I Stared at Your Bulge on the Train: Random Thoughts on Missed Connections in Craiglist Ads



The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome - Underground

The narcissist in me sometimes peruses the M-M missed connections section in craiglist, wondering: did anyone notice me? Was that hurried glance the beginning of a cruise? Now, I’ve never been that perceptive about the cruise dynamic (I remember in college someone grinding their teeth in frustration, exclaiming, don’t you realize that man has been staring at you? I honestly was not aware), but in a time when everyone seems plugged into ipods while staring at smartphones, obsessively texting (about what?), I sometimes wonder if all these missed connections ever really happen in the first place.

Case in point: recently, someone posted on missed connections claiming that he thinks some of these missed connections might be jack-off material, in other words, fictitious. He argues that it seems rather odd that all this staring and groping and grinding is going on in public view on subways and buses.


Even accounts of guys jacking each other off in the saunas and steam rooms of gyms and health clubs (that seems to be a major location for missed connections) seem to him rather far-fetched. Along these lines, there also seems to be a common theme in these ads of noticing hot cable TV or computer/internet repair people and asking them to return so to pay them back in nonmonetary ways (now I would agree that is definitely a porn jack-off fantasy).Drive - Bathhouse Cruising

I can’t vouch for any of the above; I do know that the usual places for public cruising are still bathrooms (Macy’s seems to be a popular site) and, in the Chicago area, certain forest preserves. Surprisingly, based on my perusal of recent ads, bars, even “rougher” ones like Touché, which still contains a backroom for sexual activity, don’t even make the list these days as missed connection potential.

Actually, there have been more and more accounts of guys noticing each other and mildly flirting in “suburban family” restaurants like Applebee’s. Here’s a typical one:

"Applebee's, Sunday brunch (Matteson) – 28 You, blond with deep blue eyes, wearing a tight black t-shirt, were eating with what seemed to be your parents and grandmother. You complimented me on my sweater and asked me what I was eating. You are so cute. Hope you see this."

The usual question one asks is if any of these missed connections ever end up connecting. I wonder if these ads reflect the shift in social norms, not only because the way people now connect in nonphysical ways like social media, but the gradual acceptance of LGBT into the mainstream culture. Maybe physical affection on trains and flirting in ostensibly straight locations outside “gay ghettos” shows this trend.

What I find particularly significant about ads like the above Applebee’s one is the face-to-face social interaction component. There’s more to a connection than staring at a bulge through clouds of steam, however stimulating. A little bit of small talk without relying on electronic devices can lead to bigger, deeper talks. And down the road you might end up sitting with your husband in a restaurant. Now that scenario might be just as much of a fantasy as doing it with the cable repairman or the guy working out next to you.


But remember, to quote the famous poet John Donne, “no man is an island,” even in the lonely yet crowded world of missed connections.


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Is Sex Dead? Part One


More gay bars are closing. So we've heard. But then I heard Touché Chicago is undergoing a major renovation. 

Touche Chicago facade

Who goes to gay porn theaters to watch movies (ostensibly), other than at the legendary Bijou Theater? It's still hopping late weekend nights/early mornings. 

And based on a random sampling of craiglist ads (not exactly a scholarly statistical source), plenty of man-on-man sex is still happening outdoors in forest preserves and indoors in adult “bookstores.” There's one in the Chicago suburb of Roselle that gets mentioned at least once a week as the site of some tryst. 

woods and Roselle adult book store

Oh, I forget about the activities in the bathrooms at Macy's and some of the train stations. Ogilvie (what used to called Northwestern Station in Chicago) seems to be quite popular these days. 

So, what's different about man-on-man sex these days (not just the public sex I've noted is still going on) these days, say, compared to not just the pre-AIDS 1970s (sad that one needs to divide LGBT history that way) but the ensuing decades when AIDS drastically changed sexual interaction between gay men and also much of gay social culture? 

The obvious answer is the technology. One could argue that gay men pretty much energized online interaction as early as the 1990s (anyone remember those America Online chat rooms)? Then the Internet became mobile with the advent of laptops and wireless technology. And of course the cellphone which became the multifaceted smartphone/i-phone changed the medium of the sex hunt, but not the goal itself. 

But I really wonder if all those wondrous social media apps have really “killed” physical sex. What was cruising in the docks and parks and bar backrooms in the 1970s and in the 1980s via 1-888 numbers and personal ads has become today's hook-ups via apps. 

Of course, it's so easy to substitute jack off sessions via the phone for actual physical sex, but don't forget, before instagrams and youtube videos, magazines and books served much the same purpose. 

So, what is really going on in this scenario? I think you have to got to start by exploring the type of man-on-man sex that was going on the 1970s, which you can see in several of our Bijou titles. 

More, much more to follow on this subject in a later blog. 

Rest assured, sex is not dead. The madwoman Arachne in Drive has not won and will never win! 

Christopher Rage as Arachne in Drive

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