect. Maybe we could try and see them for who they are and for who they once were.
Because in a few years, they will be us.
(Image by INoxKrow via Flickr)