Edit additions: (Coming Out Twice – Survival Additions)
Danny come and read this…
There were a lot of people we knew and dated in those years, boys were dispensable and relationships were judged on the three week scale. There were a clique of us who used to gather at the Parliament House on weekends, we used to play balcony Bingo – remember that? There were three bars at the Parliament house, the building itself, the bar on the back 40 and the country bar in the back of the site. There was always one room designated for breeder couples that people used to stand outside the windows and watch. That was always a fun time. We were so naughty then.
The Night I came out – was that Saturday night in January after my 21st birthday. That would have been in 1989, that was a long time ago. I eventually moved to Orlando into that apartment complex that was near Hotel Plaza Boulevard, on the far side of the I-4. Before they built that hotel on the front 40 of the lot. Those apartments were some of the best I had ever lived in, compared to where I live today, in a small 1 bedroom, tower with balcony here in Montreal.
I met Patrick and his BF on a cruise the Christmas prior where I came out to my best friend, they were after him, and he told them that he wasn’t gay, but he thought that I was. I was… So after the holiday I traveled to Orlando to visit friends, and that is when I was outed to the rest of the world where this story picks up, below…
The Big Night came on a Saturday night. I was dressed for the kill and we drove to the P-House. We paid our cover and walked through the piano bar and into the Foot Light Theatre. Carmella Marcella Garcia was Host and MC. I had never seen a drag show before, but I was quickly hooked. Jimmie, Dana, Rusty and Carmella, Rene and Cheena, and the list of many others graced that stage over those years.
Patrick walked me into the disco in the back of the bar; The Communards were starting up on the turntable. Jimmy Somerville was singing “Never can say Goodbye!” I danced with Patrick – my first gay dance, and then he kissed me. I wouldn’t have been mean to anyone, on this particular night, it being the first night I was ever in the Parliament House. Patrick’s BF was a flight attendant, Patrick was much better behaved than his mate at the time. Patrick and I would visit the Parliament house again and again. But those days were far and few between. My memory of this time is sketchy today.
Out of all the men I dated while I was away, only one was the most important, and that was Charlie, maybe because we weren’t boyfriends. But we relied on each other and we had really great sex, whenever we wanted. He was a season employee at the Tragic Queendom, so our love life was doomed from the start.
Much can be said about this time of our lives, when we were young and beautiful. Carmella was doing “Under the Boardwalk” and Rusty was doing “Fancy” by Reba. Boys were a plenty, and beauty was the order of the day. I was a virgin in the clouds of heaven. I lived in that apartment complex across the street from what was then (Seasonal housing) for employees. That’s where Dustin, John and Charlie lived, we used to go to Southern Nights, which is closed now…
If YOU say you are who you are, you had an apartment in that apartment complex too. There is a huge hotel that sits on that space in front of the complex (Where I lived), where we used to have a birds eye view of E.P.C.O.T fireworks at night. Damn they built that hotel on the land in front. Patrick and his BF (Mark??) was it lived there too, that’s why I moved there. To be near them and to be gay.
There were many gay boys in that Wyndham complex, if memory serves??? We used to gather at the hot tub at night after work. Then they built Pleasure Island next to the, now revamped downtown Disney. We used to dance at Mannequins and drink and get drunk at the Adventurers Club and there was the skate rink that hosted happy hour and you got a ticket to any other club on the island afterwards. Mannequins was great with the light show, the dancers, who lived next door to me, David and Robert. The spinning dance floor where the boys would start off dancing off sides moving towards each other as the night progressed.
The Parliament House was a haven for us boys, I remember LEE the bar back. He was a stud. I had “HAD”him one Valentines night, when John and I were there togethe, we weren’t a couple, but friends, Lee came over and said something to me and we ended up disappearing for a couple of hours to have sex in the electrical room while he was on shift that night, and didn’t we get caught coming in separate entrances into the Footlight Theatre by Ms.P that night…. Look who just had sex, aren’t we the lucky ones – aren’t we??
Many memories exist inside that disco at the Parliament house. The Night to end all nights was New Years Eve, when we deposited on a table for eight, and in the disco was where I caught my boyfriend ROCKY sucking off his ex on New Years night, after we had rented the limo, bought champagne and shit, and he ditched me in the theatre to be with his ex, and that night I didn’t go home, I went home with a friend because I was upset and wasted.
And when I did get home the next day (MY EX Rocky) moved out everything from the apartment – he up and left me high and dry with an empty apartment that we had just moved into – the complex wasn’t even finished, behind the grocery store down the street from Hotel Plaza Boulevard… Those were the days…
You know who you are – of you say you are who you say you are, that you and I were close friends, we spent a great many nights together talking and touching, but you would never have sex with me, which was a bummer… I raise the faith question because that set you apart from all the other boys I knew then. I had never known a Mormon boy before. Since I study religion these days, I remember you very well…
There was another boy I was in love with, his name escapes me but he was a MORMON boy who went on to be one of the Great ‘Voices of America’ at E.P.C.O.T after I moved away. He took care of me when I was sick and when I had surgery on my foot.
(I was NOT HIV + then) and he had beautiful eyes and a smile that lit up a room. We had a very chaste relationship and that was ok with me.
I flirted with conversion of virgin boys. I had two roommates in a 3 bedroom apartment at one time, David, Robert and myself. We had three friends who lived across the way from us in another cast complex; Dustin, John and my “buddy” Charlie. John was the odd man out. And he loved to tease me.
He wore Obsession by Calvin Klein. He would spray it on my pillows and on my towels in my bathroom. He taunted me with sex, and I was not one to say no to a challenge. We went out one night, we got drunk and he got in my bed. He crossed the field, jumped the fence and dug right in from the first moment. I have a bottle of Obsession in my bathroom today.
This little story did not end nicely, but I did see John at the park several times after this period of time. I went looking for him on several occasions – during the years that I lived in Miami and visited the parks. We were young and we did a lot of stupid things, we hurt each other, we were petulant, and queeny.
It wasn’t a stretch to think how people back stabbed each other, sleeping with each others boyfriends, it was a nasty business. But I guess we had to go through that to grow up. If I could – and the stars aligned, and people were resurrected from the dead, I would like to go back and visit that time in my life, but we can never go backwards, only forwards.
I worked in the grocery store on the road that went up past Hotel Plaza Boulevard. That was a short lived job, because I got mixed up with a really bad crowd of people. It was the most hectic and hateful period of my life, because the men I got involved with were strange and crazy. When I moved from Orlando to Daytona Beach, what a HUGE mistake that was. I should have never did that. But the things we do for love, right???
But there was the Boardwalk club we used to drive out to on weekend nights from Orlando to Daytona Beach, that was a lot of fun. Was it Danny, the tall young man whom I was hanging out with, his mom used to bar hop with us? I guess that was his name, if memory serves. It was so long ago, I am sitting here trying to remember the past and my memory is shoddy at best.
Danny – he was a great dancer, he used to do that gig from Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation from the video, that I can remember, we used to have fun together. We were all so young then, my how times have changed. I don’t know what else to write. There are memories of being backstage at the Parliament House and all the pageants that we had been part of, the dancers and the holiday shows they used to put on.
There was the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas show that was always fun, the Valentines night show, and one show in particular when They did the “Red Dress on the pedistle number with the song “Lady in Red” where the girls came out and were set on their white pedistles.
Many of those drag queens, [read:friends] are now long since dead. Dana Manchester was the last of them that I knew, we worked together at a bar in Miami many years later at the Ozone Club. Dana was sick, and so was I. I was facing my death then, and she was very supportive of me in those early years when I was so sick. She died a few years after I had moved to Miami Beach, and one night I was at Nicks house and saw a report in one of those gay rags, and I wept because I really loved her, sad that so many of our friends died from this god awful disease. But I survived, I cannot tell you why I am still alive, but I am here. Someone up there is liking me ….