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from my memoir, “The Gay Road Less Traveled” available on Amazon

Since 1977, Have You Ever Had Sex With a Man?

“Human – the Pretenders”

Fort Lauderdale 2012

My money is low; my spending habits are out of control, and like Dan Le Batard, my budgetary skills are Highly Questionable. One Monday, my office was off work for Labor Day, so I took the initiative to go sell some plasma. Let me first say that I was tested for HIV and had a full workup in late October of this year. I always practice safe sex (if and when the opportunity, and dick, should arise). For some reason, I am being very Picky? Selective? Virtuous? since moving to south Florida. Apart from being a little out of shape, I am glad to report that I’m in good health.

The plasma center makes you jump through some hoops, yo. After I gave them some blood to be tested and had a physical exam, I was asked to complete a questionnaire of 53 questions, which I took in a computer cubicle. Here is one of the questions posed:

Since 1977, have you ever had sex with another man? This would include:

A) Oral sex, either giving or receiving, mouth to genitals or mouth to anus.

B) Anal sex, either giving or receiving.

Quickly, I checked No, all the way down the page. I would like to say that I did it in protest of the prejudice, hypocrisy, and double standards for all proud, politically conscious and oppressed gay people, but my mind was on them ends, stacks, scrilla, duckets, ya heard?

I finish my homophobic exam and return to the lobby. My blood test comes back clean, of course, and I am led to the donation room. People are lying on hospital beds with tubes in their arms, squeezing, pumping out blood that plasma is then extracted from. The blood is then pumped back into the person.

The center has a somewhat urban feel to it. The worker (Shaquana) is charged with sticking me with the needle. She looks about 12 years old, but is in fact telling everyone that it’s her birthday, she is turning 19. Since I am right-handed, I request that my left arm be used for the donation.

Shaquana: You ready?

Me: Nods

Shaquana: Pokes/stabs/impales

Shaquana: Uh-Oh.

I look down at my arm; the skin has blown/bubbled up about the size of a golf ball.

Shaquana: Okay, this is what had happened, I put it in the right way, see it went in the vein, just not far enough. It’s gonna bruise. Also, we have to use the other arm now.

Shaquana (to her supervisor): Could you please come do this for me? He’s real mad, I can tell. My ears feel hot and tingly, they are doubtless bright red, and my little eye starts twitchin

The supervisor comes over, changes the prop pillow to my right arm, quickly and efficiently inserts the needle, and starts the machine to pumping.

Shaquana: My bad.

An hour later, my plasma bottle is full, and another worker unhooks me. Shaquana has smartly kept her distance. I am free to go, with $50 on a debit card.

I am forced to wear long sleeve shirts all week. It’s Saturday night, and I have bruises like a heroin junkie on both arms, one small bruise…one big-ass Shaquana bruise. I might have to go back to workin’ the corner of West Las Olas and Broward again, thanks Shaquana, you wildly unprofessional teenager who shouldn’t be in charge of needles!