of Remington's

April, June, & July


Angel. Really. I didn't bestow that moniker in some fit of bedazzled hyperbole. I just asked the boy his name and he said "Angel."

Likely his stage name. The boys of Remington's ("Men of Steel" the promo says; I favoured more pliable pups) usually have one, rarely their birth one. This boy didn't look born of a culture that would casually call him Angel. He told me was from Calgary.

I'd noticed him moving up and down that long narrow space, liked the look of him, had tried to catch his eye. Harder than you might think among boys, nearly naked, endlessly trolling for business.

(Some literal trolls, not in appearance but manners: I've had some come up unseen, grab a shoulder from behind: "Wanna go for a dance?" No subtlety, no sense of longing at a distance and the eagerness, given a chance, to fulfill it.)

I'd finally caught him near the back stairs, leading up to the "private rooms" and down to that more truly private space ("Employees only" a sign warns) where the boys shower, change, just hang out, free to be themselves.

At last he noticed me noticing. He found his way to my side and stood foursquare, canted to three-quarter profile. Curve of trim torso to gentle swell of hips: black spandex set low, basket cupped neat. Small, buzz-headed, clear-eyed. Alert.

"Hi." Then that name.

A vision. If with an odd edge. His voice was light, mildly husky, his talk sending up whiffs of slightly stale breath. I found that oddly reassuring.

So: Angel. Quite appealing. But I didn't have much money on me. I said I'd like to see him again, asked when he usually worked. (I do this often.) Friday, Saturday, Sunday. "Well," I said, "I'll come back some time."

I did and, as often with lovely boys, told Jane Rule about him. Twice.

My friend Gerald Hannon once wrote on buying sex -- he, even at 56, more often selling it. He found it (either way) an experience so distinct he proposed we call it something else: $ex.

"The electric current that crackles through a sexual encounter is there because in each participant there is a continuing tug-of-war between what you want and what you are willing to surrender.

"That rarely happens in $ex. That's because a good prostitute has rendered him- or herself needless -- it is the utter selflessness of prostitutes that keeps sex at bay. That's why we always ask, during negotiations, what it is you want."

Maybe. I have my own take on working boys, and the current that can crackle with some of them. As you'll see below. And in a later episode. And in Other Angels.

Thursday, April 6, 2000

I was watching the World Figureskating championships, quite enamoured of a beautiful Russian boy, Alexander Abt, 23 -- with a son one month old. He seemed still a child himself: waiting for his scores (he came in 6th, alas) he gave the camera a beatific, clear-eyed smile, a wave, and piped in a light, high voice, "Mama! Papa!"

Ah, boys. Smart, strong, diligent ones especially....

I've been looking for them lately, if without much diligence, less out of lust than the hope of engagement, inspiration. I've been to Remington's a few times lately, the place dull in prospect (and in fact) unless there's someone there I want to see. Short of that someone who seems worth seeing again.

A few nights ago I chatted up the smallest, trimmest, and at 20 (as I found) likely the youngest there. For him I did go back, and have still a dull throb due to him, literally: a cracked rib!

An accident of course, one of his hugs as he sat naked on my lap too strong and sudden. I gave a little yelp, quite surprising him. He got all solicitous. Angels are not supposed to inflict injury. [Mortal ones anyway; God's, I now see, rather a different story.]

And that was his name (if perhaps just professionally): Angel.

Quite a compelling boy -- if, I found, not a fit target for my usual maternal instincts: rather intense (though from the stage he does find people to smile at), even driven. He'd been there since 4:30 (I found him around 9:00), had made $120 in just his first two hours; before that, from 11:30 am, he'd been working too, for a live Internet porn site.

Doing quite well in all: he told me he'd found an apartment he could afford -- just $1,000 a month! He's finishing high school part time, wants to go to Ryerson or George Brown -- and study acting.

"People tell me I shouldn't put being a stripper on my résumé," he said. "But I don't have any problem with it. I want to tell my kids I was a stripper."

Later: "Do you think I should shave?" Many do, even their pubic hair; he had soft down lining his inner thighs, over his little butt, a line up to his navel. I said no. It made him real to me, a person, not the polished product so many of these boys try to be.

I imagine he'll do what he intends, being a pretty good actor already, playing his part with some skill if, I sensed, without passion. No surprise really -- but I always want to know what they want (as I did last year with that tall gawky boy Lucas, so obviously aroused and so happy to have me know it). I want to know that they do want.

This boy reminded me of what Gerald said about sex workers having no desires of their own -- of course making me want to find out who was really in there.

But I likely won't: too expensive, and I doubt he'd have time for the sort of fantasies I usually dream up for these kids: ease with their bodies not just in sex, but in snuggling up to a silly movie on TV, maybe even taking a trip to the zoo.... (And people say I'm not a romantic.)

Saturday, June 24, 2000, 7:30 pm

I was headed for an event at Buddies in Bad Times, Cheap Queers (truly cheap, tickets just $3.99), but arrived only to discover it had sold out. I told a friend there I'd go find somewhat less cheap queers, and headed off to Sneakers.

After just one beer there I wandered down to Remington's, pleased as I walked in to find on stage Angel, that odd boy I mentioned a few months ago. I had two beers there, just enough to catch Angel on stage again as I left. And in between: a brief chat, his small smooth body pressed into me as I sat on a stool, caressing his back.

I wasn't offering business (apart from having stuck a $5 tip into his sock on stage; he had plenty of prospects, tourists in town for Pride flicking US bills at him while he danced). I just wanted to congratulate him on how well he was doing. There, and I found, beyond: he's been accepted into the acting program at George Brown.

Such an oddly intriguing boy, his smiles coming more easily on stage (I get some if he sees me) than when standing by my side, as if he can't quite relax -- which of course is what I most want him to do.

I can't really figure out why I like Angel. His physical appeal is obvious enough -- if, in truth, not so rare. Watching his quirky moves on stage I say to myself: A magic boy; a mystery I'll likely never know. But I do like him.

What I liked about Angel was, I suspect, a certain knowingness; maybe a suggestion of his own desires. And a hint that they might be (as some might say) perverse. Deeply queer.

His moves on stage were jerky, nearly robotic. Not mechanical, not some preening disco bunny. Intense, electric: arms curved stiff away from his body, legs turned out, his knees tight springs. A manic bounce. His grin could verge on grimace.

And his butt, flexed up, stuck out -- not the usual coy cliché; he didn't aim it at the audience. The move seemed his own, a sign of himself: what he wanted; what he knew of his body, its possibilities. Seeing it, I could imagine him easing that small frame down onto something big; ravenous, intent, wanting all of it deep inside him.

Just a thought.... But I do find bottom-boy desires compelling, even enlightening: profound, transgressive; so not "male." Even when -- like so many dancing boys at Remington's, perhaps even Angel -- those boys are heterosexual.

Dennis Cooper, bard of "blank generation" lost boys (lost angels even, his stories set in Los Angeles), says of one in his 1989 novel, Closer: "Best of all he had one of those asses that open unusually wide." Not a "bubble butt" (a term I find utterly unsexy); not polished, puffed-up polystyrene melons. Not a Ken doll's perfect contours, leading nowhere.

I once climbed those back stair behind Angel, my eyes up his legs to a span of black fabric flexing to his moves. It wasn't cupping "buns." It stretched taut over rich curves, bridging a space between: hidden, deeply intimate. Not a "crack" (another unsexy word). A soft valley, a warm furred passage. A portal. A way into him.

Just a thought. Maybe just a metaphor. If in that moment one powerfully erotic.

I saw Angel again, an early evening in late July. He was still in civvies when I arrived, talking with friends (I was jealous, wanting to know who he was in that). He came over, said he was going to grab a sub next door -- but did I want a dance after that?

I certainly did. I watched him head out and come back, sub in hand. He said he was going downstairs to eat, and change. He was soon back up, and back to the Angel I knew best, in just that black spandex. Even better: he snuggled between my legs for a rub again, but easier this time, more comfortable. We headed upstairs.

There I discovered a new regime: a man behind a window at the portal to the private rooms -- a sign beside him saying "No alcohol allowed past this point" -- collecting a cover charge: $2.00. Beyond I found the booths, long open, had doors. I suspected I knew what this meant. Other bars had been recently charged for "indecent acts" in the presence of third parties. And of booze.

I had stuck two bills in a shirt pocket for easy access: a $20 and a $5: two dances plus tip. I thought. But that new arrangement hinted at higher-priced liberties (I'd know a few boys to take them even at $10 a song, "extras" their prerogative, not the customer's).

I asked Angel: "Is it still ten dollars?" "No. Twenty."

There I was, all alone with him behind a locked door -- and all I could afford was five minutes. I didn't want to try anything we hadn't done before.

Utterly naked he straddled my lap, leaning in for his powerful hugs. I snuzzling his stomach, inhaling his scent; caressed his arms and chest and shoulders; stroked thigh backsides flowing fuzzed to his bottom, spread over me casual, open, easy.

And talked. Both of us. As we had surely done before.

He'd not shaved. His face, I mean (nor elsewhere), stubble nearly matching a newly shaved head. I rubbed it: "What's this?" "Oh. I got a part in a movie. As an extra. Playing a refugee from a concentration camp." He'd quit the Internet porn site.

He gave me a hug goodbye, his quirky smile. I've gone back to Remington's just a few times since, never finding him, half relieved: I wouldn't want to refuse him a dance. But he could get awfully expensive.

Maybe worth it, though, when I'm a bit more flush. I'd like to sit him straddled on my lap again, reach down past the source of his cock and find what I hope this odd magic boy might want me to find: the route to Angel's mysteries.

Well, as I said, just a thought. I don't want to fuck him. I'm not much into fucking. I just want to find a way inside who he might really be.

But then his talk (as so often with these boys) did let me in. At least part way.

Postcript, August 2001: I have seen Angel since, if not often and not as Angel: he was off for a while and another dancer took the name. He is now to me, as he was born, Lee. Except on his own new Internet site, run with a friend: there he's Bobby. He is, I've learned, a true Calgarian, avidly entrepreneurial. He buys the boys their briefs but keeps them after their online appearances: to sell, used, on e-Bay.

I did tell him I'd written about him, as Angel, who was maybe not Lee: "I said a lot about your butt." He beamed. A magic boy still.


379 Yonge Street. The former Bermuda Tavern,
a straight strip bar turned gay , its "Adult Entertainment"
licence letting boys once of Colby's (and new boys
too, not just "Men of Steel") take it all off.

For more boys of Remington's, see Promiscuous Affections: 1993 and beyond. For other angels I found there -- including Lucas mentioned above -- see, of course, Other Angels.

For Gerald Hannon's career in $ex -- and a related media moral panic -- see Promiscuous Affections: 1995. His reflections on Sex vs $ex are reflected on a bit more fully in the chapter titled Sex: From erotic life to death by banality (look for that very banal boy, Jeff Stryker).

Angel image: Cherub bottom; source unidentified.

Next episode: XI: Vision

Go back to: Preface

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New Year's Eve, 2000 / Last revised: July 16, 2003
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