Everybody’s FREE to FEEL GOOD

By Josh Eliot

 

Free and easy is how I’d describe the good ole days in San Francisco (1980 - 1988). I embraced the idea of that kind of world, even though living in 1980s San Francisco was like being in a bubble, you really felt the world would be a better place if that euphoria spread outside the Bay Area’s borders. You couldn’t go anywhere in the city that wasn’t sexually charged, lust was in the air. I can’t imagine San Francisco being as free spirited today, I really hope I’m wrong.

I moved to San Francisco at 17 from Rhode Island, and after my stint at the San Francisco Art Institute and prior to starting with Catalina Video, I worked mostly as an insurance claims clerk. At age 19 or 20 I worked on the 32nd floor of the 50 California Street Building in the financial district, opening mail, typing, filing and assisting the claims adjusters. The office was 60 / 40 with the majority being gay men in their late 20s. The office did not have a general manager at the time so the person in charge was a supervisor named Jackie. Jackie loved gay boys and never passed up hiring one when they walked in the door for an interview. My first Friday, Fritz, a claims adjuster, walked up and told me: “Work is over for the week and for the last hour everyone hangs out in the break room.” Jay, the other clerk, nodded and said, “Everybody drinks vodka screwdrivers, except for me because I’m not 21 yet, but Peter will sneak us some.”

Talk about free and easy! I’m sure home office in New York would not have approved of such behavior, so I’m not mentioning this major company’s name. Sure enough, Peter and Fred, two claims adjusters, were pouring vodka and orange juice when I got into the break room where everyone drank and socialized. The gay guys would hold court while the straight ladies ate it all up! Mostly everyone took the train to and from work so there weren't issues with driving. Peter did sneak Jay and I our drinks and I’m sure Jackie knew we were lying to her when we said we were only drinking orange juice. Everyone left work for the weekend on a “high note.” This went on for weeks and only ended when a new general manager was assigned to the office. Our Fridays hit a road block.

As weeks passed, I grew closer to the guys at the office, especially Fritz and Fred. Now on Friday’s directly after work, we all went to Sutter's Mill, a gay bar in the financial district where everybody was in a suit and tie or office attire. It was fucking hot! I equate it to a uniform fetish, but it was a three piece suit fetish! Very sexy. I used my friend’s Rhode Island ID to get into bars until I was 21 and it always worked, always. Sutter’s Mill really was a site to behold, the place was packed and more often than not the adjusters would hook up and leave with some hot number. By 7:00pm the place was dead so we would normally head over to the Castro for dinner and more drinks.

 

Josh Eliot at 17, 50 California St., Sutter's Mill

Josh Eliot at 17, 50 California St., Sutter's Mill

 

Fritz was really courting me and I fell head over heels for him. We had regular dates and hook-ups for months, but it was like pulling teeth for him to ever say we were “boyfriends.” He was the ultimate free spirit with “hippy-ish” behavior, like not being able to put labels on things. It was annoying as all hell and after a while his free and easy attitude was turning me off because I wanted acknowledgment of our relationship. The situation was complicated by the fact that he was secretly still in love with his current roommate Sam, his ex-lover that he never got over.

Fred, on the other hand, was a fun party boy who lived in Marin County and commuted over the Golden Gate to work. My frustration with Fritz led me to acting out and I started doing things I never would have if Fritz had only acknowledged and nurtured our relationship. Every now and again Fred and I had occasional hook ups at a little motel on the avenues. I knew whenever he offered to drive me home from the bar on Fridays it was because he really wanted to drive something else home. I always said yes to that ginormous Italian sausage and made sure to keep it a secret from all the others at work, because everyone knew I was seeing Fritz (everyone except Fritz, evidently).

 

Josh and Fred (L) and Josh, Fred and Fritz (R)

Josh and Fred (L) and Josh, Fred and Fritz (R)

 

One summer, Fritz was back-packing across Europe and it just so happened my brother was flying me to England to watch tennis in Wimbledon with him. When Wimbledon ended, I met up with Fritz and we traveled through England and France. I imagined that this would be the turning point in our “relationship” from fuck buddies to something more. We had some great, romantic times but once we got to Nice things fell apart. The entire trip he kept disappearing into bars' back rooms and I really hadn’t said anything. This was my last night before heading back to England to fly home while he continued through Italy. I wanted to stay in but he wanted to go to Blue Boy, a gay bar. When we got there, upon entering, this really hot bouncer was staring me down. Fritz and I danced, drank, and had a good time until he disappeared into a back room. When he came back to the table I was pissed and went off to the bathroom. In line I looked over to the bouncer who again was staring at me; he motioned me over. I walked over to him and he said something to me in French. When I spoke back in English he just reached down, pulled me into him and started making out with me. He then pulled me over to the bathroom line in front of two private bathrooms. The door opened and he pushed me in with him. It was intense, he was hot and hungry and we had full on sex! People were pounding on the door and he yelled back at them in a rough streetwise tone, which made things all the more hot! Afterwards, I went back to the table and told Fritz exactly what happened to get a reaction and make him jealous. He told me he thought it was great and was happy I had that experience. That was the final straw for me, I couldn’t believe he was not upset and ended things with him there and then. We were done.

I was bitter and distraught when I took the sleeper train back to England. My heart was broken but I was determined to put him out of my thoughts. Shortly after returning to England I went to a pub for a stiff drink where I met three guys from Scotland. They were all handsome, but I particularly hit it off with the shaved headed one. They took me with them to the nightclub Heaven where we danced and drank the night away. From Heaven, we all took a taxi to their apartment in some really random part of London. I was finally free of Fritz, and because of my recent behavior and the fact I went home with three Scottish guys, some would say I was easy. Like the song says: Everybody’s FREE to FEEL GOOD and I was back to doing just that!

 

Blue Boy in Nice, Heaven in London

Blue Boy in Nice, Heaven in London

 

 

Bio of Josh Eliot:

At the age of 25 in 1987, Josh Eliot was hired by Catalina Video by John Travis (Brentwood Video) and Scott Masters (Nova Video). Travis trained Eliot on his style of videography and mentored him on the art of directing. Josh directed his first movie, Runaways, in 1987. By 2009 when Josh parted ways with Catalina Video, he'd produced and directed hundreds of features and won numerous awards for Best Screenplay, Videography, Editing, and Directing. He was entered into the GayVN Hall of fame in 2002. 

 

You can read Josh Eliot's previous blogs for Bijou here:

Coming out of my WET SHORTS
FRANK ROSS, The Boss
Our CALIGULA Moment
That BUTTHOLE Just Winked at Me!
DREAMLAND: The Other Place
A Salty Fuck in Saugatuck
Somebody, Call a FLUFFER!
The Late Great JOHN TRAVIS, My POWERTOOL Mentor
(Un)Easy Riders
7 Years with Colt Model MARK RUTTER
Super NOVA
Whatever Happened to NEELY O’HARA?
Is That AL PARKER In Your Photo?
DOWN BY LAW: My $1,000,000 Mistake
We Waited 8hrs for a Cum Shot... Is That a World Record?
Don't Wear "Short Shorts" on the #38 Geary to LANDS END
How Straight Are You Really?
BEHIND THE (not so) GREEN DOOR
The BOOM BOOM Room
CATCHING UP with Tom DeSimone

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Chasing the Boys and Chasing the Sun: My Story of Sun Worship and Where It Got Me

By Will Seagers

 

Summer has always been my favorite time of the year. Bathing suits, bulges, boys and of course a good suntan! Growing up on the East Coast in New Jersey meant one thing in the summer - The Shore.

Starting off as a youngster, the boy stuff hadn't quite kicked in, but I was already indoctrinated into the tanning thing by the age of seven. With an above ground pool in the backyard in north central N.J. and frequent trips down the Garden State Parkway to Asbury Park and other points on the "Shore" during each summer, I wasn't happy unless I had a nice deep tan... it was sort of a merit badge.

I remember around the age of seven or so, my parents rented a bungalow in the Ocean County hamlet of Ocean Beach. That's where I got my first bad sunburn and some sun sickness, as well. I remember I felt terrible and was shivering and unable to sleep with the pain. The next day I had a huge blister on my shoulder as a memento.

Will Seagers childhood photo
Will Seagers childhood photo

Fast forward a decade or so when my family actually lived at the shore. I guess you can figure I was always tan. Now is when the "Boy Thing” started to kick in. I didn't go to the beach where the rest of my family went. I chose the next town up from us... it had a gay beach. I learned the ropes and the art of cruising pretty fast. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, my skin was taking a beating and "remembering” all of the sun I was throwing at it.

Moving along to my Flight Attendant days. Now in my early twenties, I trained in Miami Springs for what used to be Eastern Airlines. No need to say this, but Miami = Sun. Even though my first six months were based out of JFK, I opted for every Florida or San Juan flight that I could get. I particularly loved being dark tan in the dead of winter!

Flight attendant crew in 1972 and Will Seagers Puero polaroid in Puerto Rico at age 21
Flight attendant crew (1972) and polaroid in Puerto Rico at age 21

Next stop San Juan, Puerto Rico! As soon as my first six months were up and I could make my move, I transferred to San Juan. Here, my goal was to attain the tan of a lifetime! (Little did I know that it was more like a life sentence!) Lots of sexy Latino men on the beach, too. All it took was a certain nod and we'd be off the beach and headed to bed! I wound up playing too hard in P.R. and losing my job. I was having too much fun and missed a couple too many flights! Oh well!

Back up north to NYC (and a summer on Fire Island!). Fire Island was my first experience with nude beaches. Boy, did that make things easy! Lol. But I left the NYC area in the fall to help a friend in Phoenix. It had a neat gay community and WOW, the Desert Southwest Sun. It was just about as powerful as it gets!

Will Seagers on Fire Island beach in 1976 and in the Arizona desert
Fire Island beach (1976) and Arizona desert

Then there was the migration to San Francisco, where I lived for fourteen years. Although one could get a pretty good bronzing up on their rooftops, like I did in my apartment, it was the Russian River and its resorts that beckoned. So, for the first few years, every Friday was the hour and a half pilgrimage north to The Woods or many of the other Russian River Resorts. Great California Sun and lots of wild sexy places to visit! And when in town during the winter, there were the tanning salons. It was from overuse of a tanning bed that I got a Malignant Melanoma! Should have stopped there, right?

After returning once again to the East Coast in 1991 to N.J. and ultimately NYC, I discovered a little gem of a beach just outside the waters of N.Y. on the Jersey shore - Sandy Hook - and it was a nude beach! Yay! For where it was and what it was (a state park), it was the wildest beach that I have ever experienced. All sorts of bodies in all levels of arousal.

And what kind of beach story would be complete without the addition of South Beach, Miami Beach, Fla? By this time, I was 44. It was an international port of call. With that came some extraordinary beauties... and raring to go! I remember walking the beach in my favorite black speedo and being summoned by this gorgeous, long haired Adonis to come up to his beach front house. I still get out of breath remembering that one! But wait, there was more. Here I am again, walking the beach in my favorite little speedo, and what had to have been the most spectacular specimen of mankind walked right up to me, gave me a peck on the cheek and started rubbing my crotch. In broad daylight, we had sex on the beach. "Mr. DeMille" - where were you? We were quite ready for our close up!

Will Seagers in the '90s
40th birthday in S.F., on a cruise (1990), South Beach (1996)

Ok. Fast forward through nearly twenty-five more years of sun recklessness to the (sort of) moral of the story. At age 71, I have just undergone my sixth Mohs Procedure for skin cancer. I have not forgotten my fabulous times on the beach. And, neither has my skin. The one thing I have to share with everyone it is this: the sun is not your friend. Please be careful.

Will Seagers bandaged after a Mohs Procedure
Recovering from a Mohs Procedure, past and present

 

Thank you to Will Seagers for use of his photos.

 

Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted career and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model and film performer. He made iconic appearances in releases from Falcon, Hand in Hand, Joe Gage, Target (Bullet), J. Brian, Steve Scott, and more, including in lead roles in major classics like Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (1979) and Scott's Wanted (1980). He brought strong screen presence and exceptional acting to his roles and was scene partners with many fellow legends of classic porn.

 

Will Seagers, present day image

 


You can read Will Seagers' previous blogs for Bijou here:
Welcome Matt/Will
What's For Dessert?
On and Off the Set of L.A. Tool & Die
Wanted, Weekend Lockup and Weekends in Hermosa Beach
Honeymoon in the Palms
Birds of a Feather
The Stereo Maven of Castro Street
The Pass Around Boy
The Ecstasy and the Agony
Fitness and Fantasy: The Early Gyms

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