Friday, February 4, 2011

Jaded Stanley Street Memories – Puelo Deir

Blogger's note: Puelo was kind enough to write this great account of his (very!) early years on Stanley Street. It's too delicious to bury as a comment, so with his permission here it is.

Decades have passed since I strutted my illegal ass up and down Stanley Street at the height of its orgiastic gay parade.

Flash and trash. The pulsing disco beats. On one small strip there was the glitz and mostly wanna be glam of the Lime Light with its lengthy lineups of disco boogie divas desperate to reach the long flight of stairs that reached up and up and up to disco heaven. There was the gay model and pose of Le Jardin with its Saturday Night Fevered dance floor. There was Chez Buds for the leather queens. For a little sleaze and strip tease there was Hollywood.

Just around corner there was the Metropolitan News with its racks of After Dark, GQ and Blue Boy magazines. Men discreetly flipping through the pretty boy magazines, one erotically charged eye on the page and one eye on the guy stroking their crotch next to them. A block away, there was Square Dominion Tavern next to the park where rent boys enticed the attention of circling sex-starved men.

North of Ste-Catherine there was show time at PJ’s with La Munroe, drag queens and rough trade. There was the Mystique to start the night off, or their packed to the rafters Sunday afternoon tea dances. Around the corner on Peel there was there was the grand and luxurious Sheraton Hotel featuring the cruisy Kon Tiki and it’s potent Volcanoes. There was the Peel Pub.

I first walked these streets with my mom. I came to Montreal to compete in a athletics competition at Centre Claude Robillard. We arrived on the bus from Ottawa and took the metro to meet my aunt who was working in a bank on Peel Street. As luck would have it, her place of business was right next to the Peel Pub. As we walked toward the bank, my eyes were firmly fixed on the pub. Heart palpitating. I had other sports on my mind.

I knew then what lurked behind the doors of this establishment. I’d discovered this place where homosexuals gathered in the pages of a rather smutty straight porn magazine belonging to my mom’s husband. Two pages. Discretely tucked in the middle. There they were, two naked men with long hair, a brunette and a blond. Homosexuals! A few paragraphs of the lurid behavior going on in downtown Montreal and the clandestine places these men frequented. They made it sound all so tawdry, illicit and sultry – but not wrong. This is what I wanted. This is what I craved. These nocturnal delights were my heart’s desire.

And now barely thirteen, here I was, in the heart of it. The sights, the sounds, the sexual vibe. I couldn’t wait to make my way through these forbidden dens. I did everything for my mom to give me some free time to roam, alone. It was not to be.

We were in Sin City, and mom, wasn’t gonna leave her boy alone to the perverted wolves that even in light of day were on the stroll. Little did she know that her little cub was all too willing to join the pack. So close and yet so far. Not for long.

A year later, I’d get my wish to hustle and bootie my way through Montreal’s most legendary and notorious boites de nuit - as a 14-year-old.
That, as they say, is another tale.


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