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How do gay rest stops get that way?
September 10, 2006 6:07 PM   Subscribe

How do rest stops along US highways become liason places for homosexuals? I remember a rest stop near my hometown being notorious when I was a child before anyone could somehow blame the Internet.

It just seems like it would take conscious effort, like a group of guys would have to agree to start trolling there or something to get the ball in motion (ha ha!), and it seems like a lot of effort to do. So much effort that it would almost seem as plausible that gay guys have a series of secret marks like hobos. Does anyone know the answer?
posted by Mayor Curley to Society & Culture (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My theory: If you are a bored, horny truck driver looking for another bored, horny truck driver, a rest area is an obvious place to find them. (Note that these guys might be called "situationally homosexual" -- they're away from their woman, they need release, doing it with another guy is better than doing it alone.) Other homosexuals learn there are plenty of people there who would like some action so they start hanging out looking for it, and a critical mass is reached.

Near where I used to live, there was a rest area that was particularly notorious for this. According to legend, there was an apartment complex with a clear view of the rest area, and a lot of homosexuals would rent apartments there. If you stood near the pay phone, you would allegedly get a call asking if you wanted a blowjob.
posted by kindall at 6:20 PM on September 10, 2006


IANAH, but I think it's a combination of easy access (right on the interstate, easy to find/identify), lots of secluded parking, and an offshoot of the old "public bathroom" gay hookup tradition. Add to that the network effect (the more people go there, the more hear about it, then more people go there...) and it makes sense.

Worth noting that there's nothing unique about rest stops per se -- there are lots of gay hookup areas that are NOT interstate rest stops. These may be more heavily frequented just because they're easist to find.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:24 PM on September 10, 2006


Well, I have no idea, but let's say that if 2% of truckers swing that way, that's tens of thousands. Maybe we just hear about the gay part because of sensationalism. For the heterosexuals, there's "lot lizards" but we hardly hear about them.

Also There's Something About Mary, of course.
posted by rolypolyman at 6:25 PM on September 10, 2006


it would almost seem as plausible that gay guys have a series of secret marks like hobos

Take a look at any public bathroom stall.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:43 PM on September 10, 2006


Blazecock, why so opaque? First you post a picture of a bathroom, then what that gets taken down, you ask us to "take a look at a bathroom stall." If you know something interesting, can you please just tell us what it is?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:09 PM on September 10, 2006


I'm not being opaque, just answering the question, "Are there secret marks?" I don't know why my first answer was taken down, honestly, unless posting an image as an answer is not acceptable.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:23 PM on September 10, 2006


I'm not being opaque, just answering the question, "Are there secret marks?"

Could you elaborate for those of us who aren't likely to find themselves in male public restrooms?
posted by cabingirl at 7:27 PM on September 10, 2006


Could you elaborate for those of us who aren't likely to find themselves in male public restrooms?

The following boilerplate and variations are in the vernacular:

For a good time, call "123-4567".

Etc.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:31 PM on September 10, 2006


I was in the men's room of the Trenton, NJ train station when I saw a hole drilled through the divider separating the toilet stalls. The hole sat at roughly crotch level for an adult male of average height.

Next to this, someone had written a note:

"If you can't fit through this hole, call Mike at xxx-yyy-zzzz."
posted by jason's_planet at 7:56 PM on September 10, 2006


Proceed with caution. (At least from my experience avec drunken frat boys at university) a lot of those "For a good time..." etc., notes get inked by straight men because it helps to perpetuate their beloved stereotype of gay men.

But I digress.

For more info on the "tearoom" phenomenon, an article.

Or, if you really must know more...
posted by mykescipark at 8:05 PM on September 10, 2006


Maybe we just hear about the gay part because of sensationalism.

oh, it's not just that. it's also that men are a lot easier than women. if women were as happy to have sex with just anyone, you'd have those stories about heterosexual activities as well.
posted by krautland at 8:08 PM on September 10, 2006


Well, I'm a woman. Unaware of the activity that goes on at night in rest areas, I spent the night in my car in one in early 2001. A cop approached me in the morning as I was headed out, and point blank accused me of selling myself to truck drivers. I was shocked.

My husband attempted to stay overnight in a rest area somewhere in New York in 1998, and was repeatedly approached with knocks on his car door over the course of the night. When he realized how many men were coming out of the bushes in twos and threes, he decided to get out of there and find a hotel.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:24 PM on September 10, 2006


You can stop by a rest area on your way home to your wife and kids, if you are closeted.

One of my libraries had a very isolated men's restroom on the second floor, and it became a cruise spot. They now have videocameras in their men's rooms.

The hole between the stalls is called a glory hole.
posted by QIbHom at 9:19 PM on September 10, 2006


In high school I recall being assigned to read some ungodly collection of short fiction. One piece implied that there existed (at least according to this particular gay male author) some kind of a foot-tapping code in public restrooms. IE, tap your foot twice, and if someone else taps twice, that means something. Who knows. I have absolutely no interest in digging up a cite.
posted by Brian James at 9:30 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Er, piggybacking my question here, but is this a common thing in Canada, too?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:14 PM on September 10, 2006


Just to reiterate what kindall said, a lot of men using beats aren't necessarily "out" gay men. When I was living in another city, there was some furore in this outer-outer suburb about men using the park toilets for sex. The good citizens petitioned and got the toilet doors removed. Me and my friends were like, sheesh! the dudes using that toilet aren't inner-city gays who've come out all that way to specifically use your toilet: THEY'RE YOU'RE HUSBANDS!
posted by lazy robot at 12:48 AM on September 11, 2006 [1 favorite]


QIbHom, how is that even legal? Are there big signs saying "video camera in here!"???

Anyhow...when you think about it, a bathroom isn't too bad a place to have sex. It's public...so people GO there (pardon the pun)...but it's private in a way too (a very loose way atleast).

It's a place where men congregate. There is often genitalia...erm...exposed. It's pretty easy to "cruise". When two guys are at the urinals...one checks the other out...if he's interested he'll respond...if not he'll shrug it off (hopefully :/) and leave.

It's not so odd when you stop and think about it.

Man, I sound so pervy writing that. I swear I've never crusied or had sex in a mens room lol.
posted by crypticgeek at 1:29 AM on September 11, 2006


lazy robot: Brisbane? Yvonne Chapman, mayor of Pine Rivers Shire perhaps? I thought it was because she was getting a park named after her, and couldn't stand the thought of people actually having fun in her toilets. She famously said at the time: “My advice to homosexuals travelling through is -- don't stop, you're not welcome”.

stavrosthewonderchicken: yes. Wikipedia has articles on:
Gay cruising in Canada
Gay cruising in the United Kingdom
Gay cruising in Japan and
Gay beat (Australia)

I would be surprised if it didn't happen anywhere the penalty for homosexuality is less than death, and most places where the penalty is that extreme.
posted by goo at 3:00 AM on September 11, 2006


And for a list of beats worldwide, try squirt.org.
posted by goo at 3:12 AM on September 11, 2006


Here's a NYT piece about gay men using parking lots in the suburbs for this kind of activity. Bugmenot etc.
posted by haqspan at 3:35 AM on September 11, 2006


I once hitchhiked from Helena, Montana to Los Angeles, California. Twice on the same day, two different lots, I had to leave the truck I was hitching in because the (male) driver found himself a (female) lot lizard. I think illicit sex of all flavors is going on at rest stops and truck stops- people are just more fascinated by/terrified of/obsessed with gay sex.
posted by headspace at 4:38 AM on September 11, 2006


(Two different drivers, too. For amusement factor, all this dirty lot pokey occured in Utah.)
posted by headspace at 4:39 AM on September 11, 2006


Why public restrooms? Because it's an easy place to show off your dick and look at other dicks? The rest sort of follows.

Most men who have sex in public restrooms aren't gay. They may like homosexual sex, but they are overwhelmingly married and living as straight men.

It's dated, but the book Tearoom Trade is a fascinating little sociology investigation into men who have sex in public restrooms.
posted by Nelson at 6:19 AM on September 11, 2006


More than you may want to know (NSFW) The site has been around since the mid-90s, and is a successor to a print publication called "Steam" which likewise listed "cruisy" places.
posted by Robert Angelo at 6:46 AM on September 11, 2006


QIbHom writes "They now have videocameras in their men's rooms."

!
posted by Mitheral at 2:10 PM on September 11, 2006


Nelson writes "Most men who have sex in public restrooms aren't gay. They may like homosexual sex, but they are overwhelmingly married and living as straight men."

Being married to a woman isn't the same as not being gay.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:57 PM on September 11, 2006


Nelson writes: "It's dated, but the book Tearoom Trade is a fascinating little sociology investigation into men who have sex in public restrooms."

I did an undergraduate essay on the Tearoom Trade, from it I learnt more about soliciting fellatio from other men than I'd ever wanted to know.
posted by knapah at 5:10 PM on September 11, 2006


Nelson, that subgroup would be known as MSMPR?
posted by anthill at 6:44 PM on September 11, 2006


While writing on the wall may serve some purpose (Thanks, Tom), it isn't required. The unpopulated an area, the more likely some poor rural guy is really posting his phone number with a little home he'll get fun (instead of harassment, or, at least, in addition to the harassment).

The toe-tap game was real. Whether it is still used, I can't say. But the toe tap game was more used in places where the ratio of non-participants to thrill seekers was poor. I've gotten toe taps all kinds of unexpected places.

But this experience of which I speek is from the 70's. I discovered a book in the public library explaining all this bathroom fun when i was a desperate 13 year old gay guy in the midwest. I've posted about my life in various discussions in the blue and green.

To say it's all closeted men may be more true than not, today, but that just wasn't true back then. Plenty places had no commercial establishments for gays to gather. The rest area environment where I lived was not without social atmosphere.
posted by Goofyy at 1:26 PM on September 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


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