The following is excerpted from Couture’s new book, Peek: Inside the Private World of Public Sex, which is in bookstores now.
Bob is a seasoned veteran when it comes to cruising toilets. But he didn’t start out his cruising career in a traditional way. He didn’t go to the men’s room looking to find a trick; he took his boyfriend to the washroom because it was the only safe place where they could be alone.
“When I was in high school in the 1960s me and this other teenaged kid had paper routes,” Bob told me. “After we were finished delivering the papers, we would go downtown to the washroom in the market to have sex.” He said in the old days you had to pay a dime to get into a stall and so they would pay the money and both go into one stall to fool around. “It was the safest place for us to do it. It was better than risking being caught at home by our parents.”
He soon realized that they weren’t the only ones having sex in there. “My gaydar went off immediately when I looked at a lot of these guys. Or maybe more accurately, when they looked at me,” he said. It didn’t take long for the young Bob to get good at the game.
“Sometimes I would bring a shopping bag or a briefcase to block people from being able to see under the stall,” he said. “Or sometimes I would get a guy to stand on the toilet while I blew him so that people could only see one set of feet under the door.”
He said the typical way men communicated their interest was to tap their toes under the stall. “But some of the guys would just blow a little piece of toilet paper under the wall to show that they were interested,” he said. The other way was to pass a piece of paper under the stall with a pen. “That happened sometimes. Once a guy passed me a note saying that he had been caught before and he wanted to go out to his truck to do it.”
Often Bob would look for men outside the washroom and follow them in if they looked like a possibility. He told me this story of how one day he spotted this really cute young guy wearing tight jeans who was out shopping with his mother. Bob knew he was interested as soon as their eyes met. “He came over to me and asked where the men’s room was,” Bob said. “I gave him directions, waited a few minutes and then followed him in myself. It was great because he was a lot of fun and had a big dick.”
Bob said there also used to be a lot of glory holes in the toilet stalls. “This one washroom had an excellent glory hole that was very popular. In fact, it wasn’t unusual to see men lined up outside the door waiting to get in.” He said that the building management got so mad they put up a concrete wall from floor to ceiling to put a stop to it all.
He said his biggest pet peeve about cruising toilets was that some of the older men would move into a stall and stay there for hours.
“They were too obvious and a lot of times they ended up bringing unwanted attention to all of us as a result,” he said. Bob was always pretty fussy about who he did and so he would just outwait the older guys until they gave up and left, but sometimes that wasn’t easy and took a heck of a long time.
One of the major drawbacks of cruising washrooms that both Bob and others told me about was the potential to waste tons of time. “Cruising men’s rooms requires a lot of time and patience,” Bob explained.
“And you don’t always end up getting something out of it.”
Having just the right guy was important to Bob.
The way he could tell who was in the next
stall and if they were doable was to actually lean all the way down and look under. “Often they would also bend down and look and you could catch a glimpse of each other,” he explained. “I never did like a man with glasses, so if he was wearing glasses I just couldn’t have sex with him.”
Once a uniformed cop came in and took the urinal next to him. Bob said he practically had a heart attack when he saw him. “But then he actually took out his dick and started to stroke himself. It was too bold to be a trap. I think he actually wanted it but I was too chicken and just left.”