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Jun 29 2013
Diving In: Meeting Greg Louganis Then & Now Comments (13)

In college, I had a sexy Greg Louganis poster (amongst about 100 other things) on my dorm-room door. In the middle of his beautiful chest, I taped some found text from a magazine ad: "You'll Feel Warm Inside." Blush.

Greg-LouganisLouganis shared space with Warhol, Garbo, Monroe, Ciccone, Divine, Dietrich and, of course...Bros.?

Prod_show_jeffreyWhen I moved to New York, the first celebrity pic-with I sought out and obtained (and possibly the first celebrity pic-with I ever had taken) was with Greg. He was acting in the gay play Jeffrey, which was juicy because he wasn't even out as gay. I don't remember loving the play, but I do remember being determined to wait for him and get that photo. He came out and signed my program and posed with me, looking fucking hot as ever. He left with an equally hot guy, which was so titillating to me...secretly gay Olympian slinks off to perform dry-land somersaults with sultry male lover.

Greg-louganis-rittsNot long after, I was working in the newsroom at Reuters. It was peopled by liberal journalists, and yet when the news came out that Louganis was HIV-positive, (thanks to that diving accident) I had to listen to gleeful jokes about "Loug-ANUS." It was as disillusioning a moment about the press as had been the time when, during high school, the editrix of the Flushing Observer lamented to me that there were so darn many blacks at the local movie theater we were driving past. Really took the fun out of mocking up stories for extra credit at school.

Greg-Louganis-Matthew-RettenmundGoing for the silver...and the gold!

Flash forward 20 years after Jeffrey posted its closing notice and who do I see on my block but Mr. Greg Louganis. I didn't grab him when he walked by, very much the silver fox; I was juggling dogs and looked...messy. Regretting it instantly, I continued our walk but kept thinking, "What if he's still around when I turn the corner?"

Sure enough, he was standing on the corner as Hyphen, Sash and now 44-year-old Matthew crossed W. 42nd. I smiled and told him about Jeffrey and about my college poster (well, not the "hole" story of that poster). He graciously listened and thanked me, then said he wasn't in town for Pride but for some other stuff. I told him to have fun and that I hoped to bump into him in another 20 years, wink, then asked if he wouldn't mind doing something I hate: The self-taken cellphone photo. He was only too happy to oblige (he smells like patchouli).

This photo is about as much of a hot-mess photo of me as I'll ever post, but I kinda like it. It shows that life goes on—he's certainly in a better place than he has been in the past and hey, we're both here.




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