Restrooms are not for cruising

Cristo de Guzman

Restroom “cruising”, that is, the social phenomenon where individuals congregate for sex in public restrooms through secret signals such as foot tapping-whether gay or straight-is inappropriate, and, in the year 2009, outdated.
And, yes, straights engage in cruising, too, if not more. They do it in unisex restrooms so common in bars and in establishments where the space for two separate restrooms is infeasible.
In days before Stonewall (the pivotal protest in 1969 that led to the modern gay movement), gays who wanted to hook up had few outlets to do so. For those men who wanted to sexually engage with other men, the public restroom became one of those outlets. Sure, they could go to bars, but they would be harassed by cops who would barge in and give law-abiding gays and lesbians a hard time.
Today, gays have an array of options from discos and bars to, of course, online web sites such as the perennially popular Adam4Adam. For those gays isolated in rural America, hooking up online is a godsend.
According to “Coming Out of Shame,” by Gershen Kaufman, cruising’s primary participators are men so entrenched in the closet. These men may be married and have children. They are the Larry Craigs (Craig being the ex-Idaho senator who was arrested by an undercover cop in a Minneapolis airport for soliciting you know).
Or, maybe, they may be men who are “straight-identified” but who engage in sex with other men. In social science, this phenomenon is known as MSM, an acronym which stands for Men who have Sex with other Men.
Public sex in restrooms has no place in contemporary culture which is becoming increasingly more tolerant and accepting of people of different orientation.
More importantly, those men who cruise and are “gay-identified” (a minority) give the rest of the gay population a bad name since the majority of gay men do not cruise.
The public restroom is a place to relieve oneself, to wash up, or groom. To borrow a term from prescription-drug warning labels, the public restroom is contraindicative to sexual encounters.