Cruisin' at the Grocery Store

posted by Madame Bubby

Just came upon this old post from the Bilerico Report:

“Just about any grocery store is perfect for picking up a man. There's a reason why single women in the 70's and 80's swore by the produce section... Is he shopping for one?”

Now, this post was written in 2009, and obviously our shopping habits have changed. I know where I live, I see more Amazon delivery trucks, and I even saw a guy drop off Amazon Pantry frozen food at one particularly swanky apartment building near me.

But everyone except the super rich (including the President aka the vulgar boor) at some point still need to shop outside for food and other essentials.

Thus, can one still pick up someone else at the grocery store for sex, or even a date?

Now, regarding the produce section, I can see during “retro times” a guy asking a girl something about the inventory, because then, it was assumed most guys were pretty much inept at homemaking tasks, even the “confirmed bachelors.”

And then a single career gal who would be boyfriend (not necessarily husband) hunting (hello, Helen Gurley Brown, author of Sex and the Single Girl) would succor the lost soul among the zucchini, and lo and behold, exchanging phone numbers, yada yada, dinner at her place. (I think I have been watching too many 1960s romantic comedies.)

1970s grocery shopping couple

Yes, that scenario might have worked in an ideal fashion in the heterosexual world, but in the closeted gay world of that time? Perhaps. Maybe just a side glance, and then … Hopefully, a safe place with a minimal threat of arrest.

Now, many years later and after much social change, I guess, depending on where the grocery store is located, I'm sure cruising does occur. But it probably ends up being a Scruff/Grinder type. Hottie Leather is ten feet away. Where is that in the store? Thus, one would end up looking at the phone rather than sizing up the bare chested muscle jock next to you who is ready to start feeling up the cucumbers (the latter image is a fantasy, but I hope one that will become reality).

Hot muscle guy shirtless at grocery store

I had to go to the store near me last night, and it's in a heavily LGBTQ neighborhood, so I should be glad that guys can wear shirts like “Boys! Whoooo!” openly, but action was minimal. I've also noticed that especially on the weekends, gay men grocery shopping tends to be a couples activity. The married ones are there during the day stocking up on essentials and the young ones are there in the evening picking up more fun goodies for some event or outing.

Senior gay couple produce shopping
Photo Credit: Getty Images

I am starting to think I might enjoy better luck with the delivery guys (Amazon, Peapod, whatever). After all, an electrician ends up experiencing some very interesting food sex in an elevator with the “Brillo-headed” delivery guy in Jack Deveau's classic gay porn movie Rough Trades.

Celery up the ass in Rough Trades elevator food sex scene
Elevator food sex scene from Rough Trades (1977)

I wouldn't want a celery stick up my ass like in that movie. I'll take the man and what's in his boxers, not what's in the boxes.

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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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