Still Counting Down: The ‘Core Four’

It is now 17 years since Dave and I first realised that we were gay, and probably in love. It took a while for the implications of that to sink in for both of us, as I recount in Loving the Boy.

However, our ‘progress’ in that direction did not go unnoticed by our acrobatic and sporty new friends here in USA, and one in particular, Zach, having lost a number of mainly older friends to AIDS in CA before he came to Tennessee, was determined to make sure that we would keep ourselves ‘safe’. Along with a fourth guy, Gary, who would later become Zach’s own ‘life partner’, Zach kindly but firmly guided us along that safe pathway which have come to know as our Tuan Jie brotherhood. Effectively, ‘strength and brotherhood in numbers’, or words to that effect: in practice, enjoying ourselves sexually to the full within the group, and never outside of it. We have all (now ten) of us adhered faithfully to that principal, sharing many things every which way…

…whilst maintaining that special love for one special guy – Dave in my case!

So Dave, Zach, Gary and I were the ‘core four’, if you like. The first to be given Zach’s ‘special mark’. And we have maintained that rather special bond – the four of us – ever since.

So it was no surprise, given our impending departure for Europe, when Zach asked us to keep an evening free for him and Gary. We began, as we so often do, lifting weights in the private gym – like these enthusiastic Russian gymnasts…

…except that our gym promotes the ‘clothes’free’ style. That moved to a friendly wrestling bout…

…that quickly became a foursome, of course and then, all of us exceedingly sweaty and ‘heating up’, we took ourselves through the pass door to the small hall where more intimate activity can take place without causing offence…

That done, and some rather necessary showers taken, we went upstairs (Zach and Gary have a penthouse flat in the gym building).

Here, Zach was keen to exercise his powers as a masseur (the day job for him) and our bodies were very willing to submit to a gentle coating of body oil…

…and then to his expert manipulations, while Gary finished off the preparations for a superb meal.

Oil wiped off, and shorts pulled on (we don’t do everything naked you know!), we then enjoyed a fabulous meal shirtless and barefoot as we like to do. Gary also provided one of the finest wines we have ever tasted.

Zach started to make a speech about ‘how caring for us had turned his troubled life around…’ etc – and we were slightly aghast to see tears rolling down his face. It just goes to show how strong the bonds are that we have forged here over 17 years… and in three days we turn our backs on that, Dave and I, for a new adventure. Admittedly, in six weeks we shall be back and will see them again (briefly) before we head off to our summer camp commitments, but then it is ‘for good’ (kind of) – we will be frequent visitors though – after all, our kids are here.

And the new place could maybe use a resident half-Latino half Italian American masseur! We’ll have to see – he says he’d be over like a shot.

Well, ‘parting is such sweet sorrow’, I know. But we’re all determined that these friendships are not going to be left to just disappear.

It was a very special evening for all four of us. And of course, it all happens again on Sunday – with the entire gym membership plus our kids and their friends – and probably without the fantastic food. Everyone wants to come over when the new place is up and running: We haven’t told them yet but, after the summer camp gigs, our kids and their two acrobatic partners in performance are getting two weeks in the European sea and sun (Don’t read that bit, Leo!) all tickets already in place.

Without a doubt there will be beach wrestling…

…and plenty more showing off…

But for now, with just a passing mention of the other two published books covering our gay love, life and times… The Power of Love and Against All Odds, I’ll hand over the rest of this post to images of guys (of assorted ages! – having fun together. No sexual orientations implied! Enjoy.

Dave, watching and ‘approving’ my selections for today’s post, has just reminded me that it is 50 years to the day since homosexuality was declared no longer illegal in our home country (UK). So something else to celebrate, although as we all know, acceptance can take time…


About tony

Born Northampton UK
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