Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Awakenings

It doesn't matter if you're gay, straight or bisexual, all of us experienced that moment in life when our sexual awakening began to take place. Whether it was a certain page in the Sears catalog, seeing Lynda Carter in her Wonder Woman outfit or Bjorn Borg a certain athlete in short-shorts on television, everyone I've ever met can always pinpoint the exact moment when something changed inside, and tell me what first got them going back when. A quick poll around the newsroom where I work elicited the following responses: Phyllis George on "NFL Today," Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music" (straight guys) and "this cartoon on 'Sesame Street' where a cartoon man climbs up the body of this boy in his underwear, teaching him to names all of his various body parts on the way up" (gay guy -- and how'd I miss that one?!!)


Although I've blogged the overwhelming attraction I felt for the young actor Timothy Gibbs, who caught my eye in the film "Just Between Friends" back in '86, I recently had a flashback to an even earlier moment, when I still wasn't fully aware of what it meant to be gay, but I knew something really exciting was happening to me. It was the summer of '83 and it was my best friend Mark's turn to visit Arizona. (We alternated between Phoenix and Detroit each year.) I had been an absolutely OBSESSED "Jaws" fan as a kid in the '70s -- at age 8, I managed to get my step aunt to take me to see the rather "adult" film, I read the Peter Benchley novel, I had a huge "Jaws" poster hanging on my bedroom wall, and I even did an oral book report on Carl Gottlieb's "Jaws Log" -- so when "Jaws 3-D" came out, Mark and I decided to we had to check it out.

Although we didn't make it halfway through the film -- the 3-D wasn't working (at least not on me) so we demanded a refund telling the manager of AMC's Fiesta Village the show was more like "Jaws Negative 3-D" -- there was a scene near the very beginning in which Sean Brody (played by 21-year-old John Putch) gets seduced by Kelly Ann (film newcomer Lea Thompson) on a lagoon beach at SeaWorld.

After getting discovered by Sean's older brother Mike (played by an equally dreamy Dennis Quaid) and Mike's girlfriend (played by Bess Armstrong, who delivers one of the most cringe-inducing lines in movie history over a bullhorn: "You turkeys got any ID?"), Sean and Kelly Ann emerge from the water dripping wet, at which point we are treated to the strapping young buck's tight body in nothing but a pair of skimpy blacks briefs. For years afterward, this image replayed in my head, over and over (there was something about seeing something that I was "supposed to" that made me crazy). Nearly 30 years later, the image popped into my head again last week so I Netflixed this film over the weekend. Perhaps not surprisingly, it didn't quite have the same "effect" on me as it did when I was 16. (The testosterone racing through my body isn't what it once was, after all. The same thing happens to me now when I watch "Dirty Dancing" and say to myself, "WHAT was I thinking?!") Still, John Putch is as cute as ever (this was way before the Internet, so after seeing this object of my affection on-screen, I don't think I ever learned his name and don't recall ever seeing him again; I was tickled to learn just now that he is Jean "Edith Bunker" Stapleton's son). Once again, I only made it through the first 30 minutes of the film. But it still made me smile to revisit my ultimate teen lust moment. I'd love to hear from you in the comments section who starred in your earliest sexual fantasies. If and when I finally get my hands on those Avon catalogs from 1981 that featured two hunky male models in the Wild Country cologne section, I will have an addendum to this post that I'm convinced is as hot as I remember it to be ...

A face more than a mother could love

18 comments:

LHH said...

Awesome post, Kenneth!

Two instances come to mind pretty much off the top of my head.

1981, "Rich and Famous," a totally campy movie (in retrospect) with Candice Bergen and Jacqueline Bissett. What do I remember most? Two words: Matt Lattanzi. I was almost 12, and I remember vividly watching him strip down and feeling something I totally couldn't explain.


About a year later, "Making Love" came along. Michael Ontkean + Harry Hamlin = utter overload for my brain...and other things.

Andrea said...

If i'm not mistaken, he was Barbara's boyfriend on One Day at a Time as well!

Sam said...

For me it was Davey Jones. My big sister had all the Monkees records and one of them had a picture on the back of Davey playing the guitar with no shirt on. I believe there was some sort of groovy necklace involved too. All you could really see was his bare shoulders, but when I first noticed it, it was like a lightening bolt. I was absolutely forbidden to go into her room since I was the annoying little brother, but I would sneak in whenever she was out and stare at it. I had no real idea why it was so fascinating to me. I was probably 7 or so.

Sam said...

Of course, I meant to say Davy.

Dave in Texas said...

Kenneth- Tell your co-workers that Phyllis George (former Miss Texas & Miss America) was on the NFL Today, not Monda Night Football. I had a huge crush on her...

Doctor K said...

Tom Selleck. Magnum PI.

Mark from NYC said...

It was Sunday, April 19, 1970 (I was 9 years old) and the Tony Awards were on and This number (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71dRwNTN69I) from Applause was on -- complete with the flashing GAY POWER sign -- and I just knew that had something to do with me.

Mike said...

There are two specific people:

The first would be Jon-Erik Hexum on the show Voyagers!, which ran in 1982-83. The second is the original Calvin Klein underwear ad with Brazilian pole-vaulter Tom Hintnaus. Both stirred unfamiliar feelings, and both were later the source of adolescent fantasy.

Danny in WeHo said...

For me it was Robert Conrad in re-runs of WILD WILD WEST, I think that was pre-school- I remember watching not really understanding why I really liked it despite being frightened of that dwarfy Dr. Loveless.

Warren said...

John Schneider in EDDIE MACON'S RUN. There is a shower scene that really got me going when I caught the movie on late-night TV one night as a teenager alone in my bedroom.

nojarama said...

My first true "awaking" was with Christopher Atkins in "Blue Lagoon". Oh dear lord, I think I might have exploded with glitter, feathers (amongst other things) everywhere if I had actually seen it in a theater (being a minor and no one to see it legally with made it impossible- I would NEVER have snuck in to see it, just think if I got caught!!! (that film was borderline porn to begin with). I patiently waited for it to come out later on video. In the meantime, I read the book, had the poster (his and Brooke's). And drooled at every advertisement, TV ad and magazine cover.

Anonymous said...

The Hane's briefs/boxer packages, the underwear aisle was my favorite in the store. As a kid I didn't understand my curious attraction to these shirtless men standing around casually and smiling down at me from the shelf. As I hit my early teens and could fit men's underwear it got even better. I now had an excuse to buy them, and would keep the packages for... my own personal use. :)

Blake said...

Gary Sandy, the actor who played the manager on WKRP in Cincinnati. I was only 8 or 9, but there was something fascinating about his tight, tight jeans...

Anonymous said...

The 1962 US Olympic swim team (Speedo pictures, please) -- they had no idea it was the equivalent of soft core porn for second graders; any of the Jacques Cousteau documentaries from the late '60's where the crews are runnign around half nekkid (by 1960's standards).

James L. Greenlee said...

Gary Sandy definitely, though I was disappointed in the "Surf City USA" episode where he didn't exactly fill out his Speedo.

But for me it's the two Parkers: Jameson Parker from "Simon & Simon" (espically the nude beach episode) and Parker Stevenson. I never figured out why the other "Hardy Boy," Shawn Cassidy, was everyone else's favorite.

don said...

While rooting around in my grandparents attic I came across old Life magazines from the 40's. On the inside cover was an ad for Cannon towels that featured naked soldiers bathing and hanging out together in some South Pacific local. Lit an exciting, guilty little fire in me and I somehow managed to smuggle it out of the house. I kept going back looking for more and my parents & grandparents thought it was cute that I really liked the old magazines. BTW I did find two more issues that had similar ads but the first was always my favorite. (Musto features the ad here: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/dailymusto/archives/2009/09/homoerotic_cann.php)

Dwight Supremacy said...

I totally remember being titillated by him/that scene as well. (But the 3-D worked for me. The image of an arm floating in the water toward me is still burned into my memory. Ha.) But I think my awakening had to be when I was around ten and watching Tom Selleck running around with those long, hairy legs in those short, barely-there shorts! Swoon.

Anonymous said...

the six million dollar man when I was in elementary school also I had a poster of him maybe I was in 3rd grade

Share This

Blog Widget by LinkWithin