When I got out of the hospital, after having been admitted for hepatitis, I think I went home to Larkin Street. I don’t think there had been that much to move from the hotel room and maybe David moved what there was by himself or maybe Mary helped him.
The place on Larkin was very convenient to work as it was only about two blocks away. I sold my red V.W. stationwagon to one of the psychiatric patients with the permission of his psychiatrist. I immediately went and bought a stereo. As soon as I had got home and hooked up the stereo, the psychiatric patient called and wanted to call off the deal but it was too late.
At work I was starting to go without wearing my short haired wig and would tie my hair in a pony tail with rubber bands. Everyone was accepting except for the Director of Nurses, Mrs. Weber, but even she came to accept the long hair too.
As it happened though, styles were changing and long hippie hair was not is as much favored. It was no longer the hippie sixties. It was the gay disco seventies. Men didn’t just go to barbers, but instead were now going to “hair stylists.” I joined in and got a haircut at the popular hair stylist on Polk Street at the time. I learned to use a blow dryer. It was a time of platforms and hip hugging bell bottoms, rhinestones and glitter. I was reading a new magazine called Gentleman’s Quarterly that just went by G.Q.. Even straight people were having promiscuous sex and meeting in what they called “fern bars.”
Polk street was really the gay epicenter of San Francisco at the time. We would often go to Buzzby’s on Polk Street after work or The City in Northbeach which had a huge dancefloor upstairs and The Cabaret downstairs where Sylvester would often perform in his torch song phase.
I was cruising on Polk Street one night, looking for a prospect, when I passed this handsome hispanic man and after a few steps I turned around at the same time as he was turning around. This was often how one would meet others. As you passed, you gave eye contact and then turned around to see if the other person had turned around. Very often, in those days, they did.
We started talking to each other and I found out his name was Albert and I brought him home. Of course we had sex but then I found out that he was not really sure if he was actually gay yet and he was guilt ridden as he was Catholic. He brought me brochures from his church about the sins of masturbation and we had an affair for a couple of months until he told me that he was infatuated with my brother David more so than me. That hurt me quite a bit and our affair ended. I saw him a few years after this and he had come to terms with his gayness and had a lover. I think that it was not long after that when I discovered his lover had Aids.
It was because of Albert that I went to Europe the first time. He had gone with a group at some point and had all these photographs. Although, I had seen European cities in movies, I had never known someone that had actually been there. Maybe I had and they hadn’t told me that had been or maybe they didn’t have pictures, but Albert’s pictures caught my imagination. I realized that Europe was not just in movies and was a place I could actually visit. I started making plans.