How did you get involved with TOM House? I personally am a huge fan and the historical landmark pin— what is that collaboration like? Will it be ongoing?
Our first collaboration was with Stuart Sandford, a resident artist of TOM House, and he introduced us to the crew there. The historical landmark pin is a memento of a piece of history. TOM House has created so many opportunities for gay artists and we think it’s really cool to be able to own a piece of that. We would love to keep those collabs going and find new ways to transform the TOM House legacy into pin form.
My friend Arthur is gabbing incessantly about something I am too drunk to comprehend while the sun beats down on us, soft fists against our chlorinated, ocean-weather skin. We are headed to our glamour-friend Don’s, who no doubt has lined up jack and cokes beside the pool we intend to bask in.
Out of the corner of my eye I watch the passing men; they are square chested and ultraviolet-kissed and smell of salt and sunscreen. Every hair that spills from their elastic waisted swimwear arouses me. Arthur is visibly annoyed at my indiscreet eye, but fuck him because he has a boyfriend and I am freedom. This is a gay man’s paradise, an island of faggy excess and frivolity, which is rapturous.
A man passes who I recognize, although I don’t know where from, which is not uncommon, and before I realize it, I have stopped this stranger and asked if he is Gio. Yes, I am Gio. And suddenly I recognize him. My friend Alex photographed this boy, who is odd looking and too thin with alien sex appeal. I was drawn to the photo and I am drawn to Gio and we are moving in different directions but in a still corner of time I manage to punch my number into his phone. He is going to a “cool party” later tonight if we want to come.
Running down the boardwalk to catch up with my friends I fantasize about Gio. He is an artist, I remember, and many of my friends in Los Angeles know and love him.
I will not receive a text from Gio tonight, and this will be disappointing, but not debilitating.
It is sometime after dinner and we have not stopped drinking but we are still thirsty. My faggot posse treks along the beach from the Pines to Cherry Grove (a neighboring community that hosts the infamous underwear party). Many of us are half clothed. All I am wearing is a tight pair of leather bikini bottoms and black converse. I know that my ass is the bomb because I have been aware of my body and what it can do for some time now.
Fire Island is full of fuckery and dancing and play without inhibitions–it is a sanctuary of sin. When we arrive at the underwear party all primped and toasted and nearly naked, we scatter like a pack of wolves on the hunt. Every man is a tree to sniff and piss on, and the forest is so dense that I am overwhelmed. My senses are spilling in every direction.
On the pool deck outside the dance floor I find a small patch of air to breathe in. In this open air an old crush of mine is smoking a cigarette–New York is like that. His big dick hangs proudly in classic white bikini briefs. He has never noticed me before, but he notices me now. Javi is the editor of a magazine I am fond of. I have been fond of Javi for some time, too. I chat with Javi politely, and when he says he is going to fuck me tonight I smile and I kiss him on the cheek and I shimmy to the bar where someone called Daddy buys me a drink.
Tonight I am too tired to coordinate with this magazine editor and I am still spiteful he has ignored me for all of these years and maybe there is a part of me that is longing for that mysterious Gio. I walk home through the dunes with Arthur and I sleep until noon. In the morning we wake up, we have coffee and a mimosas by the pool, and we take the ferry to the bus to the train back to the city.
Early October, 2016, Los Angeles, CA.
My house is throwing an art and culture festival this weekend. I live in the Tom of Finland Foundation. It is Friday night and we have invited the artist that are in town to walk through the space. By ten o’clock I am drunk and wearing my pajamas–tonight a red calf-length moo moo with a baseball t neckline.
Gio: That’s a nice dress.
Me: Would you like to try it on?
Gio steps out of his cotton shorts and stands naked before the small crowd I am a part of, an eclectic collection of queers smoking cigarettes in the jungled backyard of Tom House. We are reminiscing with each other and meeting each other and warming up the night with our drunkenness. No one takes note of Gio’s naked body, but I take note of Gio’s naked body. Probably 110 lbs of lean boy, ribs smiling, little tattoo on his little chest, shaved head, big uncut dick, hairless except for shadows of coiled man on his pubic bone, on his low belly, in his armpits and shading his thin but sturdy legs. For unknown reasons he has no eyebrows. His wide engaging eyes are heavy with eyelashes and he blinks anticipatingly at me and I am so afraid of him, but my desire is overwhelming.