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DIARY 3017


I look over the Times spread out on the table and the things in my mailbox and answer a few calls before getting one from the service (at last), and he wants to know about the gay busses to Fire Island. Intrigued by the question, so I try Gay Switchboard, and they don't know, then try GAA, but they're busy, so try the Continental Baths and they put me in touch with the Islanders, and their answering service implies that it IS the service we want, but there's no one there to take the reservations now. I call the guy back and feel like I've actually done something. There are few other calls, and I get the phone numbers of people I want to call, but there's no one home AGAIN, and then Marc Williams comes in and gives me mailing cards to interfile with the existing file, and I see that many don't have zip codes, so I anally get busy and sort through all the files, separating out the complimentary copies from the other lists, typing in zip codes on the top of the cards that don't have them, and then even get out the zip code book and look up dozens of them, which is a very easy thing to do. Marc is running off many envelopes and finishing up the membership mailings of the Mattachine Times, and he asks me where my articles are, because he's busy typing up the copy for the MAY Times, and I grumble at Charles Mountain for not keeping in touch with me, and he tells me that there's a chance he may leave any day for Yugoslavia or Spain for a cheapie movie where he'll play a doctor, which I can hardly believe, but I wouldn't doubt his ability to take off on SOME excuse just to get away. A few other people wander in looking for someone special (namely, Bill), and other phone calls are of a personal nature, and there aren't even ten calls through the evening, which is one of the slowest yet. Desperate for something to do (this would have been the perfect evening to begin telephoning members to help work at the office), I wander into the library and start collating copies of the Times with the rest of the Insider folders, and work through to the end of them by 9:30, and he's finished all the member's envelopes, so we both leave at the same time, one of the most tedious evenings ever, and I'll have to make it more exciting.


DIARY 3031


There's a girl in the library and Chris Reed's in the newsletter office when I get in, and we chat for a bit and then I play back the messages from Charles Mountain's new answering machine, and get to work finding a place for drug addicts to go for gay counseling, finding only from the inimitable Len Ebreo the information I want, giving them the information about the gay bus to Fire Island, and talk to the other message person. There are a few calls, including one from Carl Bordman who'd love to talk all evening about how "I'd like to meet someone; isn't that interesting?" but people call in for ads to the Mattachine Times and I can put him off. There are a couple of agonized callers whom I recommend to go to the baths to cool off, since they're not going to get anything interesting by talking to me over the telephone. The girl wanders in from the library and looks around, and then leaves to be replaced by an awful guy who lives "just around the corner" who'd love to have some kind of activity, but I quite ignore him. Keep trying to call Bill Herdelendy, but call Jeff and say that I'd like to play cards with him something and that I'll need a replacement for, I err, the week after next, and he'll do it himself next week, when it IS that I need help. Try calling Marc and Dick Smith about how to get a guy into the current mailing for the Times without being a member, but can only slip his card back into the CARE slot. A few other calls, but things are very slow, and I call Bob Milne to get him to leave me a list of his speaking engagements at Mattachine on Monday (which I won't pick up until the 25th), he tells me Arthur Warner lives in Princeton, and I get a call from Daisy Dumas saying that I should speak to her junior high school class TOMORROW at 10, and I think that's OK, and she thinks it's fine, since she doesn't have a lesson plan for tomorrow. I keep trying to get Avi or Azak, but neither of THEM is around though I keep trying them, and I get the feeling that if John left for GOOD I'd have to start from scratch with my list of friends. Evening's finally over at 9:30, I chase out the guy who's been hanging around, and it's one of the slower phone evenings.


DIARY 3033


Can't even find the address of 314 W. 54th, but it's the old YMCA building with the yellow and black paint all over the front, and I go up to five on the "closed" elevator and ask for Daisy Dumas, and some fellow takes me around the old elevator shaft, down the spiral marble staircase into the old caretaker's apartment which they're redoing into a physics laboratory, and the kids are shrieking around in a mess, and Daisy is an eyebrow-less busty black with an open face and mind, and she says I'm to wait until 10:20, when they quit for a bit, and we get into a table-and-chair classroom full of kids who whisper to each other behind books causing the teacher to say "That isn't polite," and I launch into my standard talk about knowledge bringing understanding and acceptance beyond the stereotypes. They ask what "seduce" means, and I say "lay," which isn't right, and they don't hurriedly ask questions, but then they get down to business, it IS about "When you were 10 or 11 did you play with guys your own age?" and "Is faggot a good word to use?" and "What do your parents think about it?" They weren't too interested in the sexual end, asking mainly about the guys who dressed up in women's clothes, and I kept insisting that I had people in the movement just as THEY had people of their own class, whoever they were, that they didn't like, and that we should just allow all of them to do WHATEVER they wanted to do. They were interested in the talk about kissing, asked about marriage, and the teacher stayed completely out of it except to thank me at the end (after saying there was one minute), and saying that she thought it was a very good talk, and appreciated it very much, and she'd like to take up something of a collection and send it to Mattachine in my name, but they didn't have any funds for that kind of thing, and I warned them that the Daughters of Bilitis usually charged "$10 at the cheapest, but $25 is their usual fee," and told them that GAA probably would be more convenient if they wanted a guy AND a gal to answer the questions from the predominantly female class. It was fun but exhausting, and my throat was going hoarse and sore from talking after half an hour.


DIARY 3041


John takes off for the Eulenspiegel meeting in the church when he sees guys putting up a sign as we enter the gates, so I can only sit in the back row and talk to Don Goodwin and John Hood, and Sergio has counted the votes, for some reason, and Henry Messer reads them off from the bottom to the top, and all the GOOD people WON: Alan Henderson over Roz Regelson, Dick Smith over Arthur Warner, John Hood over Dominic Marino, and me over John Francis Hunter. Henry announced nothing more's going to be done about the Wallace Florida gay-representation since he's been shot, Howard Wells has an insipid talk about activism, Rich Wandel impresses favorably about his calmness and his quiet when talking about his activism and the latest about the Hilton affair, and Bob Milne's given a standing ovation for his past year of the Presidency, and Don Goodwin takes over the meeting, much as if he somehow EXPECTED to win. Arthur Warner is awful, but even worse are the Steinert and Holton duo from Brooklyn, talking about nonsense with earnestness and stupidity. Then the meeting's over at 10 and Don calls a special Board of Director's meeting, first erroneously announcing every third THURSDAY for regular meetings, but then he corrects it to TUESDAYS, which makes me feel better. I get in a plug for the profiles, and Jack Erickson comes up to volunteer for the library, which makes me feel good, and Sergio and Don insist on kissing me, and the cute ones don't, except that John Hood keeps saying how much he loves me, and I say that except for John he has a clear field. The meeting is an open one, and Arthur STILL makes a nuisance of himself, and then everyone's cleared out while we talk about Irwin Strauss and giving him a Director Emeritus seat, and not following up the case with Dick Leitsch because it'll cost lots of money, we can't prove HE forged Madolin's signature, we don't KNOW how much money he extorted from the organization, and he doesn't have any cash to give us now ANYWAY. The next directors' meeting is announced for next Tuesday, which slays me, and it's 11:10 by the time everyone gets finished speaking, and I dash off, saying goodbye to everyone, and angry with Charles Mountain for trying to get OUT of his secretarial duties COMPLETELY!


DIARY 3051


Get there just after 6:30 and amazed to see Charles Mountain there already, and the meeting gets started with a long talk by Jim Owles about his representing Mattachine at various meetings for political purposes, and I get so bored with the political side of things that I read sections of "The Future of Man" and Charles makes some funny comment about "Oh, he woke up" when I went out to go to the john that I didn't even bother to acknowledge. John Hood's cruising across the table, and then finally at 9 we get onto other matters, and I get more interested in talking about the move, and volunteer to go see the furniture the next afternoon at 6, to see how it will all fit into the new office, and volunteer to help Alan Henderson on the moving committee to get things set to move OUT. Don's come up with lists of committee chairman, and I'm rather disappointed that he didn't ask ME for a list of committees, and we talk for a long time about getting legal advice for the organization, but everyone seems to be against trusting anyone to give us FREE service, which I think is a shame until it's TRIED, and finally they say they'll invite Jerry Chandler into a committee meeting to see how he'll work out, and they list a number of things they need legal advice on. The place is worse than it seems: all the electricity is connected to the corner building and has to be reconnected to the meter in the basement; there's been another hassle about locking a lock that's not supposed to be locked and having to get a locksmith to open it, and then to change the downstairs lock because everyone can get into it, and so there hasn't been any opportunity to survey the place, and we're seeming to rush into moving in with the efforts of Henry Messer for telephones and John Hood for electrical work and Dick Smith for carpentry, and I'm willing to help with moving the books, just because I like books so much, and hope to get others to help, too. Things go on and on, and I don't even care to bring up my motion about spending all the bequest on publicity, since it's so late, and finally people start moving out, and I HOPE the next meetings aren't so heavily political so that we can get to INTERESTING items on the agenda.


DIARY 3055


Don Goodwin's there with the door propped open when I get there, and there are a few messages on the phone recorder, and then Jack Erickson comes in to look over the library, and we sift through the shelves and files in the back and the "archives" stuffed under shelves, and he gets an idea what has to be done. While he chats with Don Goodwin I think to call Jim Bardin once more on the phone and GET him. We have a three-way conversation for a bit and then Jack goes in to map out the library shelves while I take some of the incoming calls, and then Vincent Ferrarra enters, and he's supposed to come in at 7:30 every Thursday, which is great, so I show him all the things that have to be done, and he says he won't remember anything, but at least he'll have some sort of framework. I try to call Sergio about new people on telephone staff, but he's not going to be back from vacation until Wednesday, and then call Alan about boxes and playing cards, but he's in Chicago and isn't going to be back until TUESDAY, so I get the feeling everyone's going out of town, including the Messer-House-Hood group which is filling their eight-person place out at Fire Island during the whole of the Memorial Day weekend, and it would have been perfect for me to go along without John, but since I didn't plan for it ahead of time, it couldn't happen. Jack leaves just minutes before Jim Bardin and his pretty black friend enters, and THEY explain some of the things to me, telling me again about some of the goodies in the library, and there are a few calls that Vincent has to give to me for reference, and Bob Milne comes in about 9:40 with some articles for the Mattachine Times, which they say is going to be laid out on Saturday, and I've been fretting about what I have to do for them all week. Marc Williams came in to say that my first paragraph about the "Member Profile" has to be rewritten, and it shouldn't be only for members, and Bob Milne STILL hadn't typed up his list of speaking engagements, so I sit over the typewriter while he dictates them to me. Dominic and others come in with ads for MT, and the place was jumping all night, and I actually felt physically TIRED when the whole evening was over at the office.


DIARY 3075


Alan's there and churns off the phone messages, but can't seem to get in touch with anyone. He also answers the phone and invites me down to the dinner meeting at Horn of Plenty with Jerry Chandler, and all I can do is try to see what the library looks like, what Jack Ericcson will do when he comes in, and when Alan leaves Vincent comes in and gets a call from Jack, who says he lost his job today and will be moving into the country somewhere, so he won't be able to spend much time with the library, saying that he was here Friday when no one came to unlock the door. I send Vincent out for boxes but the supermarket doesn't have any, and he takes care of most of the phone calls, so all I have to do is look into the filing system to see what can be gotten rid of. Then I start reading back issues of the Mattachine literature, and get impressed with one account of the founding and history of the organization, so I type that out and get some other good notes from other issues, then quickly go through the files to see what officer should look through them and throw things away BEFORE it's moved into the new office for not five more years of gathering dust. Some of the officers call, but it's a very non-busy evening, and finally I take a tally of what's happened for the last few months, thinking to write an article for the Mattachine Times about the activities of the telephone staff, and as I suspected the largest number of calls are in reference to information found in the Guild Guide: if every member could afford that, we'd be out of the counseling business. Vincent is still eager, but I'm sorry that David Gleaton didn't come in this evening, since it's the first day of showing of a new movie at Radio City Music Hall, so he's obviously not working tonight. I fuss around with the files until 9:40, and Vincent never takes the hint that he can go home, so we walk to the subway together after locking up (and forgetting to turn on the phone), and he takes the uptown subway and I take the downtown subway to get to my place, and I've already talked with Alan about coming off the phone staff, except that he says he wants to see what it'll be like on Christopher Street, and I will, too.


DIARY 3091


Sergio's there, having played back the messages and set it up for me to turn on at the end (which I DO), and we chat about Warren Wilson's badness and Dominick's clumsiness and Russell DeBoye's irresponsibility and the older fellow, Russell Barnes, who's willing to work on Saturdays, and my going OFF the staff in a month or two, and Bill Hertelendy's coming back, and Vincent's impossibility of getting to the office before 7:30, and I phone Alan who's going to Buffalo this weekend, so he won't be able to play canasta with John Connolly, who accepted our coming over at 8 pm on Saturday. Kept trying to call David Gleaton (and Tanya called to say he should be sure to meet her at 10 pm with "the letter") and Nick Philolius and Don Goodwin, but none of them was ever home. Fuss about putting away file copies of the Mattachine Times and glance at the half of the pages of the new issue that's there, and Barodin calls and keeps me on the phone about his trials at the GAA zap against Maye at the hearing, and then Avi says he'll give me the Post clipping of the article, so I get out of the office for half an hour while Vincent talks to callers and friends at great length. Al Petty comes in with some girl from the island GAA, and he's very uncomfortable, keeps making hot remarks about his wig, which the gal has never seen off, but which he's not about to wear to the beach on Saturday, and he keeps wanting me to come out, keeps checking that I'm still connected with John (who calls to check about the bars in Bloomington), and the conversation staggers on and they finally leave. There are more calls about bars, and I put away more empty boxes for the books in the library, and get a call about more furniture, which everyone seems to be worried about, and I call Henry Messer who cancels the meeting on the 13th and says he'll definitely be driving out to the speaking engagement, so everything looks like it's being done fairly well, but I'm getting tired of just being on the phone, and would look forward to doing something different and more exciting in the future. Vincent is pleasant, but a fat-assed drag, but thankfully the office is still cool, but noisy, with everything wide open.


DIARY 3106


Sergio's sitting in the "main chair" that he later insists not everyone should insist on having, and the others are in the library binding copies of the 32-page Mattachine Times, and I suspect we've just been had, so I tell Sergio that I have to leave at 3:30, so the meeting starts at 2:25. He gives a nice pep talk about having to be courteous, friendly, yet can cut off people who are wasting time; the Rolodex has to be kept up to date, and Paul Guzzardo, short and muscly though not terribly cute, volunteers to keep it up. I suggest an "Honor Roll" of gay-owned or gay-managed bars and baths which would be recommended FIRST, and the participants come up with a beginning list which I say should be listed in the Mattachine Times so that members could send in NEW names for the list, and Dominick said he wanted to do this before but Marc Williams was against it, and I said that things like this should be given to a director (ahem) and maybe the BOARD might be able to OUT VOTE Marc Williams on things like that, because I agreed that a gay chamber of commerce could be powerful, but the only way to START it is to WRITE about it, naming names and letting those who AREN'T named panic and take ads to GET on the list. Barnes comes up with some funny statements through the evening, though his dog gets in everyone's way, though Serge and Jim brought in their OWN baby "Loud, dirty, and full of shit, but he's all ours." Dominick continuously interrupts Sergio to say anything that comes into his mind, Chris chats with McConnell for a long period of time before I tell him to shut up, everyone says what they have to say, and the meeting's over in an hour, with Serge saying this is the first time the staff has been COMPLETE, and it DOES look encouraging for Mattachine at this point. Then everyone goes in to see how the phone machine works, and I leave at 3:30, feeling that something's been accomplished in an hour, which is more than I feel in 3-4 hours of the typical Mattachine Board of Director's meetings. Serge kept turning to me for questions, comments, and help, and everyone seemed to know who I was, though I DID make snide remarks about the Mattachine Times and C.M.


DIARY 3115


Was listening to the messages between answering the phone for other reasons when the "rewind" button stopped operating properly, and then it wouldn't even shut off. Called Sergio and he said the same thing had happened to him, and all I could do was press the ON and OFF buttons firmly, but that didn't do any good at all. Called Charles Mountain, but he wasn't home, so to prevent it from running off the edge of the reel I simply pulled the plug out. There were a number of calls for daytime use only, and the ones for the evening went quickly, and Jim Cowell called back to talk for a long time about his donation of furniture, and Sergio said he'd go see the items at his office, so when I talked to Dick Smith the next day I could tell him not to worry about it any more. More calls and fussing about the machine until Vincent arrived about 7:40, and then the goon from some university who was doing the questionnaires was back, and I told Vincent to fill out the questionnaire, which was a mistake, since he was out of business for the rest of the evening. This weirdo took up most of the rest of the evening, trying to say he wasn't gay, while all the while asking if "We really swallowed the sperm," "What did it taste like?" and "You actually BITE each other?" I suggested he sounded like he hadn't had much experience gay OR straight. And then he started making remarks about finding someone attractive. About 8 I got around to stuffing the envelopes with the copies of the Mattachine Times that Dominick left, and they got to work folding them. Only a few more calls of little consequence, so we got most of them stuffed, and filled about three mailboxes around the area with them, after Vincent found out that they had to be bound, which I'd forgotten. Told him to fill in the figures for the mailing machine, since someone had to do it, and called Serge to tell him I hadn't contacted Mountain, and HE wasn't there, so I just left another message with Charles and left the plug out. Mailed the envelopes and left, debating whether to help Alan tomorrow with his plan to come in at noon and pack books, and whether to help Dick on Saturday down at the office, or to merely do what I had to do with my OWN business at home.


DIARY 3129


Into a huge gymnasium through the rear double doors, and we hardly have a chance to ask at the desk before they greet us saying "You must be from Mattachine?" Introduced to everyone, and we lay out all the handouts we have with us, but are told we should leave them until later, since they'd only be read if we passed them out during class. Fill out cards and stand outside while they read off what we've written, and then enter to the shout of "ten-SION" and the class pops to its feet with a nerve-shattering rumble. Then they're given at ease and we introduce ourselves with background information, and I start by saying I'll be squelching myths and rumors, and the first hands go up and don't STOP going up until the two hours are over, with a ten-minute break during which they tell us about the idea of teletaping an interview with us for 3000 cops around the state. "What do you do in bed; I don't want gay teachers teaching MY kids; gays (which word they won't use, stumbling, however, before coming up with "homosexuals") make them very nervous (present company, they insist, excepted). Henry goes into a long tirade about how unfair a question like "What makes you homosexual?" is, since they don't expect to be asked "What makes you heterosexual?" He comes out with "nigger" forcefully, which makes them blanch, to show how much power a word has. What do our families think of us; what relations do we want with cops (and Henry blows their minds at two points: when he says he's been Carl's lover for 20 years, and when he goes through a sample "pitch" that has the men squirming in their seats and giving each other frightened glances); what does Mattachine mean and what does it do---these are some of the dozens of questions that they ask us, though they attack me when I say the Romans were queer, and STILL insist that, though WE may be decent fellows, they STILL don't like the idea of gay guy teachers teaching their boys to be gay, though they listen to our statement that it's always the STRAIGHT teachers who attack their DAUGHTERS, and all the straight teachers WE had didn't change US from what we wanted to be. They were willing to take what we said as a fact, but it didn't change their FEARS.


DIARY 3131


Don Goodwin and Mark are in putting together more stacks of the Mattachine Times, and I get the messages and answer the first few calls, and put up the notices that I'd gotten in last week and didn't have time to work on: like the apartment to share for a gal, and the rooming house in Brooklyn Heights. Get a long call from a guy who wants counseling, and I gradually tell him all about the Continental Baths and tell him that everything there is just perfect for finding about what does and doesn't go on in gay sex. No, there's nothing in White Plains for him, since everyone comes down to New York, and that makes it less likely that you'll meet people you work with. Bars are no good for you. Tell everyone about the reactions of the cops at Suffolk County, and then Vincent comes in and I send him to the store for cartons, and he says I should come at 8 am to get them. Great. No, DAVID does that: he's comes in to say that he's been very busy, and he can't stay very long but he wanted to say hello, he'll be in next week, but he's starting again at Radio City for their summer show, so he'll be gone all summer, but I should come backstage to see him and the Hallidays, who work in silver and are just fantastic. Vincent gets to work putting the rest of the books into boxes, and I start numbering all the nonfiction, even though the shelves are just about as much out of order as IN order. Don and Mark leave, and more phone calls of the long sort come in, and the rest of the boxes get filled, and I figure about 10 new ones will finish off the shelves not packed. Find out that the new office is being opened as of SUNDAY, and we'll all have to get new keys at the Gay March, so this will be the LAST week at 243 West End Avenue, which has been the office since August 1, 1968, making it the headquarters after 1133 Broadway, which was just three rooms, for less than four years. But with all the stuff that has still to be packed, it looks like the organization is much OLDER than it's 20+ years. Out at 9:30, realizing that I'm coming back tomorrow, and will be here at 9 am on Saturday to assist Sergio in the actual moving. It'll probably take more of my time than MY move, and I wish I knew when THAT was!


DIARY 3143


Sergio's there fussing around, and John Hood's fooling with the Sanyo phone, and when he calls me a "pack rat" I kiss him on the neck, and his awful friend looks so appreciative that I kiss HIM on the neck, and they both love it. John's been answering the phone all day, so I don't have any messages to listen to, and Sergio tells me where all the switches are for the air conditioners and lights and window locks, and warns me about the screaming faggots from the decayed park across the street. One of the two girls who are now living together in Hempstead calls to fill me in on their case and warn me not to tell anyone about them, and then everyone leaves but Sergio until Don and Mark comes in to handle the mail. I'm working on the last of the Mattachine Times, collating and stapling, and then Vincent comes in and gives a hand, and someone fat and rancid-smelling from NYU (Jack Ferguson?) comes in to give a hand on Thursday and Fridays, and I get Vincent to tell him how to handle all the details while I get to work trying to find how to rearrange the books to put the nonfiction on the rest of the empty shelves. Sergio had lost the cards from the bulletin board, but Mark said he TOLD him they were in the desk drawer, and that's where they were. I show the guys where all the switches are, and the air conditioner is put considerably down, as is the volume on the hi-fi set, and then Vincent changed it to pops after the Russian operas of WNCN. I get onto the ladder and request their help with the books, fill up the rest of the shelves and then extract more of the duplicates until THOSE shelves are filled, and then Len Ebreo comes in and says "Do you know what to do when someone on ups comes in waving a knife? When someone on downs falls asleep on the sofa? When someone crashes from drugs or alcohol? Wounded? The last people to refer them to are the city hospitals and the police, and most of them have to be ESCORTED where they're going if they're going to have a chance." He says he's willing to get a group of speakers to talk to Mattachine about the pleasures and dangers of running a walk-in service, and I think it's a fine idea, shuddering that something will happen BEFORE we're ready for it.


DIARY 3155


By the end of the meeting there's Don Goodwin, Bob Milne, Henry Messer (for whose sarcasm and put-downing I apologize to Len, who said that the WORST letter he got for a doctor survey was from Dr. Messer), Mark Williams, Dick Smith, me, John Vinton, Sergio Ponce, Jim Austin, Jim Derwin, Hank Moscicki, Chris Reed, Paul Guzzardo (who left just as Len arrived), the new darkish faggot Peter, Jack Goldstein and his friend, Tom Barbour, so there was a representative of each day of the week but Saturday (even though many of the more recently new people weren't there). We talked first about details like scheduling meetings and having a "do" list, which everyone agreed with, as they agreed to handle the library if it was set up for lending. They spoke of their fears of what might happen, gave personal experiences, and Jack Goldstein, from NYU counseling experience, gave lots of information about crash and quick-job places; Tom Barbour and Henry made up a list of restaurants for me, there was a list of people who live nearby who can be called, and we decided the phones had no signals. Bob Milne came in at 8:15 and contributed not much, and then Len arrived at 8:30 and everyone seemed to attack him when he suggested places to send people OTHER than the police and hospitals, though it ended up that each staff member would probably handle things his own way, the John later pointed out that Mattachine seemed to be mainly Consciousness II, while Len Ebreo had gone beyond the "extreme left" appellation which seemed to be the worst Henry Messer could hang on him, into some fringe regions of a rarified Consciousness III. There was some good dialogue, but mainly there were cross-conversations and Bob Milne and Henry and others loved to carry on conflicting speeches across Len, though I even found myself doing it once or twice, so I know how it feels. Even John was appalled by Henry's actions, and was so impressed with Len that he wanted to invite him to dinner. Len assured us at the end that HE'S never run into anyone VIOLENT, it was just extreme MENTAL anguish that we must learn to handle gently, and I thought that was the most soothing idea of the evening: at least now no one can say "But they didn't even WARN us about it."


DIARY 3157


As soon as the service is turned off the phone rings, so Jack answers it, and immediately while I'm listening to the long tape of calls from the day (with only three messages of note) two guys come in wanting to start a gay commune for producing plays and opera and dances, sponsored by "the gay community" and I talk with them for about an hour about the FACTS of friends of mine (DTW and Joan and GAA and other repertory companies who need money) who are having an IMPOSSIBLE time doing that. End up telling them about many of the places I know of, and they leave. Jack's taking care of people who are dropping in, and then he gets on the phone with someone who's really disturbed about wife, job, gayness, lover, etc, and finally he asks me if he can talk to him late, and I debate only a bit (he was here last Thursday and Friday, and yesterday and today, and Sergio said something about "at least two weeks," so technically he qualifies) before giving him my keys to the place, insisting that he shut everything off correctly. Vincent comes in and starts on the phones, I finish the messages about 8:30, Don Goodwin's in with lots of points, call Mark about a place to leave money in the office, then about 8:45 I'm finally to the books, filling up the shelves Dick erected, then sorting out all the boxes with books in them and putting them under the table, then Jerry, Jack's friend, asks if he can help (finally, he said he was "feeling guilty" about me working so hard), and he takes boxes of periodicals and starts sorting them out on shelves in the main room, and I get back to try hunting for some things, but things are clearing up quickly, and maybe in a month we'll know where everything is. Vincent keeps asking me for additional information: why no more psychiatrists, why so few GP's for doctors, can he give out Don Goodwin's private phone number, where are the membership forms, are our mailing lists available, etc. Jack turns to me like the office manager and asks what framework we've set up for handling people and I insist it's up to the individual in charge for the night, and I insist THAT I leave it up to the counselor: whatever he feels necessary, do it: if he learns NOT to do it in the future, fine. Out with a head spinning with events and people and the busyness of the busiest evening of all.


DIARY 3171


Feel silly because I don't know who referred me, or what it IS that I'm supposed to see, but a cheerful receptionist says that there's USUALLY an open house at 3 on Thursdays, but there isn't one today because there's a birthday party for two of the staff, but Steve, a therapist, comes out and says that they had to find a special way of dealing with people who dropped in unannounced, so we went back to find Hugh, a greeter and patient himself, who castigated those who came to look at the "drunks in a fishbowl," looking down their noses at "them" and keeping "us" separate from "them." He said that the Bernstein Institute was where the guys went for a seven-day detoxification period from severe alcoholism, and then they could come here at 50 Cooper Square from 9 am to 11 pm to fill the day room with the sounds of pool and ping pong, the hall with coffee and the sounds of the party, and had group rap sessions with each other and with therapists, as well as having private sessions with therapists who didn't wear uniforms and strove to be "one of the family," and Hugh said no incident of hassling occurred to him, and even if a "friend" disagreed with a therapist, they'd both realize it was for their own practical good to work out a working relationship, and that was all part of the therapy. Steve talked sincerely to me that if the guy's gayness were part of his PROBLEM, it would be treated as part of his problem, but they wouldn't be hazed merely BECAUSE they were gay. I didn't ask Hugh about his opinion, feeling very much out of place. Wandered out with my coffee cup, thanking the new receptionist and Steve, wishing that there were some place as nice and spacious as this for treating homosexuals with severe anti-society reactions who'd need such a practical comfortable atmosphere to gain back their self respect. The city and the hospital supported it certainly for the next two funded years, and they weren't even up to capacity yet after opening in March. I felt that I could give it unqualified praise, and agreed with Jerry, Jack's friend, that it might even be worth it to FEIGN a problem with drinking just to take advantage of the complete physical exam, seven days free housing, and use of the out-patient facilities, along with marvelously benign therapists. Watta way to go!


DIARY 3172


In at 4:20 and find that the bookcase is stacked with supplies which had been filled with periodicals. Empty out the water from the air conditioning pail, turn on the air and radio, and find the periodicals under the library shelves. Start getting things piled out when Jack arrives at 5:15, saying that Serge hassled him and me for giving him the file drawer key, but I told HIM that the files have been OPEN the last three times I got there, and Jack says he NOW has his own keys. He takes messages (incapable of reading instructions) and I get back to sorting out Mattachine Reviews and Ones, of which we have hundreds of spares, and only lack ONE issue, unless it happens to be bound, since those haven't gotten back to their glass bookcase yet. The LSD-guy from last week comes back, and Jack talks to him, so I get to answer the next few phone calls, then Paul Guzzardo shows up and we talk about the Rolodex and he adds the Beth-Israel name, and I want to ask Jack about People's Yellow Pages but forget about it. Jack says he's switching to Friday, which makes me sad, since he's now capable of taking over my job, but he says probably Jim Derwin will come on Thursday. Ugh. Then an old friend of his, John Bullen, comes in, and he wants ME to talk with this English former-butler who's been on the skids as an alcoholic for the past two years and is now on Antabuse and trying to go straight. Give him a few possible job openings so he can get off welfare and into an apartment, and he leaves to be replaced by Vincent Barodin and a flaming drunk faggot who gets lectured by Jack and persuaded (I doubt it) to turn himself in at Beth Israel at 9 am tomorrow. An older man's there for consultation, and Jack says he's going to stay to talk to OTHER customers coming in at 10:30, so I can lock up myself. Charles Mountain comes in depressed with the convention gay-handling, Henry Messer foxed Jack into photo-offsetting 100 copies of a cover letter for the telegram to the Board of Advisors, and two OTHER pugnacious hippy-types came in to chat until I steered them toward the door at 9:45, thinking things had gone on too long, then remembered my rubbers and returned, leaving with a cheery Paul, for the most POPULATED night so far.


DIARY 3182


In at 6 pm and Mark Williams has places set around the table, and at mine he has all the articles I should proofread for the Mattachine Times by the 22nd. There's a suggested agenda for the meeting, and we don't get started until 6:45, when Henry and two people from GAA arrive to talk about the sharing of expenses and profits from a dance at the Firehouse, and Charles Mountain arrives at 7 and Alan Henderson at 7:15, and I leave at 7:30, and John Hood's proxy is with Henry Messer, Don gets mine, and Irwin Strauss hasn't shown up. Dick Smith gives me another Jumble that I look at during the meeting, during the majority of the times when the secretary's and treasurer's reports are droning on. More requests for money, and shockingly we have only about $500 in the bank after the bequest and the move, and all the bills aren't even IN yet, though Mark talks about $500-600 which is still due in through some sort of donations. The phone rings again and again for Don Goodwin, and I sarcastically move that no one accept phone calls while they're at the director's meeting. There are votes of thanks to Dominic for doing such a fine job with the ads, which seems to have been done last month but it didn't get into the minutes, and even to Mark for performing his task of treasurer in coming up with the treasurer's report so WELL. I don't wait around to see if my commendation of Dick Smith gets into the meeting. Someone from the Gay Coalition wants to charge Mattachine for their $2000 bill for a suite at some Miami hotel during the convention, and McGovern has volunteered to send a letter over his OWN signature, of apology for what Wilch said on nationwide television, and we vote that that's sufficient, though there's the rotten thought that she carried around TWO letters: the BAD one she showed to anti-gays, the GOOD one she showed to gays, which lends another depth of lousiness to the proceedings. At least it's cool in the office, and Jack Goldstein's there talking with Sergio, who's not yet got anyone to come in WITH me at the start of Thursday, and I tell him that I'm MOVING next Thursday, and he might have to find a substitute for me then. Make a note about Renee Cafiero's talk to be given here NEXT week---busy!


DIARY 3185


He talks about his four or five telephone answering services, one for NYU and his counseling business, one for gay friends, one for family, and the number he gave ME I called on Monday, when I latterly thought about him trying to get tickets to me, and Chris Reed said he called Sergio over the weekend to say he had to go to Los Angeles and wouldn't be back until the weekend, so I called his number and some woman who never heard about him answered ala "All in the Family" stupidly, and so I hope he's gone forever. No one was in when I got there (from the staff), but I was able to go through the machine, getting two or three calls, without being bothered much, and then some fellow from Madison, Wisconsin, or some equally unlikely place came in and talked to me for a good 45 minutes about counseling, what to do with various questions, and toward the end I got the feeling he was asking more for his OWN benefit than for someone else's benefit. Got another of the "married, what should I do?" calls about oral and anal venereal disease, going so far as to want to take preventive penicillin shots before or after EACH encounter, because he dreaded giving it to his wife. We talked about that for a bit, and there were a few other calls before Vincent came in and was able to take the few calls that came in afterward. I got back to sorting through magazines, and Jack still said he was coming in Friday AND Saturday, but I still seemed to have no one, since Vincent never seemed too anxious to work anytime he got in. Then Henry Messer came in, to Dominick's relief, with all the mail, and HE started going through it ALL, throwing things at me that I had no idea what to do with, and we scrounged up a number of Mattachine Times references to law reform and sent it off air mail (or at least I did the following Tuesday) to Australia, only to find the following Tuesday that Arthur Warner had a whole stack of stuff ready to send them. He threw me $7 that should have gone to Mark Williams, and a couple of letters that I threw back at him, saying that I surely didn't agree with his opening the mail, and when 9:50 came I said I HAD to go, and left the place with Henry still in charge, Jack to lock up.


DIARY 3196


In just before 6, and Bob Milne's there talking on the phone, saying something's wrong with the answering machine since the lines are ringing through, and I go back and find the tape on the end of the spool, and Charles, who came in later, said that's the way it DID work when it was at the end, but I called Sergio and he said that he left it OK at the end of yesterday. I'll bet! Bob said there were now rumors that Jack Goldstein was peddling dope in the offices: strings of unsavory characters he'd spend small amounts of time with in the counseling rooms, and what was worst, there were a string of thirteen and fourteen-year-olds who were coming in and out, some of them on drugs, some just passing through, and the idea was that if this got back to the cops, things could get very bad indeed. Some goon was there from Brooklyn regaling anyone who'd listen about his Mozart-Soho Cultural Club of Mattachine, and I had him write up an article about it. There was a beautiful girl with an accent who wanted to use the library, and then after calls from a number of people, Joe Altman arrived to help out on Thursday, so I told him about the Rolodex and the mailboxes and Care packages, and then Vincent came in about 7:45 and took over the rest of his lessons. Charles wanted me to read his stuff for the next issue of the Mattachine Times, and I corrected his spelling mainly, saying that the only article of his that I disliked in ENTIRETY was the one that was just so god-awful LONG. So I quibbled about spelling and syntax and commas, and we got through it all, and he said they were laying out over the weekend. Mark Williams didn't show up, finally, and Charles left just before closing time, and Joe finally answered the telephone and wasn't traumatized by it, so he might be a helpful addition. Talked to Alan about Hub and other things, called Sergio a couple of times about Jack Goldstein, who was causing everyone trouble, having given out FOUR different phone numbers, and Alan was to have it out with him the following night, when he was supposed to return from California. Only a few people dropped in, and it seemed even fewer called, so I could spend the time with Charles and with the guy about the article and the gal with the library. Poor Paul has hepatitis, and Joe offered condolences in such a way that I think he'll be good in the office.


DIARY 3207


Dick Smith gets it off onto the wrong foot by giving me the impression (as he'd given Jim Derwin last week) that these were EDICTS from the Board of Directors, but they're merely GUIDELINES, Dick hastens to add. Alan keeps saying all the rules he's going to break: the same ones I know I am going to break without telling anyone about it. He's more honest, but it takes up more of the group's time. Jack volunteers to open for me at 6-7 tomorrow, and he seems to be back in everyone's good graces: for one thing he's showered and seems not to smell, though he's smoking a stogy of fierce stench. Joe Altman still seems terribly unsure of himself, but smiles wanly across at me. Afterwards, Mark tells me of the horrible ass Charles made of himself by being totally drunk at a meeting last night with the dance committee, not being able to read his own notes, and afterward being very apologetic. He again brings up the point of "whose typewriter is it," refusing to let it be the first $700 item ripped off the office when it's robbed, but saying that Charles hasn't made a deadline yet, so he CAN'T keep it in his apartment. He says there IS a carbon ribbon for my typewriter, so my stuff won't have to be retyped, so it WOULD be great. I suggest he give Charles the ultimatum: for the next two issues, perform as an editor SHOULD perform: doing the work, holding to the deadlines, reading and editing all the articles, getting far enough ahead so that each issue isn't a crisis, and if he succeeds, he'll get the PREROGATIVES of the editor, namely the typewriter in his apartment so he can type all hours he wants to, and my services as proofreader without having to go through Mark's typing and Charles' hands for an admittedly slow system we have NOW. He thinks this will be a good idea, saying he's now INTO the movement, knows more about what he's writing about, and is willing to devote more GOOD effort to the job. Don can only lay-out on the weekends, however, sadly. Serge's and Jim's dog is all over the place, Chris Reed comes in at 8, Henry's STILL distributing junk mail into MY box which Dick tells me where to put, and John Hood seems universally disliked. Many requests for lists of things: I COULD help there.


DIARY 3209


Jack Goldstein's talking to someone at 7 when I get in, Joe's only taken one call from Don Goodwin, but the phone service hasn't been listened to. A jerkoff call from a stocking and shoe fetishist comes in next, blowing Joe's mind, so I handle it, and the three phones are constantly ringing while Joe silently pleads with me to help him out, Jack answers a number of them while demanding that I meet his patients, look at his letters, listen to his stories, hear his dumbfoundedness over the rumors of necrophilia activities spread about him, saying he had a FISTULA which stank, showing me letters from Charleton Heston for "doing" the next Academy Awards, and from doctors and patients about his skills. His friend also butts in enormously. Vincent comes in and starts socializing, I call Bob Milne about a speaking engagement I can't make, there are more requests for Jack, and we chat during silent periods about how dreadful he feels, how he's a compulsive liar, he knows that, but he wants to be liked for himself, and what does it MATTER that he's known Mick Jagger for years? I finally get to the rest of the phone messages, three of which have to be done during the day, and talk about the woman who wants to say "Gays are good in bed" with Henry Messer. Joe finally begins to feel better about answering the phone, his new friend comes in despite the fact he gave him the wrong phone number, and Jack spins off a psychotic for me to talk with, who looks terribly familiar, like he was the actor I picked up in Central Park once with slanting eyes that remind me of Leo Wherlin, and we talk until 10, when I force him out, saying he'll call his doctor for a tranquilizer and walk around and go home to bed to get over breaking up with his lover. Then Jack and I continue to talk until 11, he hammering away at how much he's misunderstood, sharing the "fact" of Alan and Jim smoking grass on Friday, how he wants to switch back to Thursday, how Don and Sergio all agreed he was OK now, and I even said I'd heard so many numbers from him that I was going to CALL Don and Sergio, and he said fine, and I said I didn't want to HEAR his numbers, didn't want to HEAR about what he "knew" about others if he wasn't going to "rat on them" to OFFICIALS himself (otherwise he's just starting RUMORS), and I leave dazed and tacky in the suit and shirt that I wore all day, sticky and hot in itself.


DIARY 3219


Joe's been to the doctor, has been standing outside for an hour and a half: his wife has just had their second child on Sunday, he's so nervous he can't eat, but he has a piercing hunger-headache and he honestly doesn't know whether he can function or not. Mark's inside collating the Times, and he gives me the $2.10 postage, saying that the package returned with insufficient postage. He says Jack Goldstein's been fired, and maybe for that reason it's a somewhat quiet evening. Steve Haynes, the guy from last week, comes back to talk, but he's had a couple of tricks, hasn't been on any kind of drugs, is looking better, so we chat and then I suggest he can help with the collating, which he does, fairly reluctantly. Don's in, so I can give him the messages that came in for him, and he says he'll clear the Teleprompter spot for Mattachine with the guy, and I'll do it, so at the end I call him and get details about the taping to take place August 18. Joe's handling most of the calls well, except when Chip calls back and still insists that he wants something TONIGHT, but that he's too lazy to travel to the 42nd Street bookshops to get a bondage book and respond to the personals. "If they don't call us, we can't call them," I say a number of times, and he seems finally to accept that, thanking me for letting him talk to me. Then ANOTHER guy who's just broken up with his lover, this one just gave him $100 and kicked him out, and he has NO money (Tom someone) and lives at the Y and needs a job, having tried 15 agencies and gotten NOTHING. I suggest welfare after clearing with Don there's no residency requirements, and give him lists of things to try, saying he should call back tomorrow if these DON'T work, and should come back Thursday to tell me how welfare worked out. He, too, talks about suicide, but decided it wasn't the thing to do. Vincent types up a few cards for the bulletin board and answers a letter about draft counseling that Don gave me, and sends the sample forms to the guy, too. I work in spare moments on collating, but with two counseling jobs, the evening is soon over, the phone's stopped ringing, so the service goes back on, and we leave at 9:40, casually and friendly, saying have a good weekend.


DIARY 3229


Put the phone off the machine at 6, and Vincent surprises me by coming in at 6, he's on vacation, and a friend reneged on their plans to go to Europe together, so he's decided to put in "overtime" at the office. I listen to the three messages while he answers the phone, and Joe comes in, leaves for a frankfurter, later leaves for a candy bar, and goes out later for cigarettes. One would think he didn't care for the place. Vincent takes care of the three messages while Joe answers the phone and I get started on the last of the collating of the July/ August Mattachine Times, and Dandridge Dunn enters, saying that he's been to a couple of meetings and has come down to the office to work. No more of the freaks come in, no more terrible calls from people who need desperate help: a typical evening without Jack Goldstein. Someone calls Vincent and he calls me to the phone for about an hour's talk about someone who's embarrassed to admit that he liked being fucked for the first time at some unknown baths, Joe gets a call from Madrid that I force him to handle for bar information, and I talk to them about what they like about Mattachine, and am rather surprised to find that it's the opportunity to meet people and talk with them that appeals most to them. Surprise, though when I think about it I'm not sure why ELSE anyone would want to come into the office. With everyone helping, the collating goes nicely until the last issue is collated, stapled, and folded into boxes. Mark Williams and Don Goodwin are in talking on the phone and doing their own business, but they leave, taking the key to the office with them, and Dick Smith saves the day by returning it at 9:30, when I'm searching frantically for it to turn on the answering machine. Jim Derwin comes in to meet a new possible roommate, I give him Avi's name and number, and he agrees to lock up the place whenever he leaves, so I leave, but everyone leaves with me, and I get to the subway in good time, pleased with how things are going, but getting a reputation for being a worker, when Joe, obviously, and Vincent would rather sit around and chat: if other members come in, fine, but they'll work so that I can do the things that it takes a more-then-normal talent for working to do: like working with the files or the library!


DIARY 3240


The first thing that hits is a note on the desk "The president is out of town; we have no additional information; we must say 'No comment,' signed by Marc Williams, Acting President." What the hell's happened: Don took off with Rich Wandel? With the treasury? or the treasurer? No, that's Marc Williams! Call Marc and his line's busy, and there's no answer from Henry Messer, Alan Henderson, or Dick Smith. Then Marc calls, and tells me, after leaving me HANG, that it's only about the gay bank robbery. Big deal! I tell him in no uncertain terms that it's a mistake for Mattachine to increase mystification by insisting on "No comment" and not laughing it off. It's like saying that all Puritans are presidents, and all presidents are Puritans, and what about that STRAIGHT guy who killed all those people? Vincent comes in and I take phone messages, then get a lengthy call from a nineteen-year-old who wants to come out, so I describe the bath scene to him, then someone's in from New Jersey who talks about closets, and I start working on the last article. Marc comes in as I finish it, and the DEADLINE is already, so HE has to type the final version of it. Joe finally comes in, saying he overslept, and I start on library things, going through the junk in many boxes, trying to sort out what classes as PUBLICATIONS, what is just JUNK, and what is HARDWARE, and what are CLIPPINGS. It's a real mess, brought about by too-quick packing, but lots of boxes are emptied and lots is thrown out. Vincent is no help at all, sagging constipatedly around the office reading everything and chatting with Dominick and Joe, and then Joe gets a heavy call from what sounds like a black strung-out alcoholic who works from some church and has found out at 40 that he's gay and has been trashed by a half-dozen psychiatrists he's tried. I talk to him until just before 10, getting him calmed down with some humor in his voice, and he ends up saying that he might even volunteer for work in the office, except he won't give his name for mailing a newsletter, saying he'll drop down to pick one up. Put things away quickly from the library table, and everyone leaves together at 10. A quiet, but busy night, if that's meaningful.


DIARY 3248


Discussion has already started about various things, and then Charles Mountain comes in after me and the meeting starts after Don asks me to teach at Riker's Island on September 20, but I say I'm looking for a job and he seems very disappointed that I won't have as much time as I'd had before for the Mattachine Times. Irwin Strauss is there, putting in his two cents and $30 for a Village Voice ad, and we talk about fixing up the place for the open house on the 12th, and then Charles starts an ugly scene about being fired from editorship, and Don insists that it's HIS business alone, as are all committee chairmen, and Charles resigns as secretary, and then Don says that he wanted to make me co-editor, but I say I'll find out in a couple of months, and then he tells about how he had to rewrite many of the editorials, how he hated GAA, and how he almost blew the GAA zap by phoning the WRONG times to the press, and so McGovern couldn't stop them from entering the narrow entranceway of their brownstone and it was a success, thanks to some Gato who was a former member of GAA (he DOESN'T check his people very well, does he?) and who advised the zap while shouting that they had to leave and called the police. ALL VERY CONFIDENTIAL. Then it's close to 8:30 and Don's tied up and the hostess for the slide-travel meeting, Noel, arrives, and Don sends me out to handle it, and she starts talking to the six of us assembled, but I'm the only one who brought slides, and SHE didn't bring a projector, so no one says anything except THEM, who want to horn in on the gay organizations, giving them a cut of the sales commission if they send ANYONE for a gay trip to them, and talking of raffles and one-day trips to the mountains or antiquing, weekend trips on boats that go nowhere, or maybe for New Year's Eve, and weeklong trips to other places, and they want to hear more about my travels to Asia, want to send Paul a copy of the Gray Guide so he can annotate it, and have all kinds of ideas about making money through us. Then I talk to Zelda Shapiro who calls Kim Sinclair and tells me about Ernest Ball in Jersey who might have freelance tech work for me, but I call the next day and he doesn't. Tired from the hectic-ness of the evening, but feeling that I'd DOING something for Mattachine.


DIARY 3254


Get in a 6:10 to see Charles Mountain talking with a black, and I talk to Charles to get his fears added to the list of people who think Don Goodwin would sell out Mattachine's good name to blindly back GAA, saying that no part of the Mattachine Times could say ANYTHING bad about GAA, that even when McGovern sent a letter of apology to Rich Wandel and NOT to Don Goodwin, and various other things where the Advocate mentioned GAA a dozen times for things that Mattachine either STARTED or FINANCED, without mentioning us once. But someone with an accent came in who wanted to look around, and then Steven Hughes (who'd been in twice before) and David Friedman (short, cute, but feisty) came in without appointment to speak to me, and later Sergio called to say that Joe Altman had already switched to Fridays, where his friends are, and I said he HAD to come up with someone for Thursday, because it was 9 pm, I had a queue of people waiting to talk with me, and I hadn't even had the time to listen to the phone messages yet. Other calls came in for lawyers and doctors, and a black came in for a doctor, and other calls trailed after each other while I sat talking to the two "skeletons with raw nerves who delighted in outraging each other," and then shooed them into the private room, after they promised each other they wouldn't leave, having been angered by one another, until they talked to me at the end. Really! Finally listen to the messages, and Vincent comes in at 8, then the guy Rodolfo left, and Steven and David called me in, and I spoke to them until 9, watch on the table, and told them that NEXT time I would try a game: looking at them when they interested me, looking NOT at them when they were wasting ALL our times by rehashing the impossible-to-judge past. They laughed and agreed to come in at 8 next week. Got to the rest of the messages, leaving Vincent to actually CALL them back, and when Julian comes in I'm rewinding the tape after erasing it, and the office is closed by 9:35, which is good, but Vincent feels like some kind of second-string to me all the time, and he refuses to get EXCITED about any of the things he could do. What a fat-assed duffer he is ALREADY!


DIARY 3265


Can actually get through all the telephone recorded messages (again most of them blank, only two of note) while making only two answers of the telephone ringing. Then Arthur Warner comes in and fusses around for a long time while I'm on the phone with a creep who's on welfare, but wants to live with someone free---or better yet in a plush apartment when someone's gone to Europe for a year or two---yet realizes that he's nothing great to offer, and goes around and around and around with "But I can't tell them that, can I? But I've got to find a place. But can't you tell me what questions they'll ask me and what judgment they'll use on me and can't I somehow get into their apartments without fulfilling ANY qualifications??" Finally I say I have other calls to take care of, and refer the "Aversion Therapy" Dr. Abrams to Henry Messer, and ask Arthur what on earth he wants, and it's merely to HAND me a letter to correct statements I made in "Historically Speaking." I read it through, and there are two other people wandering around the office, a tall painted lady who laughs at the guy who wants advice about how to dress as a woman, and a short blond who talks with Vincent for about an HOUR in the newsletter office while I answer the phones for a series of doctors and lawyers and baths, but not a bar request in the lot, for some reason. Another fellow comes in, studies the library, and asks if he can make a phone call. I'm annoyed with the guy who came in to use the john (though he sticks around later talking to everyone), saying he should drop a quarter in the donation jar, which he doesn't, so I tell the guy, "Sure, so long as you drop a dime into the contribution box." He reaches into his pocket, pulls out his wallet, and takes out a ten-dollar bill, which he makes to drop into the box, and I take it, making it clear that we don't want anyone to walk off with THAT, and his call doesn't even go through. In the ensuing silence I check through Mattachine Review to get REFERENCES and QUOTES confuting Arthur's complaints, and new material for future articles, and leave EXACTLY at 9:30, feeling good about the evening.


DIARY 3279


The place is full of people at 8:30 (ads said from 8:30 to 6, variously, even in the Mattachine Times). In and get my nametag, say hello to Don, and notice that practically everyone is there. Get tied up with Arthur Warner for a long, long time, and he insists HE'S right and I'm wrong, and I can't make it clear to him that I trust HIM just about as much as HE trusts the Mattachine Review, and we talk about Dewees and DeDion (and he gets AWFULLY annoyed I won't tell him his REAL name) and Hodges and Leitsch, and finally I break away to chat with Vincent, Don, Alan, Mark, and talk to Barnes from Saturday to find he's in from 2-5, officially, and he's talking with the founder of Dignity, to whom I'm introduced, and I say I'd like to help out, and unfortunately their first public meeting is on the day we already have tickets for "Lady Day." Bob Milne, Henry Messer, Sergio are all there, and the shorter half of the duo who talked at length to me wants to thank me for my services, but he's now CERTAIN that the relationship is over, but I insist on saying IF you ever need me, I'm here. Charles isn't there, nor is Jack Goldstein, so those two seem to be fairly out of it. There are so many people through (Don estimates 250 from 6-11) that they think of having the same thing every fourth Tuesday. But the queer-queers are out in force, the fat slob with a running sore on his cheek and the douche-bag with the note on his hat that this is the SAME douche his mother gave him every day in his bath "to be as clean inside as out," and whenever anyone read it, he made as if to shove it up their ass. There were a number of screamers around, too, and everyone knew that if the press had covered the event, THEIR pictures would have been taken and gotten into the news, and I fantasized that we needed a Sergeant of Arms to keep these people OUT, and even Arthur said he would refuse to be labeled a "queer queer" anymore, now that there were others around to take his title away. The office looked great, Dick Smith and Mark cleaning up the whole place, and there were even a few new members from the gathering, so the ad in the Voice was recouped, and it MIGHT be a good thing to have these every month! Upward!


DIARY 3282


In just before 6, and start listening to the messages, getting in nothing to interrupt me, and again I'm very impressed by the beautiful people in the park across the way, passing on the street, in their tight trousers and shorts and long hair and beautiful faces, and none of these EVER come into the office (if they're so beautiful they have no problems? No, they probably just have plenty of friends they can turn to in time of trouble.) Phone a few of the calls that came in, get a few people in who want to look over the place, and things are very quiet when Vincent wanders in at 7:45 and I get back to see what can be done with the last of the files of the Mattachine Times, and decide that all the current copies should go into boxes under the table (John Hood was in, talking about nothing in particular, and I phoned Mark and Alan to ask them about using the desk for filing while I sort things out, and Don Goodwin came in before going to GAA for the meeting). Start filing them away when three people from Gay Switchboard come in, asking for Don and help, and we can sympathize with them, but can't give them any money, and they even said that GAB, before a change of administration, was giving them $50 a month for expenses, and I get the idea that IF they fold, a sincere attempt should be made to get their files and staff into the MATTACHINE office, so that there's just ONE number to call, and so that there can be more CENTRALIZED advertising for the gay community. Back to the books and Edgardo comes in, though Vincent doesn't seem to be impressed with him, though Henry Messer seems to be seeking an introduction. Ed reads some old articles while I finish putting in the finishing touches of the old files, telling Vincent to carry junk out to the curb for the garbage pickup, and get into a few of the old boxes, sorting things out, adding more to the stack of stuff to be sorted, but the office seems finally to be in good shape. Vincent is not Vincent Armando, and he has a few calls to make at the end, but again we put on the service and get out of the office promptly at 9:30, for one of the quietest evenings, even though the records show we got in about a dozen calls and five or six people. I've GOT to get off staff!


DIARY 3292


In about 5:20, early, and Dick Smith's talking to someone I don't recognize, who turns out to be Michael Paul Christian, the Chairperson of Finance of GAA, who wants to sit in on the meeting. Don Goodwin comes in, as does Mark Williams, and I tell them that I have to leave in an hour, so it'd better be fast. Henry Messer comes in with a number of mailed envelopes for "Dude" and I repeat that I simply don't have enough money to buy one of them for $12. Henry's hands are shaking as he goes through the finances, and he says he's been very busy and still has a number of things to do, and I regard him while I lounge back on the sofa, having just come from work, having yet to get to STC, not having eaten dinner yet, due to meet Edgardo at 10, having passed up Balasaraswati. Don and I move over the big table for the meeting, and the jokes keep on going back and forth, no one's ready to get down to business, nothing's voted on, and it's only AFTER I leave (and sometimes I get the idea that they purposely lengthen the meetings so that the people who'll be against Don and Mark will leave, so that they'll have the controlling votes, with the proxies of those who've left) that Mike starts talking about how he wants to help Mattachine out, and before anyone really thinks about it, he's elected secretary of Mattachine, with Mark casting my absentee vote in absence, since he really can't predict how I'll vote that issue. Alan's gotten angry about something, there are endless discussions about nothing, and it's all I can do to keep from shouting out that they've already DECIDED they can't do anything about anything, so why do they keep TALKING about it? I again regret that I'm even a MEMBER of the Board of Directors, waiting for next year so that I can get OFF it, and devote more time to actually DOING something for the organization: the monthly meetings are a SHEER waste of time, and I don't feel that I'm contributing anything at all: let the active members WORK, and dandle the office in front of someone who might not come at ALL unless they're "important," like Roz Regelson or John Francis Hunter---let those who want to work, WORK, and not diddly-shit around with interminable board meetings and open houses and committees!


DIARY 3297


Teach Robert what to do with the Sanyo phone, while Vincent takes care of all the calls and all the people who come in through the evening, except when he asks me for various advice. Robert makes up his first CARE package, knowing how to type, and then he expresses interest in the library, so we sit down at the library table and I tell him exactly how much Jim Bardin, the old librarian, told me, and then we start making out a list of what categories the books of nonfiction could be divided into, and when we finish with the dozen-item list I congratulate us for having taken the cataloging of the library FURTHER than it's been since we moved into the new place. Then we actually get started sorting through the nonfiction for biography, poetry, plays, guides, and foreign language books, and he starts reading the fiction shelves to see that everything is pretty much in order. He's retired and limps a bit, but says that ladders don't phase him, though I shudder once or twice when I see him quivering on the next to the top step, reaching over too far to move some books across, and we make marvelous progress, finding over two shelves of biographies, almost a whole shelf of poetry, which surprises me greatly, and we've been chatting back and forth about junk books and pornography and first editions and pages that are falling apart, and Vincent continues to take care of everything, pleading extreme fatigue when I suggest that he can carry some of the books back and forth, and I take a few of the calls when he goes out to get something to eat, but Robert keeps right on, and toward the end I feel slightly guilty about not letting him answer any of the calls, but he's said he'd worked on the staff before, so I'd suppose he knows just about what to do. And since many people know him, when Sergio calls I say he's great, I hope he stays on, and hope he can be given a set of keys at least before I go to Hemlock Hall with John, so that he can open up the place at 6 without me. Tell him that I hope I haven't frightened him away with the work, but on the contrary he suggests that he can come in other evenings and Saturdays, too, since he's retired and has nothing better to do. Thank him profusely when we leave.


DIARY 3307


Sergio's there, lovely him, giving the keys to the office to Robert Burdick, playing through the messages on the machine, so I just have to answer the phones for a few times, then things quiet down, and we even get Don Goodwin helping us sift through the nonfiction for biographies and other categories of books, and someone else comes in specifically to see about helping with the library, but then he says he doesn't want to do anything tonight, and spends the rest of the evening sort of kibitzing. Then George Poole comes in, expressing interest in helping with the library, adding that someone when HE was an active member had spent days of effort getting the duplicates BACK into the original sections, so he questioned the whole philosophy that we'd worked under for the past weeks. I finally insisted, with some asperity, that if he'd come up with this advice even two WEEKS ago, it would have been considered, but since we've already gone so FAR in getting the duplicates OUT from the shelves, in order to give us more ROOM to move things around (which we couldn't have operated WITHOUT), we'd just KEEP ON with separating out the duplicates. He gave me a rather dour look, then started helping with one shelf. Vincent was in, giving his usual sepulchral greeting to everyone, and even HE wanted to participate in the moving around, particularly when we decided that all the fiction could now be moved down two shelves, and Don opened up another shelf by moving the card files out of the way. Then two people were sitting on the side, and I ushered Alan and someone into the counseling room to talk for an hour from 8:30 to 9:30 about their relationship, but all they could bring up, again, was the past, and the one couldn't even think of anything POSITIVE to say about the other, except that they were both fabulous in bed, they both "loved" the other, despite the wife of the first and the newly-gay attitudes of the other, and it got down to the fact that the first wanted someone he could look UP to, while the second seemed content to remain "childish." I told them to come back next Thursday at 8:30 for another hour, and then found that Vincent and Robert had both left, and Don and George were left to finish the library, and I left, thankful that they could lock up after me, much too late at 10.


DIARY 3316


Someone's just leaving, and they're ready to take a vote, at 7:45, on what they'd been discussing since the start of the meeting at 7: the setting up of an employment agency for gays on Mattachine's premises, under its auspices, with work donated by the guy. NO big deal for so much time? Read the minutes and the treasurer's report, which is better by $660 for this quarter in advertising thanks to Dominick, who gets a round of applause, and Alan talks about HUB and the loan, and they talk about the ten people to be elected for the Christopher Street march next year, and I mention the Man's Country plans and the speaking engagement, and Henry Messer absolutely drives me up a wall by saying things like, "Well, what I have to say is very brief, it'll only take TWO sentences, so I hope you won't mind if I say them now. But before that, I'd like to go into something---that is, if you don't mind, because I wouldn't want to do anything that you didn't want me to do---this isn't board business, actually, anyway, but it's just an opinion I'd like to express---" and then they get into a horrible hassle about whether a special party by the Drs. Brown and Fluckinger and Messer will be a fundraising event for Mattachine, or a fundraising event to get funds for a fundraising fund, which will try to get money for Mattachine. There was even flak from John Hood when they voted on putting an ad in the Village Voice every week (which seemed to end up every OTHER week). Then the phone rang a dozen times. Both Hank and Dominick insisted on TELLING Don right then that there was someone he had to call after the meeting, and then Randy Wicker came in with Gays with his picture on the cover, with an article about the Club Baths that sounded pretty good, but which management didn't like, and they're still talking about some kind of deal with publishing the newsletter, and they talked about other things, including refreshments for the meetings coming up, and Dominick said that they wanted a speaker at Suffolk County on Tuesday, and Henry said I should call and see about it (but it was actually for Wednesday, and now it's scheduled for November 3), and they talked of the complaints about the auxiliary policeman who said "Move your fucking ass" to some queen, and the meeting ended by acclamation at 10 pm.


DIARY 3318


[One of the few days I'll type this page BEFORE the Thursday page, since Thursday isn't OVER yet!] Get into the office at 5:30 and start to work immediately on the proofreading, and at 5:55 there's a rattle at the door and Robert comes in, limping more noticeably, and gets to work taking down the messages and answering the few incoming calls, and then Don Goodwin and Dick Smith come in and start talking around me, and Sergio joins them, and I keep on working until about 7:30, when I finish, taking 12 hours to finish, and it's a relief to finish in such good time, charging her 3 hours for it, and then everyone's bored with sitting around talking, so I get to work on the library again, moving the fiction around to get more room for the biographies, sorting through the nonfiction, reduced to four sections against the east wall, finding about three shelves of more fiction and biography, though the lines are very tenuous, and then empty off three more shelves and search through twice for "History," "Legal," and "Essays and Literary Criticism," which I seem to remember lots of, but I get about two shelves full of books in all three categories, and am momentarily stymied as to how to handle the problem of what to do next. People have been coming in and out, but the couple from last week don't come back. A group of two scruffy guys wearing Mattachine buttons that they obviously ripped off previously and an idiot-sounding girl come in, wanting Mattachine to give them money, clothing, food, and a place to stay, and getting annoyed when their every wish isn't catered to by the staff. They start bad mouthing the whole gay movement, and finally move down to GAA, saying they'd better help "or else." The gay gal wants to stay in a GAY place with her "brothers," and can't figure why no one wants to support her for the rest of her life. What ugly people, and I continue with the books, happy that I don't have to deal with them, glad I'm phasing out, and delighted that I can tell everyone that I won't be in next week, because I'm going to the Adirondacks with John for ten whole days to enjoy the fall colors, and everyone wishes me a great vacation with loathing for my freedom in their voice. Out at the DOT of 9:30.


DIARY 3346


Robert Burdick's already getting the messages from the phone service, saying that last week was controllably quiet, and I'm pleased with that. Get a few calls while he's on the service, getting only one call to follow up, and then I get into the library business again, deciding that the only way I'll make a dent is by elbowing room at the very edge of each shelf, putting up ALL the categories I can think of (about 20 in all) and just going through and DISTRIBUTING the books into their proper places. Two of the last categories are necessary just because there's nothing else to do but come up with them: general sex, and general homosexuality sections, which grow to take five shelves by the end of the evening. Don Goodwin doesn't come in, but lots of people are looking for him, and no one else of note comes in, no one for counseling, none of the officers, and Vincent has almost nothing to do when he finally gets in at 8:30, saying he's had a hard day at work. I get very dirty working with the books, shifting sections around when some expand and some, like Philosophy and Morality, don't get very many, and I finally can even set up a small central core of "Not yet distributed," which at the end is restricted to the top of the central section, and it looks like this might be a workable arrangement, except that "sex and homosexuality" categories aren't going to say anything, and there's an increasing list of "ARE these books gay?" too. But there will be about three or four shelves on miscellaneous, or else the library's going to end up with about 40 sections, which seems too many. Now it appears the final tactic will be to have a sort of grand display "map" of the shelves and sections, and I think it might be better to distribute the fiction (since that's the easiest to find and it really is never REFERENCED) along the TOP, or inaccessible, shelves, and biography beneath, and then the reference sections more at arm's length, where they can be REACHED by someone who wants to use them. But I can see that, now that a "pervert" knows where to FIND something, that the GOOD JUICY books might vanish: like the illustrated ones on torture and the medical books, which still exert an influence over my prurient curiosity.


DIARY 3362


Robert's taking care of the recorded messages, Don's into all kinds of things, asking me to read the announcement about Church of the Beloved Disciple's moving, groaning that I didn't write the letter to Suffolk County, and I get back into the library after asking Robert if he had any problems, and he laughs and says that since he's reached his advanced age and had so many problems of his OWN, these that are brought into the office are trivial. The phone's extremely quiet all evening, but later people come in from WSDG to talk about relationships with Mattachine, Marie in the forefront, but she doesn't remember me, and Mike's typing away at something. I get more books allocated to the proper areas, but by 8:15 I get to the point where I don't have any more room, and Don says that they wanted ORIGINALLY to have all the fiction on the top four shelves, and the nonfiction below, but everyone screamed that it shouldn't be done that way. I said I wanted it that way now, and he said OK, and I started doing the shift myself, but Dick Smith came in, as did Vincent, and before they knew it there they were helping me carry things from ladder to ladder, to handing things from ladder to ladder, and we joked and Dick demonstrated his hod-carrying powers by taking whole half-shelves between his two hands and moving them en masse, and I did many sections by myself, since I was the only one who knew what the heck I was doing, starting at section 7 and 8 in the center, then bringing up section 4 and moving over some of the nonfiction, then moving more to the center, and alternating sections until, about 9:30, actually the LAST of the books were moved, leaving only two broad shelves with uncatalogued books! I felt great about the whole thing, and Vincent was exhausted and went home, and Dick and I sat in on a tiny (though with Mike and Don and Dick and Mark and Henry and me it was more than a quorum) board meeting to say that a brunch could have a charge of $2, against the "resolution passed a number of years ago that everything from Mattachine was free." Henry made me decide that I HAD to go with him on Thursday, to Rotary and Suffolk County, so I don't see the "Expanded Cinema" section of films at Donnell. Sad.


DIARY 3373


No room at the head table, so I sit at table #1 and listen to the banal talk over the good lentil soup and the horrible roast beef, mashed potatoes, and cold peas that Henry would have predicted perfectly, but not down to the lime jello. The coin-clinking "court jester" read off the fines and dues and duties for the members, the plaques were awarded to the volunteer ambulance crew and the paraplegic son, and then Henry got up to talk for a long time, and we started fielding questions. They weren't very perceptive or very interesting, being the dullest of the regular ones, but later a man came up to me, sort of speaking out the side of his mouth, and said how he and three others were the "gay ones" at the meeting today, and how it would be almost impossible for him to come out now in the community, but how he gave us credit for going around and stating our case, and how he'd love to talk about us in his paper, the Long Island Advocate (which comes out once a week, and he's an ad executive on his card, which he gave me to make sure I could call him so that we could "talk.") There was a minister who talked about religious questions, there were questions about the women, I gave my theory that gay life would be simpler if gays suddenly became another color, like purple or green, giving Henry the opportunity to throw in "lavender" to make everyone laugh, and he, contrary to what I would think, said that "faggot" was really an OK word, since it was invented to describe the martyrs who fed fires at stakes in the middle ages. They cut down our talk to about 25 minutes, but about half the attendance of 60 came up afterwards to shake our hands, say how much they'd like to have us back, how much they enjoyed what we said, and maybe just wanted to touch us to show us they really weren't "against" us as human beings. We talked about activism and just about ran the place out of questions. I said that what we REALLY needed was donations, but everyone I said that to sort of grinned a tight (in more ways than one) grin and changed the subject. I'd hate to think of eating THAT meal in THAT restaurant with THAT MC every week of the YEAR. But we gave them a $35-donation's worth of speech, at least.


DIARY 3374


Talk to the cute short Lt. Bart Hose, who gave me the names of the other people of importance, including Sgt. Robert Dmuchowski (pronounced DEE-moo-CHOW-ski) who moderated on the tape, Patrolman Bill Carpenter, the big pink-faced close-eyed guy who'd been there twice already, and Lt. John Fakler, who was the Audio-Visual Research Unit head, who'd talked with us a number of times. Sergeant Siee wasn't there anymore, being replaced by Sergeant Richard Kenny, and they said there were 6 classes/year, 50 men/class in a five month program, and they'd show it to 2300 members of his department, and to 300 law enforcement officers. I went up to the john and got back to find Henry already in the classroom, having been "attentioned" and we introduced ourselves and Henry went through a rather boring spiel, and then the class started asking questions. There was not as much hostility as at the first class, but there was a lot more back chatter and snickering about some of the things we said, so much so that some of the students would mumble "at ease" to permit him to hear what we were saying. When we finished at 4:30 there wasn't any instructor to tell the class what to do, and we then figured that the lack of instructors made the class somewhat different. We got into the area of "we want the same public affection-showing rights as straights" which they SIMPLY couldn't understand. HOW could we demand to be able to KISS in public?? Saying that Moslem and Buddhist countries didn't help, since we could be sure they automatically thought of them as heathenish backward countries. Saying men kissed in Italy didn't help at all, as the fact that only Russian, Communist, and the US countries had laws against sodomy. Between-hour talks were active, with a doll in black hair talking about how much independence the cop has, and I clinch an argument by saying "I KNOW you use your own discretion, that's why we want to TALK to you." Henry and I felt more at ease, answered the questions more easily; but no one came up to us afterward to thank us, only one guy, with a sort of half-hidden sneer, said "I really have to give you credit for your courage in talking to us like this," and we're scheduled for the next class sometime during the first week in December, when John might like to come.


DIARY 3375


One thing that made my accession to the Mattachine Times throne more possible was Robert Burdick: now that HE was on the staff, I could drop off Thursday nights. So though I went in, I didn't touch the phone at all, as has been usual for the past month or so, and consider it my LAST phone night. Now they'll just be evenings at Mattachine, though I think I'll keep the sequence numbers for "once a week" attendance, whether for the library or for the newspaper. I got right to sorting out the last of the unsorted books, and George Poole helped me, and we organized a reasonable set of shelf labels, getting rid of some of the smaller sections, and putting literary works near the novels on the right, sociological non-sex works together, psychiatry merged with psychology as being too fine a line to keep, and put together with case studies. George and I moved these sections around until the whole thing was finished, and then we weeded through the fiction duplicate section to see what nonfiction was there (a lot, from when I was removing duplicates), and everyone seemed to agree this was best: that only fiction books should be duplicate-shelved. Don came in and said that Mark was working until fiscal year's end on the Times, arranged a committee meeting for 5:30 on Tuesday, and got angry with George for shouting down "Push, goddam it," when the buzzer buzzed and then not letting him in, saying he was pretty decrepit. Don said that wasn't his prerogative. I hollered at him for accepting a bar-call collect from California, but he insisted it may have been an emergency and we should answer them ALL. Vincent said he wasn't going to be in anymore, and all I could muster, tired and hungry from working all day, was "Oh," and I'm really happy to see his fat-assed kvetching figure go. Maybe now Sergio can assign someone who will HELP Robert Burdick, rather than make trouble for him. I start alphabetizing the fiction duplicate section (as all the nonfiction sections should be, to pull duplicated THERE together), but don't finish before everyone's leaving at 9:40, and I don't have my keys since I hadn't intended to come in, and Don lets me out with the last shelves undone yet.


DIARY 3384


Everyone's already gathered around the table, and I'm feeling exhausted from the strain of getting through the agenda of the Mattachine Times meeting (see previous page). Then Mike Christian makes a total mess of reading the minutes of the last meetings, there's chaos on the board, and when it gets to the treasurer's report and the vice president's report, things are very active, and then Mike Christian announces that he's gotten no kind of cooperation from the board, they've never wanted to talk about money, and he's fearing a conservative reaction from the certain Nixon reelections, which will bring a conservative mayor into New York, ushering in a new age of gay repression in Manhattan and across the world. So he'll stay on as fundraising chairman, but needs his time to investigate gay fundraising, so he has to retire as secretary and board member. Then Michael Wilson, or someone, from the newly forming Gay Legal Caucus, speaks heartingly about how the LEGAL picture is looking better and better: a 1/4 million dollar case is coming up about police brutality, and then there are excited phone calls back and forth as reports come in that straights are beating up gays at the trucks, and Don calls the Sixth Precinct police and supposedly gets us some protection. Then the subject of money from the speaker's bureau comes up, and I foolishly tell them about the $50 from the synagogue, and finally Bob Milne comes in to say that he DID tell us to keep the cash we could get, and they say it MUST go to the treasury, while they'll pay all expenses. The Wantagh speaking engagement comes up, and Don shuffles it off to the "committee" and when it's over I beard Bob and we then tackle Don, saying that we SHOULD be allowed to go, and finally he lets me have the directions about how to get there: no apology, just a wordless capitulation. So the meeting was one of the more active ones, even Henry Messer not being too boring, and if all the meetings were like this one, I wouldn't mind attending, but I said that no one was interested in keeping them short, and Don could only snap back that someone ELSE might be interested in what was being said, and HE always thought they were good meetings. To dinner with John at 9.


DIARY 3397


Lou surprises me by thrusting out a bizarre claw of a hand: what looks like an overlong forearm with a thumb partially joined to a finger crooked at an angle which leads me to believe that it's not really functional. We shake and drive to the campus, I go to the john, he regrets again there's no woman along, and it turns out to be the smallest class I've talked to yet: 12 students who'd been given three xeroxed articles to read, and while they talk about the last class I breeze through one by Dick Leitsch, finding points in it that I don't like to bring up in case the talk falters, and I launch into my normal talk and pretty soon the questions start, mainly directed by three or four of the group, though three or four others participate, and one is fairly hostile, though he even doesn't realize it, saying that a taped interview he got with a lesbian shows that she didn't care for his attitude, and I told Lou afterwards that I could sense something wrong with it, and he contributed the fact that the nicest boy of the four in the class was also the most hostile, maybe because he had the most problems, and he didn't ask a single question. The main point of the evening seemed to be their amazement at my adjustment to a DEVIANT way of life in comparison to their fumbling with adjusting to the NORMAL way of life, and they were nicely appalled to find that I was 36. They seemed interested in hearing all about orgies, and about faithfulness and unfaithfulness, and they never followed one topic really to the point of making me feel pressed. But the questions and answers came so quickly that after I started at 7:15, I was amazed to glance down at my watch and see that it was 8:45, and he permitted me to summarize and talked a bit about the next class, and about the psychology test most of them were having the next day. There was only one gal who even walked up to the door, they all took off, and we had to have dinner alone. I kept saying I hoped I wasn't taking him away from anything, and from small hesitations I saw in the car, I somehow got the idea he himself might be looking for some opening to make some kind of proposition to me, seeming to envy my freedom, my self assurance, and the swinging sex life I had.


DIARY 3402


See this short plump gal smiling at me, and it's Nerida Velasquez, happy to see me, worried that I might not come. She sits and talks with me, telling me what she's going to say, and she and her friend take up about the first ten minutes of the class that starts at 12:10. I get started and there are lots of questions from the class, particularly in the area of gay couples raising children who, they think, would probably turn out gay BECAUSE of the parents. I detect a slight discrepancy in the things that I say, but they don't quite put their finger on it, though it obviously bothers them. "I didn't grow up STRAIGHT, even though my parents, society, and all my FRIENDS were straight, so why should a kid grow up GAY just because his PARENTS are gay? The fact that the parents are loving people should be enough to strengthen the child's ego." They quote conflicting statements: one says that a dominant mother and absent father make gays, and another says that living with all men produced gay kids, so I said one blames it on the MAN, the other on the WOMAN. If you're GAY, you're GAY. But they still want to know why. But then I say that the current gay liberation will hopefully make it easier for people to ADMIT they're gay (not BE gay, but LIVE as if they knew they were gay), and that it should help their parents to accept the fact that they're gay, and I hear myself saying: I say that growing up with gay parents won't affect a gay child; but on the other hand I say that growing up with a gay CHILD will change the parents into more understanding people. The discrepancy is small, but I and the class sense it, and though we try to avoid it and pin it down, respectively, it's nevertheless THERE. She and two friends (one a cute guy who talks about all his friends who "became" gay) stay and talk with me in the hallway afterward for ANOTHER hour, which is quite a compliment, and I talk to the Indian girl from Pakistan, who seems to be interested in anything I say, and Nerida on the subway says that in Spanish neighborhoods there's not much luck with women's lib, since they LIKE the old ways, but that SHE wants her freedom. She wants to send me a book, and I say "Thank you, no," and was on-the-whole pleased with the class.