Justin's Life... June 3-6, 1996

Justin's Life... June 3-6, 1996

June 3, 1996


Sunday night, I wrote to ask Curt if he'd like to grille out on his deck for Memorial Day. When I talked to him later, he said that that would be koool and asked what time I wanted him to pick me up. I said noon, but he twisted my arm and got me down to 10:30AM. And so, Monday morning I woke, got dressed, and waited for Curt's arrival.

At a little after 11AM, he called from his cell phone and I went downstairs to meet him. We drove toward his house, stopped at the grocery to pick up some hamburger, chicken, and hot dogs, then arrived at his condo. By this time, it was just a little after noon and Curt decided that it was too early to eat. He suggested we go for a walk in a nearby wooded area and I said ok.

As we walked into the park area and down the trails, I joked about Curt taking me back where he could kill me. He didn't really laugh, but Curt's known not to laugh at a lot of my jokes, so I didn't think anything about it.

We soon got to an area near a cliff and I once again remarked about how it'd be easy to throw me off. We then sat on one of the rocks and talked about life and about helping him to find a guy. For the most part, I tried to give Curt a little more self-esteem. He's a good guy and worthwhile, but he's really discouraged in finding anyone to call his own.

Anyway, after we'd been in the sun for a while and after the bugs started biting me repeatedly, I said that I was ready to leave. On our way out, Curt said that I joked too much about him trying to kill me. I responded that I probably would have said that had I been there with anybody, but that joking was my way of saying that I wasn't 100% comfortable with the situation but that I was dealing. I went on to say that while he was still regaining trust with me, it was going to take a while for me to fully trust him again. I finished by saying how I didn't think he would throw me off the cliff, but I also thought he wouldn't go down on me.

We went back to his condo and grilled out. After what was a really nice meal, we hung around for a bit before heading to Blockbuster and renting Seven. When it was over at around 10:30PM, he drove me home and I went to sleep. Overall, it was a really nice, relaxing day out of the confines of Boston.

Early Tuesday morning, Larry and Lance got back to California. I was really anxious to talk with him, but I knew he hadn't slept during the flight before and had a lot of catching up at work. I simply wrote to let him know how anxious I was to have one of our hour-long conversations again.

I'm just here in Boston running back and forth to the laundromat warshin' clothes. You know, I think I can honestly say that washing clothes is my least favorite ritualistic activity. :-(

Anyway, this morning the phone rang the other number and I answered it to find Mark, the guy from the temp agency on the other end. I was all prepared to go in somewhere, but he just wanted to let me know that he hadn't forgotten about me and that work was scarce right now. I said thanks and ok and that was that.

In other news, when I was home in Kentucky, I found two rolls of film in my bedroom. I had no idea what was on them, but thought I'd never find out until they were developed. I brought them back and sent them to York for cheap processing. One roll came back with a single print and a credit slip. The shot was of flowers Rob sent me for my birthday. The other roll came back with more pictures. The first shot was of someone's legs. They weren't Rob's, nor Jeff's, nor Chris's and they didn't really look like mine either. The next picture revealed that they belonged to Adam. That had to have been taken in 1994. I went on to find pictures of all my first, drug-peddling roommate's stuff. I remember taking them, as evidence of sorts. There were shots of ashes in the trashcan, of a lymrick on the door about going downstairs to smoke pot, and all kinds of stuff. Amazing what you can find on a roll of film that never got developed. :-)

OK, you can get back to what you were doing. Try to get a nap, though, 'cause I'm really anxious to talk to you in length. K?


By the time Tuesday night came around, I was extremely anxious to talk with Larry. I'd had from Friday until Tuesday to think of several concerns regarding USC and Larry was the only person who could answer them. In particular, I let him know that I was wondering about:

A few hours after I wrote that e-mail, I received a letter from Don telling me that Larry had wanted him to tell me that they thought I should live in a dorm. He didn't say why, but simply said that we'd discuss it when I got to California.

I wrote to Larry:

Subject: A dorm?

Here I was all psyched thinking you were wanting me to live next door to you, (Larry recently purchased the house next to his and implied that I'd be living there.) and you're wanting to put me up in some cubby-hole, one room with a roommate who probably sells pot, all the way across town. Might as well stay here. :-\

Do you realize that by the time I got out of the dorm with Tony I was crying on a near daily basis? Do you realize that some nights I'd wander around until early in the morning just to avoid going home? Do you realize that I tried getting moved myself, but was told nothing could be done? Do you realize that I had to have mom call to get the red tape cut? Do you realize that when that didn't work, I actually told mom to call and tell them that the situation was so bad that I was crying daily and couldn't finish the semester? Do you realize how desperate I was in order to let the dean know that I was in my dorm room crying every day? There's ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I'll ever do the dorm deal again.

- Justin

I didn't get a chance to talk with Larry Tuesday night, but the next morning I had e-mail from Dan (not Don) saying that he, too, thought I should live in a dorm. To which, I responded:

----- excerpted and edited for consiseness -----

Just spoke with Larry this morning regarding your "relocation" to California. I must say that the USC experience is likely to be very different from what you experienced in Boston, if for no other reason than Los Angeles is QUITE a different town. I would strongly suggest that you stay in dorm housing for at least your first year here.

Well, Larry hasn't had time to talk with me via phone about all this, so I don't really know how much you know. I had an absolutely horrible time with my first roommate and the idea of being stuck at random with someone, sharing a bedroom is not something I'm too keen on. Rather, I don't like the idea at all. I guess I should explain in more detail, as I don't think even Larry knows the story about my first roommate and therefore couldn't pass it on to you.

The year started off bad. BU's single roommate matching question "Do you smoke?" My roommate lied to that one. I didn't want to live with a smoker and therefore, when we got to campus, I tried to get a room change, but was told just to give it a test and see how things went. I'm not unreasonable. OK, I tried it. The smoking honestly wasn't a big problem. He wasn't supposed to smoke in the room at all, but ashes and the smell were evidence that he did. Still, not a big deal. As time went on, he got more into illegal drug usage and his friends were always coming by to go outside to smoke some pot. Forget there were crack pipes in our room and stashes hidden here and there. Hell, as time went on, I even saw him sell pot in our room. A friend of mine as there, so he tried to pass it off as he was only doing a friend a favor, but still not a big deal. I could live with all that. The final straw came when Adam, my first boyfriend, and I were in our room and Tony was out getting drunk. We were watching TV and I was on the bed while Adam was sitting in the floor. Tony came back into the room (which incidentally was a double, about 15x15), looked at us and started going off on how he was uncomfortable with Adam beside me like that and some crap about how Adam was going to give me a blow job. That was no where near the truth. I was especially considerate of him and Adam was so nervous he wouldn't even touch me when someone else was around. I was so mad that I started shaking and crying. I'd forgiven all his stuff, not said a word about the drugs or smoking or anything, yet he was yelling at me for something I wasn't even doing. The next day, I went to the hardware store and the mall and spent about $100 to construct a curtain between our halves of the room. The RA intervened and I had to take the curtain down. For weeks, I was living in the same room with someone I literally hated. He had no redeeming qualities whatsoever and I can honestly say that if he were hit by the subway, I would have been happy. I spent most of the days and nights crying. I was trapped and nothing I did seemed to help. I finally had to get Mom to call, but even that didn't work. I was ready to skip finals and go home just to get away from him. I told Mom to call and tell the dean that I was that upset. Do you know how desperate I was in order to let THE DEAN know that I was crying in my room every day? The dean cut through mounds of red tape and got me moved in with an acquaintance of mine in an on-campus apartment. Even then, it was nothing I'd want to go back to, and that was living with someone I knew. The idea of voluntarily opening myself up to a situation like that with my first roommate is not something I want to do. In fact, it's something I will not do.

I know that you, Larry, and Don all feel that I should live on campus because of the interaction with other students. And I'm not entirely disagreeable with that. I just wan-, no "need", a bedroom of my own. Even finding some roommates and living in an apartment near campus would be fine. I'm just weary of getting in the more-red-tape-than-you-thought-existed-in-the-entire-world situation of living in university housing and of sharing a bedroom with a stranger.

Most of my best friends are people I met while I was living in student housing. The people you meet while you are in college are the ones you are most likely to keep for life.

I don't doubt the merits of student housing to making friends for most people. It just so happened that it didn't work for me. I have looked through this "Living at USC 1996-97" brochure several times. The only thing that even looks remotely decent is Parkside and I'm sure 1000's of others have already decided it was decent enough for them. The USC student who called today said that I could go ahead and submit the application then if I changed my mind get a deposit refund, so I'll probably do that.

Unlike those you meet in high school, where you were forced together, the people you meet in college will be sharing the same interests, and have similar career goals. No longer will you need to be tortured by the jock who feels it necessary to point out your failures at PE; or the football star who thinks nothing of dumping soda inside your locker, knowing that you won't be able to do anything about it. No, these are people who are, if not mirror images of you, at least in the same ball park.

No, it was the reverse for me. High school was the land of where everyone got along. White bread (inbred) Kentucky. I'd spent years and years with these same kids and we were beyond the whole teasing phase. Sure, there were rivalries, but nothing much. The two situations aren't even comparable, though.

And, you need quantity time in order to get quality time. You will not be able to do this in an off-campus apartment (unless the off-campus apartment happens to be in the same neighborhood...you get the general idea). Some of the best times I had at college were spent in the coffee shop of the Vagabond Motel, back in those days when none of us had a car and had to stay local.

An off-campus apartment near USC would be fine. As long as I'm not forced to be in a room with some random stranger, that's fine with me. University owned apartments go several blocks away from the main campus. I'm sure there are other apartment complexes there filled with students, right?

I know I know, the neighborhood is hardly Beverly Hills. BUT, it's not nearly as dangerous or bad as it looks. Security is pretty tight, particularly if you're in campus housing. Assuming you will have to find a place on the outside, you will either spend a fortune to live in West Hollywood or some other safe area, or you will be living next door to drug dealers, and could be in the line of fire if the psycho who lies in the building across from you decides to kill his girlfriend who lives above you (this really happened to me while I was living off campus).

Well, just from what I've been found on rent.net online, I've found several complexes in the mid-Wilshire area that look really nice and safe, with everything from closed circuit TV and intercoms to an electronic guest entry system and individual apartment alarms. And they all are much larger and cost less than my current place. Back home in Richmond, I know literally 100's of the video store patrons were college students who all lived in a group of apartments nearby... nearby to the store, but miles away from the university. I'm sure there have to be several USC students doing the same sort of thing. Right?

We're looking forward to your moving here, and want to be sure that this college experience is a real one, not the disappointment that BU was.

I know you guys are all just trying to do the best by me, nd that's the reason I'm not totally disagreeing to the idea of living on-campus... just to the idea of sharing a bedroom with a random, computer picked roommate.

- Justin

I sent that letter to Larry as well. When we talked that night, he said that I should write USC housing and tell them exactly the same thing, that I should explain that I thought I should live on-campus, but explain why I was hesitant.

June 5, 1996

4:54AM Technically June 6, 1996

Thursday morning, I wrote a letter very similar to the one above and sent it off to USC housing.

Thursday night, Curt drove in and we started talking about him signing up for AOL to find a guy. I'd already told him several times about Larry's meeting Rich and Lance there, and so we got online and starting looking through the Heart-To-Heart picture section. I clicked a few postings and each time we'd give our yea or nea based on the inch high thumbnail. I then noticed one in particular. I asked Curt, "Does that look like red hair to you?" and Curt said yes. I downloaded the larger version to see that he was indeed a red head, and a particularly cute one at that.

The post had a URL, but it said that he was moving to Washington DC. Nonetheless, Curt and I excitedly checked out his page. I found another picture of him and he was cute in it, too. I bookmarked the site and that was that... or so I thought. Curt asked for something to write down the URL. I was curious as to why he wanted the URL for it was common knowledge that I had dibs on all red heads. I didn't think a lot about it, though, and gave it to him after a couple minutes of torture. I figured I'd write the guy e-mail a little later and Curt & I resumed hanging out.

Later that night, after Curt had gone home, I sent e-mail to Larry saying, "What do you think of this guy? Too bad he's moving to DC." and attached the photo from AOL. When we talked a few hours afterward, he told me that I should definitely go ahead and e-mail him.

June 6, 1996


Friday morning, I called a friend of Dan's to ask her opinion on USC housing. She said that there were "tons" of apartment buildings in the area with students, and when I was on campus, I should check on a renting/roommate board in the Topping Student Center. By the end of the conversation, she even said that she would walk or drive around with me at orientation to point out the places that would be nice to live, the places definitely not to live, and the places not to go beyond.

Later Friday, I responded to the AOL post:


Has anyone ever told you that you look adorable in that picture you posted on H2H? If they haven't, it's high time someone did. :-) And I will... "You look adorable in that picture."

I was disappointed to read that you're moving to DC, though, for I'm moving to LA to go to USC this fall. Anyway, I won't write on and on. I'll just attach my picture and let you see if you even think I'm cute.

- Justin

P.S. I checked out your web page. You should check out mine at http://www.koool.com/ and more specifically, look at http://www.koool.com/redhead.html

Within a couple of hours, I got a response:

Subject: Your web site...

...Is AWESOME! By far one of the best put together personal web pages that I've seen. And I'm not moving to DC after all. I got a offer to work in The City (San Francisco) that was too good to pass up so it looks like night classes for grad school at Berkeley (which is where I'm going to live too.)

So why USC? What are you going to go study and when are you coming to San Francisco?

- Chuck

I began replying immediately and before I'd finished, I'd gotten another letter from his work account.

Subject: If you happen...

...to reply, please e-mail me on AOL, that way if your write me over the weekend, I can respond!


- Chuck

Exclamations and two messages! That sounded pretty promising. I continued on my original reply and sent it on its way. When I downloaded mail at the same time, I found another letter from Chuck which said:


I'm really amazed at the amount of work on your website, but even more so, I'm really intrigued by what you're looking for.

I'm mean, I've been looking for people to connect with for a long time know that are looking for the same thing I'm looking for. Most importantly, I'm really in awestruck of your ideal guy. I've been really frustrated because it just seems that no one around my age, 21, is into having the same thing. It's seems like every gay male out there just wants sex and nothing more.

Last night was the first date I'd been on in two months, and it went terrible!

But, I guess I'm just blabbing on and on now, but I really was kind of moved (being the passionate guy that I am) by what you're looking for. It's too bad you'll be an 8 hour drive away.

In any case two observation are being made at this moment about you, which I could be off kilter because I Don't KNOW YOU, but here they are:

  1. You're an incredibly smart, attractive, willing-to-love human being.
  2. I can't believe you're single--and that doesn't make sense.
What you're seeking is really beautiful and I hope California won't corrupt you! Keep it koool.

- Chuck

I had to be dreaming. Here was a really cute red head and the worst thing about him was that he wouldn't be in the same city in California. He wasn't sexually obsessed (His profile on AOL said "g-rated gifs avail. No Cyber sex!"), he was smart, and cute. I was amazed and couldn't stop e-mailing.

Friday night, I talked with Curt and asked if he'd written Chuck as he'd planned. He said that he had but hadn't gotten a response. I sorta felt bad when I told him how Chuck and I'd spent the day e-mailing each other. I tried to explain that it was because I'd attached a few pictures to my mail, but Curt was depressed. I talked to him for a good while, trying to cheer him up, but only had partial luck.

By the time I went to bed, I'd gotten four e-mails from Chuck and sent him six.


When I got mail Saturday morning, I found a really long letter from Chuck with the subject of "What a thing to wake up to..." He told me about his life, his past, his goals, and his obsession... politics. I already knew that he was extremely political from his web site, but in his e-mail, Chuck flat out said, "Politics consume my life." I'm not political at all. "A clash? Perhaps," I thought, but things were going so well otherwise. In fact, I worried more about his list of favorite films which included Citizen Kane and Apocolypse Now. Of the five he'd listed, I'd seen none and furthermore had no desire to.

I wrote back with my list of top five films... they included Tootise, Death Becomes Her, and Anne of Green Gables - Quite the contrast to his involved movies. He's already told me that he graduated at 16 and finished college in three years. My reply was titled, "Geez, do I feel dumb. :-\"

As time went on, we exchanged more e-mail. Of note, I got this particularly sweet letter and attachment:

I went to the store to buy some food and and saw these waving in the summer breeze out here and thought I'd send some to you. I'm not an artist, but I tried.

- Chuck

Attachment Converted: Flowers from Chuck.gif

By Saturday night, I'd called his voice mail to leave a brief message, we'd chatted on AOL for nearly two hours, and Chuck had asked me to go with him to a Tori Amos concert, complete with backstage passes.

Sunday morning, we exchanged a few more e-mails, then we finally made it to the voice stage. I called his number and we talked for over two and a half hours. It was great: We clicked. I even re-did my desktop's wallpaper afterwards.

Sunday afternoon, Curt asked if I'd like to attend a track awards banquet with him. I didn't care especially about going, for I knew I'd not know anyone nor even know what races were what. But I decided I could do something just because someone else wanted me to.

Nonetheless, as Curt and I were leaving the city, he started having second thoughts. I mean, part of him wanted to show me off to his runners, but the other part thought that I could bring trouble. He told me that I was going to have to act straight and not touch him. I didn't take offense, for I knew where he was coming from, but when we got out of the car, I laughed and asked, "Why do I feel like I'm in The Birdcage?"

The award banquet went off without a hitch. Curt introduced me to several people and I don't think either of us felt uncomfortable at all. The program was even a lot shorter than I'd anticipated.

Afterwards, we grabbed a bite to eat then he took me home.

Sometime after midnight, Chuck called and asked if it was too late. I said no and we began talking. We talked for about a while then somehow got to the merits of The Birdcage versus Philadelphia. Chuck thought The Birdcage "set us back twenty years," while I thought it was a positive experience. So what if the audience was laughing at the gay guys. The Birdcage still showed a loving, gay couple and presented them in a non-threatening manner. I said that Philadelphia re-inforced the stereotype that all gay guys have AIDS. Now, to most people, this would be a five, maybe ten, minute debate. Chuck and I debated it for an hour. Each point would start another and the viciousness kept increasing. By the time we quit, we'd argued so intensely that Chuck had said our differences made us incompatible and I said, "As much as I hate to agree, I think you're right." The arguing was that bad. This guy that I was practically ga-ga over a few hours earlier was now someone I had no desire to speak with. I even changed my desktop in mid-conversation just to get rid of him.

Nevertheless, the eternal hopeful that I am, I kept on talking and we both calmed down. An hour after that, Chuck was the sweetest guy and completely opened up. He told me that he wished I was there so I could cuddle with him: It was quite a transformation. I mean, after the first part of our conversation, I was certain that we'd never talk again, but by the time we said good-bye at 4:20AM, we both didn't want to get off the phone.

Click here to move on to the next set of entries.

© 1996 Justin Clouse

Justin's Koool Page