Saturday, September 19, 2009

Amsterdam Nights

I've had a lot of romantic and sexual partners in my life. More than I can remember in my long (as I like to call it) "career" as a homosexual. But only once did I actually use someone for economic purposes. I'm not proud of this, but I'll tell you how it happened.

I was twenty-one, and living with a bunch of international hippies in an abandoned house in Amsterdam. It was winter, and the canals had frozen solid. My wonderful friend, Bob, who I'd just met a few days earlier, decided to show me one of Amsterdam's huge gay dance clubs. Bob wasn't gay, but when I told him I was (an act of unbelievable courage for me at that tender age) he just wanted to show me what Amsterdam had to offer.

This was 1971. The beginning years of gay liberation, and I had never been to a gay disco. I don't even think there were any in Detroit, where I grew up. On that winter night in Amsterdam, Bob and I walked into a huge and fabulous multi-level space with dance music blasting. It seemed like there were a thousand kids dancing and partying. Kids from all over the world. I'm sure I must have looked a little dazed and star-struck.

A few hours into the evening, I was standing near the dance floor, when a guy came up to me and started speaking Spanish. I told him I don't speak Spanish, and he switched over to English. He said his name was S., and that he was from Mexico. He'd thought I was Mexican. I don't know why. I had just arrived from weeks in Spain and Morocco, so I'm sure I was pretty tanned. I also had a moustache and was in my scruffy, hippy mode of attire. S. said he was an artist and had a factory in Guadalajara that produced his decorative art objects.

He was obviously "interested" in me, but here I've got to be completely honest. S. was a good-looking, very charming and intelligent guy, but he was TWENTY-SIX! When I was twenty-one, someone who was twenty-six was beyond my comprehension. I know, I'm an "ageist pig"", but there it is. I just was not attracted to such an old guy. (I realize this is totally absurd– have you looked at a twenty-six year old lately?) The other thing I have to admit, is that i've always liked younger guys. When I was twelve, I liked eleven year olds.....

Well, I guess S. was pretty persuasive, because I ended up leaving with him. And it turned out that he was staying in an incredibly luxurious gay hotel. I need to remind you that at this time I had been living in an abandoned, broken-down hippy house with NO HEAT and horrible plumbing in the middle of the Dutch winter. S.'s gay hotel had central heating, double mattress beds, impeccably clean bathrooms and a multi-course breakfast served every morning!

So, like a total whore, I stayed with S. for a while. Actually, he was a really interesting guy, and I learned a lot from him. He showed me slides of some of his artwork. I could see that it was imaginatively and professionally done, but it was decorative art, and didn't have the depth or soul that I look for in art. I should mention, that S. eventually became internationally famous and very rich, with his own high-end galleries all over the world.

So that's my story. After a while I moved back to America to begin my music career in earnest. It was the one time I used my looks and youth to get bourgeois, material comfort. I hope you won't judge me too harshly.

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