The various nations of the world have varying ideas about who may touch whom in various ways on various parts of their bodies. In the United States, contact considered "sexual" is generally limited to those who are eighteen years of age or older. Throughout much of Europe, that age is often sixteen, though some nations consider fourteen to be an acceptable limit; in fact, there are still yet a few societies in which twelve is an acceptable age of consent.

In this realistic treatment of the topic, which takes place in the US, US rules apply. "Eighteen or older" is the rule. However, as in the author's youth, the people in this story are not ones to be much concerned about such rules. But it might be illegal for you to even READ about such things. Meanwhile, here, a youth and an adult have quite the dashingly gay affair.

As always, this author has no interest in telling pure JO stories. As always, there IS a story, and, hopefully, you will find the people interesting and their challenges exciting. There are, however, many sexy parts because sex is fun, and fun is good.

Author’s Note: Part of the fun of being gay – besides the best part: having sex with guys – is the thrill of the hunt. Adrian wants to hear how Nathan built his fortune, but Nathan weaves that dry subject in with the fine art of hitting on guys.

The Art of Pickup: The Opening

Nathan did not believe Adrian was a gold digger. He came from an affluent, loving family. He could look forward to a great career with his parents’ full support. He was independent, and he was proud. He had already shown that he was not materialistic or status conscious. Yes, he liked nice things, but Nathan understood that. Nathan liked nice things too. “Nice things” were both beautiful and durable. He paid, for example, eight hundred dollars for his custom boots, but they would likely last thirty years, so, in fact, he paid less per year for his boots than anyone who bought footgear at WalMart. His watch was seventy years old; it not only still worked perfectly, it could be taken scuba diving or rock climbing. Adrian noticed things such as that and approved. His praise was sincere and not at all envious.

No. He’s not the type.

Cheerfully, with regard to Adrian’s “innocent, naïve, child” comment, Nathan said, “Hah! OK, Mr. Socrates! I’ll tell you part of my story. This is also the beginning of the story of Brian and I. You’ve been wanting to hear that too.”

“Yes. Definitely.”

“OK. Here goes. First, I told you how I worked at my dad’s shop. I also learned for my mom, who did all the banking, bills, payroll, and taxes, so I had some idea of practical, actuarial, economics in the real world. I also spotted how the guy on the phone with the clean hands made more money than the workers, but if you were also a worker, you didn’t have to hire people, so that meant higher income and lower costs. That basic principle is key. They always say, ’There’s two ways to make money: Make more, or spend less.’ Well, if you want to really kick ass, do both!

“I told you how I got through college and learned property management at the same time; also, I got used to going to courthouses to do legal work, as one must do to proceed with evictions, so I saw what a racket lawyers had, and, in fact, I went to school with several guys he went into law, one of whom is a close friend to this day, so I have an insider there, a whistle blower, you know?

“But after college, I had no idea what career I wanted. What I wanted then was to see the world. I wanted to take all that ethereal philosophy, history, and literary knowledge I’d gained in school into the real world, and I also wanted to just do something epic – something heroic – with my young, strong body. I am sure you can relate.”

“I can! So you decided to do the Pacific Crest Trail?”

“Yep. I went alone. I’m a fast walker, but I also like to just stop and chill. I had taken up sketching at that time, and sometimes I would find a region I just wanted to remain in, and I would draw. I tried writing poetry too, but I’m not much good. I did keep a journal though, and it did make for interesting reading, later. But, anyway, the point was, I had an my own pace and rhythm that was at odds with other hikers, so I went solo. You had this problem with Stan, right? he had to stick to The Plan, and when The Plan did not work, he would fold?”

“Yep. On the one hand, his discipline made it happen. He helped me in the beginning, but later, it became a nightmare, so yeah, I get what you’re saying. Me? I did not want to know what was around the corner or over the hill. I wanted the ‘not knowing.’ I like the mystery and the wonder!”

“Yes! Yes, exactly!

“So in that spirit, I did not plan the journey much. Most people will mail themselves packages ahead of time, but that was just way too organized and tedious for me. I’d go until I ran out of food, hitchhike to the nearest town, stock up on fresh meat, make a bunch of jerky, and head out again. I ended up buying a pistol off this rancher, a 22. He said it was good for small game, like squirrels. Huh! One time I shot a deer. A small one, a young doe, actually. I shot her right behind the ear, in the spine where it joins the brain stem; she was about fifteen feet away, and she dropped in an instant. I cut her up and had enough meat for a month. I used all the parts I could. It was totally illegal.”

Adrian shook his head. “That seems kind of evil, Nathan.”

“Nah. I had heard from a Forest Service guy that they were planning on doing some thinning. The area was so overrun with deer, they were harming the habitat. They keep those thinning operations out of the news because people freak, but it has to be done all the time. They haul the carcasses off in trucks and incinerate them, a hundred at a time. Also, when they do thinning operations, they target females. So that was not a random murder. I have several pistols in a gun safe behind my seat. You ever shot a gun?”

“Yeah, my dad has guns. My mom hates it, but that’s one area where he holds his ground. He gave up motorcycles, but not guns. I’ve gone to the shooting range with him, not a lot, but every so often. He likes rifles though, not handguns so much.”

“Cool! Shooting is legal, where we are going, and I know a practice area that everyone – even the cops – go to. My guns are all legal and registered and everything. You want to shoot some handguns?”

“Fuck yeah!”

“You’ll love my Colt Python. It’s a beast! Ka-BOOM! Definitely a luxury item. Expensive rounds, and mainly overkill, but that guy will stop a bear. I also got a Glock 17, but then, who doesn’t? Also, a Smith and Wesson M63; that’s a 22 revolver, just a great little gun. That’s the one I had way back then. It’s actually my favorite pistol. I also have a 22 target pistol that’s pretty new. Haven’t used it much, but it should be a good squirrel and rabbit gun. I’m not exactly a gun nut, Adrian, but I do have a collection.”

“OK. My dad will like you. A gun totin’ liberal! He’ll get a kick out of you, man!”

Nathan chuckled. “I’m not actually a liberal, Adrian. I’m an old school conservative. I just seem liberal compared to the nut jobs that have infiltrated conservatism.”

“Well, I think you might actually get along with my dad. He would at least listen to you.”

What was interesting to Nathan was that Adrian had revealed that he was clearly thinking about him meeting his parents. This was on his mind. It was an interesting “tell.” Nathan held this piece of information close to his heart.

Adrian said, “But your Python? I’d love to shoot that! That’s what Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead has! It’s, like, THE most badass pistol on the planet!”

“Yep. It’s a kick. Literally.”

And super-duper boy bait.

Adrian laughed. “So you were saying?”

“Well, the reason I made that big point about food, was that it was a constant problem on the trail. I needed huge amounts of food, and in that food I needed huge amounts of protein. So yeah, I got a pistol, and that gave me peace of mind. I knew I’d never go hungry. I also fished a lot. I did the trail much more slowly than most thru-hikers – that’s the term for people walking the whole trail as opposed to doing sections – but I also saw a lot more of the surrounding terrain and towns to either side. I was in no hurry. I had no job to get back to. I was home. Wherever I was, that was home. I loved it. I felt my mind get clearer and clearer. I saw the simplicity in everything.

“I also met gay boys on the trail, usually in pairs, and man, oh man I love three-ways! But more often, I’d find ’em camping hippy style, hitching, riding trains, and walking near towns. Lots of bi guys, like me. But that’s another story, or, rather, that’s many stories!

“I’m getting to how I met Brian. It so happened that when I reached the road that has the campground we are going to, I decided to hitch into town – the ‘town’ being the City of Mount Shasta. It was, oh, fifteen miles from the trail? A good day’s walk, and I was walking and hitching at the same time with my backpack. Usually I would get a ride right away. Mountain folks are not like your scaredy-cat city people, and hikers are common in the area. Well, that day, there was not much traffic, and there had been only a couple of cars that were already full of people, but then I saw a guy in an old jeep after I turned to look when I heard him approach. I said he looked like ‘Keanu Reeves meets Tomothy Dalton,’ and that was true enough, but the mature Keanu, with a touch of silver at the sides of his hair, and you have to think, ‘Italian.’ Swarthy skin. Tall and lean. He even had a scar on his cheek from a fencing match! He had on Vuarnet sunglasses. They were hip in the nineties, you know? And he was wearing khaki trousers, hiking boots, and an L.L. Beane long-sleeve shirt. Looking the part, you know? Classy but understated and unpretentious.”

“Kinda like you?”

“That’s the look I like. Kinda like you too!”

Adrian laughed in his silent way, bobbing his head. Nathan was loving his expressions. He asked, “What were you wearing?”

“Well, I had an internal frame pack at the time. I started calling it an ‘infernal frame’ pack. Never could get that fucking pack to sit right. But it was fairly sleek, and it was the dark green color I like. ’Cause of my name? You know? It was my dad’s thing too. All his race cars had to be that color, ‘British Racing Green,’ and our family was English, once upon a time. But I had these custom made shorts of corduroy, but cut short, mid-thigh, loose in the legs but tight on my ass. I walked bareback ’cause I always had a problem with sweaty balls, and the loose legs helped keep a breeze going. It was a retro look. Everyone was going with long shorts, but I was a holdout. I wanted to show off my pretty legs, not hide them. I had a sort of a fedora hat too, not quite a cowboy hat. I had had problems with sunstroke, so that hat was an important survival tool. I had on a fishnet shirt too, and I was wearing sandals with short wool socks. I hated the way my sandals got all slimy, stinky, and sweaty without socks, but I actually went barefoot on the trail. It was only on pavement I wore my sandals.”


“Seriously. I still go barefoot all the time. I even wear sandals in the snow, but I’ll wear two pairs of socks and two pairs of plastic booties.”

Adrian chuckled. He sang a few of lines from “Building a Mystery” by Sarah McLachlin.

You wear sandals in the snow,

And a cross from a faith that died
Before Jesus came.
You’re building a mystery

“You sing well, Adrian!”

Adrian agreed. “I know, right? It’s one of awesome things about me!”

Nathan laughed happily at his youthful verve as they were entering the outskirts of the city of Red Bluff. It was about almost six o’clock, and they were still about two hours from their destination. The landscape was undergoing a great change. The highway started going up and down over rolling hills. It became greener. Instead of farms with cereal crops, it was ranches and fruit orchards. Nathan always liked this part of the journey. It would continue to become greener and greener while more and more mountainous. In about fifty miles, the country would be fully forested and rugged. He slowed down a little to avoid being a “ticket magnet.” With any luck, they would have just enough time to set up camp before full dark.

Nathan continued, “So anyway, the clothes I wore were practical, but they showed off my body. I showed a lot of skin. The look did not scream ‘gay,’ but it seriously hinted at it. And Brian caught that scent instantly. And you want to hear how I hit on guys in that period?”

That is exactly what I want to hear! But speaking of sweaty balls, I have my riding shorts on underneath these shorts, and I’ll be pretty skanky by the time we get to camp!”

“Oh, don’t worry about that. We’ll skinny dip in the river right after we get the tent set up. That water has miraculous powers for the skin, and we can get naked together, like we both want. It’ll be great, dude. And then we will both be fresh and clean for each other. I thought of that. OK?”

Adrian smiled happily. Nathan could see his pulse throb in his throat. The boy would make terrible poker player. He had so many “tells.” In Nathan’s mind, this was a “feature,” not a “bug.”

There was a rest stop coming up, a nice one with many small trees, still in “oak country,” not “pine country.” He asked him, “You need to piss?”

“No, I’m good.”

“Well I do. We are about an hour and a half from camp. Maybe more, maybe less. You sure?”

“Yes, Daddy, I’m sure!”

He made Nathan grin as they drove in and up to the parking area. Instead of avoiding the topic of their age difference, Adrian embraced it. On that same thread, but more seriously, he said, “First, the coffee went right through me; second, you’ll find us old guys have to piss more often, and when we do, we piss with less volume. It has to do with the prostate gland. It keeps growing with age, pressing against the bladder, making it smaller.”

“Is that why? I wondered. That’s a pisser!” Adrian laughed at his own joke.

Nathan only laughed ironically. “Haha.”

“I’ll watch the gear, Nato,” Adrian told him.

Having parked, Nathan gave him a thumbs up as he went to the bathroom. He was loathe to waste even a few minutes, but it had to be done.

Once back on the road, Nathan went as quickly as he could without driving too fast. They would soon be in Redding, and after that, it was truly mountain country.

“So, Adrian, I was saying?”

“You were going to explain the fine art of hitting on guys.”

“Ah. Yes. Well, it’s more like my version of that which I used at the time. But I keep thinking about that hat I wore. It did not quite fit my look. I had bought it on the trail down south because I found I needed a broad-brimmed hat rather than the baseball cap I’d been wearing. It was a felt hat. Expensive and nice. I bought it at a Western wear store, but I never quite liked it with the look I had, but what I’m saying relates: Part of hitting on guys means looking like a ‘player.’ You follow?”

“Yes. I think so. You’re saying that hat did not look gay?” Adrian laughed in his cute, quiet way. Nathan loved his laugh.

“Yeah, basically. So that’s part of it. Also, it did not go with my long hair which by then was long enough to tie in a pony tail, but, anyway, except for the hat, I did not look that much different from a street boy, showing off the goods – my pretty legs, hot ass, and nice chest. It was calculated, that look. So that’s one thing. I should say that though you don’t dress ‘gay,’ you dress well. All your stuff is tasteful, and it shows off your body. You are picky that way too. Am I right?”

“You are right. My mom is an influence. She has taste. I never told you, but her family is wealthy. She studied in Europe and went to private schools. She knows all kinds of things about details like that, like how to spot tailor made clothes and two thousand dollar paint jobs on cars.”

“Ah! I wondered about that. So thanks for filling in that gap, but anyway, when Brian pulled over, I said, ‘Hey!’ And I smiled. I didn’t look him over in this obviously queer way. I hate it when guys do that. I find it gauche. Too obvious, and to me, indicating that my body was all they were interested in. Booooring!

Nathan sang the last word, “camping it up.” Adrian laughed at that. “I have seen that so many times. It grosses me out too.”

“So he and I played it fairly straight, right from the first. But I did like his look. And speaking of paint jobs, his jeep was old, but it was well equipped. It had a nice paint job, new tires, not huge, but obviously not stock, and me being me, I know cars, so I saw that fender flares were done by a really good auto body guy. The roll cage was custom, not ‘mail order,’ The seats were ‘Recaro’ seats, really cool. He made that jeep seem sexy. It was open, you know, no top, and no doors, and from the sound of the motor as it idled, perfectly maintained. I liked that.

“He asked me, ‘You headed into town?’

“‘Yeah,’ I told him. ‘I’m doing the PCT. I need to stock up on food.’

“He nodded. I still could not see his eyes because of his dark sunglasses, but his short haircut was really ‘Hollywood.’ He looked about thirty-something. Definitely in my age range. He had a day’s stubble too, dark, and I could see some chest hairs peeking out of his shirt. Really macho. I have a hairy chest, by the way, Adrian.”

Adrian smiled, “I don’t think that will be a problem, Nathan. I’m looking forward to touching that, actually.”

Nathan smiled at that, feeling a thrill course through him with the thought of Adrian’s big hands upon him.

“Hah. Great. You will have a chance to do that! But, anyway, I did not have a hairy chest then. I was still twenty-four, and my chest did not get really hairy until after I was about thirty. I still looked like a twink. I didn’t like the way my chest hair only grew in a patch between my pects, so I shaved it. A shaved chest does not mean a guy is gay, of course, but it is a ‘tell,’ you know?”

“Yeah. I shave my legs, but that’s a cyclist thing. It’s not because it’s aero, like people think. It’s because it keeps the road dirt from collecting, so if you crash, it doesn’t get ground into the wound. Did you know that?”

“I think I heard that, yeah. Cool! But anyway, I knew my chest was alluring to gay men, and in that fishnet shirt, you could see my nipples, and the reason I’m going on and on about this aspect is that it is an important aspect of picking up men. It’s bait! You feel me?”

“Totally. Just like his jeep and his ‘Hollywood’ look was ‘bait’ to you.”

“Right! So we were both digging each others style without flirting at all, but we had it going on right away. Anyway, he said, ‘I was just up at Gumboot Lake fishing. My camp is about five miles from town. I can take you that far. Is that cool?’

“I said, ‘Five miles from town is better than ten miles from town, so yeah man, that’s be great!’ But before I got in I held out my hand for a shake, saying, ‘My name’s Nathan. What’s yours?’

“‘Brian,’ he said, shaking my hand. Now, I must say, I noticed you did the same thing with me, Adrian. To me, it showed manners. It showed respect. I’ve picked up plenty of hitchhikers who never tell you their name unless asked, and to me that sends a clear signal: It says they are, to put it bluntly, trash!”

“My mom would agree with you! Hey! Did you ever see the movie The Last Samurai?”

“Sure. Why?”

“Well there’s this scene where Tom Cruz, after being captured, is held prisoner while recovering from his wounds, and he won’t talk to his captor, Katsumoto, played by Ken Watanabe, and Katsumoto says, if I remember it right, ‘A failure to introduce oneself, even to an enemy, is very rude!’ And that gets through to… Ha! That character’s name was ‘Nathan’ too! Cool! But that gets him. He really begins to change. That was a critical part of the story.”

“Yeah! Good catch! Well, I guess I’m very Japanese that way. But anyway, Brian and I shake hands. He has to unbuckle his seat belt to twist in his seat to move his fishing rod out of the way so I can put my backpack there. I see he moves elegantly, and it shows off his hard, slender body. I put my backpack in, and I hop in, careful not to touch the paint of the car, and glancing at the bottoms of my sandals to make sure they have no clinging crap on them. Later, he would tell me he saw me do all that, so I was, as it were, ‘scoring points.’ Just like you did when I saw you were not leaning on my truck when I came out of of the store in Santa Clarita.”

Adrian smiled. “My dad hates it when kids get their greasy fingers on the windows of his car. ‘Always use the handles! Wash your hands! Never touch the paint!’ He has a Mercedes. My mom has an Escalade. We’ve always had nice cars, and they pay to have them detailed. I was ‘schooled!’”

They were driving through Redding then. It was not a big city, but it was the biggest city in the the region. People would drive seventy-five miles to go shopping there. The next proper city – as opposed to a town – was not until Oregon, and they were not going that far.

Just past Redding, the freeway began the first of a series of steep grades. Nathan would be passing many cars and trucks. His truck did not even notice hills. It was not quite seven. They had made good time. The western sky was turning golden, and the setting sun blazed in on Nathan’s left side.

To Adrian’s explanation, he nodded. He did not tell Adrian that he, personally, thought that Adrian’s training in manners was an afterthought on top of his genuine kindness and consideration. Nathan liked to observe and store up compliments, saving them for later. He only told him, “All that makes sense to me, so you see how I was ‘earning’ with Brian right away. I appeared to him as a ‘cut above.’ I did not know this at the time, of course, but he had an immediate, positive impression of me from the first instant, and I had an immediate, positive impression of him from the first instant.”

“Like you and me?” Adrian was leaning his turned head against the seat again, smiling cutely.

“Yeah. Like you and me. So? You wanna hear how I hit on him?”

“Fuck yeah!”

I decided I was going to hit on him. I had a pretty refined algorithm for that by then. You know what an ‘algorithm’ is, right?”

“Yeah. It’s a computer term. It means, basically, a logic circuit, like, ‘If A, then X; if B, then Y.’ Like that?”

“Exactly. So we begin with the basic two problems. The first is: Is this guy gay or straight? The second is: Does he think I’m hot? We have two knowns: I am gay; I think he’s hot; therefore, I would do him.”

“Ha! I like this! This is fun!”

“Yes, Adrian, it’s fun to hit on guys!”

They were at one of Nathan’s favorite places on the grade out of Redding. He called it, “The Gate.” On either side of the freeway, almost with transition, instead of shrubs and live oak trees, it was suddenly all pines and firs. Even the temperature dropped ten degrees. He pointed it out and turned the air-conditioning off, rolling down the windows. “Smell that!” he exclaimed.

Adrian took a long draw of scent. He sighed, “I am beginning to smell home. It smells like Oregon!”

Nathan felt his spirit lift. It smelled like home to him too.

They enjoyed the new shapes and scents to the world around them before Nathan continued. After a time, he rolled the windows back up so they could talk, but he turned the climate control to its external draw and vent mode.

“So,” he said, “That road we were on is a narrow road at that part. One lane in spots, blasted out of a rock cliff, and to one side of the river. It is one of the headwaters of the Sacramento. They call it the South Fork. Soon, my lovely boy, you and I will be nude in that very water, literally, as ‘pure as the driven snow.’ And, well, anyway, on that bright and clear sunny day, tooling along, enjoying the scene just as much as you and I enjoy this one, Brian was talking. Him, not me. He was driving really slowly and saying, ‘I like this part of California. I love to get away from LA and just camp and fish. It really recharges me.’

“And I’m being agreeable. I nod and tell him I get that, totally. I tell him that I just finished college and I’m doing the PCT to clear my mind, and it’s working. I’m feeling peaceful. I’m meeting lots of great people. I mention that rather than bring a camera, I decided to practice drawing, and this interests him greatly.

“Now, I did not tell that my Brian was an art collector. He prided himself on discovering new artists, and he had an eye man! Really good taste! And his tastes were way past mine in sophistication and edginess. My thoughts and skills at that time on the subject were rather ‘pedestrian,’ as he would say. But all he did was turn his head, reach up, pull down his shades a notch, and look at me intently, saying, ‘Really!’ He said it like that. With that same voice tone, like he thought that was astonishing. But he did not say, ‘I’m a rich art collector.’

“But WOW! When I saw his eyes? He had eyes that were brown and green. Two colored irises. Not big eyes, not small eyes, not long lashes, and not short lashes, and he had these eyebrows that were like bold slashes. Just stunning! Just a fucking beautiful guy!”

“You have pretty eyes too, Nathan.” Adrian commented, still in the same position, looking dreamy. He added, “Not girly. Not fem, but pretty. In Robert Howard’s Conan the Barbarian books, he describes Conan’s eyes as, ‘ice blue.’ You have those eyes! Very intense! You make me feel looked at! Almost scary!”

Nathan would reserve the many compliments he had about Adrian’s eyes. He did not want to follow Adrian’s kind words with words that might appear to bat them back. He wanted to simply accept the compliment and graciously acknowledge him, so he merely said, “Why thank you, Adrian. Once again, I do enjoy your capacity to admire!

“Yet, to continue?”

Adrian nodded. He had permission.

Nathan said, “Of course, at the same time I am planning on hitting on Brian, he is exerting a powerful force, and I am feeling a great amount of… Oh, I would call it ‘psychic energy!’ So I was kind of losing my touch. I was not suavely in control, so I just say, ‘Yeah, I had an industrial design class in college, and my teacher told me that many of the problems I had with my renderings would be easier if I got my licks in on some basic drawing classes.’ As a kid, I liked to draw cars a lot. I was then learning new rendering techniques, but my work sucked, so I did take some art classes, and I did enjoy them, but I was not at all sure that my work did not suck. I told him this.

“Well Brian said something really interesting then! He said, ‘Artists need to get past that way of thinking. The, “Is the good? Does this suck?” mentality only interferes. Does a bird go, “Are my flight skills good?” Does a fish wonder, “How’s my swimming?” No! Art exists in a realm above thought. It is one of the pure things in an otherwise polluted world.’

“That was Brian. He impressed me. I wanted to know him. But I had an objection. I told him, ‘Well, I can see what you are saying, but one’s work will be judged by that criteria!’

“He nodded as we putted along. Jeeps are great, Adrian. Those open tops are grand for driving in the woods. You can see all around you and feel the sky on you. That’s what I love about my Jag, too, and you know what? I AM going to sell my Dino! It’s too cramped feeling! But anyway, anyway, he said, ‘Oh, that’s true, very true, but that’s all after the work is done. I am talking about the act of creation which is pure action without an internal censor chattering away in your mind. That’s what I’m saying. You get that? Tell me. Are you brave enough to show me your work?’

Boom! Again. That was my Brian. He could be really challenging!”

“This is interesting, Nathan. So there you were trying to figure out how to hit on him, and then he gets right into your head and blasts a trumpet!”

“Heh. That’s a good way of describing it! But I was not trying to figure out how to hit on him. I had already figured that out. Getting back to my ‘algorithm,’ I had a cute trick I’d use as an opener. I’d say, ‘You’re not gay, are you?’

“See how that works? I make no commitment. I admit nothing. In fact, it comes off as a straight guy sounding suspicious. But this gives me a way to see which way the guy jumps. It could go lots of ways. He could freak and scream and shriek, ‘Why? Do I seem gay to you? Why did you say that? Do you think I’m hitting on you?’ He could be all bent out of shape. That’s one way it goes. That’s a homophobe. Fuck him! We are done!

“Or, he could look puzzled and say, ‘No, why do you ask?’ All calm. Maybe a bit confused. There’s a whole range of reactions in that band, from a little bit hurt to amused, but not freaked out. These are common reactions. People who are comfortable with their sexuality do not freak out when asked that question.

“Or! He could say yes any number of ways, from coy to direct, like, ‘Yes, I’m hitting on you,’ or, ‘I’m queer as fuck! Is that a problem?’”

“Like I did with you, huh?”

“Exactly, Adrian!

“Now if the dude gets all weird; I’m not interested. I don’t care if he’s lying or not. He does not have his shit together, so I’m done with him. To him I say, ‘Sorry! I just keep getting hit on by gay guys, and it’s made me all paranoid!’ See, that kind of guy can relate to paranoia, and he’ll usually chill. Sometimes he’ll still sulk, but, whatever. He has disqualified himself.

“Now, another guy will be all chill about it. That shows self-confidence, like I said. Even if he says, ‘No,’ I’ll say, ‘That’s too bad because I think you’re hot as fuck…’ or something like that. I also say when they ask, ‘Why?’ that it’s, ‘Wishful thinking on my part.’ I’ve used that line a lot. I’ve hooked quite few straight guys that way who were down for a gay blow job.”

“That really happens?” Adrian asked, his voice amazed.

“Fuck yes it happens!”

“And you’ve done that?”

Nathan chuckled at Adrian’s innocence. “Many times. I like to suck cock. I like to suck cock so much, I’ll do it with no ‘reciprocity’ at all. I hear I’m good at it.”

Adrian sighed. “I just can’t see myself in such a… Oh…

“Submissive, subdominant, bitch role?”

Adrian looked contrite. “I didn’t want to say it. It sounds like an insult.”

“Well, I did tell you I dressed in drag and blew a total stranger while getting my ass fucked in a public park!”

“Oh yeah. That was fucking incredibly hot!”

“So I guess you could say that I acquired a taste for edgy stuff early on. But, hear this! I was also not a little pussy. I got into fights! I had no problem telling a dude if I heard one word of shit about it, there would be vengeance. So I was not bullied. I mean, let me ask you this, when was the last time you heard a guy bragging about letting a gay boy blow him?”

“Well, I have heard that! You are wrong! There was a kid at high school who had that rep as a cocksucker! He was in the Boy Scouts. The things they said about him were awful, Nathan!”

Nathan nodded. Adrian was right of course. There was that danger. So he told him, “Well, that never happened to me. But then, I never serviced a bully or snaky, slimy dudes. Let me guess, this kid that got that rep? He was a strange kid, weird, a loner, and friendless, right?”

“Yeah. He was kinda creepy.”

“And probably a pussy, too. Not standing up for himself. Unwilling to fight.”

“Yes. Totally.”

“So he would have been picked on, gay or straight.”

“Probably,” Adrian conceded.

“Well, I was popular, and I had lots of big, badass friends. That kid did not have a positive reputation to begin with; in fact, the opposite, so that’s part of it. Also, I only did it with guys I thought were cool. So there is that. If you play that game, you do gotta know how to pick them. OK? You buy that?”

“I can buy that. OK. So? Brian?”

They were on another steep grade, and once again in a construction zone, so they lost a lane and had to slow until an opportunity arose to blow by the trucks. Nathan did not drive too quickly, however. Cops loved to give tickets in construction zones, which also made social sense, for it was more dangerous driving, and impatient drivers did endanger others.

Cruising along then through that zone, he continued, “So with Brian, right after he said that about looking at my drawings, I told him, ‘No, I have no problem with that, but this isn’t just some coy way to hit on me, is it?’”

“Ah ha! I was wondering how you would do that! And what did he say?”

“He said, ‘Oh, it is. It is! You are quite the Apollo, dear boy, but don’t worry. I also have an eye for art, and I really would like to see what you’ve done on your hike!’

“So? See how that worked? He came out to me right away. Also, I said my line in a cheerful way, not hostile. Very pleasant, like a cool – but straight – guy might say. Not homophobic, just wanting to know the score. Not threatening him. Amused. See?”

“Yeah. Now, I could see myself doing that!”

“It’s a technique that works for us pretty guys. Even straight guys know that pretty boys attract gay guys, and so they get wary. So it’s entirely believable and natural to ask. I mean, you even told me about a gay guy you blew off because you thought he was classist, right? And I’ll bet he’s not the only one you have spurned.”

“Far from it. Most gay guys give me the creeps, Nathan. I’m gay, and I’m homophobic.”

“Join the club! That’s another dirty little secret of the gay tribe. We are elitist cunts with many separate, mutually exclusive, subcultures. The word among gay jocks is: Never have anything to do with effeminate guys. They cannot keep their mouths shut; they will brag about you as a conquest. You have to keep the circle closed.”

Adrian nodded at this information. Nathan could see that he believed it. That was good, for it was true… or mostly true, for Nathan had learned that there was the occasional, discreet femboy, but such a one was the exception, not the rule.

Questions? Comments? Critiques? In a business class, I once heard that single letter, honestly written, should be considered "the voice of ten thousand people." That was back in the days before social media, but I figure that anyone who has taken the time and effort to select, copy, and paste my email address into the address bar and then write something up is no fool. Speak freely. I will listen. I'll even answer. In fact, I've made a lot a great friends this way. My readers rock.

Cheers, Dorian Swift

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