Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Love in the Desert

Meet my romantic idols, Paul and Stephen from Phoenix.

It's not often I find gay couples to look up to. Here are two. The key to their success? "Not taking each other for granted," they say. Paul flew me out to Arizona this past weekend to surprise Stephen on his birthday. Stephen's a budding writer, and I went to help him get a jump start on those memoirs. These boys have a lot of stories to tell.

Paul and Stephen were two hotties at the forefront of the male stripper phenomenon in 1980, predating Chippendales. They stripped for raving crowds of women and got lots of press. Paul was the first person to don a t-back (g-string) on daytime TV when he performed a spectacular number live on the Phil Donahue show, lighting his g-string on fire for the women to blow out.

Stephen joined in on the fun, and through the years they have opened nightclubs together, headlined reviews, and performed strip-o-grams with oddball characters like Gigolo Joe.

28 years later, the g-string and phil donahue tape are in the Smithsonian. Over fifty of their friends and co-workers are lost to AIDS, and Paul and Stephen remain...hopelessly in love.

6 comments:

Steven said...

Romance is alive and well (and so is 80's hair).

Anonymous said...

what a great story! keep it up Jesse~

Anonymous said...

wow...I would love to hear their stories! all those drunk women must have reinforced their relationship.. lol..

Tony said...

What a super project! Stories like theirs give the lie to all the negative stuff out there. Thanks to Paul and Stephen for wanting to share it.

yet another black guy said...

i definitely want to read that book! and bravo for both you and them for sharing the story of their lives :)

JPFREEMAN said...

Stories like this one always inspire me to sing:

Young hearts, run free! Never be hung up, hung up like my man and me!

(gotta get me one of those man things)

Also gotta mail you my manuscript. Do you want me to have it bound? Like, how do I do that?