Manly Love

On dark, wintry, and rainy days, I sometimes like to walk around. This kind of atmosphere can put me in a pensive mood. A little while ago, I was strolling along the runway at Tempelhof Airport, now a public park. As so often happens to me in this city, I feel the past hovering around me.

It was close to this runway that an American pilot became a legend, the Candy Bomber, or to the Berlin children, der Rosinenbomber. During the airlift, he would throw tiny parachutes bearing the unimaginable luxury of pieces of chocolate down onto the streets teeming with hungry war weary children.

Walking the runway, images of another bomber pilot come to mind, one who threw his candy my way. In the waning days of sexual bliss before the word AIDS burst in upon us, I had gone upstate to an area along the Hudson River where gay men wandered naked in the woods and swam in the river. My path crossed that of an older man, the idea of 30 at that time was almost incomprehensible to me. We dallied, explored, but it was late and we both needed to return to the city, he for a flight the next day.

The night we spent together was one I still remember, the feel of his body, of his cock, of his kisses, of our orgasms. It did not matter that the chances of our seeing each other again were slim, perhaps it was the non-attachment that intensified our time together. He had been in Vietnam, was tortured by the brutality of it all, and of the cruelty that gay men in the military had to live under. In coming out and leaving all that behind, he was condemned by his family not only for being gay but for rejecting a family tradition of lifelong military service. Some tears were shed that night, and in the wetness of tears, sweat, and orgasms there was a kind of healing that only being open and vulnerable can give.

Walking along the Tempelhof runway thinking of my night with a bomber pilot and of der Rosinenbomber, images of men not afraid to show their tenderness flitted through my head. I thought of the beauty of being naked with other men, of our being loving with each other, of being erotic and reveling in each other’s touch. It matters little what brings us together, be it lust, friendship, romance, or just simple curiosity. It is all a form of manly love, of shedding the things that divide us, of shedding brutality, of stripping away our clothes and giving of ourselves to the other. It is about those magical moments when we feel the connection that only an erect penis moving across our bodies leaving a hint of moisture can give. It is about the magic of intimacy and the courage to show it.