Monday, April 2, 2012
In Mykola Dementiuk’s Kisser: A Masculine Femininity, Richard doesn’t think he’s one of those queers. Or is he?
When Ralphie kisses him in the park, then invites him home, new sensations open up in Richard’s life. Soon he wants more than kissing – he wants kissing, and something harder and stickier, too. But a young man on the verge of accepting his sexuality has much to learn about men, and there are all kinds of men in the world.
Follow Richard as he drifts from the park into the gay heart of Greenwich Village and back again. There he meets Mr. James, who might just be the man who will take Richard all the way.
Kisser: A Masculine Femininity
JMS Books (March 2012)
When I first met Ralphie, he had been working at various Greenwich Village gay bars, but at that time, Studley’s was the tops. This was in the middle 70’s, when ‘Gay Rights’ was still an unheard of fantasy. To be gay in Greenwich Village was the norm. I had been to Washington Square Park many times, looking at the weird people who thronged the area, the Beatniks, the hippies, the outcasts who all fit in there, but I seldom strayed off of the well known paths and twisted streets to find what was really there, gay Greenwich Village. I was headed for it now.
The streets greeted me openly yet I still felt odd, my wide trousers caused many to turn back and give a questioning look as they strode past. I knew right away I wasn’t dressed for the Village streets, where a male who hustled was clad in slim tight pants and a T-shirt, and not in inappropriately wide dress pants such as I was wearing. In fact, I thought of myself in a wide skirt or dress as I swished and walked along.
Along Christopher Street I suddenly reddened and covered my face; there was Studley’s Bar, a multi colored gay banner over the window, a certain sign that it was gay-owned or gay-operated. An elderly man in a business suit came out of Studley’s Bar, looking very slim and elegant. He lit a cigarette and walked on, as I did, too, sauntering after him, as he paused and looked at a few store windows, causally taking his time. I was nervous but approached him.
“Is this the way,” I asked, “to get to the subway, streets are very twisted down here.”
He puffed his cigarette.
“Yes, it is, young man,” he said, looking me up and down, and getting out of the way of a woman walking past. “Twisted indeed.” He looked at me as if wondering, then said, “On the next block make a right and the subway’s right there. You can’t miss it.”
I nodded and said, “Thanks,” and turned to walk on.
“You’re not from around here?”
“Brooklyn.” I stepped aside as another man walked past us. “Took the subway here, but I forgot where it was.”
“Oh, tough Brooklyn, is that where they still wear Zoot suits?” He smirked, glancing down at my pants. “I was there one time and I think it was one time too many.”
I looked at him as we both moved aside. The busy street seemed to be filled with people.
“Zoot suits, what is that?”
“Suits like you’re wearing,” and he pointed at my very wide pants, almost sneering at them. “Those came about in the Jazz Age in the 1930’s. Don’t see much of that anymore. Zoot suits were very fashionable at one time, big with the African-American crowd. I suppose being from Brooklyn, it’s understandable that you’d still be wearing it.”
Oddly, I felt as if he was sneering at me. I only wore it because Dad had it in his closet when he died. Mom kept all his clothes as if they were mementos. I saw the suit one day and thought it looked very neat and cool. I never knew there’d be such a history with it.
“It isn’t so bad,” I said, “you get used to it, after a while.”
“I suppose you boys from Brooklyn have your way of dressing, as we have ours.”
We stood on the street before a building as people walked up and down past us.
“What way do you have?” I asked
He smiled and licked his lips.
“It’s hard to explain but, honey, why wear anything? Get undressed, that’s my motto. But I don’t want to take your time, you have a subway to catch. Don’t want to delay you.”
“There’s always another one coming by. What’s a little time?”
We looked at each other, both of us licking our lips.
“By the way, young man, I live right here,” he said and nodded quietly, glancing at a building on our left. “You’re welcome to come up and we can resume our little conversation, undisturbed.” Again he moved aside for a walker, male or female, it was hard to tell.
I looked at him. What was I doing? Am I crazy, a sick pervert? Going to a stranger’s apartment?
“You don’t mind?”
“Not at all, honey, not at all.” His smile was wide and he led me into the building, away from the people walking on the street.
“By the way, young man, what is your name?”
“Dick,” I answered, “but my close friends call me Dickey.”
“Ooh, I like that. You can call me Hard, or Mr. Hardy, which ever you prefer.”
We smiled at each other, him winking at me.
“Okay Hard, or Mr. Hardy,” I said, winking back at him.
“You know, I saw many bars and clubs on this street,” I said, as we climbed the stairs. “People start partying early, that’s for sure.”
On the first floor he turned and smiled at me.
“Some drink all the time, others don’t. I like to imbibe, it sets your spirits free for a little action.” He winked as we continued up another flight of stairs.
“That sure was a busy street,’ I said, “with lots of people. I wonder where they are going?”
“Oh, I know, busy, busy, busy, but Christopher Street is always like that. Young men looking for older men, while older men are always seeking out sweet younger ones.” He shrugged.
“You pay your money, honey, and you always have your choice.” And again he winked as we stood outside a doorway on the third floor and was about to turn the lock.
“Have you been looking long, honey? I like to please young men if they know how to please me. Do you know how?”
I’d known what he was talking about ever since I’d seen him step out of Studley’s Bar, but the nearness of having my longings and desires fulfilled, of actually seeing what one man does to another, panicked me and I felt very frightened. I shook my head.
“No,” I said. “Sorry, no…” and I stepped back, pounded down three flights of stairs, and darted out into the busy street.
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