Entrance to the past
ADULT: Barry Lowe's journey to his old stomping ground – The Entrance – becomes a road trip down his sexual memory lane.
We’ve had a young man staying with us for the past six weeks before he returns to Adelaide after twelve years in Sydney. Stevie’s thank-you gift was a day out in his car and it was my choice of destination, so it was toss-up between heading toward the delights of Scarborough and Austinmer down south or dropping in on my ageing mum on our way to the Central Coast. Mum won, so with the massive tiramisu cake she so likes – the massive is so there will be plenty of leftovers – we headed off up the expressway, skirting Hornsby where I grew up, Asquith where I went to high school, and various other non-sexual highlights upon which I could have pontificated for hours.
As it was, I pointed out all the highlights of our journey with all the fervor of Adelaide’s national treasure, Dr. Gertrude Glossip. After the stopover for tea and cake during which my brother warned me that our ultimate destination, The Entrance, had changed irrevocably, and not for the better, we headed out so I could wallow in nostalgia.
My Technicolor memories of the coastal town in which my teenage sexuality blossomed were enhanced rather than degraded by the changes in the town. It was like Dorothy stepping out of her old Kansas house into Oz. Sure, there were differences – the main street had undergone a transformation aptly summed up by the missing ubiquitous 1950s and 1960s fish and chips shops which had been replaced by three Thai restaurants plus a myriad of other eateries, one of which sold ricotta and spinach veggie burgers. Yum.
The men were different. Gone were the beach blond surfies of the sixties wearing nothing but a pair of Speedos, replaced by tattooed young daddies wearing a wife and kid/s and board shorts with a singlet. While I missed the flesh, some of these guys were hot, hot, hot. Some of them even got that spark of gay recognition when they saw the three of us eating at an open air Thai café.
Alas, my gay past was all but extinct. The Full O’ Fun, the pinball parlour where I spent many a teenage evening cruising locals and tourists alike, and from the steps of which I was seduced by a married man into my first anal – I bottomed – in the grass under a windmill along the coast road had been torn down. As had the windmill.
The toilet block in the main park where I cruised incessantly during school holidays I spent at my nanna’s had disappeared although the building that housed the farmer’s market fruit and vegetable shop where a topless hot young farmer toiled nightly restocking the shelves ready to flick the sign outside the store if he saw any hot men drive up to cruise the area, had survived. Alas, no longer selling fruits.
Over the bridge, no longer the one-lane wooden behemoth under which I received my first blow job from a middle-aged gent who went on to become a gay mentor, the brick toilet to the beach where I learned about man-on-man sex from the copious graffiti adorning the cubicle walls, was now just sand.
I could have been depressed that life changes as my portly frame and arthritic knees remind me constantly, but just for a moment I thought I saw that skinny blond-haired teen me watching us before giving a salute as if to say I hadn’t turned out too bad.