Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gay Men vs. Straight Men?

Craigslist, for all its faults and foibles, can be a wonderful place in terms of sociological experimentation.

First it was the Abercrombie Wars. The debate raged between "young" gays who still have their youth, generally accusing "older" gays of age-inappropriate dress, and the "older" gays (apparently thirty- or forty-something is "older") who say if you still got it, body-hugging sleeveless shirts are perfectly fine. I take no position on this, the most pressing gay issue of our time.


Recently, a new post made its way to the Missed Connections board. It hasn't stirred up the public controversy that the A&F posts have, but it did get me thinking.

Here's the original post:

To the guy I gave a blow job to on the Metro - w4m - 23

Date: 2006-09-01, 8:21PM EDT

It was really late, the last train back toward Franconia/Springfield. I was sitting in the very back of the car. When you got on the train, I couldn't take my eyes off of you. You didn't know it, but I was watching you long before I caught you staring at me.

I loved the look on your face when I pulled my skirt up, showing you I wasn't wearing any panties.

When you came over to sit next to me, my heart was pounding! You were so sweet, and hot too!

I can't believe I gave you a blow job right there on the train! But it was so exciting, wondering if at the next stop someone would see us!

I swear, I've never done anything like that before, I was just soooo drunk. (I know you were, too)

If you see this, I really want to meet you again. You're awesome!

Among various responses, one saying merely "YUK" and another apparently finding it hot, was this:

And people say that gays and lesbians do not deserve equal rights because they think we all act like this whore! HA!!!!

The guy makes a decent point. People who don't particularly care for gay people (for some reason animosity seems greater against gay men than against lesbians) -- for instance, opponents of gay marriage -- frequently cite sexual promiscuity as one of the reasons homosexuals should be treated differently. It defiles the institution of marriage, they proclaim, because these guys are clearly driven only by sexual urges and therefore can neither be trusted nor expected to create a stable relationship.

And yet, this heterosexual couple on the train seemed driven purely by primal sexual urges. Ergo, it's not like sexual compulsiveness is unique to gay people.

I agree with the poster, but I think his choice of forum to make this argument seems inappropriate. Unfortunately, Craigslist itself contains sufficient evidence which could damage his point. The "m4m" personals section is prefaced with a disclaimer that doesn't exist in either of the straight personals sections, nor even in the "w4w" section. Gay men on Craigslist are looking for nothing but sex. Men posting for women are either much more subtle about it, or they are actually looking for dates. Those guys know how to get a woman: act like you're not looking for sex. (This approach does not seem to work for men.)


Meanwhile, another debate has started up on a wholly different topic which, unfortunately, seems to add further fuel to the fire.

Please, no more m4m in the gym locker rooms - m4w - 35

Date: 2006-09-04, 9:58AM EDT

Seriously, I'm not homophobic. I'm even flattered if a gay man hits on me, (to a point). And if I think I'm the subject of ANY missed connection, m4w, m4m, whatever, I'll tell my friends. BUT, m4m in the showers at the gym is CREEPY! If a woman was somehow scoping me out in the showers, it would still be CREEPY!!!
If I were gay, and you were quietly scoping me out as I changed and showered, then posted an anonymous note, you would still be very, very CREEPY!!!!

* this is in or around WSC

I can't provide links, but posts about gay men hooking up at the gym -- either actually having sex in the sauna or seriously staring in the locker rooms -- are not unheard of. Among the responses were someone who lays down some laws for gay men in the gym:

Gym locker rooms and m4m - m4m - 32

Date: 2006-09-04, 1:16PM EDT

As a gay man, I find the concept of cruising and ogling guys in the locker room to be tasteless. Does a guy have a right to do it? I guess. It just means he has very poor taste and judgment.

In the interest of common decency, I propose the following principles for cruising cute guys without making your fellow (straight) gym goers uncomfortable:

1 - The Gym is not Halo or JR's. Eye contact or a simple nod does not mean that a guy is gay, or hot for you, or remotely interested. Once you assume that it does, any guy loses all incentive to be even remotely nice - and the gym becomes a less friendly place to be.

2- If a guy is gay and is interested, he will usually glance at you repeatedly or might even approach you. But there will usually be a clear signal. Learn to read them properly. It will separate you from the garden variety stalker.

3- Since you're in a mixed gay/straight setting, the best approach for chatting up a cute guy is (brace yourself) honest and direct conversation - on the main gym floor. Ask him about his workout or how he's doing today, or something no decent person could be offended at. You'll know within a minute if he has the least bit of interest in talking to you. If he doesn't, let it go, man.

4- While it's human nature to want to glance at hot guys in the locker room, or follow them around, or take pics of them with your cell phone camera, or blow them in the sauna, it's just plain wrong and tasteless. First, it's against the rules and you know it. Second, it makes others uncomfortable - they paid for their membership too. Why should they be weirded out and avoid the locker rooms because you have no self-control?

How can we honestly insist that the Armed Forces be made open to gay and lesbian people with this kind of behavior at your local gym? Are we all animals?

Let's keep it decent, people.

This guy makes a point similar to the first guy: we gay men can behave atrociously in our quest for sex. If we can't be expected to carry ourselves decently (the second poster argues), how can we be expected to be taken seriously in our quest to marry and/or serve in the military?

Then again, straight men can be atricious in their search for sex too. Granted, they don't usually have the chance to see the objects of their sexual desire parading around naked (I know of no co-ed locker rooms in gyms), so they have less of an opportunity to leer over their sex objects and thus less of a chance to put up posts about their lusty escapades.


But in the end, the questions remain:

1: We gay people are denied some of the rights society bestows upon heterosexuals. Are we obliged to act differently from our straight counterparts before we gain those rights? We could make concerted efforts to keep our sexual urges in check, but would that really help anything? I don't think our sexual urges differ much from straight men's sexual urges -- see military (straight) sex scandals serve as specific examples (which directly dispute the notion that gays can't be in the military because of their sexual predelictions).

So where does that leave us?

2: Are we gay people obliged to treat each other with more compassion because of our shared discrimination? Let's face it, gay men seem to thrive on being judgmental and rude about it. We make fun of women's dresses and bodies; why shouldn't we be equally catty about our fellow gay man? Along those lines, see this post in response to this one.

I have no answers, only questions. I need a cocktail, but I don't think the gay men at Duplex or JR's would want me there.

1 comment:

buff said...

Dennis, a super blog post. This public sex thing continues to bubble and boil throughout the blogsphere. I guess there is a time and place for everything. Thankgoodness open affection and love can be seen in public places. The ASGRA rodeo this past weekend was one such place where gay men could really be open and be themselves. That's the way it should always be.