When I was 20, I lost my virginity to a 48-year-old actor playing Gaston in a summer stock production of Beauty and the Beast. He was over twice my age, but I was the sexual predator in the situation.
For years, I had struggled to get deflowered. I was the only gay kid who couldn't get laid at musical theater college, my virginity defying the unspoken laws of homosexuality. The whole reason that gay teens do musical theater was to get fucked. I was a rare gay beast, the un-sexed unicorn of my college class, desperate for someone to make like Rainbow Brite and ride me.
I entered college determined to lose my virginity like Liv Tyler in Stealing Beauty. All I needed was a Tuscan villa, a field, and an Italian twink who would love me. If pressed, I could do without the villa and the field, but I considered love non-negotiable. My high standards created more problems than I anticipated. I tried to find a boy who wanted to love and fuck me, but after three years of Liv-inspired chastity, I realized I needed to compromise if I wanted to pop my boy cherry before graduation. I looked to another Liv Tyler classic for inspiration and declared Armageddon on my V-card.
My war on abstinence coincided with my employment in a summer stock production of Beauty and the Beast. The director had cast me in the chorus. Although I was thrilled to have my first professional gig, I was more excited about expanding the field of candidates who could fuck me.
"Be Our Guest" was the first number we learned that summer. Our director kicked off rehearsal by telling each chorus member which piece of dancing silverware we would play. I got meat fork. I viewed the assignment as a sign: I was gonna get fucked this summer. If you think I'm taking poetic license and giving myself the most sexually metaphoric utensil, here's photographic evidence:
As I looked around the rehearsal room at the twinky spoons, straight salt shakers, and body-building dustpans comprising the remainder of the ensemble, I felt sexually intimidated. Still, I mustered the courage to approach an extremely hot steak knife. I offered to smoke him out. He turned down my offer with a look that said, "Come back when you've got a six pack."
I went to sleep, too depressed to utilize the practice dildo I had purchased optimistically at the top of the summer. It sat on my nightstand, veiny and purple, taunting me. "You really thought you'd get actual dick, didn't you?" the dildo said.
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Then came Gaston. The following day, he walked into rehearsal sporting 200 pounds of pure, gay muscle. I questioned the casting director's impulses here. Our Gaston felt more Colt Studios than Disney, but I wasn't complaining. I eye-fucked him every chance I got, and after a day spent learning choreography, I finally scored a reciprocal eye-fuck and an introductory flirt.
"You going to the party tonight?" he asked, already knowing the answer.
Later in the evening, as she exhaled a monster hit from the three-foot-bong I'd nicknamed My Size Barbie, Belle said, "I think you should go for it, but you know he's 48, right?"
This was news to me. Great news. For some reason, boys my age had no interest in me. (In retrospect, I think they ignored me because of my collegiate tendency to wear horrific jeans showcasing my butt-cleavage.) The constant rejection made me feel powerless over my sexuality. Like many a late-blooming virgin before me, I defined my self-worth according to the number of dudes that wanted to stick it in me—a.k.a. zero. I assumed older men might want me, and I was right. When Gaston locked eyes with me that day, I felt an unfamiliar rush. Here it was at last: The power of being desired.
The party was the perfect setting to flirt with him. Since the cast consisted of musical theatre students and actual Broadway stars trucked in from New York to play the leads, parties meant college kids drinking like adults and adults drinking like college kids. The booze was cheap, and age didn't matter. Midway through the night, Belle and I circulated the party, carefully committing to locations within perfect dick-teasing distance of Gaston.
Romance wasn't in the air, but poppers sure were.
"Someone's been avoiding me," Gaston grinned as he sidled up to me.
"I've been busy," I replied.
"I'm getting a drink," Belle said, mapping her escape route. "Anyone need anything?"
All I needed was Gaston's dick in my ass—and 30 minutes later, I was back at his hotel room. I was naked, on my back, and penetration was imminent.
"Wanna fuck?" he whispered.
"I do, but…"
"I'm a virgin."
He froze. His look was the look of someone who had won the lottery, but was terrified to collect.
"It's really not a big deal. I'm not, like, tryna get married, fall in love, or have 'the summer I'll never forget.' I just wanna get rid of it."
Suddenly, visions of Liv Tyler's romantic fuck-villa came rushing back to me, and I panicked. I didn't love him—I didn't even know him—but I steeled myself, remembering my goal.
"Are you sure this is what you want?" he asked, tenderly.
"We'll go slow, OK? Let me know if it hurts."
Romance wasn't in the air, but poppers sure were. After we fucked, one fact became very clear:
No one fucks like Gaston.
The following morning, we ordered celebration breakfast from room service. Then, we started getting ready for rehearsal.
"Should we head out?" I asked.
"Sure, lemme order you a cab."
"Oh. I thought we'd drive… together?"
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I assumed we'd show up to rehearsal arm-in-arm, announce our accomplishment, and decree my deflowering a public holiday.
"I just don't know if we should tell people yet," Gaston said.
"Totally. We don't need the rumor mill complicating this," I said, even though all I wanted was the rumor mill discussing my night with Gaston.
Throughout the summer, we continued fucking in secret. I promised to remain emotionally unattached, but I found myself catching feelings for my fuck buddy.
I mostly found Gaston's power attractive. He had a leg up on me, both literally and figuratively, and possessed what I desired for my future: A successful career and a comfortable quality of living. As far as I could see, his life only lacked love. I decided that this was how I would help: Sex equaled power, and I was going to use my sexuality to make him love me.
Famous. Last. Words.
Lumière was my summer stock Edward Snowden.
At the time, my logic made sense. In our secret bubble, we had created a world where our partnership seemed possible. Gaston was my lens into adulthood. Through sex, I got a free pass to a more mature existence, and he received a healthy dose of youth, like Botox injections for the gay soul—until we fucked everything up.
It was a morning like any other—hotel sex, breakfast, and my usual sneak of shame—but when I shut Gaston's door shut, I heard a familiar, faggy voice in the hallway behind me.
I turned to discover Lumière, grinning victoriously. He was the type of queen who thrived on this sort of gossip. This candelabra knew how to cast shade.
"Please, don't tell the rest of the cast," I said.
"Don't worry," Lumière said. "Your secret's safe with me."
Everyone knew by lunch. Lumière was my summer stock Edward Snowden, but I secretly loved VirgiLeak. My fellow chorus members gave me congratulatory high-fives, as we made our way to the Canteen for food, but when we got there, Gaston was gone.
I finally discovered him in his dressing room, eating lunch alone. I greeted him with a knowing smirk.
"Why did you tell everyone?"
"I didn't. Lumière caught me leaving your room."
"This isn't good."
"Come on. It's not like anyone really cares."
"My husband will."
Heart. Broken. I had done a very good job of convincing myself I wasn't emotionally invested in the scenario. Such a good job, the wrenching sadness came as a total shock.
Just like that, our bubble popped. He was a 48-year-old man with a lover and a life in New York, and I was a 20-year-old college student with a three-foot bong in my dorm room. Aaliyah was wrong—age is clearly something other than a number.
Age brought our fuck-buddyship to a grinding halt, but the fallout wasn't acrimonious. We even tried to fuck one last time, but our hearts weren't in the deed—or rather, mine was, which was the problem. Summer ended, and so did we. I confused sex with power, but I ultimately discovered what I instinctively knew from the start: For me, sex was about love. My heart was broken, but so was my self-imposed chastity belt. In the end, it was a fair trade.
If I could back in time, would I still choose my elder Disney hunk? To paraphrase Mrs Potts: I got some tail as old as time—and I don't regret it for a second.