|College Reunions Are Not So Bad
by Greg Scott
All the usual stuff about you must be old enough in your jurisdiction, etc. In other words, if you are underage, don't read this unless you have a really cool teacher who assigned it. Otherwise, come back in a few years, when nobody will yell at you. Also if you decide to have sex, wear condoms. Whether these characters do or not wear them, the ones who will live long enough to have a meaningful sexual life will be those who practice safer sex. Grow up and act like an adult: slip one or two on!
------------------------------The city's skyline had changed far more than I had anticipated it would in the ten years since I had last approached it from the direction of the airport. I saw six new buildings that now dominated the downtown area, although I couldn't really remember what it had looked like previously. I couldn't pinpoint any of the old buildings that had been replaced.
I wasn't sure that the changes were actually an improvement. It now seemed something of a hodge-podge of style, where a decade ago it had exuded something of an old world charm, albeit a bit ragged around the edges. Four of the new buildings were edifices of glass and steel striking off in seemingly random directions, reminiscent of a crystal cave turned upside down. The other two new additions were more consistent with the Germanic heritage of the original settlers, rectangular with perpendicular lines adorned with scrolls and false window balconies.
I spotted the gaudy neon sign of my hotel once my taxi turned a corner a couple blocks away. This building was not part of the new or old skyline, probably a mere twenty stories high but sprawling along a full two blocks at street level although the top fifteen levels were only in the center. It looked utilitarian but thoroughly uninteresting in detail.
As my driver pulled into the cramped semi-circular drive of the hotel's main entrance, I noticed a brightly illuminated sign welcoming my graduating class of the university. I was surprised that the electronic sign was dedicated to our ten year reunion, because the festivities didn't begin until the next night with an early arrivals cocktail party. The major event was still two nights away. I surmised the hotel must not have any other large groups in the meantime.
I chose to arrive early and stay beyond the actual reunion activities for a couple reasons. First, this was my first trip back to the area that had been the central focus of my life during four formative years, and I wanted to rediscover what I had loved about it. Second, since I had not been out to anyone while I attended undergraduate school, I wanted to see what I had missed of the gay community, if anything, during my time of studying, partying and pretending to be straight.
I know that most gay college guys come bursting out of the closet almost as soon as they hit campus, but I was somewhat backward. That means that I was still convinced that the strong attraction that I felt toward the male half of the population was indeed just a phase that I would outgrow. Of course, I realize now that much of that belief was actually based upon unjustified cowardice. I waited until graduate school to admit to myself and eventually to others who I really am.
In fact, college was a bit of a regression in my sexual exploits. I had never had any difficulty finding guys willing to play around a bit secretly during high school and even a little earlier than that. Once I got to college, though, I didn't make any obvious suggestions to anyone, although on a few occasions I tried to imply that I might be open to advances initiated by a particularly interesting guy. Either I was too subtle or they were too straight. In any case, I always left myself with plausible deniability.
My young bellhop, Andre, showed me how to insert my room key into the proper elevator slot to allow me to access my floor. When I reserved the room I had decided on a whim to use some of my excess frequent flyer miles to upgrade to a small suite in the "executive tower," a fancy name for the hotel's top floor. The online pictures of the available accommodations had convinced me that the difference between the suite and a more typical room would be worthwhile, particularly if my goal of having a visitor or two proved successful.
I took the opportunity on the ride up to the 20th floor to survey my guide. Andre was quite trim for someone a couple inches over six feet tall. Unfortunately, I couldn't determine an age. I figured he could be a mature looking 16 or a young appearing 24. I wouldn't do well operating a circus sideshow booth that would require me to guess someone's age. His blemish-free, dark chocolate skin suggested that he was comfortably beyond puberty, though. I tried to picture him in regular clothes instead of the silly, traditional bellman's uniform.
"Are you here on business, pleasure or the class reunion?" he asked as he opened my door with the keycard.
"Class reunion," I replied, "But I hope to squeeze in a little pleasure, too."
"You look too young for that," he lied.
I figured he deserved a bigger tip for his effort, though. A bit of clever flattery must be worth something, I thought.
He showed me the ins and outs of my room from operating the thermostats for the living room, bathroom and bedroom. He showed me how to operate the remote control for the television in the living room and the bedroom informing me that the TV in the bath was simply a monitor that showed whatever had been selected in the bedroom. I thanked him for that tip but explained that I had never felt a need to watch television in the bathroom.
"May I help you unpack?" he asked.
"That would be great," I said, less due to any exhaustion from my journey than as an opportunity to spend a few more minutes with this very sexy guy.
"Do you go to school?" I inquired as he slid my underwear and socks into the top drawer of the rather stylish bureau.
"I'm a junior at the university. I'm majoring in fashion design."
"Bingo!" I thought to myself. That major does not have the highest ratio of straight men of any program at the university.
By that time he had reached the bottom of my suitcase where I had stashed a couple rather adult-oriented gay men's magazines. I had been so focused upon watching my lithe assistant that I had forgotten about those.
"Where would you like your literature? Perhaps in the drawer in your nightstand?"
"Yes, that would be fine," I responded quickly out of embarrassment.
"Oh, I haven't seen this one, yet," he commented as he pushed them both into the drawer.
Clearly that statement was a confirmation of my assumption, but I wondered if it might also be something of a signal, indicating that he wanted me to know that he was not unaccustomed to such magazines or to the activities they portrayed.
"What's your work schedule?" I asked without trying to cover my motives in any way.
"I work until three in the morning," he replied nonchalantly.
"Would you care to come up for an after work drink? I expect to have a late night," I said.
"Employees of the hotel aren't allowed to visit guest rooms off duty," he replied, crushing my hopes. "That's grounds for termination."
"I'm sorry to hear that," I said with genuine disappointment but committed to not doing anything that would jeopardize his job.
"I did tell my manager that I was taking my break as soon as I was finished with this assignment, though."
"How long is your break?" I asked, tingling with anticipation.
"Just half an hour, but it would give us enough time to get to know each other a little better," he said with a wide grin made even whiter by his perfect almost black complexion. "After all, in another year and a half we're going to be fellow alumni."
"It seems like a good way to renew the old college spirit for me before I have to go to that reunion," I agreed.
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