Mike Madriaga 11:30 a.m., Aug. 19
- Community Blog
- Memorial Life
Straight Eye for the Gay Guy
Monday night, I was craving a beef bowl from Yoshinoya’s, so decided to drive south to the Yoshinoya’s in Chula Vista, down on Palomar and Third. That’s a bit of a drive from my location. It was almost rush hour, to top it off; I would likely hit traffic. When I left my house it was a little past four; I decided to stay off the freeway and take the street way, down Main Street, which turns into National City Boulevard, eventually to Third Avenue which would lead to Palomar. I wasn’t in a big hurry; as long as I got home with a beef bowl by kick-off time, it didn’t matter what the Chargers did, I could handle it.
As I was driving down National City Boulevard, through the Mile of Cars, I saw a couple of guys on the sidewalk to my right. One of them had dark hair, and the face stubble thing, nicely dressed. The guy with him was taller, thinner, and red-headed. They were gay, and very beautiful. There’s a line between handsomely beautiful and too pretty when it comes to gay guys. Joey and Brad from The Rachel Zoe Project are really funny and interesting to watch on the show but totally an example of not babe magnets. These guys I saw were hot. I actually got out my camera phone and took pictures of them while I was at the red light. Not a first: some months back, I was driving downtown around noontime, the streets were thick with traffic, the sidewalks thick with people. This one guy stood out in the crowd; he was taller than six feet, slender, wearing black shirt, pants, shoes, all very fashionable; his hair was beautifully cut, darkish blonde, layered with blonde highlights, a fetching smile on his lovely face. I stared at him as he walked down the street, I mean literally for a moment, I looked around for a place to pull over as if to park and follow him, before coming back to reality by telling myself I had an appointment and couldn’t be late. He turned and walked into a building; above the entrance was a sign for a School of Beauty. I shoulda known. But he was simply amazing looking, absolutely scrummy.
It’s been years since I’ve found a straight man sexually appealing. Even old crushes that at one time were the lovepuppets of my fantasies and daydreams, don’t do much for me now, physically or emotionally; anymore, I don’t see straight men as love interests, but as friends. I didn’t realize how far things had gone until recently. I was watching Kenneth Brown on HGTV’s The Big Reveal. Brown is an interior designer who used to have his own show on HGTV, ReDesign, and I loved to watch the show, mainly because I liked his design style and the way he hosted the show. The show’s been off the air for some time, but when they showed a recap of one of the shows on The Big Reveal, I found myself lusting for Kenneth’s body. Furniture, what furniture? Yes, okay the furniture is nice, but Kenneth, you’re making me forget how to breathe!
Only certain types really do it for me. I love the way Ricky Martin dances, love the way George Michael sings, but they don’t turn me on. I find Adam Lambert, the runner up on American Idol last year, moderately attractive, whereas Clay Aiken can put his shoes under my bed anytime. Therein lies the hitch, of course. It’s one thing to find straight celebrities sexually attractive; you may want George Clooney in the worst way, but first you have to get into his orbit, attract his attention, then lure him into your boudoir. On the other hand, getting Kenneth Brown or Clay Aiken between the sheets with a chick makes the odds of getting Clooney into bed look pretty good by comparison.
Many years ago when I was at City College, I was late for my first day of class. I walked in the room, everyone was sitting around a conference table, and there was only one chair left, so I squeezed in between two guys. The guy on my right, I became aware, was gorgeous. He had a beautifully sculpted face, eyes the color of the ocean, from green to grey to blue, pale skin, reddish-blonde curling long hair. I don’t remember what the first assignment was, but we had to partner up with a small group; this guy, “David,” was part of my group. Over the course of the few weeks he was in the class, I got to know him pretty well. Despite his striking looks, he was easy to be around, smart and friendly. David was a dancer, had been in shows and commercials; he had most recently been in a Gap commercial. He was tall, had a toned, defined body; growing up, he had been a champion swimmer. David wore the best clothes, a mix of New York hip and California cool that was killer stylish. He was also gay.
David told me that his industry was full of gay men; Hollywood, he said, was mostly gay guys pretending to be straight. He insisted that Tom Cruise was gay. I had to laugh at that; maybe David’s fantasies had him fantasizing. My sense was that he was struggling with his sexual identity; he told me that he had not come out to his father because his father would never accept that he was gay. Whenever we talked about him being gay, he would quickly say that he sometimes got crushes on women. He mentioned a female bartender he was very attracted to. I think he also mentioned Angelina Jolie as someone whom he considered sexy.
Years ago, I had worked in a department store, in Junior Fashions. There were five women clerks in the department, as I recall, besides an assistant manager and the manager. Two of the women had the same names, one was “Debbie,” the other “Debby.” One Debbie was tall and pretty, a bit on the heavy side with a large chest; she was a student studying to be a social worker, plus she had another job somewhere else. The other Debby was young, small and thin with short badly-permed hair and a severe acne condition, huge zits with craters of pus that would break out in bunches on her cheeks and chin; she wore dentures on her bottom teeth, you could see the wires when she talked. Big Debbie told me that little Debby was in love with a guy over in Men’s. Little Debby had pursued this man in all sorts of ways, including talking him into sex and then telling him she was pregnant, which she wasn’t. I think that’s how the conversation came up, because at the time little Debby was making a show of puking every five minutes. Big Debbie said she had counseled little Debby a number of times to get over it and move on. At that time, the guy was planning to move to San Francisco, would be gone within the month. Big Debbie said that the guy was gay. Oh my God. Drama, I thought. Was totally not interested in any of it.
The Men’s Department was across from the Women’s Department. We had to go through the Men’s department to log in and out; the time stamp machine was in their stock room. One of the men there always said hello to me as I ran through on my way to the stock room and ran back through on my way to the floor; I have throughout my life been late everywhere, but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, I never had the time to pay attention to this guy beyond saying hello, never even looked at him except to note that he dressed well. One day Big Debbie told me that this guy in Men’s wanted to ask me out. It turned out that the guy was the guy who was friendly when I would go through the Men’s department; it also turned out to be the guy Little Debby was crazy about. “He wants to go out with me? I thought you said he was gay!” Big Debbie laughed. “Well, not as gay as he is with Debby.” I guess Big Debbie conveyed what I said, because he never approached me himself, and sometime after that he must have left for San Francisco.
I had been promoted to Junior Assistant Manager by then. Suddenly things just started to go wrong. Stock paperwork I had prepared was pinned to clothing it shouldn’t have been. Some of the women were clearly hostile to my presence, including the assistant manager; I got the feeling they were mad at me, but I had no idea why. The last straw was a day I put on a pair of shoes I wanted to match my outfit and forgot to pay for them when I left the store. Someone who had to have been one of my co-workers reported me to Store Security. I explained the mistake, and was allowed to keep my job. But I could tell the manager was not happy with my work anymore. So I gave two weeks’ notice. Two days after I left, I was called by the manager of the display department to tell me they had liked my work and had been prepared to offer me a job, but I had quit; I was devastated, display would have been my dream job at the store.
By then I had met the future father of my children, and we were looking for a place to live. My last days in the store, he would come in to the department and hang around Junior Fashions while I worked. One day I was at the register in my area, hanging up some dresses, when the gay guy who used to work in Men’s showed up. Instead of taking the escalator, he had taken the elevator nearest to where my area was because I saw him as he walked up from the back; I smiled at him and he came over. He had a lovely slow smile, dark eyes, dark curling hair. It strikes me now, thinking about him, that he was probably shy. He was wearing a really nice suit; he said hello. I was surprised to see him there; I thought he was living in San Francisco now. Yes, he said, he was, but he had come down to visit. Just as he said that, my boyfriend showed up and without saying a word came over and leaned against the counter. The gay guy looked at him, looked at me, gave an awkward, embarrassed smile, said that it was nice seeing me, and left.
Do you know, it was years before I figured out that Little Debby was behind all the problems I had at the store, that she had undermined my job out of jealousy? For as much good as it ever did her sorry stupid ugly behind. There, I said it. The little freak ruined my life!