Trophy Boys

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

Jay says the control sugar daddies exert is most evident at the social hours when the twinks are gathered together, unwittingly mirroring their boyfriends' mannerisms, speech, and thought processes. The twinks joke about it, exchanging "you're acting just like your father" teases. But Jay says there is nothing humorous about losing one's own identity.

"Your sugar daddy's characteristics will rub off on you if you're not careful," he says. "Unless you are resistant, they will mold you into what they want. If you're a weak kid and not strong-willed, it's real easy to fall down."

The power dynamics of May/December gay relationships are grounded in one inescapable fact: Trophy boys grow up. They know they won't always be 19, and they know sugar daddies won't give a guy -- no matter how good-looking -- a second glance if he's over 25.

While 25 may still seem like a ripe age for a straight trophy wife, society's obsession with age and beauty is intensified in the gay world. From fighting negative feminine stereotypes to buying the argument that being gay is only about sex, there are any number of explanations for what drives some gay men to become gym fanatics and believe that youth and good looks are their only assets.

"We'd like to think it's forever, but there is an age limit. We can be replaced," Jay says. "As soon as you turn 21, you're pushing it. You are used, expired, and old. You're not fresh meat anymore, and you're about to lose it all: upper hand, the gifts, everything."

But twinks are hardly powerless. In addition to withholding sex and refusing to be completely kept, twinks can assert themselves in a relationship by altering how they behave in public. Jay says he lets his sugar daddies know he has no qualms about being "disobedient" or rude in front of their friends. The fear of embarrassment can go a long way in negotiating the sexual balance of power in a sugar daddy-twink relationship. From simple mouthing off to a full-blown temper tantrum, the twink can quickly torpedo his sugar daddy's image.

"If the old guy's friends know he's bought some punk kid, he will be looked at as a sucker," Jay says.

More times than not, it's the trophy boy who becomes the sucker. Used up and thrown out in their mid-20s, many of them never learn how to survive financially -- or emotionally -- on their own. Bartender Krumtum sees it all too often with each successive batch of trophy boys to come through the door of the Alta Plaza. Krumtum will watch one get picked up for a couple of years. But before long, the same kid ends up sitting at the bar alone, passed up for the newer models. He's hoping for another run, but is too old.

"Those are the stupid ones," Jay says. "They make it their life without thinking of the consequences."

Jay doesn't apologize for being a trophy boy. Given the chance, he'll defend his propensities, or at least point out that the same process unfolds in the straight world all the time: Consider Donald Trump or Anna Nicole Smith. Jay realizes straight society views its trophy relationships with raised eyebrows and that gays find it unacceptable in their community, too. What upsets him most, however, is the double standard: The gay version is somehow deemed more sordid.

Jay notices how people in straight restaurants react when they see him with an older man.

"They give us looks of disgust, as if by seeing us, they can say gay people are even dirtier than they already thought we were," Jay says. "Yeah, they called Anna Nicole Smith a tramp, but they didn't hate her. But if you reversed it, and she was Leonardo DiCaprio, they'd say, 'Look at that deviant of society; that gold-digging fag.' "

Child molestation, however, is one deviance -- gay or straight -- that is hard to defend. Jay went out with his first boyfriend, a 40-year-old man, when he was 16. He dated a dozen middle-aged men when he was between the ages of 16 and 18. Some of the twinks attending social hours in sugar-daddy homes are still in high school. While sexual contact between the men and teen-age boys might be considered illegal, Jay doesn't see it that way.

"At 16, you're not oblivious to what's happening. The twinks all want it," he says, emphasizing that he attended the parties, flirted, and dated on his own accord. "It's not like the men are roaming the park saying, 'Touch my penis, little boy.' "

Logg, whose youngest trophy boy was 19, says the sugar daddies who dabble in the high school set are asking for trouble. "I do find the older I get, the younger I like them -- but not 16; that's too young," Logg says. "It's probably illegal. But I wouldn't want them regardless. I like fully developed men, not boys."

aving sent his young boyfriend home -- they spent the day gardening together -- Logg sits in his back parlor, surrounded by a gaudy mix of European art, furniture, and red shag carpet. The "Italian madness" decor, as Logg calls it, reminds him of the decorator -- his partner of 34 years, who died in 1992 at the age of 62.

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