I had recently become single again, and hadn't dated or cruised in over 2 years. Wasn't sure I could get back into it, kinda outta practice.
Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I was always very awkward at it, at least the spontaneous kind, where you encounter some guy on the street in some impromptu situation. I was better when I could stage manage the thing, call more of the shots. At least my gaydar was always pretty strong & accurate.
So it was the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. Where 5-600,000 bikers gather for just over a week. I was camping about 20 miles west, I don't like the campgrounds near Sturgis itself, too noisy & rowdy. I actually spent a lot of my time riding solo in the scenic Black Hills.
But there's an in-town campground that's gay-friendly. Kinda surprising with that macho Harley crowd, but I don't think it was ever generally well-known. So I was aware there were gay bikers around.
One day I was downtown, browsing the merchandize tables in one of the many vendor pavilions for souvenirs (and did get hats & T-shirts, and a small sticker for my bike that read: "Drink Till He's Cute", I suppose intended for women).
This other guy, black leather-clad in riding leathers like me, was shopping, too, and my gaydar just pegged. My thoughts weren't to question whether he was gay, but rather is he single, or at least alone here in Sturgis?
I started moving closer, while casually shopping. I hoped he'd notice me, but if he did see me he didn't acknowledge it. I started thinking of opening lines, maybe something about the rally, or these vendors, SOMETHING to break the ice. I looked down and picked up some merchandise to make it look legitimate, maybe give me an idea, and when I raised my eyes he was gone!
I rushed out onto the crowded sidewalk, where half the guys were also wearing black riding leathers. I never found him, not that day nor in the days after, cause I kept looking.
That bungled & missed opportunity has always bothered me. My out-of-practice shyness & hesitation blew it. And he was an absolute doll, difficult to believe he would have been single. But I never got to find out. He who hesitates...