In college I earned free room and board by working the front desk of my dorm. It was an easy job that consisted of answering the phone, buzzing in visitors, and using the master key when residents got locked out of their rooms. Since I usually worked the afternoon shift, I also sorted the mail. Mostly I just occupied myself by reading for class.

The dorm was a high-rise with eight floors and about 400 residents. A lot of people moved off campus after their freshman year, but I decided to stay. The opportunity to live for free was a big part of it, but I also liked the dorm’s location and amenities, which included an attached cafeteria, a fitness center and weight room, and even a swimming pool. For an extra fee single rooms were available – a freebie for Resident Advisers and desk staff.

But what I liked most of all were the residents. The building was loaded with hot guys. ROTC cadets were required to live there. They were hot and fit and looked great in their uniforms. The wrestling team also had to live there since it was close to their practice facility and because their coach feared the distractions of off-campus apartments. Those guys, no matter what weight class, were total studs. Another big constituency was fraternity guys. The dorm was pretty much surrounded by frat houses, few of which had enough rooms for all the brothers, so we were the next best option. Add it all up, and the dorm was about two-thirds male. There was never any shortage of eye candy.

While I could look, I couldn’t really touch. It was the early ’90s. I wasn’t “out.” Being gay seemed to guarantee pariah status. For the most part I played it straight.

My only real release was porn, and before the internet, you had to acquire porn the old fashioned way. Every once in a while I’d summon the courage to go to the video store the next town over. They had an adult section that included some gay videos, so when I was really horny I’d rent a couple of movies and bring them back to my single room. Only once did I go to the local newsstand. I grabbed copies of Playgirl as well as gay magazines such as Inches and Mandate. When the old dude behind the counter handed me my change, he said “Have a fairy nice day.” I was mortified.

That didn’t stop me from enjoying the magazines back in my room, edging myself toward an epic orgasm as I paged through the photos and read the erotic stories. I came into my cupped hand and then sampled my cum. I had to admit, I really liked the taste and texture. Even the distinctive smell of it-just a little bit like bleach-turned me on.

While I lacked the guts to subscribe to Playgirl or (better yet) Inches, Mandate, Honcho, or Freshmen, the fact that I frequently ended up sorting my dorm’s mail gave me the confidence to settle on a middle course. I signed up to receive the International Male and Undergear catalogs and I subscribed to a fitness magazine called “Exercise: For Men Only.” All three had photos of hot, nearly-nude guys, and not a single one of the three was explicitly gay. (I have to say that over time it dawned on me that all were at least implicitly aimed at gay guys. Not many straight guys wore the sort of revealing underwear for sale in those catalogs-and none of them would want to see what it revealed about the muscular, well-endowed models. I’m pretty sure even the exercise magazine was targeted at gay dudes. The emphasis was less on the exercises and more on the photos of shirtless guys exercising. All these studs were really ripped and also really attractive.) The fact that these publications weren’t overtly gay, plus the fact that I nearly always sorted the mail and deposited it in the residents’ mailboxes, gave me the confidence to subscribe. I’d have no problem flying under the radar.

Or so I thought.

One September afternoon during my sophomore year, the mailman arrived really late-about 15 minutes before the end of my afternoon shift. I knew that my Undergear and International Male catalogs were set to arrive any day, so I started digging through the bag of mail, starting first with magazines and catalogs, which I quickly inserted into the dorm’s residents’ mailboxes. When finally I found my International Male catalog, I checked to see that no one was looking and stuffed it into my backpack. Glancing at the clock, I started to claw through the bag of mail looking for my copy of Undergear. My shift would be up soon! Just as I grabbed it and spun around to reach for my backpack, I saw Rich Spangler, the guy scheduled for the next shift, getting settled at the front desk. I saw his eyes dart down to the cover of my catalog, then glance back up to meet my startled stare. As I stuffed the R-rated semi-porn into my bag, he smiled. “Looks like your relief has arrived,” he said.

There were two possible ways to interpret his comment. Given the situation, it made sense to presume innocence. There was approximately zero percent chance that Rich-one of the hottest studs residing in the dorm-would know anything about the hot dudes in the International Male catalog and the relief they’d bring to my raging hard-on. There was no way he even knew that the catalog contained photos of hot, shirtless guys in underwear, swimsuits, and jock straps. And there was absolutely no way that he was also into guys. Not Rich.

He was a senior, two years older than me. His was tall, with a tight, muscular body. His pecs and shoulders were broad and well-defined. He was all-man. A future Army officer, he was ROTC. A Kappa Sig brother, he always struck me as a good old boy. The strong but silent type. He hunted. He fished. He drove a beat-up F-150. The back pocket of his jeans had a faded circle revealing the customary location of his Copenhagen can. (And yes, I liked to stare at his tight ass!) It’s true he had a sensitive side. He was a journalism major, a writer for the college paper. But he had southern manners and a southern drawl (“yes, ma’am”) and a crew cut to match. We had to wear dress shirts and ties while on shift, but instead of the all-cotton Oxfords and silk ties I preferred he always showed up wearing polyester ties and 60/40 short sleeve white “dress” shirts that highlighted not only his hairy, muscular forearms but also, given the almost translucent quality of the thin shirt fabric, the sleeveless, ribbed wifebeater shirts he always wore underneath. No matter the time of day he always seemed to have a five o’clock shadow, and I’d seen him often enough in unbuttoned polo shirts to notice that he also had a hairy chest. His hair was dirty blond, maybe a little bit on the reddish side. His chest hair was more brownish, however: a shade or two darker than the hair on his head. It looked so sexy swirling up over his collar bones, lush and thick as it reached toward his adam’s apple.

He stared back at me as I absentmindedly stared at him, suddenly self-conscious that my cock, inspired by him as well as the catalogs, was throbbing in my khakis.

I could feel the sweat gathering on my forehead. Meanwhile, he seemed cool and collected. He smirked and raised his left eyebrow. I smiled back, thanked him for taking over, and hurried off to my room.

As soon as I locked the door behind me, I got down to business. With one hand I unbuckled and unzipped while the other reached into my backpack. I pulled out the Undergear catalog. Damn, the guys were hot. I flipped through, admiring the models’ bulges and asses and abs and pits and pecs. Each guy was attractive in his own special way. Each guy was a fantasy fulfilled. As I reached the end I zeroed in on the photo of a guy in a plain, white jockstrap. He had arms raised up, flexing his muscles. He was very hot, but in an unassuming, dude-next-door sort of way. He had hair fanning over his pecs and a light treasure trail descending toward the waistband that supported his jock’s overstuffed pouch. He was perfect. He was my focus. He was going to make me cum.

My hips thrust forward, fucking a spit-lubed fist made almost blurry by its frantic jacking. I felt my balls tighten. I felt my nipples harden. My cock, leaking precum, throbbed at full stiffness. I felt myself cresting the wave, convulsing as maximum tension crossed into peak release. My dick contracted once, then twice, then again. I was spewing cum all over the place. Streams of semen landed on the floor, on the edge of my desk, on my chest, and on the last page of the catalog. I paused for a second, catching my breath. I reached for a tissue and did my best to wipe my spooge from the catalog. I then flipped to the back cover.

My eyes focused on the address label, where I expected to see my name. I didn’t. Instead I saw another name. I didn’t believe it at first, so I read it a second time. There it was, plain as day and in all caps: RICHARD SPANGLER.

It took me a moment, but then the thought sank in. Rich also received the Undergear catalog. I had grabbed his copy by mistake-a fact he almost certainly understood since, by now, he had finished sorting the mail.

At that moment my brain sped up. All sorts of thoughts and questions flashed through my head.

If Rich was on the Undergear mailing list, it proved that not everyone who received the catalog was gay. And since he wasn’t gay, Rich wouldn’t suspect that I was. But what if he was? What if Rich were gay? Was it even possible? Or what if he wasn’t but also understood that Undergear had a predominantly gay clientele? Would he figure me out? Would he tell anyone? Would he tell everyone?

It occurred to me to wonder about my International Male catalog. I reached into my backpack and pulled it out, examining the address label. Sure enough, it was addressed to Rich. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach as it dawned on me that he’d discover that I received not one but both of these catalogs featuring shirtless dudes and their bulges. But then it hit me that I knew the same about him. Did he really subscribe just to buy the sorts of clothes these catalogs sold? I couldn’t be sure, but, other than his ROTC uniforms, I’d never seen him in anything but stuff that looked like it had been purchased at Walmart and J.C. Penny.

Then my thoughts turned to a more pressing question: What to do? I had seen his eyes focus on the cover of Undergear as I stuffed it into my backpack. Rich knew I took his copies of the catalogs because, when putting out the mail, he must have discovered that I hadn’t taken my copies. It occurred to me that I should probably wait and see what his next move would be. Since they were identical anyway, maybe he’d just grab my catalogs for himself and not say another word. But what if he put the copies addressed to me in my mailbox? What then? Would I have to give back the copies addressed to him? I felt relieved when I realized that it would be easy enough to do this. Next time I worked the desk, I could just slide the catalogs addressed to him into his mailbox. The feeling of relief vanished, however, when I remembered how some of my cum had landed on the catalog. I reached down for his copy of Undergear and picked it up. The last two pages were stuck together. How would I ever explain that?

Not wanting to miss dinner, I summoned the courage to pass the front desk on my way to the cafeteria. Much to my relief, Rich was busy talking to two sorority girls. I felt a weird pang of jealousy. They were obviously flirting with him.

As I turned the corner to head toward the cafeteria, I decided to check my mail. I opened the combination lock to my mail box, which contained nothing but my phone bill. He must have just taken my copies of International Male and Undergear. In the cafeteria I sat down with some friends from my floor, ate a burger, and finally felt relaxed. It was one of those long dinners with lots of laughs and a conversation that just kept going. The cafeteria workers were flipping chairs onto tables by the time we left. As I passed the reception desk I glanced over my shoulder. Rich wasn’t there. His shift had ended. Instead, behind the desk sat Michelle, who had replaced him.

I took the elevator up to my floor. When I opened my door I looked down to see a manilla file folder that someone had slid through the crack. I picked it up and discovered it contained my copies of International Male and Undergear, which had a Post-It note on the cover: “These are yours, so I guess you have mine? Bring them by my room. I’ll be up late! – Rich”

Sometimes, when I’m in a stressful situation, my mind just flips a switch and I go into autopilot. In hindsight, I should have realized that he viewed these catalogs as best kept on the down-low. Why else place them in a file folder? But I didn’t think about it: I just took out the catalogs addressed to me and replaced them in the file folder with the ones addressed to him. I walked to the end of my hallway and took the stairs one flight down to his room. I knocked on his door.

He opened it.

He smiled when he saw me. I smiled back.

“Come in,” he said.

I quickly sized up his room. His fraternity pledge paddle hung from the wall at the head of his bed. Over his desk was a poster featuring military helicopters. Overall it looked like Rich kept things pretty basic. The room was more neat than clean. It wasn’t musty but just a little bit musky. His closet door was open, displaying his pressed ROTC dress uniforms and camouflage fatigues. Beneath them was a laundry basket nearly overflowing with clothes. My nostrils took in the very faint but very attractive scent of his sweat-soaked gym gear. His room smelled like a hot ROTC fraternity jock lived there, and indeed one did.

I directed my gaze at Rich. Damn, what a stud. Gone were the tie and short-sleeve dress shirt he had on before. He’d also changed out of his khakis. He stood before me, smiling in his Army PT shorts and wifebeater undershirt. He was both more hairy and more muscular than I’d imagined. The ribbed cotton on his sleeveless shirt literally clung to his pronounced pecs, accentuating his wide lats and narrow waistline. The deep scoop exposed his thick tangle of chest hair, which thinned and softened as it reached up to cascade over the muscles of his boulder shoulders.

A lot of guys aren’t into body hair, but I’m not one of them. Rich, in my eyes, was masculine perfection. I noticed the dense reddish-brown stubble sprouting from his square jaw. I admired how the cleft of his chin pointed down toward his adam’s apple and thick neck, bristling with stubble and chorded with muscles. I could see the damp, dark hair of his armpits peeking out between his muscular shoulders and pecs.

My eyes darted down below his waistline to the slightly tented front of his nylon shorts. I didn’t allow my attention to linger on the big, broad head of his cock, clearly visible through the sheer fabric. Instead, I kept glancing lower, marveling at the thickness of his thighs and how all their muscles seemed to come together at his knees. His calves were long and strong and, like his upper legs, covered with a soft golden fuzz perfectly silhouetted by the bright light of the lamp on his desk.

Then there were his feet. They were huge. They seemed much too big for his six-foot frame, and while some guys had pretty feet it was pretty clear that his, instead, were utilitarian. They were muscular – ripped, even – with big veins traversing across their tops and light tufts of hair punctuating the knuckles of his toes. I’m not sure that anyone would hire him to model flip flops, but his feet were perfect for military ruck marches.

It occurred to me that Rich was just about my physical opposite. He was big and hairy, handsome and masculine. At 5′ 9″ and 140 lbs. I was shorter and less substantial. My chest was hairless. My features were delicate. The word girls always used to describe me was “cute.”

I looked up as he cleared his throat. He patted his mattress as he sat on his bed. “Have a seat,” he said.

I sat down next to him. I could just barely feel the heat of his body. He was only about two feet away.

“So,” he said, “you have the catalogs.”

He gestured toward the file folder I’d been clutching in my hand. I passed it to him, worried that he’d see the growing erection it had been concealing.

He started to slowly turn the pages. “You ever buy anything from here?” he asked.

“No,” I admitted, “not yet.” Then I turned the question back at him: “Have you?”

He laughed. “Hell,” he said, “I don’t even wear underwear unless I absolutely have to.”

That was a hot little fact worth tucking away in my brain. It also explained why I had been able to see so clearly the head of his cock beneath his shorts. But it also begged a question.

“So why do you get these catalogs?” I asked.

He didn’t flinch or hem and haw. “I like looking at the guys in the photos,” he admitted. Then he clarified, sort of. “They’re, um, inspiring.”

Maybe he was saying that the models were inspiring because they inspired him to work out and further develop his body. Then again, when he said “inspiring” he sort of changed the tone of his voice, as if to put quotes around the word to signify that the guys inspired him to do something else – like beat off.

I decided to have some fun with the conversation. “Which guy’s body inspires you the most?”

He thoughtfully flipped through the pages, stopping at a photo of a cute guy in bikini briefs. “I’ll go with him,” Rich said, pointing. “He’s blond, good body but not overly muscled, long legs, swimmer’s build. He reminds me a little bit of you.”

I could feel myself blush. “Thanks,” I said.

Then Rich asked: “Which guy inspires you the most?”

I paused for a second, then decided to go for broke. “Actually,” I said, “the guy on the inside back cover inspired me a bit too much.”

Rich flipped to the back of the catalog, discovering the pages that had been stuck together. This caused him to smile broadly as he carefully, almost playfully peeled apart the pages to reveal the photo that had caused me to cum. It was the one of the hairy guy flexing his muscles and wearing a jockstrap.

I turned my head to face Rich. “He kind of reminds me of you.”

He looked up, smiling, and stared into my eyes for a long second. He exhaled, reaching behind me to place his big hand on the back of my head. He pulled me gently toward him while he leaned in and kissed me.

I froze. I didn’t flinch and thank God I didn’t pull away. But for a moment I was unmoving, stunned that this was happening. I couldn’t believe that this hot stud – RICH SPANGLER, the ROTC frat boy and long-time object of my desire – was kissing me!

But he was. His lips were pressing and puckering against my own. His big hand, groping my scalp, urged me toward his mouth. I could smell his breath and feel the heat of his face so close to my skin. I could feel his whiskers bristling against my cheeks and chin. Everything was positively electric.

Suddenly I started to respond. I started to kiss him back. It wasn’t a decision so much as an involuntary reflex. It was just so natural, so primal, so necessary. I needed this. I needed him.

Rich grew more aggressive. His lips parted and he extended his tongue. I opened my mouth, welcoming him inside me, pressing my tongue against his, holding contact, then letting his tongue slide against mine to disengage only briefly before reconnecting. I pressed my tongue forward, passing through my lips and then his to enter his mouth. We established a sort of rhythm: His tongue in my mouth, then my tongue in his. Always, though, our tongues were touching, swirling and pressing and sliding. Meanwhile, Rich and I were practically panting.

I felt my cock surging upward to full erection inside my shorts. I grabbed the back of his head and let my fingers caress his bristly dark blond crew cut. I extended my other hand to grab the back of his wide, muscular neck. Everything about him was warm, big, and thick.