September 2007


He Doth Protest Too Much

I have to say, not since Terri Schiavo have I had to explain Americans so much as I have had to since it was revealed that Larry Craig likes sex in toilets, specifically the one at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.

Oddly though, for the most part, it’s a HeteroAmerican who has been asking me the questions, occasionally to the point of being slightly creepy. Especially when he refuses to look at some simple things I want to show him, and then turns around an shows me what I wanted to show him in the first place.

It’s like he’s in denial.

I’ll admit that I tend to be quite oblivious to the public toilet cruising type of behavior that Senator Craig is apparently an expert at—the last time I can specifically remember being cruised was at a café here in Weimar—I was standing at a urinal when a guy in a sailor-esque costume looked over my shoulder. A quick elbow in his stomach, and he was gone.

There was one time that I remember quite clearly at IU—not that I was personally being cruised. I was on my way from the student union back to my office when I really had to pee—badly. As it happens, I was walking right past a building with a door, so I popped in the door, looked down the hallway and discovered that I was right next to a men’s room. I walked in, walked right to a urinal and let go.

I also knew, immediately, that I had just interrupted three guys who were doing something—what specifically I don’t know. On the one hand, I felt bad for having interrupted their activity; on the other hand, I think part of their thrill was the potential to get caught or interrupted. My total time in the men’s room couldn’t have been more than a couple of minutes—I was out the door and back on my way in no time, amused at the thought of what I had so rudely interrupted.

Toilet sex really isn’t my thing—nor is public sex in general. The idea of hooking up with an anonymous stranger in a park, a rest area, or a public restroom just does not appeal to me—not at the most basic instinctual level (unlike, say, the idea of hooking up with a guy who has a Mohawk or multi-colored hair). However, I’m not against it, as long as the men participating in said activities are not doing it in the McDonald’s bathroom or similar locations. (I remember reading about men having sex in a toilet at Taco John’s in Bloomington—the manager called the police and they were arrested. A terrific reason to read the police beat.)

As for the senator resigning? I’m not really convinced it is a good thing, for there is something to be said for keeping him in office, making him go before the public and constantly reminding everybody that Republicans are the ones most likely to be hypocrites.

4 comments to He Doth Protest Too Much

  • I have to say, not since Terri Schiavo have I had to explain Americans so much as I have had to since it was revealed that Larry Craig likes sex in toilets, specifically the one at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.

    Do you ever tire of having to explain — or in some cases being made to answer for — your fellow Americans’ actions/zeitgeist/ignorance/jingoism? Or does it even amuse and entertain you? Personally, I wish I could take it more lightly.

    It really builds up on me and I burst now and then. I try to do that quietly and out of the public eye, so as not to perpetuate any pre-conceived notions, but sometimes I just have to say “to hell with it.” Like last week at work on a telephone conference, when a German guy lamented that he’d need a Datenneger to help him clean up many years’ worth of collected, but unorganized and therefore almost unusable, raw manufacturing data. Those are the situations that really make me want to remind Germans my own age (and younger), who seem to have forgotten (or blocked out) all those lessons in school about tolerance and diversity and bigotry and racism.

  • B.

    On one hand I’m happy another right wing hypocrite’s been exposed for being, well, a hypocrite. On the other… come on, disorderly conduct? Is that really what the police need to be focusing their time, energy & resources on?? With the drug problem in america… and gang activity… and corporate espionage, I personally resent my tax dollars being spent on a sting operation in the public toilets of a Minneapolis airport.

    To throw it all out there, I’ll also say I can’t believe prostitution is still illegal in america. It’s such a victimless crime. Legalize it, regulate it, take the stigma out of it- and maybe then people won’t feel compelled to cruise for sex in unsafe ways. Then again, maybe they will… people are stupid. But if we go around arresting every stupid person who makes stupid decisions… we’ll need more jails.

    And while I’d rather not have Sydney exposed to a sex ed. lesson by taking her into a public bathroom, I think situations like this are more the exception than the rule. Oh, and if public sex is suddenly a soapbox issue I sure hope we start seeing hetero couples arrested too. Otherwise it’s just thinly disguised racism.

  • Ed

    I was surprised that tapping ones foot and sliding your hand across the stall was cause for an arrest. It seems to me it is akin to going into a bank to look it over for a possible robbery at a later time and being arrested for the robbery.

  • @cliff: I rarely try to defend America. I do try and explain things–like why guns are legal, or how the Religious Right can be so dominate–but that is only explanation, not defending. David Sedaris in his book “Me Talk Pretty One Day” talks about trying to be America at parties in France–if you haven’t read him, you should check it out.

    @B: hear, hear! I too am not a fan of such stings–unless they are in a setting where children are getting harmed. I’m all for nailing the people who pray on kids in parks, but if men are having sex in parks at midnight, then it shouldn’t be a problem–any kids out and about really ought to be in bed.

    @ed: it’s harder to prove casing a bank to rob it. Tapping toes and rubbing your left hand under the right hand divider is a pretty good sign you’re cruising for sex. If there was a piece of paper on the ground on the right side, why would larry use his left hand to pick it up?