I was Always a Sucker for Adventure
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I came out to myself after my first meet up with this very nice older man. And once again, one thing led to another, he eventually told me about a bath house near Hollywood, that was a great place to meet other men for sex as well.
And that is what started me the adventure of going to the baths in Los Angeles at the age of 19 1/2 years. The baths were a place you knew men were looking for sex. Even so I used the baths to meet other men for sex as well as for other reasons. I formed many great friendships with other men seeking sex at these baths. To me it was more a place to meet men, and if sex was to happen ok, but if not, other men were there to meet and get to know.
Now being an out gay man meant I was always looking to meet men for intimacy as well as for friendship. But many men who liked sex with other men were not so open about their lives. I found this out when I was a yell leader for UCLA. I was a yell leader for two years while at UCLA and the second year was the year where I learned this lesson. I was the only white man on a squad of all black men. While it felt strange to be a “token” white, it was also a lot of fun.
On a trip to a game out of state, where our basketball team would play, we yell leaders were put up in a house on campus for the night. I would share a room with one of the other men on the squad. While sharing a large bed, we ended up having sex. I was not surprised but actually very relieved that I could be sexual with such a hot man that shared my love of cheerleading.
One thing led to another, and as we became friends, he told me that one of the guys on the football team, a Defensive Back, who remained nameless, was very interested in a date with me. I said I would be very interested in meeting this guy as well. I was very curious as to who this unknown man was, but before I could find out I was told that he was scared to ever be seen with me for fear that it might become known that he was a queer man being seen with a very out and about gay man.
While at UCLA I had two roommates who I had meet at the baths, and even though we all never had sex we all became fast friends. One thing led to another and they both liked to go out to this gay bar on Santa Monica Blvd, in the area that would become West Hollywood years late. So, I went with them and was very excited to go to this bar knowing this is where other men went to see and be seen. The bar was a western bar, and even though dancing with the same sex was still illegal, this bar was known to be somewhat safe for this.
We were there one night, and it was pretty crowded and we were dancing having fun when all of a sudden the music stopped and a loud voice rang out asking to stop everything and just stand there as we were being raided by the vice squad of the local sheriff’s office. Not having gone through this before I had no idea how to react and therefore stood in stone cold silence. So the lights came up and we saw some men come in and walk around, but this was not a sex bar or known for drugs of any kind, so within 15 minutes the lights went back down and we were free to enjoy ourselves once again.
I had always heard through the “tell a queer” message service, that these raids occurred at bars and even the baths, but this was my only experience.
For those of us living in the LA area, the bars, beaches and baths were basically our piers and meat packing districts that New Yorkers had for their sexual pursuits. And for many of us in this times, word of mouth, and a grand sense of adventure of what one would find at these places, would create a must go to place for those of us seeking other such men!
As the character played by Bette Midler in the movie, The Rose said, “I’m a sucker for adventure”. I always was a sucker for the adventure of being a gay man in those times never knowing who or what you ran into, that made all of this for me a grand experience.
Follow Richard on twitter @UCLA1972
Editor’s note: Yesterday we called this the conclusion to “One thing Led to Another…,” but revised it as “part II.” Richard’s story is fascinating and keeps getting better. We hope to continue bringing you his insight into this part of our Community’s story well beyond Pride 2019.
Previous posts from theOUTfront series, “Generations of Pride”
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