Warrior Blake


In the early 21st Century the United States was brought to its knees by a horrifying and rapidly spreading airborne plague. Almost everyone in the nation was eventually taken ill with one form or another of the disease. Generally speaking, men and boys, pre-pubescent girls, and post-menopausal women would show flu-like symptoms for a few days and then recover quickly. The true horror of the plague was its effect on women of child-bearing age. Most of them would take sick, complain of abdominal pains and fatigue, and then die within a day. Upon autopsy their ovaries would be found to have disintegrated, causing death by internal bleeding. The official name for the plague was "gynepest", the plague of women.

While all possible precautions were taken against infection, the plague spread too quickly to be contained, probably because there was always a reservoir of the infectious agent in the weakly-affected part of the population. There were some men and children who showed symptoms for a longer time. There were some few fertile women who never became sick at all or displayed the lesser symptoms and then recovered. By the time the disease had run its course, 90% of all fertile females in the United States were dead.

The social and economic effects of the plague were devastating. Funeral homes were swamped and cemeteries filled to overflowing. Some businesses dependent on female labor or clientele closed entirely; others recruited men or enticed their retirees to return to work. Men who had wives at home keeping their children had to make emergency arrangements; day care centers were staffed by men. Because men were suddenly in competition for a greatly decreased number of women, fights, knifings, and gun battles increased dramatically. Brothers who had one surviving wife among them might share her domestic services and her bed. The fees of prostitutes, if any could be found, went up twentyfold. People who were fortunate enough to have surviving teenage daughters locked them up at night for their own protection. Gangs of young men terrorized the few remaining unmarried women, and any man might be murdered so that the killer could take his wife. The nation was overtaken by anarchy.

The effect of the loss of so many potential female partners was magnified by the vigilance of those women left alive and their families and friends. The surviving women clustered together and stuck to their menfolk for safety. Many families preferred that their young women stay at home rather than go out and work in such a dangerous environment.

As a result, men turned to each other for mutual protection and companionship.

And they began seeking, and more openly seeking, sexual release with each other.

Even before the plague, men who identified as "straight" had been increasingly willing to acknowledge their completely normal and natural same-sex needs and desires.

But the plague created immense social pressures which completely broke down the early 21st-century taboos against male-male sexual relations. Popularized by websites like that of The Man2Man Alliance, the intensely masculine sex-act known as "Frot" -- phallus-against-phallus sex -- became common, especially among younger, straight-identified men.

And as Frot grew in popularity, anal penetration, which had been predominant among gay-identified males and not uncommon among male-female couples in the early 21st century, was increasingly disparaged and abandoned.

In no small part because those who engaged in it were clearly at far greater risk from the gynepest.

Even though the gynepest was an airborne plague, the immuno-suppressive powers of sperm insured that males who'd engaged in anal, particularly receptive anal, suffered greatly from the disease, and a second wave of death broke over the gay male "community," which rapidly disintegrated.

The effeminacy and promiscuity which had characterized that community were vanquished and vanished with it, along with the identification of males as "gay" itself.

Men became Men again, free to love each other as Men, and to love Women too.

Under these circumstances, after a few years it became socially unacceptable to use any sexual slur against another man -- other than those pathetic and suicidal few who were still engaging in anal -- and anyone who did so was considered contemptible. Men who had comparatively little interest in women also had no more need to hide the fact.

In addition, the circumstances of the plague bid up the value of any healthy, fertile woman to the point where she could choose her mate from a field of dozens of candidates. The loose, permissive sexual scene of the first ten years of the century vanished almost overnight. As women expected to be courted and to marry, cohabitation became rare and socially unacceptable. The effects of this imbalance between the sexes was to last for at least a generation.

One result of the plague was the failure of many women's colleges. Privately-owned Vermont Women's College closed its doors very early in the plague. A group of survivalist army officers, realizing the gravity of the social and political situation, bought it outright. They equipped the campus with bunkers, prepared the existing towers and steeples as watchtowers, and created storage facilities which would help resist any military incursion against it. They called it The Academy of New Thebes. Its motto, in the spirit of ancient Sparta, was "milites moenia nostra" (soldiers are our walls). The Academy's first class was drawn largely from Vermont, but as its situation and facilities were publicized many students applied from states whose loyalty to the Union was beginning to fade. Texas in particular was responsible for a large contingent. Among these was Philip Venable Smith from Fort Worth, who entered the Academy four years after its founding. He graduated with the highest honors and, after he completed his master's and doctorate degrees in mathematics, he was hired as Associate Professor of Mathematics at the Academy.


Coach Phil Smith taught mathematics and wrestling. He was 28 years old, a big solid bear of a man, six feet three inches tall with dark brown hair and eyes. His chest was covered with dark fur. Under pre-plague circumstances, an unmarried man of his age would have been considered unusual. Like many men after the gynepest, he had decided to save money and wait for a favorable opportunity to court a wife.

Leo Herrmann had just graduated from high school in Burlington, Vermont. He was five feet ten inches tall, of medium build, but very muscular from wrestling and working out. He had close-cropped reddish-blond hair and sparkling blue eyes. Leo had three passions: wrestling, military history, and frot. Born into a poor family, he would have joined the army immediately had he not attracted the interest of four Academy men in Burlington. These men arranged to fund a personal scholarship for Leo to study there. His leadership as captain of the wrestling team had never been disputed.

One of the men who arranged the scholarship spoke with Coach Phil about Leo. He warned Phil that Leo would not do well in math, but that he bore watching as an athlete and a scholar of military history. Phil promised to keep an eye on the young man. This would prove to be an understatement.

Leo was very intelligent and a good writer. Because at least one year of math was required of all Academy graduates, Leo took General Mathematics his freshman year. The agony caused by the course material was somewhat soothed by having Coach Phil as his math teacher. Leo could always pretend to be absorbed in the lecture while staring at the coach, trying to imagine how he looked naked and how to get him that way. Leo also interacted with Coach Phil on the wrestling grounds. Phil was very exacting, and his positive attitude and love for the sport brought out the best in the cadets under his charge. Leo's wrestling improved noticeably, despite the erection he always seemed to get when Coach Phil chose him as a wrestling partner. No one thought anything of this, but the coach reddened noticeably on one occasion when he brushed up against Leo's considerable endowment at full mast. Luckily, Leo realized that he was not the only one hard. He saw his opening, and he knew he would take advantage of it at a favorable moment. He also had heard from his fellow wrestlers that the coach watched him intently when he thought no one was looking.

Leo placed out of first-year Military History into History of Weaponry. Professor Effingham was very impressed with his performance, and Leo's study soon ran ahead of his classwork. Leo was also a capable researcher, a very necessary skill in his field. Still, General Math remained his weak spot, and he barely managed to earn a "D" for the first semester. When the second semester looked to be disastrous, he took a part-time job to pay for tutoring with Jeff Morgan, a local math teacher. Between this effort and paying less attention to Coach Phil's appearance and more to his lectures, Leo was able to turn his performance around and write a creditable exam paper. Leo's coach trap was baited, and he would soon spring it.

Leo lay in wait for Phil on the last day of the term. He knew where and when the coach's last class was held, and he strolled up as if by accident. Phil greeted him with, "Leo, I want to congratulate you. Your exam brought your grade all the way up to a "C". Surprised and pleased, Leo replied, "Really, coach? That's great!" Phil said, "I understand you hired Jeff to tutor you. Why didn't you ask me to help you? I would gladly have done it." Leo glanced about and said softly, "I'll tell you, coach, but not here." Phil didn't know what to make of this, so he said, "Let's go to my quarters, then." They walked silently across the campus to Phil's suite in the officers' quarters.

Once they were inside, Phil turned to Leo and asked, "Leo, have I offended you in some way?" Leo replied, "Of course not, Coach. You've treated me very kindly, especially since I'm so bad in math." Phil said, "Then why didn't you come to me for help?" The time had come to strike, but Leo was improvising, and his uncertainty showed in his face. In a voice which betrayed his emotions, Leo said, "Sir, if I had to sit next to you for an hour at a time, I couldn't be responsible for my behavior." Phil studied Leo's face for a moment, then stepped nearer to him and asked, "And what would you do if I were this close to you?" Leo stared into Phil's eyes and said very quietly, "Request permission to touch you, sir." Phil softly replied, "Granted." Leo put his arms around Phil's neck. When Phil did not flinch but drew him into a closer embrace, Leo kissed him for a long time.

Phil had been watching Leo for the whole school year without realizing exactly what it was he wanted, but now he knew. When Leo released him, he drew in a huge breath; he thought he might pass out. When Phil came to his senses he returned the kiss in kind. He then said to Leo, very gently, "Leo, what do you want from me?" Leo replied, "I want to be your man, because I love you." Phil said, "I love you too, Leo, but I'm new to this." Leo replied, "I'll show you."

Leo led Phil into the bedroom and stripped off Phil's shirt and undershirt, then his own. When they embraced again the meshing of the hair on their chests was electric. Leo showered Phil with kisses, then pushed him down onto the bed on his back. He pulled up a chair, removed Phil's shoes and socks, and then took each of Phil's feet into his lap and massaged them. Phil was floating on air and rock-hard by the time Leo finished. Leo pushed him further onto the bed and removed the rest of his clothing. Leo then undressed and crawled into the bed on top of Phil, who was thoroughly relaxed and receptive. Leo, his hard cock up against Phil's, had never been so turned on. He massaged Phil's torso and arms and left trails of kisses to enhance the sensation. He alternated this with rubbing their cocks together. Phil managed to get his hands around both at once and stroke them simultaneously. On seeing Leo throw his head back in pleasure, Phil was overcome with Leo's beauty and the intensity of his own sensations. He let out a low roar as he experienced the most intense orgasm of his life. The sound, along with the feeling of Phil's throbbing cock against his own, pushed Leo over the edge. He shot his load and collapsed onto Phil's chest, and very soon they both fell asleep.

After a short nap they began to cuddle and caress again. Phil said, "You're amazing. Not to mention hung like a horse." Leo blushed and kissed him, then said, "What do we do now?" Phil replied, "Since you're a student, you'll have to go to the Registrar's office and file the Petition of Union. The staff will give you the form and witness it. You then bring it back to me to sign, and we return it to them." Leo asked, "Why don't you go with me?" Phil replied, "It's not considered proper; it might look like I was coercing you." Leo said, "Fat chance. Of course, they might wonder why you had rope burns all over you and how you got loose." Phil chuckled and said, "No need to tie me up, I'm yours. You know, of course, that you can't take any more classes from me, except for joint coaching." Leo exclaimed, "Thank Ares! If there's any kind of math harder than General Math, I don't want any part of it. But I've always suspected you know more about coaching joints than you let on." Phil replied, "No, but I think I have an excellent teacher myself." Leo kissed him and they started over, Phil taking the lead.


Spring in Texas had come fairly late, and today was the first really warm day of the year. After work on a Friday afternoon Jennie Cooper walked the few blocks from her girls' rooming house to Will Stone's place in a leisurely stroll. Because of her sheltered upbringing, she was not totally aware of her attractiveness. Daughter of a notable beauty, she had been a tomboy, but as she matured her body came to resemble her mother's, and she grew more feminine and appealing. She had large, lively brown eyes and long, wavy medium-brown hair, a pert turned-up nose, and full lips. At age 22 she was considered by some the most eligible beauty in Fort Worth. According to the word on the street, she could also take care of herself. Will had given her a feminine little pink Beretta for her twelfth birthday and taught her to shoot. She had taken to the sport at once, and the gun was always in her purse. She also carried a can of Mace in a special pocket of her dress or slacks. Since the gynepest all women's clothes but the most formal had been made with these pockets.

Jennie climbed the stairs to the porch of a beautifully restored row house and knocked on the door. When the door opened, she said, "Ready, Uncle Will? It's a beautiful day for a walk." Will, still handsome in his sixties, walked out and said, "Indeed it is, Princess." He had given her the nickname ironically in her childhood, but it had stuck, at least between them. She kissed him on the cheek. He closed and locked the door behind him, then turned to Jennie and asked, "Which bookstore shall we visit?" She replied, "How about Tavern Books? It's not too long a walk, and they usually have a book I want there." He answered, "And perhaps a young man you will want, too!" She slapped him playfully on the arm and exclaimed, "Oh, Uncle Will!" He smiled and said, "Well, Princess, it's about time you married. You know how difficult life is for single women nowadays, always having to fend off unwanted attention." They walked down the steps and set off for the bookstore. As they talked along the way no one gave them a second glance, since many women would leave their homes only in the company of a male relative or an older female.

They soon arrived at Tavern Books. As they browsed the new books together Jennie spotted a huge man in uniform browsing in Military History. He had short dark brown hair, a square jaw, and a ruggely handsome face. He was two hundred twenty pounds of solid muscle; he wore no wedding ring. She poked Will in the ribs with her elbow and whispered into his ear, "Do you mean a man like that, Uncle Will?" She looked in the man's direction. Will said softly, "Why, that's Phil Smith! I haven't seen him since Homecoming." Jennie asked under her breath, "You know him?" Will replied, "Yes, Princess, follow me."

Will walked up to Phil and said, "Phil, it's good to see you! What brings you to Fort Worth?" Phil shook Will's hand, smiled, and replied, "I'm visiting relatives." Will said, "Phil, I want you to meet my niece, Jennie." She stepped forward and offered Phil her hand. He took it and kissed it, saying, "Delighted! Will, had I known you had such a pretty niece, I would have visited here more often." Will replied, "She's been the joy of my life since she was a baby." Phil smiled at Jennie and said, "I can certainly understand that." Jennie was taken with Phil's charm, and he was smitten by her beauty. He said, "It's almost dinnertime. Can you recommend a restaurant in this area?" Will answered, "The Railroad Barn is just around the corner." Jennie added, "And the food there is very good." Phil asked, "Will you please be my guests for dinner, then?" They agreed.

The Railroad Barn was run by a model railroad enthusiast. It had model trains of all sizes and vintages running in shelves along the walls. There was enough train noise to cover conversation, but not enough to hinder it. Jennie and Will took one side of a booth and Phil took the other. There was a normal amount of man-talk, but Phil and Jennie soon dominated the conversation. Will did not know Phil very well, but he knew he could find out anything he wanted to know about Phil from his contacts at the Academy. He was content that the two were hitting it off, and he ate slowly to give them time to talk. He was admiring Phil's appearance as much as Jennie was. By the time they had finished eating, he knew that Jennie had found her man. Phil paid the check and asked Jennie and Will for their phone numbers. They each gave him a personal card. Will asked, "Phil, we live only a few blocks away. Would you like to walk with us and escort Jennie home?" Phil replied, "My pleasure." They walked to Will's house first. Will invited them in, but Phil said, "Thanks, but I really should get back to the bookstore before it closes." As he was going inside, Will turned and said, "Phil, if you ever need a place to stay when you are in town, please call me." Phil replied, "Thanks, I will."

Phil and Jennie walked the short distance to the rooming house. When they arrived, she said, "No men are allowed inside. Old Mrs. McFarren enforces the rules with an iron fist." Phil asked, "May I take you to dinner tomorrow evening?" Jennie replied, "I'd like that, Phil." He offered, "Shall I pick you up here at six o'clock?" Jennie answered, "That will be fine. I'll see you then." Phil took her hands and squeezed them gently, saying, "Until then. Good night." He turned and strode back towards the bookstore.

Jennie could scarcely believe her luck. Phil's English was perfect, and he was obviously well-educated and well-off. He was also one solid hunk of man, and he knew how to court a woman. Several of the girls had been peeking out the front windows as they parted. When she walked through the parlor, the girls greeted her, ribbing her about Phil and wanting to know all the details. She brushed them off, smiling and saying, "I just met him. He teaches at the Academy of New Thebes." She then swept up the stairs to her room, leaving them all staring at each other speechless.

Phil was in a daze. He had never paid much attention to women, but Jennie's beauty spoke to him in a way he had never experienced before. He cound see that she was also intelligent and in excellent health. He would talk to Leo about her when he returned to Vermont. He hoped Leo would not be jealous and would share his happiness.

When Will entered the house, he immediately pulled out his phone and called Rich Hunter, one of his Academy classmates. "Rich, Will.... great, thanks, and you?...Rich, I have a favor to ask. Can you get me the scoop on Phil Smith? I especially need to know his brigade color....Great, but can you call me back tonight? My niece's future happiness may depend on it....Thanks....Give my love to the family....Good-bye."


When Phil returned the next evening, he took Jennie to a local Vietnamese restaurant. The food was excellent, and their conversation became more serious than the previous night's. Jennie explained that her father had taken his life in despair over his failing eyesight. She also told him a bit about her mother, Maxine. Phil described the loss of his parents, his mother to the gynepest, his father drinking himself to death from sorrow shortly after. Jennie mentioned her fondness for shooting, and they agreed to go to a gallery together on the next ladies' night. By the end of the meal, Jennie was sure of what she wanted. She asked Phil if he would like to meet her mother, and he agreed to visit her. Jennie called her mother and asked her to invite Uncle Will as well. Maxine lived nearby, and they set out toward her house.

Maxine was a case-hardened beauty. She had left the back hills of Kentucky to work for army support in Texas, typing letters, filing papers, or driving trucks, whatever was needed and paid. In a field office she had quickly spotted Hugh Cooper, an office manager, who had thick glasses as a result of an eye disease. He was intelligent, tall, and witty. Since she was pinup material at the age of 18, his assessment matched hers. They were quickly married, and Jennie was born within a year. The only thing that had seemed unusual to her at first about her new life was Hugh's best man Will Stone. He was then in his forties and still classically handsome, but unmarried. He had treated her like a porcelain queen; she already knew what this meant. Hugh had strongly favored buying a house in this particular neighborhood, which was very close to where Will had selected a row house to restore.

The interior of Maxine's home was shabby-genteel with too many doilies and knick-knacks. It was obvious that no man lived there. When Will arrived he offered brandy, and Maxine made coffee. They exchanged pleasantries, and Phil told them about his situation at the Academy. After half an hour, Maxine asked, "Phil, would you excuse us ladies for awhile?" Phil replied, "Of course, Mrs. Cooper." Jennie and Maxine disappeared upstairs.

Will asked, "Did you do your undergraduate work at the Academy?" Phil replied, "Yes, and I was lucky to land a professorship." He pointed to a picture on the mantlepiece and asked, "Is that your brother?" Will said, "No, Hugh was my man. He wasn't much of an athlete because of his eyes, but he was very intelligent." He might just as well have said "I was Hugh's man", since the usage was as symmetrical as the relationship it described. Phil said, "I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad, though, that you were there to look after Jennie and her mother when they needed you." Will replied, "Yes, her mother is a firebrand, but even she needed someone to lean on when Hugh left us." Phil smiled and said, "I expect you'll be wanting great-nieces and -nephews sometime soon." Will replied, "Yes, I keep telling Jennie that she needs to find a good man and settle down."

Phil deflected this by asking, "Did you really teach her to shoot when she was twelve?" Will replied, "Of course. She was a tomboy, but she was still a girl, and in such perilous times. I didn't want her to survive the plague just to be attacked or carried off by some worthless lout. I felt she was at least half my responsibility, and she turned out pretty well, I think." Phil grinned, lifted his glass, and said, "Yes, she's as beautiful as an emerald on white satin." Smiling and clinking his glass against Phil's, Will thought, "And you're as handsome as a Roman god. I may as well get used to looking at you without touching. I'm glad that's the worst concern I have about you."

In the meantime the ladies had retired to the sewing room. Jennie asked, "Mama, what do you think?" Maxine replied, "He's right polished. Do you know what it means, that he's Academy?" Jennie said, "Yes, Mama. Why do you ask?" Maxine ventured, "Every girl thinks she knows what that means, but she don't." Puzzled, Jennie asked, "Why wouldn't I, Mama?" Maxine replied, "Sit down, girl, it's time for us to have a little talk."

The women sat in two sturdy chairs. Maxine opened a drawer of the sewing cabinet and pulled out a box of chocolates, which looked to have been unwrapped fairly recently. They each took one, and Maxine began. "Every woman knows what it's like to marry an army man. Long times alone, money problems, the possibility of death hangin' over like a dark cloud. An' always the chance that he'll find another woman while he's away an' leave you and your brats in poverty." "Yes, Mama, I know all that." "But Academy men are different;" she lowered her voice, "they marry men." "Oh, Mama," Jennie exclaimed, "that isn't even legal!" Maxine replied, "I ain't talkin' legal. It don't always work this way, but usually they leave the Academy paired up with another man. They don't say much about it, and they don't do anything filthy or immoral like you might think, but they are as married as you and this man Phil intend to be." Jennie screwed up her face and said, "Oh, Mama, that's disgusting." Maxine answered, "No, it ain't, child. Listen, and listen good."

Maxine reached into another drawer of the sewing cabinet and pulled out a small flask and two shot glasses. She said, "I think we're both going to need this." She poured out two shots of bourbon, gave one to Jennie, and raised her own glass, giving the family toast, "Confusion to our enemies!" Jennie replied, "Confusion to our enemies!" They clinked their glasses together and downed their shots in one gulp.

Maxine continued, "Consider this: If you an' Phil get to arguin', an' he finds a place somewheres else to spend the night, would you rather he be screwin' some nasty whore, or carousin' with some drunken slut he's picked up at a bar, or at his man's place wrapped in the arms of someone who loves him and who won't pass you no disease, ever?" She paused for effect, and Jennie's curious but attentive expression encouraged her to continue. "If you're too sick to screw, or knocked up, or dealin' with an awful headache, or just don't want to be bothered, would you rather he be out there trawlin' for 18-year old strange, or takin' his lovin' to his man?" Jennie nodded slowly. She asked, "But don't these men really dislike women? Aren't they marrying to cover up?" "Not often," Maxine replied. "Most of them want a woman like any other horndog. But a few won't touch a woman that way, and a few more don't prefer it; those might marry jes' to have children. You can't tell at a casual glance which ones like women and which ones don't. But they would all die for their man, every last one of 'em.

She continued, "I can tell by the way Phil eats you up with his eyes that he wants a woman to love. If he is lookin' to marry you, he'll pleasure you sure enough in bed, an' he'll give you as many children as you can pump out and he can feed. But if you attack or drive away his man, he'll dump you in the outhouse before you can see it comin'."

Jennie thought a moment, then asked, "This is a lot to take in, Mama. How do you know all this?" Maxine said, "Jennie, when you were a girl, did you think your Uncle Will was handsome?" Jennie laughed and said, "Of course, Mama, and I said I wanted to marry him if he would wait for me to grow up." Maxine replied, "And he would laugh that jolly laugh of his, and tell you he would wait. Well, he could have waited forever, for all the good it would do him. If he's that handsome, why ain't he never married? I can tell you that every woman who crossed his path threw herself at him, cept'n for me, an' I was tempted."

Jennie said, "And Uncle Will is Academy. So is he one of the ones who won't..." Maxine replied, "That's right, girl. Not even if you put a gun to his head. But if I was to drop the hint that a woman my age should be marryin' again, he might propose. Of course, he'd tell me he was only 'half a man' and all that nonsense, but how could I possibly find a better man than Will at my age?"

Jennie pulled her thoughts together. "So how does Dad figure in all this?" Maxine replied, "The two smartest things your father ever did was to hide away supplies of food and gold before the wars and to snag Uncle Will as his man." Jennie considered this and asked, "Did you know about Uncle Will and Dad before you married?" Maxine answered, "Yes, your father explained it to me before he proposed. He couldn't attend the Academy, of course, because of his eyes, but he told me what Will meant to him and what they did. I had heard rumors, but he gave me some of the details I'm tellin' you. Will moved to Fort Worth to be close to him, and they continued their relationship after we married. He helped support us after your father's death. To this day he would supply us with anything we needed. He has a bond with your father that even death couldn't break."

There was a short silence, which Maxine broke, saying, "Phil wears a red armband when he is at the Academy. That means he has found his man, and they are united, whether legally or not. Have you met his man?" Jennie replied, "No, Mama, but Phil has mentioned a man named Leo." Maxine continued, "Darlin' you will soon meet his man. Phil will be eager to show you off and gain his approval. He may be ten years older than Phil, ten years younger, or about the same age. Spend as much time around them together as you can. If you decide to marry Phil, this man will also be tied to you, like a brother-in-law, but closer. If he causes Phil to be unhappy, or if Phil mistreats him, or if he puts you down, don't marry Phil. If they quarrel or fall out, you will feel the hurt. If you try to separate them, you will find yourself out in the cold."

Maxine poured out two more shots and continued, "But if Phil's man is fond of you, you'll have an ally for life. Also consider, if Phil was to die young, would you be willin' to marry this man and possibly have his children?" "But Mama, how can that be? Isn't one the 'man' and the other one..." "Don't be silly, girl. This Leo, if he's the one, may go only for men, or he may only go with women, aside from Phil. Academy men mate rubbin' their parts together face to face, they don't do butt sex, and they don't play roles. They could both be fancy French-type chefs, or they could both be truck drivers, or one of each. Somethin' else: If you want this man's baby too, it may be that all you need to do is ask both of 'em together. You might have to take 'em on both at the same time, but there's lots worse things in this world than havin' two men to love ya up at once."

Jennie looked puzzled. "How can you possibly know all this, Mama, even if you were married to Dad?" Maxine's eyes twinkled. "Your Uncle Will did some checkin' up on Phil. He told me everythin' he thought might matter, since he don't want you hurt. He said it was jes' like you to hook the biggest fish in the pond."

When the ladies returned to the living room, Jennie and Phil took their leave. Phil drove Jennie to her rooming house. As they sat in the car, he asked if she could come to Vermont to visit him. She said she would be free in two weeks, and they agreed he would meet her at the Burlington airport once the details had been worked out. Walking on air, Jennie said goodbye. Phil was satisfied. He would put her up in a hotel in New Thebes and arrange for her to meet Leo, which was necessary before he could propose.


When Phil returned from Texas Leo greeted him with enthusiasm. After they made love on the living room floor, Phil led Leo by the hand into the bedroom, tossed him onto the bed, and climbed on top of him. Leo was surprised, since Phil always lay on the bottom during sex because of his much larger size. Their second coupling was more intense than the first, and they left a sticky mess when they were finished. Leo asked, "What's gotten into you? You never climb on top of me." Phil paused for a moment for thought, and then said, "I'll probably need the practice. I've met the most beautiful woman in Fort Worth, and I plan to marry her, if she'll have me."

Leo took a deep breath. Because Phil had said he wanted to marry, he knew this day would come eventually. He realized this was the first serious test of his love. He said, "I hope she's worthy of you. When can I meet her?" Phil replied, "I plan to bring her up here to visit soon. Her name is Jennie. I'm sure you'll love her once you meet her." After a long pause, Leo looked away and softly asked, "Should I start looking for another man?" Phil looked both angry and hurt. He said with some vehemence, "Leo, we -- both of us -- filed a Petition of Union. That means just one thing: You're my man as long as you want to be, and I'm your man as long as you want me. I love you, and nothing can change that." Leo drew Phil down onto his chest and kissed him, saying, "Daddybear, one of us needs to make the next generation of warriors. I won't be helping there, so you'll just have to do it yourself." Phil smiled and said, "No woman has ever interested me like Jennie. She even knows how to shoot." He sat up again, still straddling Leo's body. Leo said, "May you have strong sons and beautiful daughters." With a mischievous grin he added, "Or vice versa." Phil chewed his lip to hide his feelings and said only, "Thank you, Leo." He was grateful for more than just the kind sentiment. He now knew for sure he could marry Jennie without losing Leo.

Jennie arrived on a Friday afternoon. Phil took her to a nearby hotel, then went to pick up Leo. They returned to the hotel, and the three of them went to O'Henry's. He had chosen the restaurant because the food was good and the cocktail piano music was just loud enough. Jennie sat across from the men in a booth. She noticed that Leo had no date, but she suspected the reason. Leo had decided to support his man's decision, and he turned on the charm. Jennie responded in kind, and they were all soon relaxed and enjoying the conversation. When they had finished dessert, Phil asked, "Jennie, do you know much about the customs of the Academy?" Jennie replied, "My mother told me a bit about them while you were talking with Uncle Will." Phil continued, "Then you know what it means when I say that Leo is my man, or that I am Leo's man?"

Jennie replied, "I think so." She reached into her wallet and brought out a photograph showing two beamingly happy men, the older one holding in his arms from behind a younger one with thick glasses. She handed it to Leo, who held it where Phil could see it. Phil recognized Will and Hugh. She explained, "My 'Uncle Will' is not my uncle. He's Academy. My father was his man." This told Phil that she was familiar with and probably receptive to the ways of New Thebes. He now felt much more confident about asking Jennie to marry him. Leo also felt better about the possible marriage, since Jennie knew the meaning of his relationship with Phil.

When they had dropped Jennie off at the hotel, Phil asked Leo, "Well, what do you think?" Leo gave Phil a devilish smile and replied, "I think she was trying to figure out how to ditch the geezer across from her and snag the young stud next to him." Phil caught the bantering tone and replied, "You know exactly where to put the knife. And tell me, Studboy, what would you do with her once she had snagged you?" Leo answered, "Touché, Daddybear. I take it you're ready to ask her to marry you." Phil said, "Seriously, Leo, how do you feel about this?" Leo replied, "I want you to be happy, Phil. She's young, beautiful and charming, and no doubt she'll give you as many children as you want. I can only hope that all the boys turn out to be studs like you." Phil laughed and said, "I'll do my best. I'll call Will tonight and see if he can find out her ring size. If so, I can buy one and ask her tomorrow." Leo said, "Yes, strike while the iron is hot. If contemplating us in bed together hasn't scared her off, she'll probably agree."

Phil rolled on top of Leo again that night and made love with intense passion. When they finished, Leo tickled him in the ribs, grinned, and said, "Get off me ya big galoot, I can't breathe. If I don't get you hitched soon, you're gonna wear me out." Phil rolled over, laughed and said, "Never, Studboy. You've got ten years on me." Leo went on, "Well, Daddybear, I want you to have plenty of practice being on top and making boys, so I can have a stud to look after me in my old age." Laughing, Phil hugged him hard and said, "I love you, Studboy." Leo replied, "I love you too, Daddybear." Locked in an embrace, they soon fell asleep.


A few weeks later the following announcement appeared in the Fort Worth Times-Chronicle:

"Wed Saturday at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Worth, Miss Jennifer Ann Cooper, daughter of Mr. Hugh Cooper, deceased, and Mrs. Maxine Wilson Cooper, to Capt. Philip Venable Smith of New Thebes, Vermont, formerly of Fort Worth. Maid of honor was Miss Julia Smith; Mr. Leo Herrmann was the best man, and Mr. William Stone, a longtime friend of the family, gave the bride away. The couple will reside in New Thebes."

When Phil and Jennie arrived in Vermont, they went to look at houses. Phil preferred the area around the Academy, partly for convenience, but partly for the shared military culture of the community. They agreed on a large house, since they planned to have several children. Phil had been careful to choose one with a spare room and bath over the garage. He had saved a considerable amount of money and was well prepared. Jennie quickly became pregnant, and she took on a beautiful maternal glow. She also kindly opened their house to Leo during his last undergraduate year. She put forth a special effort to decorate the spare room attractively with a masculine touch. Often she would invite Leo to dinner and then go "with the girls" shopping or to a lecture or play, leaving him alone with Phil. This gave her a way to deal with Phil's physical needs as the baby grew larger. John Hugh Smith was born in early August, much to everyone's delight. Two years later, Eunice Melissa Smith was born. Phil and Leo celebrated with Professor Effingham. When Leo toasted Eunice, the professor said, "'Eunice' comes from eunike, which is Greek for 'fair victory'. May fair victory smile upon us as fortune has smiled upon you, Phil."

Leo had one more year of undergraduate work. He had won a scholarship to obtain his Master's degree in Military History, and he was looking forward to the work. He had already amassed a large library on the subject, and he felt prepared. Before he left for graduate school, he and Phil had visited New Corinth, renowned for its metalwork, and bought medallions. On one side was the Academy's "A" in a laurel wreath; on the other was Ares triumphant leaning on a spear crowned with laurel. Phil posed nude for Leo's medal, and Leo for Phil's. The medallions were thin but opened like lockets to hold photographs. When they exchanged them, there was some ribbing about "dumb hunk" and "horsecock", but that night they had their most passionate and exciting lovemaking session thus far.

As they came back to reality, Leo felt both exalted and regretful. He said, "I wish I could be closer than California, but I have to go where my specialty is." Phil replied, "As long as I have your medallion you will rest on my heart." Leo kissed him and said, "Me too." Phil said, "If you need money or anything sent to you, just let me know, and I'll take care of it." Leo replied, "Thank you, Daddybear. Just don't forget me." Phil said, "Never, Studboy. Four years will be over before you know it. Just keep in touch."

Shortly before Leo was to return from graduate school, the Secession Wars heated up again. Vermont in particular was coming under increased political pressure to rejoin the Union. Texas, on the other hand, was big enough to defend its independence. Since Phil felt that his family was no longer safe in New Thebes, he packed up Eunice, John, and Jennie and sent them to live with her mother in Fort Worth. Anything they needed was moved with them, and the rest Phil put into storage or sold. He also sold the house and moved back into officers' quarters. He was delighted when Leo wrote to him that he had been accepted as Associate Professor of Military History at the Academy, contingent only upon the successful completion of his thesis. Under the rules of the Academy, Leo was eligible to live with Phil because they were union partners. Leo moved in with Phil as soon as he reported for duty.

Over the next six years the spasmodic attempts of the Federal Government to retain the states in the Union took its toll on the country. Texas, Vermont, and several other former states made mutual assistance pacts, which did much to hinder the reassembly of the Union. The situation in Vermont climaxed with an assault on New Thebes, centered around the Academy.


Leo was flushed with adrenalin. True to form, Phil had led the critical charge onto Merrimac Hill, a short distance from the Academy, but Leo had lost sight of him in the press of the ensuing action. Leo was busy rounding up the Federal soldiers he and his company had surprised and overwhelmed on the near side and crest of the hill. He himself had disarmed four without firing a shot. Meanwhile, the Texans had charged up the other side and mopped up its occupants. They had then sent a withering fire off both sides of the ridge. Because of corruption in their government, the Federals had been saddled with too few men and poor equipment, and their morale was at a low ebb. When the Kentuckians shortly thereafter took the Federal command post, the secessionists had carried the day.

When the battle was over, Leo returned to find Phil where he had fallen. The ground all around his head was soaked with Phil's blood, but he was still breathing. Leo, panting from exertion, fell to his knees beside Phil and cried out, "We've won, Phil! You're a hero!" Feebly, Phil answered, "Yes, but too late for me. Leo, keep watch over my family. Send them my love. I love you, Leo." Leo bit his lip to keep from crying, "I love you too, Phil." Phil gasped out, "Take back your medallion." When Leo hesitated, he croaked, "That's an order, soldier!" Leo said, "Yes, sir," and took the medallion carefully from around Phil's neck, placing it around his own. Phil said, "Give it to your new man. You taught me how to love, Studboy." Phil paused to get his breath, then said, "Hold my hand, Leo, I'm going home." As Leo took his hand, Phil yawned, sighed deeply, and died.

Leo wept bitterly. The men of his company gathered around him, their rejoicing stilled by the death of their captain and Leo's grief. A sergeant called for a stretcher, and Phil's body was soon taken away. When Leo trudged back to his company at the command post, the rest of the men were gathered around the Colonel describing the action. When Leo walked up, the Colonel said, "Lieutenant, I'm commending you for bravery. I am also promoting you to Captain." Leo, no feeling left in him, just said, "Thank you, sir." When the Colonel at last dismissed the company, Leo called Jennie with the news. He then went to his bed and passed out.


Phil's body was shipped to Fort Worth for burial. When Will learned that Phil had no funeral plot, he bought one next to Hugh's grave. The honor guard was composed of men from Phil's company with Leo, wearing a black Academy armband, at their head. Will, Maxine, and Jennie greeted Leo warmly. He was surprised how big John had grown for his ten years. He also met Eunice, who was eight, and a charmer like her mother and grandmother. It soothed his pain a bit to be treated like family. Several Academy men, recognizing the situation from Leo's armband, came up to him during the visitation and offered their condolences. Phil had lived away from Fort Worth for some time, but he was still known and highly thought of. One mourner had been among the Texans who had spearheaded the external assault on the ridge; he praised Phil and Leo highly to the assembled company.

The day of the service turned out sunny, breezy, and pleasantly warm. The minister preached a beautiful service. Will and Phil's brother Jim spoke their remembrances. Leo's grief was too great for him to speak, but Randall, one of the honor guard, had prepared appropriate remarks and delivered them, for which Leo was grateful. Joseph, another member of the honor guard, had arranged with the organist to sing his own beautiful setting of "Abide with me," setting a seal of solemnity on the occasion.

When the service was over the guests were invited to the church's fellowship hall for food. Jennie's adult education class had provided a feast. As Jennie and Leo talked, John sought out the other members of the honor guard. He said to Joseph, "I hope I can sing as beautifully as you someday, sir." He asked Randall, "Sir, was my dad really brave?" Randall replied, "Yes, John, he is a hero. He led the charge onto Merrimac Hill. He made it possible for us to win the battle." John said, "I want to be just like my dad when I grow up." When Leo overheard this, he choked up, and Jennie put her arms around him. While he sobbed quietly, she spoke softly into his ear, "We owe you so much, Leo. I never had a brother, but you are like one to me. You made Phil a better man. Please keep in touch with us." Leo nodded, his sobs subsiding. He remembered Phil's final words.


Several years later Leo sat at his desk reading a letter from Jennie.

She wrote: "Dear Leo, I hope all is well with you. We are all doing fine. John is growing like a weed. He has asked me repeatedly if he can go to military school. I always thought of that as a place where unruly boys were sent for discipline, but perhaps I'm wrong. He says he's bored at school and wants to be a soldier like his Dad. I want to make this happen, but I don't know where the money would come from. I also have no idea how to judge which school would be best for him. I would appreciate any advice or help you can offer. John will be ready to start high school soon, and I expect this would be the best time to enroll him if it can be arranged. I look forward to hearing from you.

Eunice is quite the little lady and looks more like a younger Mama every day. She says hello with a kiss. Mama also sends her love.

Warmest regards,

Leo turned to the computer and looked up Crotalus. The school was in Phigalia, Texas near Forth Worth, and its overall program was excellent. It served as a feeder for the Academy. He whistled when he read the cost, but he figured he could swing at least half of it, since he lived very frugally and saved much of his salary.

He wrote back:

"Dear Jennie,

I am glad to hear all of you are doing well, as I am. I can recommend Crotalus Military School (motto: "Don't tread on me"), which is in Phigalia, not far from you. Their scholastic and athletic programs are excellent, and I expect John will do well there. Perhaps Will and I can put our resources together to meet the expense. If he is willing, please have him contact me.

Warmest regards,

Will called Leo shortly after Jennie received his letter. They discussed the financial situation and agreed to split the extra cost of John's schooling. Leo sent a check the next day. He felt very satisfied when Crotalus accepted John. Not only was the boy well placed, but Leo had been able to act on his love for Phil in a very concrete way.


The 8 a.m. class bell rang in the office of the Academy. Coach Leo opened the folder for the first and only interview of the morning. These days Leo lived up to his name, sporting a huge mane of wavy, reddish-blond hair in a style considered appropriate for New Theban soldiers. He also wore a stagey box mustache. Thanks to his wrestling and working out, his muscularity had not gone slack with the passage of time. He still wore with his uniform a black Academy armband, his sign of mourning for Phil. Because Leo taught Military History, a required freshman course, he was familiar to all the cadets. He was also known as a strong wrestling coach. Like many members of the staff, Leo doubled as part-time administrator. This practice ensured that the coaches could devote as much time as necessary to interviews, which were considered critical to the success and continuing reputation of the school.

Leo had been able to prepare himself psychologically for today's interview with Phil's son John. He wanted to downplay his relationship with Phil, since it might complicate John's situation at the school. He thought back to the day of John's birth, when he and all the coaches had gathered in Phil's office to toast the newborn boy. He remembered John from Phil's funeral, but that had been their most recent meeting. He doubted that John would remember him eight years later, especially since he had worn his hair short and his face clean-shaven then.

Leo glanced over towards his desk and noticed Phil's picture. It showed him carrying Leo piggyback. Both were shirtless, and both smiled broadly. The inscription read, "To the best man, all my love, Phil." He quickly went over to the desk, kissed the picture, and put it into a drawer.

As Leo took a few deep breaths, there was a knock on the door, and a voice on the other side called out, "Coach Leo, the Smiths are here." Leo opened the door to find smiling day officer Rob, Jameson Smith, a lean, fit man of about fifty-five in a suit, and John, who had grown into a strikingly handsome young man. John had short dark brown hair, a square jaw, light brown eyes, and chiseled features. He stood with an air of complete self-posession. Leo said, "Come in gentlemen! Mr. Smith, John, I'm pleased to see you again after all these years." Leo shook their hands, saying, "Please have a seat," and indicated two of three chairs at a round table on one side of the office. As Rob shut the door, Leo said, "I trust you've had an enjoyable trip, gentlemen." "Please call me Jim, Leo. Well, it was fairly dull, but at least we don't have highway robbery, gas rationing and carjacking to contend with anymore." In a rich and resonant baritone John added, "Yes, and if I can believe everything Uncle Jim says, we owe our civil order to the Academy." Phil's piercing brown eyes smiled at Leo from John's face. Leo almost lost his composure, but he recovered quickly, as though under fire.

As a diversion he picked up the folder and pretended to read it. He had, of course, already memorized its contents completely. "You chose your secondary school wisely ('Actually,' he thought, 'I chose it wisely'). Your academic record is outstanding. Your sporting specialty is wrestling (Leo looked up and John nodded). You seem to be equally strong in English and mathematics ("Like Phil", he thought, "who could point out your errors with mathematical precision in tart and flawless English"). I see that you also sing -- we have an excellent choral program with special attention for voices of solo quality. We encourage a sound mind in a sound body, and we will nourish any talent you have. Why do you want to come to the Academy, John?

After a momentary pause, John said, "My father was Academy, sir, and a hero. If we go to war again, I want to follow in his footsteps. I only hope I can be as good a man as he was." Fortunately Leo was prepared for this. He answered, "A noble sentiment, John." He thought, "You're standing at the base of Everest and you think it's a foothill. Even so, you may well reach the summit." He said to John, "Please go into the changing room there, and remove your clothes and underwear. John, all indoor exercise at New Thebes is done gymnos -- nude."

"It is at Crotalus too sir," responded John.

"Good," said Leo. "Take your time getting undressed; that'll give your Uncle Jim and me a chance to talk. Just rap on the door when you're ready."

When John pulled the door to, it was obvious that the changing room was soundproof, an extraordinary luxury, but a useful one. John thought it was odd to be asked to remove his clothes in a college interview, but he had seen the 6-foot circle of white tape on the floor with an "X" in its center, which told him that he might be asked to pose or wrestle. Maybe he would get to wrestle with Coach Leo! He dropped that thought before it became too arousing and concentrated on the changing room. It had wooden furniture, including a table covered with sports magazines, a sturdy chair, a sink and toilet, and a shower. The closet contained hangers and shelves for his suit, underwear, shoes, and personal items. After undressing, John sat down in the chair, and picked up a wrestling magazine. He read a brief article and then put the mazagine down. He steeled himself not to stare at Leo during the rest of the interview.

As the door closed behind John, Jim spoke first. "Leo, I really appreciate your interviewing John personally." Leo replied, "I'm delighted to do it, Jim. His file is very impressive." Jim continued, "I suppose I'm too old to understand these New Theban ways, but my brother said he would give his life for you if you needed it. You and I both know that he wasn't joking." Leo said, "You're right, Jim. I'm just glad you were able to persuade John to apply here." Jim laughed sharply. "Persuade him? I almost had to fight him physically to get him just to consider applying anywhere else. If you refuse to accept him, I don't know what his mother and I will do." Leo smiled and said, "I doubt you need to worry much about that."

There was a knock on the changing room door. Leo walked over and opened it. John walked out and straddled the "X" in the middle of the floor, striking an insouciant pose with his hands on his hips and his legs apart. His muscles were nicely shaped, but their development was not quite yet complete. Returning to the table, Leo attached John's folder to a clipboard and pulled from a drawer a stopwatch and a ruled and numbered score sheet. He also moved his chair closer to the table so he could use the clipboard to hide the growing bulge in his pants. He asked John, "Do you know the Twenty Poses?" John replied, "Yes, sir." Leo said, "Please show me."

The Twenty Poses were a timed set of fluid motions influenced by Tai Chi. Their purpose was to show off the flexibility and tone of the body. By using the muscles in slow isometric sweeps of motion, the poser showed his discipline and control as well as his strength. John went through the poses fluidly in an average amount of time. As he did so, Leo scribbled a few notes on the page.

When John had finished, Leo said, "You were a bit jerky on number 7 and a little under-extended on number 9. Otherwise, nearly perfect. Your timing is very accurate." Leo pulled a clean towel from a cabinet drawer and tossed it to John, who patted himself down with it. Leo asked, "Jim, would you mind waiting in the reception area while I talk with John for awhile?" Jim got up from the table and left the room, closing the door behind him as Leo said to John, "Please sit down." John put the towel on the chair and sat on it.

Leo began, "John, if you decide to enroll here, I have some brief but very important advice for you. Of course, you may ignore it. But I know the Academy, and I know some of its pitfalls." John leaned forward to listen. Leo continued, "If I were in your place, I would not make myself known as 'John the son of the great war hero.' I would rather be 'John Smith, a poor boy whose dad died in the last war.' I am one of only a few here who know that Captain Smith was your father. If you keep it to yourself, you will be free to develop in your own way. On the other hand, if you present yourself as 'John Smith, son of the great hero Philip Venable Smith,' many cadets and others here would take it as hubris." Leo paused and looked straight at John, who nodded to show that he knew the word. "They would judge you by your father, or by someone they thought you were pretending to be. They could also make your life here a living hell. Think it over."

John barely hesitated. "I shall take your advice, Sir. Thank you." Leo smiled, noting the formal shall, and continued, "A wise decision. Oh, by the way, I'm usually addressed as 'Coach' or 'Coach Leo' rather than 'Sir,' which is mostly reserved for formal occasions. Now go put your clothes back on, and I'll bring your Uncle Jim back in. You may shower if you like." John disappeared into the changing room, and Leo called Jim back into the office. Leo was relieved that his erection had subsided.

When John had changed back into his clothes and returned to his chair, Leo said, "John, I understand that you have asked for immediate admission. Is there any other college to whom you owe an interview?" John replied, "No, sir; I only expected to apply elsewhere if I were rejected here." "Well, John, that won't be necessary, because, based on your interview, I am authorized to admit you today." John beamed and leaned back in his chair in obvious joy, locking his fingers together behind his head. Jim asked, "What about the financial arrangements?" Leo replied, "There are none to make. John's father is a Hero of the Academy, and he will pay nothing for tuition, lodging, meals, linen service, or books. All he must do is keep a "C" average with no "F"s and follow all the rules." Jim replied, "His mother will be so relieved; you know how hard times are."

Leo turned to John, who leaned forward again to listen. "John, we support no fraternities and allow no alcohol or illegal drugs on the campus. If it is your intention to work hard and succeed, you will do well. If you are hoping to party and have four years of fun, you do not belong here. Do you understand?" John replied, "Yes, Coach Leo." The stud coach's name tingled on his tongue. He made an effort to calm himself.

Leo continued, "Before you can register as a cadet, I must make you aware of some of the rules of the school. Jim, you will need to sign as a witness that I have read these rules to John. John, you will need to sign the honor code and the rules contract."

Leo read through the honor code: "I will not lie, cheat, steal, engage in forbidden sexual activity, or tolerate those who do." Leo paused. "Forbidden sexual activity is described in the rules. I will now read the ones you must sign before a witness."

"No cadet or faculty member may, on pain of expulsion, bring a woman not related to him by blood or marriage into his quarters. The presence of wives, mothers, sisters, or children on the grounds of the Academy, though permitted, is strongly discouraged."

"No cadet may, on pain of expulsion, keep or consume any alcoholic beverage or illegal drug in his quarters. Regular inspections will be conducted to ensure that this regulation is followed."

"No cadet or faculty member may disturb the peace of his neighbors, whether by noise, conversation, or loud music. Music with obscene lyrics is not permitted."

"No cadet or faculty member may, on pain of severe discipline or expulsion, use words intended to impugn the masculinity of any of his fellows who are in Academy-sanctioned same-sex unions."

"However, John, as I'll get to in a moment, if you learn of cadets or others who are sexually promiscuous or engaging in acts of anal penetration, you must inform a superior officer immediately."

"Failure to do so will result in expulsion."

John, have you ever been married?" John replied, "No, sir." Leo asked, "Do you have a contract of civil union with any man or woman now living? If so, you must divulge it now." John said, "No, sir." Leo explained, "Then you will start in the Green Brigade. If you are in a sporting situation, you will wear either green sweatpants, green shorts, or a green armband."

Leo read on, "Any cadet entering the Academy must wear a green armband or green sport clothing at all times in public unless otherwise authorized by his Advisor because of special circumstances."

He continued, "No cadet of the Green Brigade may intentionally make physical contact with any faculty member or with a cadet of any other brigade unless engaged in sport or invited to do so." John looked at Leo's black armband but said nothing. Leo added, "This serves to prevent altercations between members of different brigades. You must be especially careful not to touch a man with a red armband without permission. If a man of a brigade other than green touches you first, that is taken as permission."

Leo paused, then said, "This is the awkward one. But since there is no leeway in its interpretation, its intent must not be mistaken." He paused, then read, "Any cadet or faculty member found guilty of oral or genital contact with the anus of any person of either sex, or permitting the same upon himself, will be expelled or dismissed, respectively. This action shall be final, and no appeal is permitted."

Leo continued, "You may not be familiar with the extent of sexual promiscuity prior to the gynepest, or how many young men's lives were destroyed by anally-transmitted diseases."

"For those and other reasons, anal and promiscuity are forbidden among our cadets and faculty."

"Sir, I understand," said John.

Leo passed the papers to the boy. "John, would you please sign here and here? Jim, please sign here. Thank you."

Leo stood up. "Now, gentlemen, you will need to go to the Registrar's office to have John sign his matriculation paperwork." John and Jim stood. "Rob will escort you there." Leo shook Jim's hand, then extended his hand to John, saying, "It has been a pleasure. John, I'll see you in Military History 101." John shook Leo's hand firmly and locked eyes with him for a moment. Leo then walked over to the office door and opened it, calling into the hallway, "Rob, would you please take John and Mr. Smith to the Registrar's office? John starts today." Rob smiled as he walked up to the door. "Congratulations!" he exclaimed. "Please come with me." As they walked out together through the reception area, John noticed that Rob's armband was red. He also observed that Rob's body filled out his uniform very nicely.

Leo closed the door behind them and locked it. He had another hour before his jointly-coached wrestling class. He suddenly felt ten years older, and his mouth tasted like dust. He went to the small refrigerator in one corner of the office and poured out a bottle of ginger beer into a glass. He sipped at it slowly, trying to collect his thoughts. His emotional wound had been healing for eight years, but John had unknowingly torn it open in a few minutes. "He's Phil to the life," he thought, "not so much in his facial features but in his eyes, his chin, his shoulders, his look, the way he carries himself. And the little scamp wants my body! No, no, he was probably just being friendly."

As he reflected back over John's posing routine his erection returned, hard and insistent. Leo imagined John chest-to-chest with him, grinding on top of him, staring at him with this beautiful eyes. He yanked down his trousers and briefs to give himself breathing room and pulled his shirt and undershirt up out of the way. After only a few strokes on his thick uncut cock he blew his load onto his abs. He felt no pleasure, only relief. He picked up the towel John had discarded, breathed deeply of its clean, slightly sweaty aroma, and used it to clean himself up. He felt dirty and desolate. When he had finished rearranging his uniform, he drank down the rest of the ginger beer. He tried to collect his thoughts, but the image of John lingered before him.


John was lucky to have Roger as a roommate. Roger had grown up next door to Tom, a senior cadet, whom Roger had pumped for information before arriving at the Academy. Roger was vigorously athletic and outgoing. John's more reserved demeanor played well off his roommate, and they became friends. John also met Tom, who made no social distinction between his class and theirs. Tom was also quiet but very intense, and wrestling was his passion. He had challenged John twice during the first week of school, and they were fairly well matched, with one win each.

Of course they wrestled nude, and at the end of the second match, which John had lost, Tom, whom John could see was slightly aroused, tapped him three times on his right shoulder.

When John had looked puzzled, not understanding, Tom had just smiled at him, stood up, and walked away. As he passed by Roger, who had been watching the match, Tom said quietly, "Show this boy the ropes, Roger."

John rose from the mat and walked over to Roger, asking, "What was that about?" Roger replied, "Let's walk back to the dorm and I'll fill you in. Do you know about the armband colors?" John replied, "Not yet. What do they mean?" Roger explained, "When you come to the Academy, there is a tacit assumption that you will bond with another man. Whether that bond is Platonic or involves sex is up to the two of you." John asked, "What kind of sex?" Roger replied, "Frot of course. Two men making fire by rubbing two sticks together." He stuck out his index fingers and rubbed them together to illustrate. John laughed and said, "Oh, right." Roger continued, "When two men decide they want to pair off exclusively, they go to the Registrar's office, file a Petition of Union, and buy red armbands and shorts. That makes them a couple in the eyes of the Academy." John thought a moment, then said, "So that's why we're forbidden to touch them." Roger said, "Yes, it's partly out of respect and partly for your safety. If you were to touch a Red, he might dress you down, or he might slug you if his lover were nearby. And you would shut up and take any abuse he gave you."

John asked, "So what did it mean when Tom tapped my shoulder like that?" Roger said, "He's attracted to you." Taken aback, John said, "That's pretty forward of him. Nobody at Crotalus did that." Roger replied, "You're a lucky guy. I've known Tom forever, so I can vouch for him; he's a good man."

John asked, "What about the white armbands?" Roger answered, "Guys who don't bond with men, or don't want a relationship, or have set their sights on one man in particular, may wear white after signing up at the Registrar's office. If you were to go white, no one would bother you or give you a hard time about it." John said, "I see. What about a black armband?" Roger lowered his voice. "That means that the man is in mourning. His lover has died, and he is not available." A little too quickly, John asked "Does that mean he will never bond with another man again?" Roger noticed his haste and said, "No, but no one may touch him without permission. Have you set your sights on a Black?" John shook his head and said "I just wondered, because several of the coaches wear black." Roger continued, "I hear some of them lost their men in the big battle." Any cadet would have understood the reference.

After a pause, John asked, "Roger, if I wanted to indicate that I was attracted to Tom, what would I do?" Roger replied, "Wrestle him again soon. If he wins the match, he'll probably tap your shoulder again. This time smile at him, and when he offers his hand to pull you up, take it. If you win the match, tap his shoulder and offer him your hand. If he smiles at you and takes it, you're set. He knows where our room is, and he'll show up soon after that to visit. I'll go over to the library to study for an hour or so, and you can let nature take its course."

John sighed and said, "That sounds so impersonal." Roger replied, "Not the way Tom does it, and I ought to know. Besides, you can always imagine Tom is that coach you have the hots for." John gave him a mock-punch to the shoulder. Roger returned the blow, and they both grinned.

Then John turned serious again.

"The problem is I do have the hots for Coach Leo."

"Then you shouldn't have anything to do with Tom," said Roger.

"I know," said John. "But Tom is very good-looking and I do like him."

"And Coach Leo has never shown any interest in me. And he wears a black armband."

"I just don't know what to do."

"That you'll have to work out for yourself," Roger replied. "But -- if you truly love Leo -- maybe you should give that more time."

"Maybe," said John.


Nika Day was the anniversary of the Battle of New Thebes. On that day insurgents from Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Vermont had made up the external attack force, while the Vermonters inside the town and the soldiers of the Academy had initiated the capture of Merrimac Hill. The Texans had then attacked from the other end of the ridge, splitting and routing the enemy forces. In the face of such a complete disaster the Federal government had agreed to a treaty guaranteeing the independence of the nation of Vermont. These events were commemorated in the Academy's most solemn ceremony in the amphitheater just outside its boundary. Academy men and their allies who had lost their union partners or friends in the war were invited to sit in the front rows. Other military men sat with their families in the middle rows, with the general public in the back.

The service begain with a brief reading by the Poet Laureate of the Academy. A choral setting with baritone solo of the New Theban Victory Ode followed. There were a few brief speeches, and then a brazier filled with coals was lighted on the platform. The Dean read the names of the Academy men lost in the war. After each name a deep bell was rung, and a man came forward to the podium. Each one took a white rose from a large bouquet on a table and placed it in the brazier to burn, symbolizing the evanescense of life. If there was no one to respond to a name on the list, a volunteer would be designated to perform the rite. Watching from his place in the choir beside Tom, John noted carefully that Leo came forward when Phil's name was called. When all the names had been called, the Dean said, "And now we remember all those who gave their lives but whose names are lost to us." He then placed the remaining roses in the brazier. The choir sang a hymn of praise to freedom, and the ceremony ended.

After the choir filed out, Tom said to John, "You know, since Jason is a senior, you should be able to take that solo next year." John replied distractedly, "Yes, I suppose so." Tom said, "Don't sound so enthusiastic. What's set you to brooding?" John asked, "If a man wearing a black armband comes forward when a name is called, was he that man's union partner?" Tom replied, "Probably, but not necessarily. He could be honoring a friend." John nodded and said, "You're right about the solo. It's a bit showy, but it's not too difficult. It fits my voice very well." Tom smiled and said, "You've been working on it with Coach Tucker, haven't you?" John replied, "Yes, it doesn't hurt to be prepared." By this time they were in the robing room, and John had removed his choir robe. When no one was looking, Tom tapped John three times on the shoulder. John smiled at him.


The next evening there was a knock on the door of John's dorm room. Roger shot John a meaningful glance as he called out, "Come in!" Tom opened the door and greeted them. After a few minutes of conversation, Roger said, "I need to go to the library to study. I'll be back in about an hour." Tom said, "Well, there has to be a first time for everything, I suppose." Roger shot back, "That's what John just said. I'll see you guys later." Tom caught the hint. Roger chuckled as he closed the door behind him.

Tom locked the door, closed the drapes, and turned to face John. John's physical beauty had drawn Tom to him, but Tom also enjoyed the richness of John's voice and the fire that John showed when he wrestled. Tom, already hard, pulled John close to him. John, taken off guard by Tom's sexual forwardness and confused about his own feelings, allowed Tom to kiss him -- tentatively. Tom then ran his fingers through John's hair and nibbled at his neck and ears. John tried to follow Tom's lead, but he remained uncertain and unsure. Tom, putting this down to inexperience, caressed him more boldly, removing John's shirt and kissing his nipples. Tom then took off his own shirt, allowing John to admire Tom's fine build -- but John was still unaroused. Tom continued to undress, and now John did the same. When they were both naked, Tom lay on John's bed and pulled John down on top of him. John took hold of Tom's erection and began to stroke it, but John himself remained soft.

Seeing that his efforts were not achieving the desired result, Tom asked gently, "John, is this your first time with a man?" John said, "Yes. I'm sorry." Tom replied, "Were you raised in a strict home?" John answered, "No, I don't know what's wrong." Tom said, "Do you only think about women when you masturbate?" John replied, "Men sometimes, women sometimes." Tom paused, then very gently said, "I don't expect you to confirm or deny this, but I think you're in love with Coach Leo." John blushed crimson. Tom continued, "I thought so. I remember your day of embarrassment." Somewhat defensively, John asked, "What day of embarrassment?" Tom replied, "You know, the one and only day Coach Leo has wrestled with you so far. I thought his shorts were going to split. And you were certainly hard enough then. I was so jealous I could hardly stand it." John looked abashed.

Tom went on, "Don't worry about it, stud. I've been watching you, for obvious reasons, but if Coach Leo's eyes could burn, you'd be a cinder already. If it's true, though, you really ought to go white. There's at least a dozen guys hoping that I'll fail with you so they can have the next try." John looked away and said, "That's all I need." Tom continued, "You'll be fine, John. Several guys have their eyes on Coach Leo, but he ignores them all. He wants you so badly he can taste it." John looked at him hopefully and said, "Are you sure?" With a sly smile Tom replied, "An experienced seducer like me has to keep up with these things. You must have a rough time taking his class." John nodded and said, "Tom, I'm sorry I dragged you into this." Tom smiled and said, "Well, at least I got the first try, successful or not."

John was grateful for Tom's kindness. He said, "I really should bring you off after all this." Tom replied, "No, you shouldn't. If you love Coach Leo, you should save that for him. So let's just forget it. I don't want to intrude. Promise me, though, that you'll go white tomorrow." John replied, "I promise. Thank you." When they had both dressed, Tom kissed him on the forehead and said "I wish you luck, but I'm sure you don't need it." He smiled wistfully and then went out.

When Roger returned, he asked, "Well, was he as good as I said?" John replied, "I guess so." Roger said, "You don't sound like you enjoyed it very much." John answered, "I'm going white tomorrow." Roger jokingly asked, "Was he that bad?" John looked serious and said, "No, I really like him, but he's not who I want." Concerned, Roger asked, "You really are in love, aren't you?" John sighed and said, "Yes, it seems I am." Roger answered, "Well, if it's Coach Leo you want, you have the prize; all you have to do is wait until the last day of school to claim it." Suddenly attentive, John said, "Tom seems to think so too." Roger continued, "He's right. Leo would club you and drag you off to his cave if he could. He thinks he's so subtle that no one knows he wants you, but half the school knows." John was chagrined, imagining himself as the object of gossip. Seeing his face, Roger grinned and said, "No need to be embarrassed. I want to be best man, though. You two will be such a hot couple we'll have to have fireproof decorations in the hall." John laughed despite himself.

The next morning John went to the Registrar's office. Rob, who had recently been promoted, was behind the desk. He and John already had a humorous rapport. When John asked for the white armbands and briefs, Rob replied, "Uh-oh, someone's going to be unhappy tonight." John said, "It's all right. I'm hunting bigger game." Rob said, "I wouldn't want to be between you and that lion." John smiled wryly and said, "You're good, Rob." With a mock-gangster accent he said, "Just don't let ya smarts getcha inta trouble." They both laughed, and Rob bagged up the white armbands and shorts John needed.


There was only one day left in the school year. The weather had been beautiful, and it was comfortably cool in Coach Leo's room. Leo had fallen asleep about 10 p.m. He slept naked with only a sheet, which he had thrown off. He woke feeling that someone was in the bed with him. He rolled over onto his back and was stunned to see Phil sitting facing him on the edge of the bed. Phil greeted him with, "Hey, Studboy." Leo, trembling, replied, "Hey, Daddybear." Phil said, "I'm here to tell you something you already know. It's time to take off your black armband and find yourself a man." He wrapped his huge hand around Leo's cock, which sprang to life as Phil leaned over and kissed him for a long time. Phil sat up and smiled as he stroked and squeezed Leo's growing erection. "You need to share this with somebody. I expect that would be a man, since you have little interest in women. You've been generous to my boy John. Is he a good match for you?"

Leo softly replied, "I hope so, Daddybear. He's the finest cadet in the class. He wears his beauty like a robe of starlight. I loved him from the day of his interview. It's agony to be near him without clasping him to my chest and smothering him with kisses." As Phil continued to stroke Leo's rod, he gently replied, "It's quite a change to hear a prosaic stud like you wax poetic. Now you know how I felt, having you in my class and not being able to touch you or tell you how much I wanted you. Does he love you?"

Leo's voice tightened with the increasing pleasure. "I think so, because he watches me. He's even wearing a white armband. I heard he made some remark about 'hunting bigger game.'" Phil asked, "Does he know we were union partners?" Leo replied, "I assume he suspects it, at least. But I don't want him to think that I love him as a substitute for you. No one could take your place, Daddybear. He has to know that I love him for his own manly virtue."

Phil continued to stroke and squeeze Leo's erection. He said, "Remember, you were only nineteen when you united with me. Promise me you will find a new man, whether it's John or not." He squeezed and stroked harder. "Promise me." Leo squirmed under his attentions. Phil's voice began to fade as he said, "If you truly want to honor my memory, you will share your life and your love with another man. Promise me!" Leo cried out, "I promise, Phil, I promise!" Leo woke himself up muttering, "I promise, Phil, I promise."

He had a steely erection, and he was tempted to bring himself off; but he thought, "I'll save that for tomorrow," and quickly fell back asleep. When he awoke that morning he remembered the dream in detail. Although Leo didn't literally believe that Phil's spirit had visited him, he thought that so vivid a dream must contain some truth. He knew that John would be finishing his classes that day, and he hoped that he could ascertain John's intentions. As soon as he had showered and dressed he headed to the Registrar's office to pick up a green armband. He hoped he would not need it for long.


Leo sat at his desk. He had a note from Steve, Rob's replacement in the front office, that John had asked Leo to meet him in Leo's office at 6:00, when the office building officially closed. Steve let John into the building as he was on his way out, locking the doors behind him. John rapped on the door of Leo's office. Leo called out, "Come in!" John entered, closing the door behind him. Leo rose from his chair to greet him, saying, "First of all, John, let me congratulate you. I had never given 100% on an exam paper until I graded yours this week. You'll be receiving an award for your excellent performance." John replied, "Thank you, sir. I'm honored." He paused, then exclaimed "Coach, you're wearing a green armband!" Leo answered in a serious tone, "Yes, John, all mourning has to end sometime, and life has to go on. What about you, John? I thought you had gone white." John replied, "Yes, Coach, but I traded it for green today. Please sit down."

Leo, somewhat surprised at this request, sat at the desk with his chair turned towards John, who remained standing. John began, "Coach, I hope I will never be in any of your classes again," but he could not keep his face straight, and his smile gave away the joke. Leo smiled in return and answered, "And why is that, John?" John continued, all trace of the smile gone, "Because, Sir, I love you with all my heart, and I hope you will take me to be your man."

Leo was flooded with emotion. He wanted to embrace John, but he knew his duty. He mastered his feelings and, mustering as much warmth as he could, said, "First there's something we need to discuss. Promise me that you will hear me out, no matter what." John replied, "I promise, Sir." Leo reached into the desk drawer where he had put the picture of himself and Phil many months ago and drew out a medallion on a gold chain. He placed the medallion in John's hand. John said, "It's beautiful, sir." Leo answered, "It's New Corinthian work." The visible side of the medallion was engraved with the Academy's "A" surrounded by a laurel wreath. John turned it to the other side. Leo asked, "Do you recognize the artwork, John?" John replied, "Yes, it's Ares victorious with a laurel-crowned spear." Leo took a magnifier with a light from a drawer of the desk. He turned the light on and gave the magnifier to John, saying, "Look more closely." John started and said, "Ares is you, Coach." Leo took the medallion and opened it. On the left was a picture of Jennie, Eunice, and John; on the right was a picture of Phil and Leo.

John said quietly, with some pain in his voice, "So it is true. I always thought you were too young to be just my dad's buddy. He chose his man wisely." Relieved, Leo said, "I couldn't bring myself to tell you. I didn't know how you would take it, and you had enough to bear already. I got the message at your interview, but I expected that you would bond with another cadet and forget about me." John smiled and said, "Wrong, Coach."

Leo closed the medallion, saying, "This was my love-gift to your father. Just before he died he told me to take it back from him and give it to my new man." He reached into his sweatshirt and pulled out a similar medallion. He continued, "And this is what he gave me." He took the magnifier and showed John the Ares, who had been modeled after Phil. Leo opened the medallion to reveal the same two pictures.

Moved at the memories of his father triggered by the pictures and overcome with sorrow and loss, John began to sob loudly. Leo stood and hugged him gently, and John yielded to his embrace. He poured out nine years' worth of grief over his father on Leo's sweatshirt as Leo stroked his hair. Leo softly quoted from the New Theban Victory Ode, "Sacred are the tears of the warrior for his fallen companion." Between sobs, John answered with the next line, "They water...the tree...of his rain...from heaven." Leo said, "Your father gave his life so that we could be free, so that we might live, so that we can be happy."

When John had recovered himself, Leo let go of him and took his hands. Leo kissed them, saying, "John, I love you, and I want to be your man. But remember that I am twice your age. Also, I can never be your teacher or your coach again, except for joint coaching. Knowing this, and knowing about my relationship with your father, do you still want me to be your man?" John smiled and said, "Yes, Leo." Leo reached over to John and pulled off his sweatshirt and undershirt. Leo was lost in admiration of the young man's torso. John's musculature had finished developing during the past year. His chest was broad and well-defined, and his abs were beautifully cut.

Leo picked up the medallion with his image as Ares from the desk. He opened the clasp of the chain, held it up before John, and solemnly asked, "John, will you accept this medallion as a token of my love?" John said, "Yes, Leo." He put the chain around John's neck and fastened the clasp. John put his arms around Leo's neck and kissed him. When he came up for air, Leo said, "Here," led John over to the closet, and pulled out a square wrestling mat. They unfolded it to fit over the six-foot circle on the floor. Leo went to the refrigerator, took two small glasses out of the freezer, and opened a ginger beer. He poured out two glasses and gave one to John. Leo said, "May we always be as happy as we are now." John answered, "Success to our love." They clinked their glasses together and emptied them. John said, "You're a coach, and you don't even have real beer?" Leo replied, "How can I expect the cadets to follow the rules if they don't apply to me?" John smiled and said, "I should have known that. You're fair to a fault."

Leo locked the door and removed his sweatshirt and undershirt. His chest was covered with golden fur, tapering down to a treasure trail. John began to nibble at Leo's neck and ears. Leo pushed him off long enough to remove his shoes and socks, and John did the same. When they were fully undressed, Leo lay down on the mat and pulled John down on top of him. Leo, as excited as when Phil had been in John's place, was blissfully happy and fully hard. John was completely caught up in his desire for Leo. He massaged and kissed Leo's body all over until Leo could stand no more and pulled John up to face him. John was so aroused that only a few strokes of his cock against Leo's pushed him over the edge. He shot a huge load on Leo's abs, almost blinded by the intensity of his orgasm. Leo's burst followed a few seconds later. John rolled off Leo and fell asleep with his head on Leo's chest.

Leo was relaxed and content, studying John as he slept, admiring his splendid musculature, his square jawline, and his handsome face. He thought back to his joking with Phil about having a stud son to care for him, and softly said aloud, "My love, you builded better than you knew." The sound woke John, who stirred and asked, "Can we stay here?" Leo replied, "If you want to." John said, "Yes, but I think we should call Mama and tell her." Leo said, "Let's wait until tomorrow. We have a lot to do tonight." John smiled and said, "Yes, we do." After they had made love again, they continued to talk, rub, kiss, and caress each other until they both fell asleep on the mat.

When they awoke the next morning amid much kissing and caressing, John asked, "Are you coming to the concert tomorrow night? I have the bass solos in Haydn's Mass in Time of War." The boys' choir of St. George's Church in Burlington was to join the men's choir of the Academy, and John had won the solo audition. Phil replied, "I'll have a front-row seat if I can get one." John kissed him and said, "I should be getting back to call Mama. Do we sign the union papers on Monday?" Smiling, Leo answered, "Yes, you'll just have to wait." John replied, "And well worth waiting for." He took Leo's hands and kissed them, saying, "I love you, Leo." Leo did the same, and said, "I love you, John. Shall we go to breakfast together and really give them something to talk about?" With a wry smile John replied, "We may as well. It seems that half the school knows about us already." They set out for the mess hall.

When John returned from breakfast to his dorm room, he found Tom and Roger waiting for him. Roger said, "I bet Tom twenty dollars that you wouldn't come back here last night." Tom answered, "And I wasn't fool enough to take the bet, but I kept your bed warm until the results were in." He kissed John on the forehead and said, "If Roger is to be best man, I'll guess I'll just have to give you away. I hope you'll be very happy." Roger said, "Actually, Tom, we'll both have to be bodyguards to protect them from their hordes of disappointed suitors. John, I'm happy for you. You couldn't have made a better choice." John replied, "I'm grateful to you both. You helped me out when I needed it." Roger retorted, "Actually, we were just tired of seeing you mope around like a lovesick hound dog." John laughed and said, "That won't be a problem anymore."


John earned his degree in Mathematics, completed his Doctorate, and married Tom's younger sister Ellen. They had two sons and two daughters. John accepted a teaching position at Crotalus, and Leo eventually left the Academy and moved to Fort Worth to teach and live near John. Roger married Eunice and had a son and three daughters. Leo doted on his eight "grandchildren". Tom finished his Master's in Physical Education and became a wrestling coach at the Academy.

Afterword from Bill Weintraub

Thank you, Warrior Blake, for this beautifully written and crafted story of New Thebes.

Guys, I told Warrior Blake that I was concerned about his fictional plague, the gynepest, because it could be read as creating a scenario of what's called "situational homosexuality."

We've much discussed that "theory of situtational homosexuality" on this site, particularly in the post Tiny and Stable.

And I'm going to reproduce some of that discussion below.

And it will help you immeasurably to understand that discussion if you'll have read our Man2Man Alliance policy paper, Sex Between Men: An Activity, Not A Condition.

For that reason I strongly encourage you to read Sex Between Men: An Activity, Not A Condition.

That said, what the theory of situational homosexuality posits is that in certain all-male situations, such as prison or the military, Men who were previously "exclusively heterosexual" will have sex with other formerly "exclusively heterosexual" Men -- faute de mieux -- that is, for lack of anything better.

But that when those Men are removed from that situation, and returned to a mixed gender situation, they will turn COMPLETELY away from Men and resume having sex exclusively with Women.

That theory is false, as we know not only from history, but from our own contemporary America, in which it's common for Men to have sex with Men in, let's say, prison, and then continue having sex with Men after they're released from prison and have resumed having sex with their wives or girlfriends.

But -- despite that reality, the theory of situational homosexuality does a lot of harm to those Men, because it suggests to them that, in continuing to have sex with Men even though Women are available and they're having sex with those Women, there's something wrong with them.

There isn't.

To the contrary, there's something very right, in my view, and that of many other cultures, with a Man who is sexual with both Men and Women.

For example, and as I discuss in Sex Between Men: An Activity, Not A Condition,

Here's what the great classicist KJ Dover, who, in 1978, literally wrote the book on Greek Homosexuality, says in his preface to the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics 1980 edition of Plato's Symposium:

Wherever and whenever the homosexual [sic] ethos of the Greek world originated, the simple answer to the question 'Why were the Athenians of Plato's time so fond of homosexual [sic] relations?' is "Because their fathers and grandfathers were'.

Obviously, I disagree with Dover's use of the term "homosexual."

"Same-sex" or "male-male" would be a far better and far more accurate descriptor.

Because, remember, the Men involved in those "relations" -- which were acutally passionate love affairs -- almost always married later in life or were already married.

As Dover says:

[The Greeks] did not consider homosexual [sic] relations incompatible with concurrent heterosexual [sic] relations or with marriage...

As you'll understand once you've read Sex Between Men: An Activity, Not A Condition, we don't, in the Alliance, favor the use of the words "homosexual" and "heterosexual," which were coined in the nineteenth century to promote the view that "homosexuality" was a disease.

So terms like "homosexuality" -- and sexual orientation too -- are value-laden and should be abandoned.

But we can easily change Dover's language to make it more accurate:

Wherever and whenever the male-male ethos of the Greek world originated, the simple answer to the question 'Why were the Athenians of Plato's time so fond of male-male relations?' is "Because their fathers and grandfathers were'.

. . .

[The Greeks] did not consider male-male relations incompatible with concurrent male-female relations or with marriage...

And that's the important thing to understand.

That -- and as Blake's story makes clear -- prejudices for or against male-male or what we call Man2Man relationships are CULTURAL.

The underlying male need for Man2Man is BIOLOGICAL and UNIVERSAL -- and it doesn't change.

What changes over time is any given culture's tolerance of Man2Man.

And our own culture has been, until very recently, *unusually* intolerant.

So -- if you identify as "straight" -- if you're what we call in the Alliance "straight-identified" -- try to understand that your same-sex needs and desires are natural and normal.

And it's for that reason that I, with Blake's permission, added these lines to the opening paragraphs of his story:

As a result [of the gynepest], men turned to each other for mutual protection and companionship.

And they began seeking, and more openly seeking, sexual release with each other.

Even before the plague, men who identified as "straight" had been increasingly willing to acknowledge their completely normal and natural same-sex needs and desires.

But the plague created immense social pressures which completely broke down the early 21st-century taboos against male-male sexual relations. Popularized by websites like that of The Man2Man Alliance, the intensely masculine sex-act known as "Frot" -- phallus-against-phallus sex -- became common, especially among younger, straight-identified men.

And as Frot grew in popularity, anal penetration, which had been predominant among gay-identified males and not uncommon among male-female couples in the early 21st century, was increasingly disparaged and abandoned.

In no small part because those who engaged in it were clearly at far greater risk from the gynepest.

Even though the gynepest was an airborne plague, the immuno-suppressive powers of sperm insured that males who'd engaged in anal, particularly receptive anal, suffered greatly from the disease, and a second wave of death broke over the gay male "community," which rapidly disintegrated.

The effeminacy and promiscuity which had characterized that community were vanquished and vanished with it, along with the identification of males as "gay" itself.

Men became Men again, free to love each other as Men, and to love Women too.

So -- the point is that the gynepest made it easier for Men to do something which they would have done naturally had their culture not forbidden it.

And indeed, that to me has always been one of the most striking aspects of male-male sex in our own culture:

That Men do it despite the huge social opprobrium which attaches to it.

Again, male-male, Man2Man, is normal and natural.

And that, rather than a scenario of "situational homosexuality," is what I hope you'll see in Blake's story.

And, to help you understand more about the "theory of situational homosexuality" -- here's my discussion from Tiny and Stable, which was posted in 2006:

One way to understand the whole mess and confusion about sex created by contemporary culture both gay and straight is to look at one of the darlings of "psychosexual" theory of my benighted youth:


The theory of situational homosexuality, also known as "opportunistic homosexuality," was that

1. Straight males (and to a degree hetero women) in a same-sex environment would have sex with each other "faute de mieux" -- for lack of anything better; and that

2. as soon as they were in the presence of the opposite sex, they would revert to EXCLUSIVELY hetero behavior.

So: the idea was that guys in the military, in prison, Boy Scouts, monks, etc. would have sex with each other because there were no women around.

Does that idea make any sense at all?


It does not.

Why not?

Because human beings are sexually dimorphic.

That means that there are, from a human point of view, large and very striking physical differences between the sexes.

Like I say, from a human point of view.

Perhaps to a grizzly bear, we all look alike -- though I doubt it.


Does anyone really think that a male soldier with a hard-on is confusing the guy in the next bunk with a woman?

He's not.

Because it's not possible.

The guy in the next bunk doesn't look like a woman, or smell like a woman, or -- in all likelihood -- act like a woman.

He's a guy.

He has narrow hips, broad shoulders, a deep voice, an Adam's apple, no breasts, and external genitalia.

And the other guy knows it.

To understand this better, let's look at two sets of two males engaged in homosex in the heydey of situationalism -- the 1950s.

Set #1 consists of two rough and tough prison inmates who've spent the day on the chain gang bustin rocks and who go back to their cell to get their rocks off with each other.

Set #2 consists of two nelly New York queens who work as window dressers (it's the 50s remember) and who go back to their apartment to get their rocks off with each other.

According to the theory, these two sets of men were totally unalike.

In point of fact, however, that's not true.

In both cases -- the hardened criminals and the tender queens -- the men were getting aroused by each other and achieving orgasm with each other.

Even as a callow and cowed youth, thoroughly taken in by the neo-Freudians, that similarity bothered me and rattled around my brain.

Because: if all four guys were getting hard and getting off with each other -- wasn't that a rather striking commonality?

Yes, Bill, it was and is.

You could have saved yourself a lot of time on a chair across from your dozing psychiatrist if you'd trusted your intellect and your instincts.

So: the theory of the day -- and I might as well have fun with my adolescent fantasies -- was that if you took Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and caged them up with each other for a sufficient length of time, they might have sex.

But that if one day you tossed Marilyn Monroe into the cage -- they'd instantly drop HIM for HER.

Is that so?

Not necessarily.

They might have ignored her completely.

Or, they might for example have chosen to double-dick her -- what now is called co-ramming -- two dicks in one vagina.

That's a very common male fantasy.

Which enables the guys to have cock2cock contact in a hetero setting.

And in point of fact what we now know and recognize is that guys released from same-sex environments such as prison will very often continue to have sex with other males even when re-united with and having an active sex life with women.


Fact: the theory of situational homosexuality is utter bunk and pure hokum.

Guys have sex with guys.

In all-male environments.

And in mixed environments.

The theory of situational homosexuality was useful to people in the 50s because it maintained the line between "homo" and "hetero" even when the line had disappeared.

As it did in prison and the military and so forth.

But the theory itself was dopey.


What it really did was enable folks to ignore, as Orwell says, what was in front of their noses.

A case in point: My husband Patrick

Patrick is, to my way of thinking, a fairly typical "straight" male.

Except he's not "straight."

Which is typical.

Patrick first "boinked," as he puts it, a woman (actually of course a teen-aged girl) just two weeks after his fifteenth birthday.

And he regrets to this day that he didn't succeed in doing so when he was fourteen.

Yet not too long thereafter he was rolling around on the floor, ardently rubbing cocks through his jeans with his hard-ab'ed buddy.

Was Patrick mistaking his buddy for his girl?


Patrick in straight mode, like virtually every other straight-identified guy I've known, is very into breasts.

Just as the Inuit are said to have many, many words for "snow," so can you tell a "straight" guy by the number of words he has for "breast."

If he has about twenty -- which most of them do -- you can be sure he's "straight."

Did Patrick's buddy have breasts?


He was, like Patrick, a skinny, surly, mean-spirited teen-aged boy.



Great abs.


And Patrick was getting VERY aroused with him at the same time -- not at the same moment but in the same time period -- as he was industriously and whenever he could, boinking a large-breasted female.

So: there is no "tiny and stable" population of gay men.

There is a fluid and fluctuating population of "men who have sex with men."

All of whom, by the way, are MEN.

Not pseudo-women, and not intergendered or intersexed beings.

They are MEN.

At various points in cutural history, some of them may identify as "gay," some as "straight," some as "bi."

Throughout most of history, however, they identified as NONE OF THE ABOVE.

There was no such thing as gay or straight or bi.

There were just guys.

Guys had sex with guys.

Guys had sex with girls.

And in most societies and most of the time, NO ONE THOUGHT A THING OF IT.

Guys, you need to get clear about that.

The Greeks didn't divide men into gay and straight.

Neither did the Bible.

In point of fact, no one did that prior to 1869.

. . .

So -- that's the discussion from Tiny and Stable.

And once again, guys, if you haven't read Sex Between Men: An Activity, Not A Condition -- it's very important that you do.

Please be sure to read Sex Between Men: An Activity, Not A Condition.

Once again I thank Warrior Blake for his story.

And as to another question which rises from the gynepest, which is -- is a cataclysm of some sort or another needed to get us from our current situation to another -- I address that in Courage or Cataclysm -- which I hope you'll all read.

Bill Weintraub

September 5, 2010

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This aspect of our work is the one that's most disturbing and indeed frightening to our opponents:

That we combine the Love of Man with the Love of Fighting Spirit.

Which is Warrior Spirit.

The Warrior God is the Guardian of that Spirit.

You may call him Jesus Christ as Robert Loring does.

You may call him Ares as did the Greeks.

What's important is that you understand and acknowledge

the vital role He plays in Your Life.

Sacred are the tears of the warrior for his fallen companion.

They water the tree of his glory like rain from heaven.

~New Theban Victory Ode