Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


This is Derrick Davenport (probably not his real name), "Man of the Year 2006" for "Playgirl Magazine".

He's blond, about 5'8", 26 or 27 years old in these photos, incredibly buff (it is "Playgirl", after all, so you see everything), and not what I really go for in a  guy. I've always been attracted to men who look like Alec Baldwin did in the 80s or David Schwimmer did throughout "Friends".

Oh, I'll get temporary crushes on all sorts of good-looking guys, but I soon shift on to someone else who's more interesting, for the moment. However, there's something about Derrick that flat out makes me catch my breath whenever I see him, even though I've already seen his photos a thousand times.

No gay-dar ringing off him, unless it's for pay and that means nothing. I've only seen two shots of his smile; the rest offer either a scowl or a serious warning not to even think about it. And yet, I obsess over him.

I also obsess over this guy -- a model named Bruno (again, not his real name). But with him, I understand it. I've always liked his sort of look -- either Italian, Greek, or Jewish -- and if he'd stop shaving his chest, he'd be perfect.

I used him as the physical representation for Bobby Carapisi, and for Office Shayes in HTRASG. But when it came time to work out in my head what Van looked like in LD, Derrick came front and center. Because he is someone Daniel would like to know. Even when I tried to think of him as Tad, I couldn't; he was Van, plain and simple.

A lot of it has to do with the hint of hurt behind his eyes. I've always been a sucker for guys who were hiding painful secrets. But I don't necessarily want to know what that secret is; I just want to comfort them. Let them know someone cares and will support them, no matter what.

I think the closest I ever came to a relationship with a blond was this alcoholic guy I knew in Houston, who was involved with an older man. I can't stand alcoholics and will cut people off if they're lost in the bottle. Sounds cruel, but the fact is...if you don't, they'll drag you down and try to drown you with them. I learned that the hard way, years and years ago, and the second someone starts showing that crap around me, I'm gone.

But this guy, I moved heaven and earth to try and bring him back to life. There was even one occasion he showed up where I worked, drunk out of his mind, and lost control of his bladder in middle of the store. I took him to my place, cleaned him up, and that night after I got off, I drove him to his parents' home in a small town halfway to Austin, where they put him in rehab. He was sober for five months, then called me at 3am one morning, drunker than hell. I let him talk till he fell asleep, then I changed my phone number. And since I'd just lost my job, I moved in with a friend and didn't let him know where I was. Five months later, I was in LA. It took that much for me to finally accept he was beyond least, at my hands.

I don't know what Derrick is really like. He may be the sweetest person in the world and his model persona is merely a defense mechanism or a fun play attitude. But he scares a little, because I could get lost with him.

As Daniel begins to do with Van, even while suspecting him of being untruthful.

Art imitates life imitates art. Damn -- I'm back to a dangerous place, again.

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