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My Hustler


Will
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While still a young thing I moved to New York from the Deep South to attend graduate school. Unlike other escapees from the land of bourbon and kudzu like Tallulah Bankhead and Truman Capote, however, in the Big Apple I never learned to be outrageous. But because I lived on 51st Street between First and Second, it didn't take me long to figure out why all those young men were loitering on the east side of Third Avenue in the 50s, but I was too afraid even to look at them, let alone to speak. One Sunday afternoon, however, I gathered my courage in one hand and both of my teeny-tiny little balls in the other and slouched off to see Andy Warhol's MY HUSTLER. ("After all," I told myself and the Sex Police in my head, "it's art.") When I got home I practically masturbated myself to death.

 

Then I learned from a gay friend about Fire Island, which after all was the setting for MY HUSTLER, and about the professional beauties there. Not long afterwards, I saw THE BOYS IN THE BAND (which put an end for several years to any thoughts I'd entertained about coming out of the closet) and pined away for a friend who would give me a birthday present like that -- six feet, blond curls, blue eyes, and, doubtless, a dick like a baby's arm.

 

Ever since, I've wondered about the Fire Island and West Village and Upper East Side scenes in those days -- the sixties before Stonewall. Were there a lot of escorts? Were the hustlers more varied in type? How was gay life of the kind we talk about on M4M different to the way it is now?

 

Surely there are guys out there who know. Surely I was the only terminally horny young man on the whole island of Manhattan who wasn't getting any.

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LAST EDITED ON Oct-02-00 AT 08:49PM (EST)[p]I pine for New York circa 1965-1978. Fire Island was at its most interesting (not simply the non-stop circuit party it has become, but a place of sex and family), and NYC was a new and happier Gay-Berlin. There probably has always been a few globe-trotting, highpriced prostitutes as well as gentlemen of the streets. The difference at this place and time was that not all of these men were trade. Previously, nelly gay men were expected to hope that the straight men on the streets may one day become drunk enough, or accept some much needed cash, to allow the waif to suck him off. But some of the men-for-hire in NYC of this era were gay and most importantly considered themselves gay. They were even proud of it (think "Casey Donovan"). I wasn't born until 1973 and must make do with Holleran and Morden's books, as well as film-discussions we have already had (and lost) in this forum. Stories from wise-old birds like those who check in here from time to time would be most appreciated. :-)

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This wise old bird spent plenty of time in New York before Stonewall (which I slept through in my apartment several blocks away that night). I was too young and poor to hire escorts, who didn't advertise anyway--one had to know where the upscale male bordellos were located, which meant one had to socialize in a level of gay society that I was not a part of (Warhol had access to more glamorous venues than I did). Most hustling was street hustling, and many of the hustlers on Third Ave. or Christopher between Greenwich and Sheridan Sq. at least pretended to be straight. Since young men like myself also cruised the same streets, there was often confusion about who was there for what, and sometimes some unpleasant competition. On Fire Island there was so much free sex available that one didn't see hustlers unless they had been imported by someone as a weekend date. I didn't start to see open ads for escorts until the late 70's. I should also mention that the kind of perfectly groomed musclebuilders that are everywhere in New York now were pretty rare in the 60s; the gym bunny phenomenon, strangely enough, seemed to be a product of the age of AIDS.

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Guest bluboy

Yes, Charlie I saw this same pattern as well. It was as if as we saw more people around us ill looking and dying we reverted to body building as a reaction to create a separation..it was them not us who were sick. There was also a brief period in the mid to late seventies as well where we had aligned as a community with respect to leathermen/fems/drag queens and the very cowardly and closeted middle class (of whom I include myself in this persona) and we allowed AIDS to re-fracture the community again separating us and them..it was the bad gays who were getting sick not us and we effectively stopped partying together. We also became obsessed with proving how normal we were- with frenzied requests for marriage and acceptance by mainstream institutions- the good gays want what everyone wants- monogomous relationships and picket fences and the bad gays/the sick gays are the ones cruising the streets. I do not know if you spend a lot of time or any time in Europe; but it has always struck me how less divided the European gay communities are- I have very good friends there and their parties- legit not sex parties are always made up of a varied mix of middle class and fringe without the need for the separation whereas here in Manhattan at any rate there is no such mixing. BTW the real irony is that it is the fringe that created the battle cry that opened the door for every closeted lawyer/advertising exectuive to move up the chain- it is the people who could not hide b/c they were just too effemiante or too wierd or too into leather that have ironically open the doors for the affluent- the escort buying class- to come in and claim as our right the spoils of victory. And ofcourse the universe's malevolent joke is that any lines that we would want to draw in our community will at the end of the day be lost on the main stream- a fag is a fag irrespective of the clothing...just as light skinned blacks tried to draw communal disctinctions not recognizing that actually at the end of the day a nigger is a nigger..and actually the only way for our or any community to properly cross the line is for all of us - the fringe and the mainstream among us- to garner acceptance as a group or god forbid live outside the main stream as long as our basic rights are protected...but i digress and took this chain where it had no intention of going...blu

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Yes, you have digressed quite far--you should probably start a different thread--but I would like to respond to part of your message. I have spent a lot of time in Europe--I've lived in a couple of countries there--but I have not observed as much mixing within the gay community as you have. Ethnic and racial separation, for instance, seem as widespead as here, and prejudices that we would be embarrassed to advertise are expressed blatantly. In small cities and countries there is more social mixing of all kinds of queers, but that's also true here in places like the Midwest. I think it is part of the Americanization/commercialization of urban life everywhere that London pubs that used to cater to a whole community are increasingly specialized, a phenomenon that I started to notice in the late 1970's. Everyone considers himself a customer nowadays, and so even sex becomes a commodity that we demand be packaged and efficiently delivered. The rise of the escort business is a commercial development that may one day be the topic of doctoral dissertations in cultural history.

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And when our sick brothers had trouble keeping weight on their bodies, we discovered that bears are sexy. If you're fat, you don't have wasting disease.

My personal attempt at a solution has been to try to act as a sort of human bridge - Though not particularly fem, I am a drag queen, and a leather man, and a bear. I don't totally fit in with any one of the groups, but then I was raised to be a bit of a lone wolf, anyway. And this way, I can legitimately hit anyone's party when they're celebrating. Except maybe the reallly committed politicos, but nobody's mentioned them yet, anyway ... Well, what's your part of the solution?

(And I'm very proud that when Mama Jose, the founder of the international Imperial Court system (USA and Canada, I don't think there are courts anywhere else yet) came to Houston several years ago, she praised us for the fact that we were the best city in the system, maybe even eclipsing her beloved San Francisco, at getting the drag and leather communities to work together.)

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>It was as if as we saw more people around us ill looking and dying we reverted to body building as a reaction to create a >separation..it was them not us who were sick.

 

Actually, it was PWA's who upped the ante for men to be built big by using steroids to combat wasting. In the early 90's it was mostly poz guys who had the hottest bodies because they were practically the only ones on the juice. Now, of course, it's very common and you see that steroidal look everywhere; even pre-teens are shooting up before a workout...and the standard look for a male has become that of a big muscleman with a 6-pack.

 

Sorry, I tried not to use my trademark semi-colon and it just slipped out like a condom on an overly lubed dick (or is that "slipped off"?)(did somebody mention digression?)

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I've never seen you, Hoo, but somehow I think that if it's drag you want, we may just wear the same size (16 - 18), or else you might be able to use something of mine along the lines of a muumuu. Sorry, I don't have one in leather. Drag for me is lots of things, but not sexy.

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I don't just do drag. We could do you something in medieval? pirate? Give me your idea, a week and a half, carte blanch up to $50 or maybe $100, and the rest of your measurements and Something Can Be Done! And it can be lots of fun to dress up to take your neices and nephews out. And why you go to all that trouble to maintain a waist size that makes it look like you could be snapped in two by a high wind is beyond me. Mange! Mange! (That was supposed to be Italian for eat, eat, but I somehow thing I must have spelled it wrong.)

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