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Thursday, July 16, 2015

How Gay Was My Villa?

Key West is a great place to live. You can be and do just about anything and everything. Except for some do-gooders who sit on some public commissions, we all try to stay out of each others "business".  The rich and not so rich often live side-by-side. One's station in life does not matter. Gay and straight live together. Generational Conchs and newbies from around the world live and work together. People of different faiths, different races, and political persuasions all get along. We are an accepting community. The openness and welcoming nature of Key West as a community was one of the main reasons I decided to move here. I could be me.

I am a Realtor. I am gay. Most of my customers are straight and accepting. I sell houses to people who hope to move here to become a part of the Key West community. One of the really great things about my job as a Realtors is that I get to see inside so many Key West homes. Some places amaze me either for their architectural design, decor, or outdoor living area. Or all three. I have found that a great many of my favorite properties were gay owned. To be perfectly honest, some of the oddest places I have shown were also gay owned or occupied. I would like to share some remembrances of the latter.

Decorating with David and Other Dudes!

I have learned that a great number of gays have statutes of David in their homes or gardens. I consider the David statute as being code for a "gay man lives here". Some owners have additional pieces of  homo erotic art peppered around their homes. I have been in homes owned by women where the female figure is prominently or sometimes selectively displayed.
 Not all of the homoerotic art I have seen relates back to the Greeks and Romans. I have seen lots of modern "art" photos, pop culture photos, posters, paintings, and more recently photos of porn stars.

I have several memorable properties that I would like to share with my Readers. The first house was a two story place located in the Meadows area. I showed that house several times a few years back. It had the obligatory Statue of David near the pool. There were  little statuettes, oil paintings, charcoal prints, and etchings of nude and semi-nude males throughout the house and garden. You could not move your eye from one area of a room to another without seeing a nude male image. The listing Realtor for that property worked in my office. He told me that after months of not being able to sell the house, he finally persuaded the owner to store some of the art off site. The emphasis was "some" because there was still plenty of male nudes in the house after boxes of other pieces were taken away. The house eventually sold and that owner put it up for sale. That's when I noticed what horrible condition the place was in.The naughty nudes had distracted my attention from the condition of the property itself. I never noticed the condition because I was so distracted by all the naked bodies.

I showed another house located in the Arts District (east of White Street) on several occasions. The owners had moved away and leased the space to a really nice gay man who had several roommates. The place had gay art, Fantasy Fest paraphernalia, boas, wigs, and hoopla everywhere. The master bathroom had photos of nude male porn stars everywhere. I remember that the light switch in the master bath room was a miniature penis. The tenant used to work for an international celebrity. The listing Realtor allowed the tenant to show the house - well, it wasn't so much that he allowed it to happen, the tenant always greeted potential buyers at the front door and started the tour. We got to hear his story, his famous former employer's story, and we got to peer into this den of men! It took forever to sell this place.

Back in 2006 when Key West was at the height of the real estate boom one gay man asked me to look at his Shipyard condo to discuss listing it. When I entered the place the first thing I saw was a nude oil painting of him laying in the sand. The painting was placed near the French doors that opened to the rear deck. I might have got the listing had I not told him to take down the portrait.

A local gay man visited with me in my office a few years back and said he wanted to sell his house. Local architect Tom Pope had designed the recently built house which was located at the dead end of a Key West lane. The house was new construction and not a renovation. Given those few facts I was sure that I could sell this place quickly. I decided to go the property to see the place so that I could suggest the listing price. The owner showed me around from room to room. While we were standing opposite each other in the master bath I looked down into one of the dual sinks when I spotted it. The DILDO! It was laying in the sink. All of a sudden I was not able to utter a word. I could not get words out of my mouth let alone put words together to make a sentence. I pivoted and made my way to the living room where I said good bye to the owner. I knew I could never look that man in the eye again.

And then there was the gay owned home with an incredible master suite that included a stunning sitting room and bedroom chamber outfitted with three single beds.

Mannequins pop up every now and then. I'm not sure why people buy them let alone why they play a part of home decoration. They don't surprise me anymore. Slings are another matter. A few years ago I showed a house where a gay couple was splitting up. They owned a very nice home in a very good Old Town location. Everything about the house two story home looked picture perfect, that is until I walked into the guest bedroom which was painted black. There was a sling. That was not a typo. Many homes in Key West have cute little swings. This room had a sling!

If you are thinking of buying or selling a place in Key West and are looking for a Realtor, call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or contact my by e-mail at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. Living life in Key West is just great. I could care less how you decorate your villa as long as you are happy. However, it might be a little easier to sell your home if you take down photos of your favorite gay porn stars and stow away the dildos.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gary!

Just read today's blog post. It was one of your most unique, to be sure, and I enjoyed it. The photo of the "master chamber" with three single beds spurred a memory.

I know that house. It's on Newton Street and has a mother-in-law lockout right up front. You showed that house to Morgan and I in 2011. Rudy Molinet met us there.

I recall a gay theme as well as a Nantucket-y and nautical theme. I recall the house had a quite vertical feel to it, as it was hemmed in pretty closely on the sides by its neighbors, like a lot of beautiful Key West homes. The neighboring house to the east looked neglected and very worn with a rusty metal roof. I remember you commented that one day someone was going to buy that house and do a beautiful renovation. I wonder from time to time if that's yet occurred.

The bedroom with the three single beds had a TV on a shelf that was recessed into the wall. It was a lovely home, and though it was not right for us, we thoroughly enjoyed our brief time there.

I'll wrap it up now before I really start rambling. I'll end by saying thank you, Gary, for writing your blog. It's consistently one of the best parts of my day. Although, at it's heart, the blog is about business; you write with humor and wit as well as a genuine and deep love for your island home. Those fine qualities come through strongly. Each day a new entry appears, it almost feels like I've received a little gift. Those five minutes of pleasure in reading the blog are just so great. I appreciate you, and I'll bet many, many of your loyal readers feel as I do.

Godspeed to you, Sir. I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer.


Gary Thomas said...

Dear Readers, It happened again yesterday. I walked into the master bathroom of an older gay couple and saw all four walls with gay art. I had to snap a pic which you can see if you COPY AND PASTE THIS



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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.