Trophy Boys

When older gay men of means want youthful companionship, they seek out the ...

"It's like a contest to see who lavishes their little stud puppy with more things," Jay says.

Beyond the social hours, Jay meets other twinks by administering a members-only Web community called California Naughty Boys, where young, gay men from the Bay Area post their photos and vital statistics for potential sugar daddies to peruse. The prettiest boys get the most responses, but beauty is in the eye of the sugar daddy. Although most of the older men are white, as are most twinks, sometimes a twink who is perceived as having an "exotic" look will beat out the competition. There is always a racial or ethnic niche that needs to be filled. Asian boys, for instance, have a strong sugar-daddy following. But Jay doesn't seem to mind -- or even be aware -- that his white boyfriends could be objectifying him based on how he looks.

"I'm usually the only dark guy at the parties, so for men who go for that, I'm in high demand," says Jay, an African-American, who sports a cool, hip-hop look that complements his nice build. Two looped earrings hang on each side of his boyish face and devilish grin.

Jay grew up in the Bay Area with his mom and older sister. His dad is not around. Jay doesn't know what he wants to do after college, but politics might be an option, if no grand juries ever find out about his life as a trophy boy. Nabbing a student council seat was easy for the college freshman, who is a smooth talker and wise for his age. As for why he entered the twink world, Jay has no explanation other than boredom.

"It's exciting doing something against society," he says. "It is forbidden, and that's what turns me on."

And being a trophy on display doesn't bother him either. "I know I'm being seen as a prize," he says. "But I like being the center of attention -- and I like the gifts."

Sugar daddy Logg says there is an understanding when older men parade young boyfriends around the Castro and at private parties. "It shouldn't bother the kid," he says. "Either he really wants to be there with you or, if he's just in it for the hustle, it's a great chance to advertise his wares and let people know he's peddling his ass to older men."

Jay has never put himself on the market at school. So the "mom's co-worker" excuse works -- this time. And soon, he's alone with his middle-aged boyfriend in a booth at a Mexican restaurant, sharing chicken nachos. There are kisses, too, but those come later, after "Nick Nolte" picks up the tab for lunch, and after a shopping spree that nets Jay a new jacket and ring.

Jay sings to his friend Harry, a fellow twink. They are hanging out on a Saturday afternoon, talking about boyfriends, as they get ready for a Halloween costume party. Jay is dressing as a cowboy: black leather chaps, a shiny red fringe shirt, and a silver sheriff's badge. Harry is painting his nails black so he can be a vampire.

Harry, a tall, French-Filipino mix with long, black hair that falls past his shoulders, knows why Jay is making that cash-register sound. Harry's 44-year-old boyfriend wants to buy the shy and soft-spoken 19-year-old a computer so they can e-mail erotic messages to one another. The boyfriend has also offered to pay for Harry's college tuition; if Harry still didn't live at home, rent would probably be provided, too. So far, though, Harry has refused any extravagant gifts.

"I'm afraid to take it. I don't want to owe him or be obligated to do anything I might not want to do," he says. "I should like a guy for his personality, not his checkbook. But everybody says I'm weird for saying that. Even my sister says take the computer, so she can use it."

Jay doesn't understand his friend's logic. Harry fits the twink mold: a young, good-looking guy who dates older men of means. But he's not working it.

"Why go out with an old man if you're not getting any gifts?" Jay asks. "You should milk him for all he's worth and then some."

"Well, some people are gold diggers," Harry tells Jay.
"Yeah, and some people are sluts who fuck for nothing," he snaps back.
And there's the difference: Harry actually likes older men. He finds their maturity appealing when compared to his unfocused, shallow, hormone-driven peers.

"I like the security of someone older. They've learned how to settle down and know how to treat someone right," Harry says. "They know a lot more and can show me something finer than sex."

While not always physically enamored of his middle-aged boyfriend, who has graying hair, Harry finds him romantic and intellectually attractive. And they do enjoy sex. "At first I thought, 'God, he's old,' " Harry says. "But I saw he is athletic and in really good shape. He's not too wrinkled or shriveled."

The situation has been less aesthetically pleasing for Jay. In two years, he has dated 12 men between the ages of 37 and 51. One, he figures, was OK-looking. He had all his hair, didn't smell bad, and wasn't tired or weak. A nice catch. But then there were the others, including a guy he privately nicknamed "Oompa-Loompa," after the squat characters in the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

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