Sex on the Train Redux, This Time in London

posted by Madame Bubby

I've written about this phenomenon before, the ubiquity of sex on trains, but this time it made international news.

A man, his boyfriend, and another man enjoyed a threesome (some sources say orgy, but does a threesome qualify as an orgy? That's a whole other issue) on the London tube on February 18, 2018.

Nicholas Mullan, George Mason and a third guy (his face pixellated and thus unidentifiable) engaged in a variety of sex acts, which they filmed (something of a shift from the usual filming of violence on public transportation). Mason is a porn start of sorts, and advertised the video as “Complete on live sex at front of general public on subway train!,” reads the description for the video. "And there are lots of normal members of people watching in disbelief. Genuine naughty Brit lads suck n f*ck uncooked and don’t.”
 

George Mason
George Mason

They just pleaded guilty to one charge of “outraging public decency.”

It occurred on the long and busy Northern line on the Underground, between the Leicester Square and Waterloo stops (these stops are in densely populated areas of London). (And apparently the Northern Line seems to attract sexual activity, according to vague gossip on sites such as Datalounge. I used to take that line often when I studied English literature in London in the early 1980s. Sex workers frequented the King's Cross stop, a pretty raunchy area during that time, but I don't remember seeing any sex on the trains. Hmm… )
 

Leicester Square Underground stop

And here's the clincher: another gay man, who saw the porn video online, reported them, claiming that “it overstepped the mark and was morally unacceptable,” according to the story on Pink News.

Now, I know many of my gay friends would laugh this off, or maybe make catty, campy comments, like I would have asked to join in, or, how big were the schlongs? I bet the supposedly outraged passengers were really getting off too, I can imagine the number of growing bulges on that train, if I were there, I would have laughed, yada, yada, yada. Ah, such bravado.

That may be a fun reaction looking at the incident from distant time and space, but as an actual physical spectator, perhaps the boundary crossing between sex and danger in this case could have been more an act of narcisisstic voyeurism than an aesthetic choice, as in Peter de Rome's 1972 short film Underground, sex on a moving subway car in New York City.
 

Stills from de Rome's Underground

Image from de Rome's Underground
Images from Underground, part of the collection The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome

I make this distinction, because public sex does not necessarily imply an audience of willing or unwilling voyeurs, and Mason claims he made the scene to encourage the fetish object of his fan's desire: him. In the de Rome film, they filmed the act, itself, in an empty car, contrasting the fantastic intimacy of that act in a public space gone private with an image of crowds of people in occupied cars. The bifurcation here is intentional, mediating the danger element, but also, by framing the sex act with this image, both blurring and expanding the boundary between public and private social spaces rather than, in the George Mason video, ruthlessly and crudely mocking it.

Mason and Mullan face fines, curfew, and even jail time.

And I don't think they will be filming an actual jailhouse sex video.

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Bro, Some May Think You're Hot, I May Think You're Hot, But Get Outta Here!

Bros partying

I read with undue relish an article called, “The Chicago Bro Is Coming to Ruin Your Neighborhood.” Not that I am thrilled that the beer swilling, lawn pissing, stereo blasting jocks have taken over great areas of the city, but finally someone pinned down what I have been saying for years: most young white guys (not exclusively, but there is some truth to the stereotype) are jerks, and their fathers were probably jerks, and their fathers were the ones who slammed sissies into lockers and grabbed girls (or boasted of grabbing them).

I used to call them spoiled brats. Now, like the article, I think word douche applies. (Hmm … sounds like our Harasser/Douche/Vulgar Boor in Chief.)

The area by Wrigley Field in Chicago is now “bro” central, because of its proximity to a sports arena, but the area has always been bar heavy, but it was more like bars one would go to listen to bands, not scream and yell over monstrous TVs blasting “the game,” whatever it may be.
 

Bros cheering at a sports bar

But it seems like the exodus into the city from suburbia to have more readily accessible sex (one of the reasons many LGBTQ migrated to cities as well) that began with the yuppies in Lincoln Park in the eighties is in full swing, and the bros are now infiltrating areas west and south of Wrigleyville, such as Logan Square.

I must admit, yes, they exude like sweat the hotness of youth, physically attractive in the most overt way without trying to be. Think manspread, which one really notices in those sloppy shorts and T-shirts and overall lack of clothing that conceals the bro wears. He looks hot even in rags.
 

Manspreading jock on subway train

And all those gay porn videos with straight guys, or at least ostensibly straight. And all that cuddling and bromance.
 

Frat house straight boy sex

But if that attraction is welded together with narcissism, as the article claims, “the rules of common decency don 't apply to him,” and the usual “boys will be boys” smack of approval … we might as well run the country like a fraternity house and its worst excesses.

What disturbs me is the overt homophobia and misogyny this culture, but something that happened the other day in Toronto is another disastrous result. A driver of a van mowed down several people, resulting in casualties.

He expressed anger towards women in social media posts. He resented being “involuntarily celibate,” that is, he could not be with a woman and thus be a “real man.” Essentially, he was upset because he did not fit in with what he called, “The Chads and Stacys.” Take that to mean, in some ways, the bro culture.

Toxic masculinity. It's obvious here. Horrifyingly obvious. But are gay guys exempt from participating in this dynamic? That another question. But it's clear that gay guys have been the victims of this culture in its various forms for a long time, perhaps since the beginning of time.

Whatever the case, I am not going to let these bros wreak havoc on me or mine. Grow up, or get outta here. And guess what? You will grow old, and your hotness won't cover up the fact that you are, and always will be, jerks. We all need to make sure, in whatever safe and productive way possible, that you don't raise another generation of jerks.

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Weird People on the Bus

 

 

I Love Lucy subway image - woman wearing a vase on her head on a train with passengers staring at her


I've noticed lately there's almost a cult on youtube of people filming antisocial behavior on public transportation. The range of antisocial behavior is wide, but of course obvious brawls accompanied by foul language are almost sure to go viral, or at least get multitudinous views. 

Not surprising, this trend, in a world where senior citizen middle school bus monitors are brutally scapegoated (the Karen Klein incident) or where a girl is brutally attacked by her peers (not in public, but the video was disseminated on the Internet), and her attackers are even thrilled when they end up on the news after they get arrested (see the Lifetime movie, Girl Fight, based of course on a true story). Overall, these incidents (and many others) point to a disturbing pathology of voyeurism and narcissism. 
 

Karen Klein on bus - video stills

I'm not necessarily espousing the view of many “Make America Great Again” people who support the (ah, so ironic given my opinion here, the vulgar boor "President") where American was supposedly a kinder, gentler (maybe the word is genteel), less narcissistic place in their white bread 1950s. But in the days when one got dressed up to go outside (remember, Ethel Mertz would never wear blue jeans on the subway), one wonders if one's clothing might somehow reflect or even monitor one's behavior. Of course, one can act like a brute in a suit (again, look at the vulgar boor), but still, I wonder. 


I do wonder how many fights occurred on buses in the 1950s. But then, one couldn't just immediately whip out a phone and film them for posterity. 

Cell phone footage still from CTA bus fight

But when one takes “public transportation,” and in Chicago, that means the CTA (Chicago Transportation Authority), one is exposed to a vast array of people and their behavior. And in Chicago, especially, where “public transportation” is considered to be the province of lower-status people, there's a stigma. 

 

Crowded public transportation


One takes the bus only when one is too poor to own a car, or disabled, or old, or very young, or non-white. And one only takes it when one's car breaks down. And it's almost like if you own a car, even in densely populated areas where you don't really need one, you've made it. And the high-end developments going up almost always contain garages. 

And in Chicago, certain bus lines are stigmatized in the stigmatized CTA system and those who take it. The number 36, Broadway, carries a reputation for being the bus “weirdos” take. Yet that bus goes through an area of Chicago, Uptown, an area especially hard hit by the lack of governmental funding for certain programs released mentally disturbed people onto the streets from shelters and other facilities. 

I'm not certain which other routes carry this stigma, and I don't want to overgeneralize that buses in underserved areas carry passengers who are necessarily more dangerous or “weird.” Well, there was the woman on one bus on the South Side who claimed to be a bike; see this photo. 
 

Woman riding on bike rack on CTA bus

Anyway, I've been taking the CTA for a long time (for multiple reasons, and I fit some of the stereotypes of those who take it), and I've seen much, but an incident that occurred on the number 81, Lawrence bus, (which travels through one of the most ethnically diverse areas in Chicago) stood out. 
 

Number 81 Lawrence CTA bus

I was waiting for it with my friend from out of town. We had just returned from the casino. We saw a frowsy older woman (maybe sixtyish) with very short hair and very thick round coke-bottle glasses practically leap in front of the bus as it pulled into the terminal; yes, she leaped right in front of the yellow line. The sign tells you to not cross that yellow line. The bus driver, a heavyset African-American woman, yelled at her, harshly, claiming that she had almost hit her as the bus pulled in because she crossed the line. I got the sense this woman takes this bus regularly and always disobeys the sign, and may have been almost hit previous times as the bus pulled in. I heard her respond snarkily to the bus driver, “I have to be the first on the bus.” Uh, OK ... 

Yes, she was, and she sat down and pulled out what looked like some kind of Christian fundamentalist tract from one of her multiple bags (yes, a cliché, but watch for multiple bags, and I don't mean newly minted bags from a recent shopping trips to Macy's or Bloomingdales). My friend (we were sitting a couple of seat pairs behind her) saw she had made many notes on one of the pages. The theme of the tract was the usual societal decay apocalyptic doom end of the world scenario, and my friend later told me he was able to even decipher one of her notes on a section of the tract: It's the television, the source of evil. 

I must claim, though, based on what I said about these viral videos, she may not be that far off track, but I imagined her sitting in her tiny apartment wearing a tin foil hat monitoring the Satanic messages coming in from a test pattern. 

But then, and this is where her behavior became really bizarre and offensive, a young Hispanic woman got on with a baby in a stroller. The woman with the baby pulled down the disabled seats right in front of the weird woman so she could get the stroller out of everyone's way. The weird woman proceeded to hold her nose. She then retrieved from one of her multiple bags a small, sample-size container of Lysol and spray it around her. 
 

Lysol

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. My mouth remained open. Shock. 

Weird woman exited at Pulaski and Lawrence, not exactly a high-class area. In fact, it looked rather overcrowded and depressed. Gentrification had not arrived. Many people were thus waiting for buses. 

And no, I did not film this incident. I'm not sure what conclusions I can draw, but I get the sense, other than that the woman was obviously disturbed, that perhaps she was one of the people who lived around Pulaski and Lawrence in the sixties or even the fifties when the area was white, and I think, predominately Jewish. And she was still living there. But the world changed around her. She couldn't embrace the change as positive and took refuge in a reality that could be safe only by through segregation and scapegoating. 

And this disturbing dynamic is still occurring as youtubers film and view videos that show “the other” as someone or, more accurately, something, to be mocked and dehumanized by not only physical strangers, but by millions, even billions of impersonal, invisible voyeurs. 

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Madam Bubby is Damn Mad: Ageism in the Gay Community


Posted on craigslist, missed connections:

Thursday night it was the backyard at Manhandler. You were sucking guys off with your shirt off. You smoked a lot. That's nasty by the way. You seemed to be in my proximity or in my face the whole time I was there. You were inside fucking with your tired little cell phone (probably seeking even more cum from the web) and I got a good look at your face in the light. No wonder you lurk around dark sex venues. You are at least 55, maybe 60, wrinkled, fugly, and that Sean Hayes hairstyle has GOT to go. Please, do us all a favor, and take the summer off from sex. Don't come to water sports parties or bear naked or anything else. Stay home, or whatever the fuck. And the next time you try to elbow your way into the middle of my sex with someone, I'm going to give you a swift kick into your dried up decayed little balls. You know who you are, the one who looks like Jack from Will and Grace, and wears that ridiculous half-lopsided little harness thing sometimes. Go pickle yourself, hon.

Manhandler Saloon

Reply to the above: OMG I know exactly who you're describing. He is everywhere!!!! And so rude and will try to horn in on your action. He needs to stay home for about 20 years until sex no longer matters lol.

I am damn mad. I understand the poster's need to vent on one level, but I actually felt sorry for the person this individual was complaining about.

I wasn't surprised by the poster's crass materialism (”tired little cellphone”) and of course, obviously, the insults about the person's age and physical appearance. Such unabated viciousness seems to be common these days in a culture of narcissism and entitlement.

And let's face it: these have always been problems with ageism in the gay community, as well as the rampant discrimination against those who don't possess an ideally perfect youthful body. Even in vintage Hollywood, an actress over 35 was over the hill.

And the prejudice against age and those who don't match up to certain physical standards has escalated in a world where sex is available on a phone app, bodies can be photoshopped, and Kim Kardashian is a role model.

Gay body issues


Regarding the reason for the vent, I do understand the etiquette about not “horning” in on public sex scenes, but rather than posting something so hurtful anonymously (the coward's way out), how about speaking kindly to the person and perhaps explaining the etiquette, for a start?

(But then, in the middle of a circle jerk, counseling might not come to mind.)


As I said above, I feel deeply sorry for this person who was the target of such vitriol. Loneliness … sexual addiction … who knows what drives this person to behave this way? I think his fate is the fate of so many unattached older gay men, many of whom don't know how to develop relationships (or, even more sadly, they could be lonely survivors of the AIDS epidemic of the eighties) because their only exposure to gay life was “dark sex venues,” which before today's environment of acceptance, were often the only places a gay person could connect?


Lonely older gay man

And finally, to the person who posted that craiglist ad: Who are you to judge? You also seem to frequent these “dark sex venues.”

 

I don't think I would be wrong in predicting that you will be that person in about twenty years. Karma's a bitch, bitch!

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Look, but Don't Touch!

Look, but Don't Touch!

Look, but don't touch! Kind of an odd directive coming from a porn business, where we encourage looking that encourages touching (either oneself or if you are lucky, someone else).

 

No, I'm thinking instead of the recent incident that occurred in a museum in Florence. Yes, Florence, the place where the iconic (and gay iconic) statue of David is on display. 

 

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