Cleis Press, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-57344-399-9
Contemporary Erotica, 2010
I’m four days late with this month’s TBR Review Challenge, and worse, I’m going to cheat a bit and switch the theme of this month with that of the next month. I’m in the final stages of moving house, you see, and nearly all the books have been packed away in boxes, so I don’t have many books to pick from. The best I can do this month is spicy, and here’s College Boys, an anthology of naughty stories involving gay lads in college.
Like most arty-farty anthologies, however, this one isn’t just about the down low getting down. The stories here are set in a time that predates the Internet, social media, and hook-up apps – perhaps a good thing, as these days hooking up by swiping right and asking for that fellow’s address doesn’t make the most interesting story… unless that fellow is a serial killer, has a mutant penis, or something like that, I guess, but that’s neither here nor there. It can be tough being a gay guy in a time before Grindr, although you’d notice in these stories that the gay sex comes very easily no matter how much the protagonist whines about how getting laid is hard to get, especially when one is surrounded by so many hot guys with rippling muscles and sweat-stained jockstraps…
What’s that, you say? The whole thing sounds like any random adult film with a college setting? Yeah, that’s the problem with this anthology: on the whole, there’s nothing new or interesting here, as many of the trope-heavy stories here have a been there, done the whole squad, and the whole thing is up on XTube feel to them.
Hence, there are the usual stories of a wimpy gay lad being treated like dirt by a straight-acting room mate who only uses him for sex and the gay lad loving every second of it, only to touch himself sadly once he’s been discarded by that room mate, cruising in seedy adult cinemas, discovering and groping the straight-acting room mate who turns out to be hot for brown town fun, fun with the hot professor… as I’ve said, it’s like a race to cover all the tropes here, and the sad thing is, the sex scenes aren’t hot or particularly imaginative.
The stories that do stand out are: Logan Zachary’s Frat-napped, which as the protagonist kidnapped by his future fraternity members to be violated in every orifice – hot indeed; Gavin Atlas’s The Full Ride, which has a lad servicing all his professors in exchange for an all-expenses paid education – again, hot; Rob Rosen’s Self-Taught, which is a naughty romp between a college kid and his hot teacher as he attempts to teach that older man how to do that DIY oral sex thing; Sean Meriweather’s The Silent Hustler, which has a dumb premise but a poignant arc about how one’s first crush that lead to some bittersweet feels; and Tom Cardamone’s Dorm, which is better as a coming-of-age story than an erotic romp as it features well-written characters and graceful narrative – I can’t recall much about the erotic elements other than they are serviceable.
As for the other stories, there is a sameness to them – room mates, sports, locker room peeks, et cetera – that make them eventually blend together into an indistinguishable blur.
I don’t mind College Boys, as it has its moments, but on the whole, I feel like I’ve read variations of the stories here a few times already either in other anthologies or online in places like Nifty Erotic Archive and Literotica back in those days, before these places turn into the showcase of atrocious grammar, unreadable narrative gimmicks, and worse. I’ve read better, but I’ve certainly read worse.