Monday, January 09, 2006
You Just Never Know What You'll Find Cleaning Up Around the House
Every year around this time, I like to clean up around the house. I had come across a box of books and magazines I had stored on a shelf in the basement when I moved. I needed the storage space to put away some Christmas decorations, so I started rummaging through the box. A little part of my life was stored in that box. I had come across a 20 year old Spartacus Guide for Gay Men.
The world seemed a little less complicated a generation ago. For instance on page 35 of that edition which had a hot illustration of a hot dude drawn by the artist, Salmov, it listed under Kabul, Afghanistan, the Flower House Hotel on Chicken Street, ( I didn't make this up) with the following description: "Local youths who visited the restaurant were very beautiful and friendly." The informational listing also stated the following, "We fear that homosexuality is illegal and that you have to be very much on your guard." Things somehow never quite change.
Amsterdam and San Francisco seemed to have the most gay listings with New York not far behind. Lots of sex shows were listed, which would be somewhat scaled back today, replaced by more escort services. Various gay bars and guest houses took full page ads illustrating their accomodations and their guests having fun. Not a hairy chest to be found in this edition, but some moustached faces graced certain advertisements, hanging on to the clone look of the late 70's and early 80's. Even Damron's took a quarter page ad at the beginning of the USA listings.
It had been a few years since I came out, and 1986 seemed to be my year to travel to Boston, Hot'lanta, NYC, Chicago, San Diego, LA and other places. And I wanted to know more about gay places in the world. Both of these guides were the only references out there at the time for gay men. Before the internet, a gay guide had to depend on dated information and hope that the establishments listed were still in business. More times than not, the bar that seemed hot when you read the listing, was no longer around. But there seemed to be a new one nearby. You learned to find more current information once you got to your destination by word of mouth.
Today, with the net, this lack of updated information doesn't exist. So guys who are treking out for their first gay adventure, have plenty of current sources to take the mystery and sometimes misery out of gay traveling.
So you'll never know what you might find rummaging through a box stored away on a hidden shelf. Looking through that Spartacus guide brought back good memories. But I was too young back then , too afraid, and too skinny to have given big hairy muscle hugs in my bar vest, boots and leather jeans. That's why I like to live in the present and be able to share insights and thoughts with you guys.