Rick Mackey likes boys—and Seattle boys, it seems, like Rick. His status on the scene got a boost in April at the Mr. Nude Seattle competition where, two months after his 21st birthday, he won big by taking it all off. In the buff, he answered a few flippant pageant-style questions, described a sexual fantasy, and posed erotically for the male spectators. He was, hands down, the crowd favorite.
The kid knows how to work a room. "I got out there [on stage] and I was shaking; I didn't know what to expect. But once I started doing my own thing, once I was naked and everyone had their eyes on me and the bright lights were in my eyes, I didn't care anymore. I was having a good time." Lucky oglers in the front row got the pleasure of helping him disrobe. "I'm just as comfortable with my clothes on as I am with them off," he says. "Except with my clothes off, it's a little bit colder."
Still fairly new to the city and at barely legal drinking age, Rick is surprisingly self-assured. He has dark hair, an olive complexion, a silver stud in one ear, and—if muscles are your thing—a physique to die for.
"Ignore the leather jackets!" he says when I meet him in his cramped collegiate digs at Seattle University, where he's studying public relations (and where he just took a class in the history and philosophy of punishment). "Ignore all the leather in the closet!" he implores. "I'm a good Catholic schoolboy, despite the rumors you may hear. I'm going to a Catholic school. I'm a good child." Then he bursts out laughing. "I can't say this stuff with a straight face."
It is his last day in his dorm room. For the summer, he has been assigned to a new room on another floor. The one thing he will miss, he says, is the view directly into the library windows across the quad. "After showering off, I used to come into my room, drop my towel, and anyone on the second floor of the library got a study break."
Contents of his room include: a placard reading "IT'S NOT RUDE TO SWIM IN THE NUDE"; a Post-It on which someone has scrawled the conjugations for the verb cojer ("to fuck" in Spanish); a black-and-white greeting card depicting the butts and thighs of three naked guys pressed together—a birthday card from a gay couple he knows; a desk drawer full of condoms.
"I don't use these," he insists, "because I'm not dating anyone." Later, he admits to hooking up "occasionally," but says he's not one for one-night stands and that he has never been with more than one guy at the same time. A half hour later, he says he did do a three- way once.
Like any politically aware gay man, he also has certificates, pins, and posters from various community activities. I ask him about the pink, red, and black ribbons pinned to his bulletin board. "Pink is for breast cancer," he explains. "Or maybe it's domestic abuse. I can't remember what pink is for. So I just put up red, pink, and black because I'm pretty sure I stand for all of them."
He's not shy about his opinions, even opinions of himself, so I ask him what he thinks of as his best physical attribute. "My legs," he says, flexing them. "I don't get comments about my legs, though. I get comments about my butt. Boys like it. It's firm. I keep it tight. I think those are good qualities for a butt to have."
What qualities does he look for in potential boyfriends? "My dream, one day, when I settle down, is to live with my partner and our 2.5 kids, our one pet, and 1.5 TV sets, and in that dream we are monogamous. I think monogamy is still possible in a gay relationship. It's just that the cultural influences and cultural decisions that a lot of gay men make don't really reflect monogamy."
One of those cultural influences is sex clubs like Club Z, where Rick will be performing in a safe-sex demonstration on June 20. "I'm going to be a part of the demonstration, but I won't be getting done, and I won't be doing. I won't be that part of the demonstration," he insists.
Still, it's not too much of a leap to imagine that holding the Mr. Nude Seattle title has drastically changed his sex life. "Not yet," he says. "Not yet."
"I don't hook up a lot," he claims. "I get a lot of offers, but most of them I turn down. I've had one sexual experience since my title. I haven't had time. I am a repressed Catholic schoolboy. But I still have the rest of the year as Mr. Nude Seattle. It's not like my reign is up. I mean, I'm Catholic. If anyone can make up for lost time, it's me. We make up for everything."