February, 1978. Atlanta Georgia.
Recently divorced, I made the worst/best decision of my life. I left my son and daughter behind in New York (worst decision) to accept the dream job of my professional life (best decision) as a full time sales, marketing and management trainer in Atlanta, GA. Boy what a ride it turned out to be.
Atlanta in the late 70's was a fast growing young gay friendly city loaded with discos, great bars and famous book stores. I thank the heavens that it was an age before AIDS since I dived into the gay southern life style, feet (well some body part) first.
With a Dameron Guide in hand, off I went. My first night adventure was to the great show bar, Sweet Gum Head. There I met all the people who helped me come out. The first was Michael, a hot handsome 18 year old who knew everyone in gay Atlanta. Michael became my friend and mentor. That night he introduced me to "Hot Chocolate", a hot young black drag queen who was Miss Atlanta and Miss Florida. Larry, "Hot Chocolate" and Michael became my guides to Hotlanta. What a coming out it was.
Work all week and party the weekend away. Friday night it was off to the discos with great music, sweaty dancing and numerous drugs. Poppers were in the air. Saturday we gay men descended on the huge indoor flea market for an afternoon of cruising. Striking out you headed to the book store for some more serious cruising and porn viewing in endless booths with glory holes. Then a quick stop at your favorite bar and going home to nap before disco hopping, still trying for a partner for the night.
Sunday, about 11 AM, we dragged ourselves to our favorite brunch bar for some Bloody Mary's, a huge buffet and more cruising. Still not hitched up, or finished with last night's stand, we took off for an afternoon of cursing in beautiful Peidmont Park. Endless hot southern men, hustlers and miles of secluded trails to sweat away a hot Atlanta afternoon.
Needless to say I was in Gay Heaven. Too late I realized that not being with my son and daughter was a huge price to pay for some outrageous behavior. Thankfully my son John and daughter Jan are very close to me. And thank heavens it was before AIDS and before Hotlanta's flame was extinguished.