Toronto motss.con: a retrospective

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Jul 10, 1991, 4:03:38 PM7/10/91
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Ah, Toronto! A chance to meet the people of soc.motss (some of whom I've
exchanged e-mail with), to go sightseeing, and to explore the gay life of
Toronto. I figured I'd be letting loose, but I had no idea I'd end up
losing so many "purity points" :-) and doing so many things I'd never done
before -- cruising an Asian hunk on the ferry back from Hanlan's Beach and
finding myself with a friend and "tour guide" for the weekend, making the
rounds of the local strip joints, visiting the Spa on Maitland ("Oh, so
*this* is a bathhouse!") ... But I'll get to this later.

Arrival: My roommate-to-be (we had never before met) picked me up at the
airport on Thursday (Thanks!). After a leisurely ride (we got lost) to the
Neill-Wycik "hotel," we settled in to our walk-in closet--er, room. My
roommate found out just how expensive the parking lots are, and he told me
about the hooker who propositioned him near the N-W. On Friday morning we
passed on breakfast in the N-W's cafeteria, opting for The Golden Griddle,
where I learned that *fresh* V8 juice is *not* supposed to taste like beer.
We meandered toward the CN tower, mixing with the hustle and bustle of Yonge
St, sweltering in the heat. We stopped to cool off at Eaton Place, a huge
mall full of locals and tourists. The CN Tower offered a great view of
Toronto, including a stomach-churning view of the pavement, 1100 feet
straight down!

Friday evening: The reception at Brian Jarvis's was a good ice-breaker.
Daniel MacKay looked older and taller than I expected, while Laura Creighton
looked younger and smaller. It was good to talk to Jeff Shaevel in person
after months of e-mail, as well as Boston-area locals like Robert Coren and
John Gintell. I met other nice folks, too, and would get to know more over
the weekend.

My Saturday began with a jaunt to Ontario Place, a park at which Jeff Shaevel
and I rode the bumper boats, played miniature golf, and saw an amazingly
realistic 3-D film that made a small child bawl in terror. Picnic on the
Toronto Islands: We headed for the docks and ran into Mara Chibnik and her
husband, plus two other soc.motss-ers. The 3 athletic guys who boarded the
ferry with us seemed to walk toward the clothing-optional beach when they
disembarked. The weather had become cloudy and cool. I was hoping to keep
warm by tossing a frisbee around, but no one seemed interested, so I rented
a bicycle and toured the islands, crossing paths with a tall woman with light
brown hair. (For those who recall the "diary" posting by Max Vasilatos, I was
the "young white man in shorts" who Stephanie Hudner saw from her bicycle.)

Those of you who waited to return on the 6 o'clock ferry may have noticed a
bronzed, athletic Asian who got off the tram at the dock. I certainly did.
On the ferry, we sat on opposite sides, cruising each other during the
10-minute ride back to Toronto. What was I doing?! This was only the
second time I'd ever played this eye-contact game, and that's just what it
had been the first time--a game. This time I had the courage (sufficient
motivation? free-spiritedness?) to actually walk up to him (after
disembarking) and start a conversation. I was a bit nervous, partly because
I still couldn't believe that I was in the process of picking up a total
stranger! Is it superfluous to say that I'd never been to a gay bar? :-)

Saturday night: Dinner with Joey (my new-found friend from ferry). Later
we watched the strippers in "Bachelors" and then headed toward "Boots". I
bowed out when I saw that the line was long and the hour was late. We
agreed to get in touch again by tomorrow evening. It had been an
unbelievable day!

Sunday morning: I didn't recognize Ron Rizzo as the clean-shaven man
walking next to us on our way to the dim sum brunch. The dining room was
palatial--ornate and expansive--and we kept eating and eating. Did
anyone ever figure out what that sesame-flavored, fruit-roll-up/Ho-Ho clone
was? :-)

Sunday afternoon, Pride Day: Where was everyone? I thought we were meeting
at the bakery/cafe with the sign, "Mmmarvelous mmmuffins". (What ever
happened to our plan to take a photo in front of it?) Miraculously, I
spotted Brian J, Robert, and John among the crowd, and they pointed at
the cafe in which the others were hanging out. Later--surprise!--
Joey bumped into me again. He moved to the front of the crowd to
get a better view, while I stood precariously on a narrow ledge, 50 cm
above sidewalk level. A group of three or four men arrived and stood near
me. One of them decided to discreetly cop a feel of my cycling shorts, and
I decided to let him. :-) What the hey, it was Gay Pride! The Parade was
fantastic, diverse: lesbian bikers, drag queens, the gay fathers group,
local community service groups, packets of condoms thrown into the crowd,
even a man wearing conical bra cups that squirted water!

Amid the festive, post-parade atmosphere, Joey suggested that I pander to
the rampant cruising by taking my muscle t-shirt off. So I did. What the
hey, it was Gay Pride. :-) The Festival Choir was performing from a dias
(one member even siGNing for the deaf). When they sang "Somewhere" (from
_West_Side_Story_), a hushed reverence befell the crowd as the female lead
soulfully belted out, "There's a place for us, somewhere a place for us..."
Really quite moving.

On Sunday night, Joey and I ate at a quaint little diner (complete with
broken jukeboxes at each table), and then visited two strip clubs.
"Fantasies" had upscale younger men (and a few women) watching hunky blond
men; the club on Isabella St. was quite seedy. It featured boyish ne'er-
do-wells, and many patrons seemed like the lost generation. We saw one
patron getting worked up by a table dancer and then leaving with the
stripper -- his "boy" for the night, no doubt. Then we went to the Spa on
Maitland, which Joey said had a "friendlier" atmosphere than the other
bathhouses. Right. Kinda like saying Qaddafi is nicer than other
dictators. :-) Traipsing up and down the corridors in a towel; peeking into
dimly-lit private rooms, where expectant people waited for unsuspecting prey
to enter; people sizing each other up like so much meat...

I must confess, this evening of experiences in the world of gay sex was
beginning to take its toll on me. My super-ego, which had been on vacation
since Saturday, returned and started to haunt me with feelings of guilt and
self-loathing. But then I met a real cutie -- a small, Chinese-Canadian,
college student. We started chatting, and then along came another
soc.motss-er! I was initially mortified at being recognized here, but then
relieved that there was somebody else here that I knew. I collected myself
sufficiently to join the student in a tour of the steam rooms and saunas, but
(thankfully, I suppose) not much happened. I said goodbye to Joey (he would
return home the next day) and left with the student. Strange, I thought.
I'd arrived with a tall Asian and had left with a short one. Maybe the
steam had reduced him...? :-) In any case, the student taught me a few terms
I'd never heard before. He suggested that I'm a "rice queen" (a White who
likes Asians), and he referred to himself as a "potato queen" (an Asian who
likes Whites). He also mentioned a term for an Asian who likes Asians and a
White who likes Whites ("sticky rice" and "mashed potato"). I don't know
what to make of these terms. I guess I'll file them in my gay lexicon, along
with "muffin," under the heading "starch." :-)

Monday's breakfast at The Golden Griddle was lively. Some new couples
arrived together, prompting a few raised eyebrows or knowing grins. The
bunch of us kept our waiter hopping while we ate, looked at Steve's
pictures, ate lichee nuts, ate, and were often oblivious to the waiter's
flustered attempts to deliver the orders to the right people. Afterward,
people split up to do various sightseeing. We gathered again for
dinner--this time Italian. Our bill topped $400 Canadian, including $86 for
dessert (we were a group of 20-25). There were some shameless public
displays of affection, recorded for posterity by just about everyone who
brought a camera along! I guess I'll be checking the magazine covers ... :-)
After dinner several people traded goodbyes. I woke at the ungodly hour of
5 a.m. to catch my flight home...

I had an incredible time! And I'd like to thank Brian Jarvis and the other
Toronto motssers for their part in organizing it all.

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