Saturday, September 15, 2007

Libraries and Sexual Identity.

I've been wondering, since the Senator Craig scandal has shed so much light on the previously esoteric world of tearooms, has sex in public bathrooms decreased -- because there's a big spotlight on it now, making people more afraid of getting caught -- or decreased -- because, now that the arcane signals have been broadcast to the world, everyone can play?

I can't say I'm an aficionado, but it's definitely on my radar when I walk into a public restroom. The first anonymous sexual encounter I had was in a restroom in the college library where my mother worked. It was a year or two after I'd left for college but I was home for the summer. I was waiting for my mom to get off work, reading in a small lounge next to the card catalog. It was summer, so the place was deserted, but there was another man in this lounge, also reading. He kept looking at me. I was looking back. I'm not sure how I knew to do this, but when he got up and went to the bathroom (which was next to the lounge) I waited a minute and then got up and followed him. It's been many years, so I don't remember the sequence of events -- was there foot-tapping? I don't remember -- but it ended with me on my knees with my penis under the wall getting a blowjob. At that time, I had only had 2 or 3 sexual partners, and it had not occurred to me that I could have sex with someone I couldn't even see.

When I was in junior high and high school, I spent a lot of time at this library. I liked books, I liked hanging out with my mom, I liked that it was a college library -- I saw myself as much more intellectually advanced than the shit-kickers I went to school with. (If you think I'm a snob now...) I even worked there a couple days a week my junior and senior years in high school, and full-time during the summer between.

It's where I learned about homosexuality, by reading the Kinsey books, and started to come to terms with my own deviant feelings. I worked in the reference department for a librarian who, I see in retrospect, knew I was a gay kid and made a great effort to let me know it was okay. She talked about her gay friends (she was a former Catholic nun married to a former priest, so she had a few homosexual friends), and she introduced me to lesbian feminist writers.

I was going to say I wonder how she knew, but I was going through my first wave of Judy Garland obsession when I was 16, so, duh. She consoled me when -- after I'd gotten tickets to a Liza Minnelli concert in Indianapolis 6 months in advance and looked forward to it more than anything ever before, but, a week before the date, Liza canceled "due to exhaustion" -- I was practically suicidal.

I still like libraries a lot. I feel at home in a library.

2 comments:

m00nchild said...

When I was 16 I was obsessed with Madonna. Bing Bing Bing. The gaydar screamed for miles around. But I didn't want anyone to know, so I butched up it up and said she was hot and that I wanted her. Well, duh, that didn't help much.

My first sexual experience (other than the best friend I'd been having sex with since I was 6) was in the university library when I was 20. I knew things happened in the 3rd floor bathroom. I was closeted. And so desperate for some kind of sexual experience.

I got cruised by a guy and followed him in. He had one of the biggest penises I'd ever seen. Looking back I guess he sort of ruined me on that account. I've been chasing after men like that ever since.

The experience was so intense. I can remember it in such vivid detail. And I'm not ashamed of it.

So much gay sex has begun in transgression. I think it significantly alters our relationship to sex

Mike M said...

My best library experience was a solo, unfortunately. Me, the book Everything You Wanted to know About Sex...., and a desk in the back of Columbia U stacks. I was maybe 12 and was reading the good bits about man sex. You can guess the rest.

The library is where I learned about sex. When I was young, if I wanted to know something, books were the place. I certainly didn't find out who puts what where from my parents. Even moreso is the pent up energies that come from periods of intense study and lots of Quiet. Shhhhhhhh.

I'll hit ya up with an email tomorrow. I want to know about your time with the guy from DNA.