by Your Cruisemaster
Cruising isn't something invented by gay men, but like many enjoyable things, it is an activity perfected by gay men. Unlike most pleasures, no one is (yet) giving courses on how to cruise. Yet, there are many common sense things a cruiser can do not only to improve your odds of getting dick, but also to reduce the risks of arrest and of endangering a cruise spot by getting unwanted notice from non-cruisers.
Below are some suggestions I've developed from my own experiences, e-mail correspondence with guys who visit this site, and writings of others (most notably columnist Michael Scarce). The bottom line when cruising is always trust your instinct. Be aware of your surroundings, know your civil rights, and never go into a situation without being fully aware that there can be serious consequences (sadly) when cruising for sex.
1. Use common sense. The key to keeping public sex alive and well in your favorite place is to conduct yourself using common sense and simple civility towards other cruisers and the general public.
2. Trust your instincts! They rarely let us down. If it seems too good to be true, it may very well be. If you feel unsafe for any reason, walk away.
3. Work on overcoming shame. Shame creeps into all aspects of our sex lives -- whether it is the abuse we are willing to take from staff in adult establishments or the unsanitary conditions we tolerate. Your own willingness to endanger yourself and others can also be another indicator of how shameful you may feel to be enjoying yourself in a toilet stall or public park. Shame is very hard to overcome, but it can be done. Sex is a life-affirming, healthy part of life.
4. If you find your favorite tearoom stall is busy, don't decide to simply hang out in the common area of the toilet. Walk around the mall or campus a bit and come back later. If you arrive and someone else is already there waiting but after a while it is clear that person is not interested, give up your stall and leave. Don't take it personally, you may not be his type. Sitting there, trying to outlast him is not in the spirit of friendly cruising.
5. Don't hog the stall. Others wish to use the stall for the same reason you are there, plus others just want to relieve themselves of other bodily needs. The same for bookstore arcades: if there are only two adjoining booths with a gloryhole try not to hog it for hours on end. I try to monitor the degree of foot traffic and if it is busy, limit my time to no more than 45 minutes. Take a break and let others have their turn at dick.
6. Remember that adult retail establishments are in the business of making money -- not providing a free lounge for you and your buddies. "Spend money or leave," is hardly a ridiculous demand for clerks to make in video arcades. At the same time, the clerk needs to show patrons respect and treat them with dignity. If you're abused and you believe you can risk consequences (not always true in a town with only one bookstore) confront the clerk in the way you would in any establishment you patronize.
7. Make sure you 'fit in' with the place you are visiting. If you hang out all day on a college campus and you aren't college age, don't be surprised if suspicions are raised and/or horny college students give you a nasty look. If you are heading into 'blue-collar' territory, make sure you wear Dickies and can 'act' the part. Ditto for 'white-collar' places.
8. Respect the expressed or implied wishes of other cruisers. If a man or group of men indicates they wish to be left alone, do your best to respect their wishes. At the same time, men who frequent sexclubs, parks and theatres give up a certain degree of privacy and should not be shocked when others huddle around to watch you go at it over in the corner with your newfound friend. Furthermore, groping is part of the scene almost everywhere. Nevertheless, a firm 'no' should be treated as just that.
9. Know the difference between discretion and recklessness. Going at it in the middle of a public toilet is bound to get everyone into trouble if it happens too often. Doing it in a park in daylight, in winter when the brush has been reduced, is going to lead to unwanted attention.
10. Wherever you are, clean up after you're done. Don't leave discarded rubbers and used tissue all over the place. Litter is a first source of complaints by the general public for many cruisy places.
11. Have fun and don't take yourself or the pursuit of dick so seriously! Remember that fellow cruisers are not the enemy and try to treat others with dignity and respect (if deserved, of course).
12. If the situation arises, 'come out' as a cruiser. This is a critical part of surviving: the more people put a face on the behavior, the less likely these people will also vilify cruisers as perverts and predators.