Ask the Former Restroom-Sex Afficionado (in light of the Sen. Craig scandal)

The recent scandal with Senator Craig and restroom sex has raised a lot of questions and confusion among Dopers not terribly familiar with this aspect of gay culture. I’m going to try to remedy that, I think.

For a LONG time (from the age of 14 to about 10 years ago), I was an avid stall-crawler. For various reasons having to do with the times, my upbringing, my own relationship with my sexuality and body-image in general, and the areas I lived in, I have a rather intimate knowledge of this aspect of gay life.

So, if the scandal with Senator Craig has any of you confused, bewildered or otherwise curious, ask away! I’m not going to guarantee I’ll answer every question (I DO have to see some of you face-to-face, after all!), I’ll try to clear up any confusion anyone has.

Also, I have no intention of getting terribly lurid here. I’m answering general questions about procedure and motivation and such, not providing a Playguy Forum. Hopefully, that will keep this in GD…

Well, does the officer’s story seem legit?
This sort of thing does go on, then, with total strangers soliciting others?

If so, then is it at all likely the Senator was misinterpreted?

I must confess: I am shocked. SHOCKED. At the lifestyle and the Senator.
Shouldn’t he be rich and connected enough to get some sort of scheduled, quality, upscale gay sex with pre-screened partners?

According to the news reports, the Senator’s first move was to make eye contact through the crack between the stall door and the wall. Did you ever do this? Isn’t there a terrible risk that the target won’t be looking for gay sex, and will get creeped out and think you’re a deve, or even make threatening comments? Is that just part of the chance that you take?

The officer’s story absolutely checks out to me. I really didn’t find anything in it that didn’t sound perfectly in tune with the intention of having a quickie either right there or in a more deserted restroom.

I’ve been reading various people’s (both Doper and non) incredulousness about how thin the evidence was, which was one of the reasons I started this. Everything the officer reported is standard procedure for this type of operation.

Sometimes. If you’re picky about what you’re getting with, you might want to take a peek. It’s easily shrugged off as an accidental glimpse if the person isn’t really interested (or outraged) and eye contact will usually tell you in about a second if there IS interest there.

I tended to be a bit more cautious. Didn’t like crowded restrooms, usually started off with tapping or stretching for a look at their shoes or legs to check apparent age. But the peek is also standard.

Isn’t an airport restroom kinda extra risky? I’d be hard pressed to think of a place with more bored cops and security personnel then an airport, especially post 9/11.

For years the New York Port Authority Terminal was very well known for cruising. You’d be hard pressed to find a busier location.

I thought so, too. But a friend suggested that maybe whoever was procuring sex partners would end up blackmailing/spilling it. That is, there’s no one you can trust.

My questions are:

What are the signs that someone is interested? Is it eye contact, or something more elaborate?

Do straight guys get pissed off if you try making those kinds of advances, or are they more confused? Can you tell who’s straight and who’s not before making advances?

Were you more often the person making the advances or fending off/receiving someone else’s proposition?

Risk is part of the allure. Like I said, I haven’t gone stall-crawling in over a decade, but I still get a little bit of a thrill when I happen to use a restroom that is obviously a cruising toilet.

  1. Eye contact, return taps (and it’s not random tapping…if the other person returns the taps in the general pattern you used, it’s pretty much sure they’re interested), a general feeling…it’s like the near-mythical “gaydar”. And in well-known cruising toilets, most of the guys are going to be there for that particular activity.

  2. Most straight guys don’t even know it’s happening. The evidence for that is most of the straight-person reaction to the Craig story. “He just tapped his foot!” There’s a definite difference in feeling about someone on the make and someone who’s just their to use the restroom.

  3. A mix. It depended on the feeling I got about my “friend” over the wall.

I guess that makes sense. And as a bonus, if your semi-famous closeted politician for whom getting caught will probably mean national ridicule and the end of your career, I bet your able to enjoy a whole new level of allure unavailable to the normal citizen stall-crawler (is that really the term??) :slight_smile:

How do I put this delicately?

Aren’t you likely to find yourself having confronted with some hideous troll when you do this? What do you do when you open the other door and throw up in your mouth a little? How often did you back out once you got a look at the guy?

I actually made that word up, a long time ago. Don’t know if anyone else uses it (though it wouldn’t surprise me), but it sprang like Athena full-grown from my brain… :smiley:

I generally made my assessment based on the shoes and/or legs. I wasn’t into very older guys (which, for most of that time, meant 40+), so sneakers were good. So were denim and nylon (basketball/track) shorts. Dress shoes, suit trousers, dark socks, or plain cotton shorts weren’t so great, as they usually meant older. The apparent condition of legs was also a signal…if the hair on them was white, no go. If they looked young and in shape (as opposed to wrinkly or spindly) half of my criteria were met.

I generally didn’t commit myself unless I thought the person fit my type. It’s fairly easy to do that…you ignore them until they get frustrated and move on. I’ve been roped into a few that I probably wouldn’t have touched with a 10-foot pole otherwise, but I was raised to be polite and telling them to scram after I’d issued the invitation would have been rude. Besides, I was no great catch myself (I kept telling myself)…

I should note that I was also checking age to keep myself out of more trouble than I was already possibly getting myself into (at least after I turned 18). The only thing more guaranteed to stoke outrage than offering restroom sex to a straight man is offering restroom sex to a minor (by accident or design). And yes, I know that attitude is inconsistent with the age I began doing this stuff…

Not a gay guy (or even a guy) but I heard that the exit strategy is staggered to keep it anonymous. I don’t think there’s a handshake or a backslap afterward.

Were you conditioned by your bathroom exploits, such that you now get an erection whenever you smell feces, urine, or certain varieties of air freshener?

I haven’t followed the details of this story, but how is what he did illegal? I can see that it might be illegal to have sex in a public bathroom, but how is what is essentially just flirting made illegal? From what I heard, he tapped his foot and the police officer tapped back, so it wasn’t like he was forcing himself on someone (which even a little inter-stall footsie wouldn’t be, either).

I’m confused.

BTW… great idea for thread, jayjay! I’m glad to hear that things seem to be better for you in the last 10 years or so.

I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not sure how the legality of things plays out here. I do know that the police/security who patrol places known for such things are trained to recognize the signals, and if the statute against public lewdness is interpreted to include solicitation to commit public lewdness, it would at least give some cover of law. Otherwise, I’m not too aware of how it fits.

Things ARE better. I have a better relationship with myself and with my place in the world than I did then, and I live in an area and time-period that’s at least nominally tolerant of homosexuality now. That’s the reason behind a LOT of this kind of behavior, really. I think as sexual orientation becomes less of a “thing”, the restroom-sex is going to fade out to the point where only deeply closeted men and risk fetishists are going to be doing it.

I’m not sure whether this is MPSIMS or IMHO material, but I see no Great Debate. (If someone wants to debate the legalities of pick-ups in public places, entrapment, or homosexual behavior, generally, open a new thread.)

I guess I’ll send this to IMHO, for now.
(Yeah. I know some people worship sex, but this still does not look like witnessing, to me.)
[ /Moderating ]

Not that I know of (though I may have a higher tolerance for that chemically strawberry fragrance of urinal cake than the average man). Like I said, if I happen to stumble upon an obvious cruising toilet, I still get a little adrenalin thrill (though I don’t really feel the need to “try it out”, as it were). But I don’t find water sports or scat or even the smell of either to be erotic at all. People generally don’t cruise toilets because they find bodily waste sexy. They cruise toilets because they’re at least semi-private (and wholly safe if it’s a bathroom-door coin-op…the rattle of the coin in the box is as good as an air raid siren), and because the relevant parts are generally uncovered in them anyway.