Lets pick up where I left off. My high school years where generally uneventful. My survival strategy was to keep my head down and blend in. As I stated before although I was not out I didn’t try and put on a false facade of pussy loving either. Therefore, I am proud to say I am 100% Gold Star Gay, I’ve never kissed, cuddled or fucked a girl. Being gay and single didn’t stop me from going to prom though. I went to a Catholic school so they had a lot of random rules about a lot of random things. One of those rules was that no student was allowed to attend prom alone and forget about taking someone of the same sex. I would’ve like to go alone but instead did the next best thing and took my fag hag’s best friend. I was however going to go to the prom on my terms. I wore a classic navy pinstripe suit with sneakers and a gold polka dot bow tie while dancing my ass off all night long. On the day of graduation, the keynote speaker was alumni and Waterbury mayor Philip Giordano. Later during an investigation into the mayors finances, the feds discovered he had been paying a local prostitute to bring her two children to the mayors office so he could molest them. Yes, Waterbury’s finest graduated from my high school. The other famous alumni was impeached Gov. John Rowland. Score!
Picking a college was relatively easy for me. I wanted a school that was large and outside of Connecticut. When my sister mentioned that she had heard about UMass’ gay residential program it sealed the deal. In the Fall of 2000 I started my freshmen year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst living on the 2 in 20 Floor. UMass has many niche residential programs including and international building, a quiet floor, and an all girls floor. I wanted to live on the ‘gay’ floor because I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone. It was a wonderfully unique experience living with 50 other LGBTQQA students. We had a co-ed bathroom designed so to help Trans students feel more comfortable and a lounge that was expertly painted with pictures of gay cartoon characters. There were drag queens in the bathroom and lesbians fighting down the hall. It was truly a family atmosphere full of love and hate.
When I started college I was a virgin. In fact I hadn’t even had my first kiss yet. Then came the internet… It was a time when Napster was at it’s height and Gay.com chat rooms were all the rage.
I completely blame the internet for my path toward sex and sin!
Ha! Kidding. More appropriately, I wanted to find sex and sin and did it through the internet. This was also when I had my first boyfriend. His name was Matt and he such a nice guy. I had never had someone be interested in me before so the whole experience was sort of strange. Not strange in a bad way, but it was uncharted territory for me. The territory was so uncharted that it was 5 years until I dated someone else. Alas, we broke up after about a month but continued to be friends. College was a great time in my life that I will always look back on with fond memories. However, when graduation day came I was totally ready to leave and move on to the next chapter.
A funny side story about meeting guys online. I used to have a history of long drawn out crushes on guys I’d never spoken to or met. When I first signed up for Bear411 (around 2002) I came across the profile of the hottest guy I had ever seen. We chatted once briefly but he was several hours away in New London, Connecticut. I didn’t even know where that was at the time. Years went by and I never forgot his picture or his smile. I always thought of him as ‘that hot guy from New London.’ (I’m horrible with names) As fate would have it, five years later I was at a local restaurant in Middletown Connecticut when he walked in. Again, I thought to myself “OMG it’s that hot guy.” I was introduced and reminded that his name was Justin. It sounds cliche’ but everything does happen for a reason. He is now one of my very best friends in the world and to think it started with a little stalking 10 years ago on Bear411.
That little restaurant called Tommy’s was where I met the key people I now consider my dearest friends. It’s also the point in my life when I became the Joe you know and love. Although I may moan and groan about Tommy’s, I am also very grateful to Frank and Stan for bringing people together. It made a huge difference in a crossroads moment in my life.
This feels like a natural stopping point. Especially because to tell the story of Tommy’s is an entire blog post on it’s own. 🙂
A walk down memory lane
Clockwise from left: (1) My very first roommate Brad half naked on Halloween. He was Hawaiian from Oregon and always bought magnum condoms. (2) An average Friday night of hair dying on the 2 in 20 Floor. (3) The UMass Drag Ball. (4) Me circa 2003-2004