I’ve joked before about the Top’s Lounge, that mythical place bottoms seem to imagine top men retreat between those times they magically appear on demand in the bottom’s bedroom. It’s always seemed to me, in a joking kind of way, as if many men honestly believe that top guys have some kind of club in which we kick back with our boots on the coffee table, smoke cigars, and dish (in a manly way) about the local holes—comparing notes, making recommendations, telling each other from whom to stay away, and making play dates for sharing our favorites.
It’s not true. There aren’t any cigars.
As for the rest . . . well, there isn’t an actual place called the Top's Lounge. It’s not a physical space, or a room in someone’s home appointed in mid-century decor. But when guys network, the tops among them notice each other. Sometimes they make friendships. They swap tips. If a bottom is pretty exceptional, or if he satisfies some whim of another guy, we tell each other. If I have a buddy who’s into redheads, and I fuck a redhead like my boy Scruffy, I might very well point out to my buddy with the redhead fetish Scruffy’s profile on Manhunt and tell him he should get in touch. If a guy isn’t for me but I know someone whose type he’d surely be, I’ll connect the two.
Not every top guy does this. The decent ones do, from time to time, if they have a good network of buddies and a spirit of sharing.
When I lived in Michigan I had a few guys with whom I’d exchange names and information. One of them was a fellow I’ve referred to before as Daddy Tim. Tim and I got to know each other in 1999, when we started chatting online regularly. We met within a couple of months, played with each other, and then started sharing Top’s Lounge information with the other. I took Daddy Tim to the home gloryhole of a young gay couple on his side of town, where several times we’d meet in the parking lot outside their condo, then enter the front door and stick our dicks through the hole they’d carved at the back of their coat closet, into the kitchen wall. Both their unseen mouths would suck on our dicks while the two of us egged each other on to shoot our loads down their throats.
Daddy Tim, in turn, invited me to a party where I met one of his college boy fucks, a pothead acting student who didn’t understand a line of the Shakespeare he could memorize by the yard, but who sure like to blaze up out behind the garage, then come into the house and straddle and ride each of us in turn, for long hours. Then I introduced him to the black college student who’d do anything for a white guy over fifty (that would’ve been Tim—not me). He arranged for me to be at his place to fuck a married bodybuilder who wanted loads for his birthday; I gave him the phone number for the Mexican businessman I used to fuck in my university office and in every university restroom and local casino restroom available.
It was an amicable arrangement for many years, kept afloat by a couple of simple principles: our rate of exchange was pretty even, and we didn’t poach each other’s property. It’s probably the latter of the two things that’s most important. The guys to whom I introduced Tim were mine—the Mexican kid, the kid into race place, the gloryhole boys. The bodybuilder and the would-be actor and the others we shared over the years were his. If he felt especially protective of one, like the bodybuilder for example, I wouldn’t go after him in my spare time. I’d join Daddy Tim when he invited me, but I didn’t ask for the bodybuilder’s phone number or email, or sneak around behind Daddy Tim’s back to fuck the bodybuilder on the side. If I’d shared someone special with Daddy Tim, like Spencer or Scruffy, Tim wouldn’t have attempted to see either outside of our arranged three-way time.
There were, of course, whores like the Mexican businessman that I didn’t feel any particular ownership for, that either of us could bang when we felt like it. Public domain, those guys were. The special ones bore our copyright.
Like I said, it was an arrangement that worked well for over a decade. Then it all went very wrong. I guess it was the last year of my residence in Michigan that it started to go bad, and it was all because Daddy Tim started to piss me off, if not by violating the actual rules, but by also pissing on the spirit of them.
The last time I saw Daddy Tim in the flesh was for an event I wrote about in an entry called ‘Daddy Tim’s Gangbang.’ Tim had invited me and three other tops to fuck another in his obsessive series of muscle studs, a personal trainer who was built like a porn star. We had a good time that day. About two weeks later, though, Tim started calling and emailing me in a panic to tell me that the trainer had a high fever and chills, and headaches, and nausea. In not so many words, he accused me of passing an HIV infection on to the guy. Because, he told me, I was the skinniest.
I was a little offended by the accusation (and the butt-ignorant way he’d reached it) and pointed out that there’d been three other tops at that party, himself included, and it was kind of dickish of him to leap to the conclusion that I’d infected the guy . . . if indeed his serostatus had changed at all. His harassment went on for a week and a half until it turned out that the gangbang recipient was still HIV- and had a case of bacterial meningitis. What kind of pissed me off, however, was that Tim delivered all this information as a kind of afterthought, an Oh, by the way that didn’t really soothe the feathers he’d ruffled by constantly accusing me of doing something I hadn’t done. No apology, no I guess I shouldn’t have leapt to conclusions, nothing.
A month after the gangbang, I had a little bit of a group activity of my own in which I gave two boyfriends three loads in thirty-five minutes. In the Top’s Lounge I’d given Daddy Tim a brief outline of the events and showed him the photos I’d taken. He immediately wanted the phone number, email, and screen name of the one he thought was the hotter of the two. He nagged. And nagged. For days, he nagged. I wasn’t all that forthcoming with the information at first because I went back and looked at my record of sexual encounters that involved him, and discovered that the balance between us hadn’t really been all that equitable for quite some time.
Sure, he’d invited me to the trainer’s gangbang. But in the previous year, I’d sent him a grand total of about seven bottoms and had only been invited to one event of his. The fact that he was nagging me for this kid’s information grated, particularly so soon after he’d insulted me and not apologized. He hit me up online one afternoon for a final time and begged for the information again. Just to shut him up, I let him have it. But, I told him, the balance in our arrangement was pretty out of whack.
Maybe, he told me, maybe he would invite me to another gangbang with the trainer. The tentative way in which he responded irritated me, but I was trying to be nice, for some reason. I asked where this trainer was from, anyway. Well, Daddy Tim flipped. He chewed me out and told me I was trying to poach his bottom and that he wasn’t there to expose the guy to strangers so they could all hit on him whenever they pleased. Mind you, this was a mere minute and a half after he’d begged and pleaded for the phone number, email address, and online identities of the blindfolded kid he’d been after for a week. All I’d done was ask where his discovery lived. Not for a street address. Just a general vicinity. Sheesh.
I thought about it for a moment while he chewed me out, and then gave him a call. It’d been fun, I told him, but the arrangement between us obviously wasn’t working any more. I asked him to take my name off his email forwarding and not to invite me to any more parties. Then, very politely, I wished him good luck with his trainer and said a farewell.
We didn’t speak after that. Or rather, I didn’t speak to him. He realized his error within a few days, when he tried to reach the blindfolded kid and the kid told him to fuck off, pretty basically. And then when a few other top guys around the city stopped including him in their communications, he realized that I’d been serious about that farewell.
Because the Top’s Lounge works in all sorts of directions. We don’t share information in the Top’s Lounge just about the bottoms we meet. If one of the other tops in the area breaks the Top’s Lounge code of ethics, we talk about that too.
I don’t know whether Daddy Tim’s still being shunned from the lounge—I haven’t really cared enough to ask. I know from time to time he writes me emails that begin, I know you hate me but. . . . as he tries to worm his way back into my good graces by inviting me to some group thing at which he needs another top. He doesn’t really realize I don’t live in the state any more, it seems.
But here’s the lesson I think it’s important to take away. Obey the informal rules of the Top’s Lounge, which are to put in about as much as you take out, and to tread lightly on another top’s good will. We might not have cigars or put our boots on the coffee table—okay, we might not have the cigars—but do we ever dish.