I attended California State University in San Diego, California, during the seventies. At the time it had 35,000 students and was a very liberating environment for a kid from the suburbs. I kept waiting to grow out of the attraction I had for men. But in college, with all the hot men, it only got worse. I had a very negative image of gay life from the media and society. Our school newspaper did a series on gays and it was an educational experience for me. One article mentioned that “most of the gay activity occurs in the Tea Rooms around Balboa Park.” Finally I was going to explore my sexuality and now I had an outlet!
That evening I drove to Balboa Park and circled the park looking for the “Tea Rooms.” In my naivety I thought these were tea shops selling tea and crumpets. I drove for hours around Hillcrest and never did find a tea shop. I gave up with the idea because I was too scared to ask anyone. Fortunately after college I moved to San Francisco. I called the gay hotline and asked them where the gay activity was. The man that answered asked me where I lived and when I told him he said, “Honey, go to your living room window, open it, and hang your head out!”
I think it is much easier now for gays to come out, at least in metropolitan areas. So much of my coming out was guess work or drawn from bits and pieces of information from various sources…some good, some bad. I wish someone would have explained to me that it is only called a “blowjob”, it would have saved me a lot of embarrassment and headaches.