Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Horniness is a mean tyrant. One minute you’re at home, sipping a protein shake, watching Bridezillas, and the next you’re crawling across the floor of a loft in Potrero Hill, wearing nothing but a jock strap. Or following a hot yet ultimately tweaked-out, limp-dicked leather stud back to his house in the suburbs of Minneapolis, where in a moment of tender intimacy he reveals his deepest desire: to give you a buzz cut on a folding chair in his basement. Without a cosmetology license.

I’ve gone to great lengths for sex. Driven ninety minutes through a blizzard for a romp in a hot tub. Fallen asleep several split seconds on Florida’s Tamiami Trail, driving home after a late-night-through-early-morning tryst in Tampa. Even drove all the way to San Jose.

This didn’t strike me, at the time, as much of a sacrifice. After all, the poor suckers living outside gay mecca are expected to drive in for booty calls; how noble of me to deliver.

Driving an hour for sex requires rationalization, so that one’s desperation becomes adequately, casually, cloaked. I have a new car, I told myself. I like to drive! What would I do with myself if I had to wait for him to drive to San Francisco? Crank out a few sets of push-ups on my bedroom carpet? Change my underwear? Floss? Much better to crack open the moon roof and count the REI outlets on Highway 101.

But the greatest rationalization was this: to fulfill my Latino Daddy fantasy.

Oh, please, like you don’t have one.

Sure, call me racist. But I merely participated in a long tradition of interracial sexual fantasy complicated by power narratives. Colonization. Slavery. Mexican pool boys. If I typecast a man or two along the way, well, they’re probably doing the same with me. And that’s hot.

Carlos fit the bill. Mid-forties, butch, divorced. English as a second language, which led to hot online exchanges.

“Can we talk in the phone?” he asked.

But of course.

I offered to drive. To fulfill a Latino Daddy fantasy, you have to go to San Jose. It’s part of the deal. He was delighted. “Nobody ever come to San Jose!” he said. “I can’t wait to hold on you.”

That made two of us. I hightailed it south, moon roof open, Sasha rockin’ the Bose bass. I figured I was about half-way there when I glanced at the dashboard clock. Ten minutes had passed.

I remembered then the reason people generally don’t drive an hour for sex. An hour is an awfully long time; plenty of time to examine your actions and their attendant motivations. Time to realize what most of us know about casual sex; it’s an escape, and as long as you’re engaged in the act of fucking, you can distract yourself from larger questions like Am I happy? or Did I really need a $200 pair of jeans? But during the commute, one’s mind wanders. Maybe I should be volunteering for a worthy nonprofit. Which is fine if you’re just bopping over the hill to Noe Valley. But San Jose is a different story. What if my dead mother is watching me, right now? Blushing. Wondering why I wasn’t home working on my damn book. Or making a dentist appointment.

Apparently not trusting me to the twists and turns of South San Jose’s mean streets, Carlos had me meet him at a bar near the freeway, where he stood waiting for me at the edge of the parking lot. I took him in with one quick glance: faded jeans, boots, a leather vest over his bare torso. The night was turning out well; Latino Daddy and Leather Daddy in one fell swoop! He waved me into a parking spot, and ushered me inside so he could finish his beer.

The bar was leatherish, with young bartenders just a few short months out of twinkdom, their plucked eyebrows throwing the rickety display of their rugged drag off-balance. Carlos introduced me to each of them while leisurely sipping his Bud. Frankly I wanted to split. Crossing the threshold of a bar with a potential trick meant crossing the border from private into public sex life, and for this I was unprepared. When Carlos leaned down and kissed me, my Midwestern modesty swelled up and I blushed crimson. What was I ashamed of? Carlos? Strangers with plucked eyebrows catching a glimpse of my sex life? Had we been, say, in his kitchen alone, a minute after walking through his front door, I would have gladly swapped spit with Carlos. But there in the bar, on display, I met his kiss with hesitation. Sensing this, Carlos grabbed my hand and pressed it against a length of warm iron pipe filling out his crotch.

“You look good to me,” he said.

“Good,” I answered. “Finish your beer.”

Warm nights, rare in San Francisco, always make me horny. All that languid heat, the air warm as blood, feels somehow wasted without good sex. Inland San Jose ranked a good ten degrees warmer than home, and as I followed Carlos back to his place, the warm air poured in through the open windows, and my modesty faded.

His house, with a neatly manicured lawn out front, was decorated in Desert Gay; lots of pale earth tones, glass, and chrome, which clashed with the Leather Daddy fantasy; I barely glanced at his Ethan Allens. The respectable house fucked with my Latino Daddy fantasy as well; clearly Carlos was raking in the dough. Guess that made me the pool boy.

As if reading my mind, Carlos led me into his kitchen (glass of water), where he pushed me against the counter and planted a big fat wet one on me. This is the part in the movie where we would shove various pots, pans, and silverware from the counter onto the floor in our violent embrace. This did not happen. His kiss was all passionate exterior: growling and grinding against me, his hands gripping my waist. But the inner life of the kiss was missing, because he kept his tongue in his mouth. Without it our kiss was strangely chaste. Where was the damned thing? I tried teasing it out with my own, and sensed its reluctant presence just out of reach. Good sloppy kissing opens every other door. Everybody knows that, just as everybody thinks they’re an amazing kisser. Without Carlos’ tongue joining our party, I wondered how everything would fare once we hit the bedroom. Still, I had driven an hour.

In the bedroom Carlos began fiddling with a remote control, pointing it in the direction of an enormous television in the corner. My stomach sank. He’s playing porn! For our first time together! He needs porn! As if I weren’t enough of a hot package, all by myself! Sure enough, after what seemed like ten minutes of fiddling, a pair of shirtless ranch hands strolling across a green pasture filled the screen.

During the fiddling, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I sat on the edge of the bed awkwardly, half undressed, running through my options. Look at him? The VCR? My reflection in his carefully-positioned mirrors? I spent five minutes taking off each sock. He turned back to me once the ranch hands snuck into the barn.

He was one of those tops whose idea of foreplay is to pat you on the shoulder before bending you over the edge of the bed.

“Uh, yeah,” I said. “That’s not going to work.” Not after five years of near-celibacy. Fortunately he took requests, and once I managed to coax his tongue out from hiding, we had a pretty good time. Even when I glanced up and saw him watching the television screen. The trick to sex is to twist certain turn-offs around to their opposite. C’mon, It’s fun to be reduced to a sexual object! At least for a half an hour or so. And the mirrors weren’t half-bad, either.

Over our moans and grunts I heard noises down the hall. The roommate was getting an earful. Around the time a second pair of ranch hands began frolicking on a bale of hay, Carlos surprised me by initiating a leisurely round two. Later, catching my breath, I heard a click, and behind me some kind of machine kicked into life.

“Oh my God,” I thought, “Power drill. Electric carving knife. This is where promiscuity gets me killed.”

I glanced over my shoulder; Carlos had pulled a hand-held massage tool from out of nowhere. It looked like a padded grapefruit on the end of a flashlight, and it vibrated noisily over the television’s quiet grunts. He ran it lightly over my shoulder blades.

Whatever floats your boat, I thought.

The tool drifted lower across my back.

Hmm, I thought. What a generous man, giving me a post-sex massage.

The grapefruit drifted further south…

“Ow!” I yelled. “Fucking A!”

“What?” he said.

“Dude, that thing is not going to fit there.”

“Sorry,” he said. “I get, um, excited…”

“I can see that,” I said. Clearly he was used to power bottoms. A moment or two passed before my muscles relaxed, and the grapefruit rolled back and forth over my shoulder blades again before beating a hasty path south.

“FUCK!”

“Sorry…”

“Time for me to go.”

“I’m sorry, please stay.”

“No, really,” I said. “I have a long drive. It’s late. I’m tired.” I yawned helpfully.

As I dressed he stood beside me, rapt by the action on the television.

“Next time,” he said, nodding at the screen, “We do that?”

I glanced over. Cops had replaced ranch hands, and someone was getting penetrated by a nightstick.

“Sure,” I said. “Next time.”

He walked me to the bedroom door. I could hear footsteps in the hallway. Suddenly Carlos had a strange expression.

“Um…” he said.

“Roommate?” I asked.

“Um…no,” he said. “My daughter.”

I swallowed. “Your daughter.”

“I thought…I thought she stay with her mother tonight,” he said. “Un momento.” He opened his closet door, and pulled out a shirt.

Their bedrooms, in fact, were separated by a single wall. As we passed her open doorway I caught a glimpse of the long-haired girl (fourteen? fifteen?), her back to us, sitting at her computer, the screen casting light around her silhouette. We skulked down the hallway to the front door, where he gave me a quiet, hasty kiss.

As I pulled away from the curb I glanced out the window. My Latino Daddy fantasy waved good-bye, and a moment later the porch light flicked off.

I took 280 home. That route, or at least a good twenty-mile stretch of it, has been called “the most beautiful freeway in the world.” By whom, I’ve never known, but apparently it’s won a few awards. It seemed a good choice for a quiet drive home. During daylight the road has views of the Santa Cruz mountains to the west, and gentle green hills to its east hides the suburban sprawl. The road traces the eastern rim of the San Andreas Fault, passing a reservoir that fills the fault’s canyon.

But at midnight I could see none of this, only the dark shapes of hills against the star-lit sky. The only sign of its beauty was the scent of the valley through the moon roof; thick, floral, an unexpected gift for a late-night drive. It had been years since my last trip up that road, and I had forgotten about the darkness. There were few lights along the freeway: no neon-lit fast food joints, no pools of gas station fluorescence. I should have enjoyed it more had I not realized, a few minutes into my drive, that my fuel tank light was on. So stupid, I thought. So fucking stupid. Panic surged past reason; my foot pressed hard on the pedal. I passed clusters of cars and raced through long stretches of empty road. The sweet smell of the valley ran beside my fear. My pulse hammered in time with the stereo’s bass, and I hurtled through the night along the edge of the fragile valley. I searched the horizon, expecting rescue over each hill, finding nothing but dark valleys, black groves of trees, and stars pin-pricking the sky.

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