The Regular Guys

They follow sports, wear flannel shirts, smoke, drink, belch, and make crude jokes. Oh, one other thing. They're gay.

And in so being, University of Windsor sociologist Barry Adam says the Regular Guys might not be as unique as they think.

"I don't know many gay men who would say they have a strong connection to 'gay culture,' whatever that is," says Adam. "So few people seem to like it, so they are all running off to other identities and forming all these other specific groups that combine being gay with other social activities. There has been a real evolution over the last 25 years toward a multiplication and fragmentation of gay groups. If you look in the gay papers of any big city, the listings get longer and longer. Does anyone still believe in the dream of a single unitary gay identity? I don't think so."

As Carrington (an admirer of baseball and circuit parties) says, "There is no booming gay voice of God in San Francisco telling gay people, 'Go to Macy's!'"

Seated at the Jumpin' Java Coffee House in San Francisco, Eric Sweigard -- a funny, deceptively intellectual man prone to rambling tangents -- is enjoying a mildly homoerotic recollection/tangent about his high school wrestling days.

"Wrestling is so fuckin' bizarre," Sweigard says, munching on the last bite of a turkey sandwich. "There are three periods in wrestling, right? If you win the first, you get to get on top of the other guy. The other guy is down on all fours, doggie style, and you get on top of him, and you literally grind your groin into his ass, taking control of one wrist with one hand, and wrapping your other hand around his stomach. You get to break him down. So all of this grinding and touching, and not once did I have a sexual feeling! Not once! I got to grind my groin against some of the finest 16- and 17-year-old ass in the tri-state area, and never once got a boner. And I look back now, and I'm like, 'Doh!'" (He smacks himself in the head.)

"Wow, that's incred ...," I begin to say.

"Speaking of doh," he says, "what the fuck is Tom Ammiano's problem? I mean, are you going to sit here and tell me that Ammiano's not an idiot?"

"Well, I ..."

"ATM fees? That's his big fucking issue? I mean, this idiot needs to wake up and smell the lube. There's only gonna be three banks in two years, anyway. I mean, what's the charge, $1.50? Damn, take out $100 once a week instead of $20 at a time. Or you know what's an even better idea? Go to your bank!"

Sweigard, the last of four children in what he calls an "obnoxiously" gregarious family, has been a loudmouth wise-ass for as long as he can remember. As a teenager, Sweigard attended an all-boys Catholic high school and lived a fairly naive existence when it came to sex. "I didn't even know two guys could do it until I was probably 15," he says. "Seems crazy now, but it just wasn't talked about in Omaha. And everyone has all these crazy stories about sexual escapades at their all-boys Catholic schools, but I swear there wasn't any cornholing going on at mine. Trust me, 'cause I would have been in on it if there was."

In college at Chicago's Loyola University, Sweigard says he had no strong sexual feelings toward men but did have several largely anticlimactic homosexual experiences. The first, in the bathroom at the Loyola University library, began when Sweigard noticed that the man standing in the neighboring urinal was playing with his large, erect penis, which Sweigard remembers as being "truly fucking unbelievably large."

"Then the guy looked at me and said, 'You wanna touch it?'" recalls Sweigard. "So I touched it a few times, and he came like a cannon."

Experience number two happened on a couch at the Carmelite dorm (Sweigard, although not all that religious, briefly entertained the thought of becoming a priest) after an evening of collegiate drunken debauchery. The instigator of this event was the only openly gay student among the Carmelites -- a persistent young man who did not take Sweigard's "No thanks, man" for an answer. Highly inebriated, Sweigard says he finally gave in to an easy blow job.

"He did his thing, and it was creepy," he recalls. "It was probably only the second or third time he had given head to someone, and he was all teeth."

After college, Sweigard -- then a proud Reagan Republican -- landed a job at a theater company. He worked various jobs during the day (to pay the bills) and dated girls at night, only rarely feeling any same-sex attractions. That changed in a big way when Sweigard was 26. "My girlfriend at the time and I were sitting at a cafe, and I remember not being able to take my eyes off the waiter's ass," he says. "He had these two melons for an ass. He was so cute, not too femmy. That night, I remember going home with my girlfriend and just fucking the hell out of her, thinking about him the whole time. The next morning she looked at me and said, 'Wow, you were amazing last night.'"

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