Those were the days. Hot Sex in the City
Before you even say it, yes I know.
The Undercurrent theme for their next publication is SEX. That’s nice and exciting. As always I look forward for their publication to come out. I thought of writing a piece for them but then I said, “Ah shucks, I should just stick to where I love to publish right here on Queers Without Borders.” I like this place as its like what QWB says about their speak out cart. Who speaks? We all speak! It goes along with QWB’s no bosses, no fences, no walls. One thing is certain there is no chance that the QWB blog will be left around on the coffee table for anybody’s children to read about sex as then I would be accused of pulling an Aristotle on the children of the neighborhood.
So, I said to myself, well why not see what you can come up with writing about sex. I’ll write even if my horoscope warned me “your story might not be politically correct.” That has always been the least of my problems. Before starting I will be a bit Warholian here and thank the Undercurrent for giving me this idea for this work of art about Hartford and a lively set of cruisers and hot sex in days gone by in this city.
So sex, ah sex, when I was younger and much wiser, when my nice long just right one, that once someone remarked was ‘sooo’ suckable, jumped to attention at a moments notice, when I had a good head of hair, nice teeth, a slim body and a host of other goodies, a way back in the day when I was thirty. That’s the age I was when I came to town. Hartford was a hell of a town back then. Now I am not going to go on and on about all the stores and all the people that were downtown, but we had a saying, “don’t go out on the streets between 11am and 2pm” as it was hard to get around. Back in those days, Real Art Ways was downtown,(from where I lived on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Goodwin Building I could gaze down into the windows of RAW and see a nude man and nude woman spread out sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Real life yummy), Art Works Gallery had a rough loft on Allyn Street, The Protean Theater was on Pratt Street, an artists had working and living spaces all over downtown. We weren’t all stuck in one building near the railroad tracks. One thing going in those days was quick anonymous sex, that could be had. A friend of mine named George just came for a visit a few weeks ago from San Francisco. George and I go way back to those early Hartford days. In fact I met him when I was cruising for some hot sex at G. Fox ’s men’s room on the furniture floor. Most people if they have an abode need some sort of easy chair to well, take it easy in. I noticed an advertisement in the Hartford Courant that G. Fox had nice swivel rockers on sale for $99.00. Now their swivels were advertised as ladies side chairs but I thought what the hell even on a good or bad day I couldn’t pass so I might as well sit my ass in a fine ladies chair. After purchasing my chair I asked the clerk were the men’s room was and he pointed out the directions to me. (did him and he me on another occasion) Anyone who is looking for a hot number and some fun always takes a good look around the tea house to see if any evidence of other cruisers beckons. Are there any little holes in the stalls walls for spying, recent love messages written, or best of all a nice round glory hole? Check,Check,Check. It was in this restroom that I met George. Now don’t get confused I wasn’t lucky on my first trip there. This restroom proved to be a very hot place that only a few cruisers knew about as most went to other floors. What attracted me to George was not only his long brown hair and full beard, didn’t see much of that in the disco days, but when he dropped his pants I had a good 10 inches staring me in the face. “Don’t worry Georgie poo, I know just what to do.” “Not scared at all.” From then on it was every Friday at his or my place for a good roll around, a good up and down, a good time was always had by the two of us. So while George was here visiting we got to talking about all the places that were now gone, about how different Hartford was now and how much we missed those old days. We missed the days when every things wasn’t so slick. When the counter culture was counter, not this culturally acceptable counter culture crap that runs rampart within the progressive, liberal, arts and gay community. George told me all about, going out and about at almost 60 in San Fran and getting a good blow job or a nice butt to play with. But anyway won’t get bogged down in what San Fran has to offer us. Get thee back to Hartford Jezebel!
It would all depend on what mood I was in and what day I was in the mood and how much I wanted to bother. Certain men cruised certain areas. Sage Allen’s men’s room was another hot place. Rather small with only 2 stalls and 1 urinal. The urinals were those real old fashion kind that went down to the floor. Wonderful for showing what needed to be shown, and rather quickly have a hot hand or mouth on a good stiff one. One time this older gentleman and myself were going at it and bang!!bang!!!bang!!!on the door and the door flew open. A security officer was there yelling that he saw what we were doing and we had better get out or he would have us arrested. He must have had a peep hole in the wall as there were no camera’s. He sure waited for awhile before he came after us. As we were about to finish and leave. Must have been getting off himself. HA! Wow we escaped that one as the gentleman and myself made it out the side door. Never went back. I didn’t really care for Sage Allen’s men’s room at that time as the stalls had no doors and we all know it isn’t nice to *poo, poo* withthe door wide open. I saw the older guy on the street a month or so later and we laughed and he brought me to a new place way up the top of the stairs in the Corning Building. Back then the building wasn’t all fancy as it is now so there was room to play up high. Smoked a lot of reefer up there also as he showed me an area where one could open the door to a little court yard type of place on the roof. No one bothered anyone up there as the top floor of the building was either vacant or a few artists had studios there. At least that is what I remember. Many years later before the place was renovated I had a small studio on the top floor where I hung out doing what I did at that time, (I think a lot of brown cardboard, tape, plastic and string works) and entertaining who ever I could find on the streets. Now I don’t want to get too pornographic here with hot sex but Ernie was a real find. I still dream of Ernie and many times can hit my forehead. That’s a pretty good jump for a guy who is 60 and now has limits of once a week. Maybe that is why I hit my forehead all that stuff stored up. I met Ernie while cruising the Hartford Public Library’s men’s room. As long as one wore a face mask it was okay. (only fooling but it didn’t smell sweet.) Ernie even surpassed George in what was stuffed in his underware. Now don’t think I am a size queen but oh well it just adds to the dimensional fun and old pink must be honest and state I really am. “Oh, Ernie you can try.” I really liked him as we had visited before at several art openings but never got it together. Lay back, legs up, on your side, doggie, sit down, its bound to work someway. Hey baby ride it. It did work.
Ernie disappeared right around the time I moved from the Goodwin Building to the west end. Leaving downtown wasn’t much fun but it was time. RAW was being chased all over the place, 3 spaces in 10 years, for those who don’t remember the name RAW stood from Real Art Ways when it was raw and really avant garde and not so slick as today. We were changing and the scene was changing, the Goodwin was full of artists and old timers but then came ugly City Place or we referred to it as “Shitty Place” which was constant noise day and night during the construction and when finished it blocked all the sun from my apartment, buildings were being knocked down by greedy developers, we all were being thrown out of the Goodwin Building so the developer could gut the place leaving the facade and rebuild it, and people were moving on. No one will believe this but my rent for 2 floors with6 rooms was $92.00 a month. Of course we froze in the winter and sweated in the summer but it was cheap and it was home. I loved living downtown at that time. Lots of action and people on the street, interesting places to sit outside and some good hot numbers roaming around. Since my apartment was close it was convenient to go there for a good role instead of doing it and having to be careful of Security or someone else coming in and stopping the action in the tea rooms of downtown. Ah, freedom to explore another man’s body, it feels so good.
Here I was punkpink leaving the downtown for the liberal/progressive west end. Ooooh those liberals, those progressive, those lovely gay and lesbian citizens who wouldn’t lend a finger to help when their gay brothers were attacked by the police while cruising the river banks. These lovelies who tried to convince everyone else that it was only straight married men or homosexual men in the closet who did any cruising. “So forget it, they don’t belong to the movement of us progressive g & l people.” Really what they were saying is “we are ashamed of these our own, and don’t want to ruin our chances for our civil rights if we stand up and say anything.” What a load of crap. Their dear male gay leaders were sucking anything they could find in all the near by bushes and I ran into more than one of them in the Tea Rooms of Hartford. But to the lesbian sisters they would say, NOT US its those other guys. So the full of crap, that so called group, who would not stand up and make a statement against the police. The Hartford police that were entrapping and arresting our men. What crap to say that we should forget these men because they are the closeted homosexuals not gays and straight unhappily married men whose wives didn’t do any thing for them. “Those were the people who did the cruising in the bushes and tea rooms” or so some said. Sure a lot of the guys that were around doing it were closeted homosexuals and married but we always said the more the *merrier*. Men on Men! I love it! Riverside Park in those days was a bit woolly and wild withno boat house, almost an abandoned place. At this hot cruising area the police began a hard crack down. I forgot the year but a demonstration was held there against the police. In talking to others so we could jump start the old brains we came to the conclusion that only around 5 people came out to protest. I will enter this here and it is only my feeling but I still think that it was a community member or organization who reported the cruising areas, tea rooms, and other areas to the police. Sort of like the progressive gays and lesbians wanted to police our people. “These bad guys who are making us look bad and spreading diseases.” “We will never get our rights if we allow this to continue.” Similar crackdowns were happening all around the country as bath houses were being closed, tea rooms were raided and surveillance and entrapment’s of gays were being stepped up.
A bit of our stories here for your pleasure. *Men had been meeting men for sex, and this is on record, since the 15th century. (we won’t even consider what went on in the baths of 6th century Greece.) In 1492 in Florence a purge against the “vice of sodomy” took place in taverns, baths and sheds or houses used for sex. The city’s leading criminal court warned the owners of bath houses to keep out “suspects”. The taverns, baths, sheds and houses were raided. The court in Florence convicted 44 men for homosexual relations from April 1492 and February 1494. So the attacks by straights on homosexual men has been going on for many many years. But the attack by members of the “community” was something new to me. I will give just a short few lines about the attacks and statements by gay and lesbian church members who had formed their little groups to protest policies of their churches. In the short of it they called “cruising to be contributing to the communities oppression, turning us into alcoholics and compulsive sex addicts, and claiming that we were unable to deal with intimacy and close relationships which was born out of hate and self worthlessness.” Man-o, Man-o they should have stayed in their churches and fought there. The leaders of Integrity which were made up of members of the Episcopal Church were some of the most damning of cruisers that anyone wanted to meet. I don’t know how these little groups knew anything about us as I am sure none of the cruisers ever came to their door dressed in sack cloth and ash, wailing and seeking to repent.
Another hot place to have a little fun was in the woods and fields all along the dikes in East Hartford. This was a wonderful place to smoke reefer and just hang out. Once I was smoking reefer down by the river side and saw a man jump off the bridge. What a downer that quickly became. Many times I brought my lunch and stayed the whole summer day. There were no buildings over there except the Ramada Inn. For someone like me there were loads of wild herbs and flowers, a large bank of trout lilies, all sorts of animals and area’s where one could take off all their clothing and sunbathe in the nude. I was from the mountains of New York prior to coming to Hartford so I loved escaping the city for a bit of wild. Of course hearing a noise in the bushes was always a welcomed sound and more welcoming was to spy a man coming through the leaves rather than an animal, with him giving the single he was there for you. YUM YUM hot and sweaty on a summer afternoon.
One place that was very hot for any type of man you wanted was the old Webster Theater. As long as you kept one eye closed while watching the film, this for screening out the bodies you didn’t want to see, it was a okay place. The folks out the front of the theater didn’t bother anyone and if you got too many men in the men’s room there was always the option to move into the women’s room. (no women visited the Webster in those days). I met two of my close friends there. I had never been interested in 3 somes but withMark and Ed I grew to like it more and more each time. I don’t know how many people remember the buildings that were on the corner of Anne St. and Asylum. It was up on the top floor that they had an apartment. It was the whole top floor. A real artist place withlots of plants, cool furinture some out of sight art work and good smoke. Mark worked at the old Warehouse over near Laurel St. Now the Warehouse was one of the best places for dancing and cruising, people watching, out-of-site fashions and picking up someone for a hot Saturday night. All types of people went there and what fun we had. Ed worked in one of the stores on Union Place. Yes Union Place had stores at that time some bars and a train station that needed renovations real bad. (a little bit of our stories: in 1971 the Gay and Lesbian community was invited to plan and to participate in a Good Friday, “Stations of the Cross” march through downtown. The march was intended to point to the “crucifixion” of individuals in modern times. A planned stop on the march is Hartford’s Union station, which activists stated, “stands as a symbol of Gay oppression in the city. “It is there that our people are arrested and beaten by police, robbed by heterosexuals, preyed upon by blackmailers, and spied upon by the vice squad.”) I can’t remember the name of the store where Ed worked but I think it was called the UFO. After the Warehouse closed Mark moved on to the Banana Cafe and after the store closed Ed washed dishes at Song Hays. I am mentioning these places as some are gone now just like all the good men one could find on the street. Now I walk downtown and see no one I know, no one to even stop and talk politics with let alone pick up, or have a quickie. I wouldn’t even know where in the downtown to cruise today. Oh well times change and with them the demands as the I Ching tells us.
I don’t know when we began to hear about GRID or Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome, the first case was reported in 1981 and it was renamed in 1982 as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). I remember that some thought that it was not here but in NYC and else where. But many guys traveled back and forth to the city and I am sure most didn’t stop there sex life once in the big apple. And many of us didn’t stop our sex lives here in Hartford either. I still wonder today how some of us came out okay and others didn’t. I believe it began to dawn on us when friends and people we knew in the movement began to get sick and then die. When more of the information got out into the peoples hands a weird type of silence fell over the cruising world. By 1982 the Task Force formed the Gay and Lesbian Health Collective and by 1984 AIDS Project Hartford was founded. More and more people who had been there weren’t any more. They just didn’t come around like they use to. Some did don’t get me wrong. There is a wonderful poster from the early days of a mother and her son, the son is holding an umbrella and the Mother is saying, “Don’t forget your rubbers.” For those who don’t know condoms were called rubbers back then. A lot of the sex that I had during this period was amongst close friends and long term couples. Friends that we knew we had a better chance of surviving with. We stilled cruised some. No harm in looking, in jerking off with each other and maybe giving a good lick or two, while wearing our rubbers against the rain.
Just to see what was up and to feel it again for this article I went out cruising. I went to a bookstore where I knew there would be some activity. Once there that old hunger got to me. I don’t mind if someone likes to give me a good go down below or if I do someone. We always wear condoms now a day and I have given up any butt action as a bottom. Never was any good at being a top. That day I had 3 guys all trying to do me at once. They must have been real hungry tigers or maybe it was because I was new meat that they hadn’t tasted or seen before. We set our limits and then get busy. From what I hear from others most action today is in the bookstores or in one of the parks that I won’t name out of fear that someone out there might inform the police. Each one has its own flavor and its own type of men. The one I like is out of town so I won’t mention too much except this little history. During those days gone by the GLBT movement was under attack by a woman named Maryanne +Pissamafeeta+. (name changed to protect the guilty) She crusaded relentlessly against the movement day in and day out. She had published some of the most foul religious garbage called “Bayside Messages from Heaven” each and every Saturday in the Hartford Courant, page 2. These messages were from, she claimed, the virgin Mary. That virgin Mary sure was obsessed with homosexuals and abortion. Her little group called the Blue Berets were able to pass in East Hartford a resitrictive ordinance in 1989 concerning adult bookstores. This ordinance removed all doors from the viewing booths, turned up the lights and installed a few cameras around. (nothing that peeps into the booths) Well the cruisers that went in for bookstore cruising sure were delighted, thanked her and her cronies and the city council of East Hartford for that. Now there is no question who is in the booth, what they have between their legs, what they look like and one can know very quickly if the person wants it or if they want to join in. Not too many of us are shy as we are all there for the same thing. The idea of others watching also produces a great deal of pleasure for many of us.
So I hope you have enjoyed punkpinks tales of sex in the city of Hartford in days of old. I was suppose to limit my writing to 1,000 words but oh well I am long winded and needed to put in a little bit of political commentary.
***For a wonderful posting about sex and cruising. http://www.nobodypasses.blogspot.com/ Mattilda has lots of good things posted each day. Good food for thought. See her posting, “Some thoughts on Sexual safety and risk-taking in the era of the Internet”, posted January 29, 2008.
***For some good reading and debate check out our friends and comrades over at the Undercurrent’s Blog at www.hartfordimc.org/blog. Lot’s of good radical stuff