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Love, love, love

By Daniel Curzon

More than anything in the whole world, Arthur wanted a one-night stand. But he couldn't get one. He couldn't get one because B.J., his lover of many years, stood in his way. Not only did B.J. stand in Arthur's way (and he was a hundred and eighty pounds of the most masculine muscle this side of the Marlboro man), but he was forever trailing him when Arthur went out for a loaf of nine-grains bread or a quart of low-fat milk. Arthur couldn't even put away the groceries or watch T.V. without B.J. sidling up to him and caressing his thighs or chest or massaging his back. Arthur would stand in their newly tiled kitchen (they'd done it themselves in glossy white Dutch tiles) and wondered what he could possibly do to escape. He thought if he got hugged or had a loving word whispered in his ear one more time he'd scream! Absolutely scream, and yet screaming wasn't Arthur's thing at all. He wasn't quite as tall or as muscular as B.J., but he was every bit as masculine. (They both kept in shape by running together, five miles every other day, and taking long hikes on week-ends.) He really didn't know how much longer he could put up with B.J.'s endearments and generosities, and secretly he started to plan a one-night stand. 

More than anything in the world, Arthur wanted a one night stand.

"I'm going out," Arthur said.
B.J. looked up, hurt.
"Can I come with you?" he asked, dropping his hammer. (He'd been putting an extra room in the basement of their house.)
"I won't be long."
"Where're you going, honey?"
Arthur hesitated, trying to seem nonchalant.
"Oh, nowhere. Just out."
"You want me to come along? You look very handsome today."
"Thank you."
Arthur nervously stroked his beard, which was quite thick and black. B.J. was forever telling him how nice he looked. In particular B.J. loved the contrast between Arthur's black beard and his blond head hair. B.J. said it made him look exotic and sexy, like a Renaissance duke.
"Can't I give you a lift somewhere?" B.J. asked.
“And put you to all that trouble!"
"No trouble, honey," B.J. smiled. He was clean-shaven, punctual, and had brown eyes the size of Lincoln pennies. He came over to Arthur, to give him a hug.
"Don't you have to finish the extra room in the basement?"
"It can wait. You come first."
"I suppose I ought to be helping you with it. So you'll be finished faster?" Arthur looked up argumentatively. 

"I'm going out."

B.J. shook his head. "It's all right. I can finish it myself."
"I haven't helped you with anything around here since we put in the Dutch tile."
"It's okay," B.J. smiled, caressing Arthur. He blew a small puff of love into Arthur's ear. He had very nice breath.
"I didn't go on that picnic you wanted us to either, remember?"
B.J. hugged Arthur from behind and tickled his ear with his tongue. "I don't want to force you into things, you know that."
"You're so nice to me," Arthur had to admit.
"Because I love you, honey." B.J. nibbled on Arthur's earlobe.
"And you came to visit me in the hospital when I had my appendectomy."
"I loved every minute. Holding your hand until you came to."
"I remember . . . your face was the last thing I saw before the doctor operated and the first thing I saw when I woke up."
"I'm glad you pulled through so fast."
Arthur yanked up his knit shirt and touched the appendectomy scar. "You don't even seem to mind that my body's scarred now." He tapped the line of the incision.
B.J. leaned around and kissed the scar. "I love every scar on your body, because it's yours."
"Don't I ever make you a little bit mad?"
"Why should you?" 

"It's all right, I can finish myself."

Arthur stifled a sigh. "I always have you to lean on, don't I?"
"Always, Arthur." B.J. hugged him and then ran his tongue over Arthur's belly button.
"We've never had a quarrel, have we?"
"Not even a spat," B.J. said, grinning. He was remarkably good-looking, Arthur couldn't help noting. Whatever it was that caused handsomeness, B.J.'s square face had all the right proportions, a nose without any hairs sticking out, teeth that seemed never to get food particies between them. B.J. didn't even have morning mouth.
"Do you ever cheat on me?" Arthur asked suddenly.
"How do you mean?"
"Cheat—you know, sneak out with other guys?"
"Why would I want to, honey? I'm totally involved and satisfied and happy with you."
Arthur could tell that B.J. meant it.
"How about with girls? Do you ever sneak out and get it on with girls maybe?"
"Not since I left my wife for you, you know that."
"How many years have we been together now—no, never mind, don't answer that! I don't want to hear the figure."
"Is something bothering you, Arthur?"
"You sure?"
"No, everything's fine. How's the basement coming along?"
"Super! I should have it finished by next week. Then we can throw that party we've been planning."
"I'm going out now," Arthur said. 

"I have always you to lean on, don't I?"

He got in his car and drove to the other side of town, parked, and went into a dirty bookstore, where he'd heard there was a back room where guys got it on, day and night.
He bought a membership card and went inside, where it was dark as an alleyway. Various hunky men were lined up along the walls, cruising each other with hot, lascivious eyes. Arthur got an erection immediately. He went up to one, to get a better look at his face.
"Hi, Arthur!" a voice said. It was B.J.
"What are you doing here?"
"I followed you. I noticed that you seemed rather unhappy or dissatisfied today, and I wanted to help."
"Nice place, isn't it?" Arthur said, gesturing at two men who were taking turns sucking each other.
"Do you want me to hold your hand until you feel better?" B.J. asked.
"Not particularly. Okay?"
"How about a hug?"
"No thanks. Not at the moment."
"How about sex? Do you want to go home and have sex in our bed?"
"Not right now, I guess."
"We could do it in the garage, for variety.”
"That's all right, B.J."
"How about in the bathtub?"
Arthur left, and drove to another part of town. He found an out-of-the-way gay bar down on the waterfront and went inside. The bar was full of seedy types in various stages of leather and undress. An unshaven man with a huge bulge in his crotch started to stare at Arthur, who went closer.
"You wanna kneel down in front of me here or somewhere else?" the man with the huge bulge asked.
Arthur grew immensely aroused at the suggestion.
"Of course I won't talk to you, as soon as I come," the bulge said.
"I understand," Arthur said, starting to go down on his knees.
B.J. came in the front door and walked over before Arthur could unzip the bulge's fly. "Don't you love me anymore?" he said.
"Sure I do."
"Of course I understand if you don't." 

He got in his car and drove to the other side of town.

"But, B.J., I do love you! There's no question of that."
"Do you want me to put on leather like this man you're kneeling in front of? Huh?"
"Not particularly."
"Are you sure, Arthur?"
"I'm pretty sure."
"I will if you want me to."
"Would you mind going away right now, B.J.?"
B.J. looked hurt. "Of course not." He took two steps, then turned back. "Can I give you a hug before I go?"
Arthur got up off his knees and ran from the bar.

He drove to another city and went to a steambath that had been condemned by the fire department and the Legion of Decency. Various men in riding chaps and black hoods were fornicating in the hallways. Arthur stepped into a bunkroom that smelled of amyl nitrite and sex sweat. Arthur felt a great impulse to unzip his fly.
A dude with an insolent head of African-American hair and a dildo as long as a policeman's night stick was hanging by one fist from a bunkbed. He waved the dildo at Arthur. "You want me to shove this in you?" he asked.
Arthur started to remove his clothes.
B.J.'s head popped up from the top side of the bunkbed, above the dude hanging by one hand.
"Do you really want to do this, Arthur?" he asked.
"I think so," Arthur replied.
"I can't say exactly. I just do."
"Are you trying to hurt me?"
"I don't think so. That's why I drove to another city."
"I know, it's a hundred and sixty-two miles back to our house."
"If I let this guy shove that dildo inside me, will it be all over between us?"
"Of course not. I understand," B.J. said.
"You do?" 

"But B.J., I do love you, there's no question of that."

"I'm not giving you what you want at home, am I?"
"We had sex seven times last week. In fact, we've had it seven times a week ever since we've been together. How many years is that now?"
"Is there something you want that I'm not doing? Do you want me to throw mustard on your buttocks, or something like that?"
"Not particularly."
"How about if I bought you a big dildo for your birthday?"
"B.J., would you go away, please. Please go away!"
"I love you, Arthur. Always remember that. No matter what, I'll always love you."
"I love you too. I do, B.J. I really do love you I"
B.J. walked out of the bunkroom. Arthur hesitated for a minute and then let the big dude shove the dildo all the way into him. 

"I'm not giving you what you want at home, am I?

Arthur was overjoyed at the result. As soon as he came, he went to another steambath in another city and had sex with a hairy midget visiting from Albuquerque. It was totally pointless and quite wonderful. He stayed away from home for four years and three months, and didn't have sex with the same person twice in all that time. He lost count of all his one-night stands. He'd never been happier in his entire life.
Then one night, while in the midst of an orgy with two pilots from an Air Force base in Nova Scotia, Arthur thought about B.J. He jumped out of bed and, quite nude, called him right then and there.
"B.J., this is Arthur."
"How are you?"
"Okay. Yourself?"
"I think about you a lot. Do you ever think about me, Arthur?"
"Sometimes, sure."
"I tried to love you, Arthur."
"I know, B.J."
"Are you ready to come home now?"
"No," Arthur said, and hung up.

Daniel Curzon is a Ph.D. and the author of many books of fiction and plays, including the landmark gay protest novel Something You Do in the Dark (Putnam, 11971). He won the 1999 National New Play Contest for Godot Arrives. His newest books are the 3rd edition of The Big Book  on In-Your-Face Gay Etiquette (Wisehouse, 2014) and a novel about San Francisco, Halfway to the Stars: Cable Car Tales of a Grumpy Gripman (Wisehouse, 2014), which is a finalist in Foreword Reviews' Book of the Year Awards.  

Love, love, love appeared first in Curzon's story collection The revolt of the perverts.