TRUE CONFESSIONS - 24
By Mighty Mouth
I swear to you, dear reader, that everything I say is true and without exaggeration. After getting a job shortly after arriving in New York in the summer of 1955, I promptly applied to, and was accepted at, New York University (NYU), to study graduate philosophy. I was too insecure to apply to Columbia, which should have been my first choice. Because my undergrad grades were very good, I would probably have been accepted there. Perhaps the fact that a friend, P, was getting his Ph.D. from NYU also influenced me. My small wage was stretched to cover my tuition, which I assume I paid in installments. I enrolled in a summer-school night class, just to get the feel of the university. I was suddenly surrounded by students as bright as I, which was a startling revelation. I was now on the road to fulfilling my dream, to get a Ph.D. in philosophy.
Through my friend’s contacts, I found a sublet. It was a two-bedroom furnished, former cold-water flat on East Ninety-fifth Street, just off Third Avenue, a fifth-floor walk-up. The old Third Avenue El had just stopped running a couple of months before and was in the process of being torn down. Neighborhood wags that Christmas season sang "No El." That area of New York’s Upper East Side was in no way chic. The avenues, as well as the cross streets, contained block after block of tenements, as mine was. Now there are only luxury apartment buildings.
The official tenants, a pair of MDs, were going to Little Rock for a couple of years, but planned to return to New York. The monthly rental was $50! Although it was just a block from the Maginot Line that was Ninety-sixth Street, this didn’t bother me in the slightest. Central Park was only five blocks away, the subway at Ninety-sixth and Lex. Once again I was free to make any contacts I chose and bring them home. And was I busy. My contacts with P. diminished considerably, except for a second cross-country trip we made, in his Nash Rambler, to San Francisco in 1957, when he got hired by the University of California at Davis.
When the 1955 fall semester began, I enrolled in perhaps two courses, late afternoon and early evening. I was working full-time and didn’t want to stretch my limits. I have no idea what the subjects were. All I remember is that on the first day a young god walked into one of the classrooms. He was muscular, masculine, and dark-complected. I thought to myself, "That guy must have wandered into the wrong classroom. He don’t look like no philosophy student to me." But he was in the right place, as I soon learned. I immediately set about plotting how I could make him a conquest. It was love at first lust.
I contrived small talk to learn his name, S. Instead of his giving me the brush-off, we soon formed a friendship. I learned that he lived in Brownsville, Brooklyn. With his complexion, I supposed he had a Middle Eastern background, but I never asked. In the mid-50s, Brownsville, East New York, and other nearby neighborhoods were considered respectable, and were mostly Jewish.
S. soon got invited to my apartment uptown. Since I had a spare bedroom, I asked him if he might like to take it. I probably didn’t ask for any money. I just wanted him near me as much as possible. To my surprise, he accepted. Once he moved in, sex soon followed. I was in paradise. I was living with a rugged, muscular guy, a super-intelligent philosophy student, and having sex, too. He was the answer to my dream. I wanted him for the rest of my life.
He was into jogging, and got me involved too. We jogged several times a week around the reservoir in Central Park. In the mid-50s, jogging was not so popular, so we usually had the track to ourselves. No one, straight or gay, could have looked at us two muscular, masculine joggers and guessed our intimate relationship. Once, jogging back home to Ninety-fifth Street, we passed a florist shop at Ninety-sixth and Madison. Ogling us from inside the front window was an obvious early middle-aged faggot with lust in his eyes. I thought to myself, "Eat your heart out, bitch."
When we discussed or argued some philosophical point, he not only had to win, he would aggressively and contemptuously attack my position, instead of offering a polite give-and-take. He used logic and philosophy as a weapon. For me, it was a fascinating and mind-challenging activity. He had that sadistic streak that has always attracted me to this kind of man. They build their egos by demeaning males they like. Fortunately this ploy never fazed me. Each time I got "knocked down" psychologically, I would bounce back up more resilient than before, ready for my next "attacker."
I thought of ways I could bind this treasure to me so as not to lose him. I even suggested a crazy idea that we go live on California’s Big Sur. I had been there previously and fell in love it with. I didn’t consider how we could support ourselves there.
I was only thinking how I could be totally alone with him, without outside interference. I suppose S. became conflicted about where the relationship was going. Instead of accepting my offer, he ran off and joined the army. We exchanged frequent letters, but his absence ended our sexual relation, not to be resumed. But it was not the end of our friendship. We maintained contact over the years. I last saw S. in New York, about 2000, when I dined with him and his son's lover, after his son's death from AIDS. At the time S. held the world championship for best weight-lifter in his age group (70s). He even wrote an article offering a philosophical defense for taking steroids. He was staying with his son's lover and told me what a great massage he got from him. How's that for bizarre? The steroids got to him, and he died from a heart attack in 2013 in his sleep.
If anyone wants to read a free copy of my book, “Memoirs of a Gay Rights Maverick,” I’ll send it to you as an email attachment. Advise me via email: [email protected]