I see the Geezer in the gym a couple of times a week: in his 70s, tall, ugly, and out of shape, with thin arms, no chest, and a sagging belly. He never lifts weights or does cardio; he hangs around the pool and sauna, reads newspapers in the lounge, and talks to his buddies about the deadly dull things heterosexuals talk about, the game last night and the bathroom remodeling and the new job of the grandson.
I could not be less interested.
But one day we were stripping down at the same time, and I got a nice view of his penis.
The best sausage sighting ever!
And, I thought, the Geezer must have had a lifetime of admirers, men and women who wanted his penis, and more, who wanted the person he was before bitterness, disappointment, poor health, and the awareness of his mortality dimmed his days and nights.
So I struck up a conversation, said I was doing research on the older guys who went to the gym (which was true), and looked for a gay connection in the Geezer's biography. Later I did some online research.
In 1964, the Geezer was a University of Nebraska jock named Dave, a farmboy from a small town near Lincoln.
He was on the swim team, and won some awards. Swimming was a lifelong passion.
There must have been homoerotic hijinks in college. Frat parties, late night bull sessions, romantic friendships.
He graduated in 1964, but was never part of the youth counterculture. Quiet, driven, conservative, he went to work for Mutual of Omaha, the insurance company. He married his college sweetheart, and had two sons and a daughter.
Was he sneaking into the gay bars, or going to the tea rooms?
We were neighbors! Dave was living in Omaha in 1980, when I moved there with my first boyfriend Fred. A 38-year old householder with a wife and three children.
But our paths never crossed.
Apparently nothing else happened. A life of heterosexual monotony. House, job, vacations, holidays, kids' piano recitals, watching them, one at a time, marry and leave the house.
He retired in 2007, and moved to the Plains to be close to his grown daughter.
"What about your sons?" I asked.
"The oldest got a job in marketing. He lives in Des Moines. The other wanted to be an actor or a model or some such nonsense, so he moved to California. We see him maybe once a year."
My gaydar perked up. That was my story, too, fleeing from the cage of heteronormative expectations -- wife, job, house, kids -- for the freedom of West Hollywood. Maybe this was the Geezer's gay connection!
The stories of the Geezer's son and grandson are on Tales of West Hollywood.