Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More fun with “Craiglist bots”

See this post for more on these sex-post phishers.

For some reason, I got several apparent Craigslist bot responses on Friday to a post I made on Wednesday.

The “I’m so excited I can’t type” Reply


This one came from “Nga Abdullai”:
in nice shape and average good looking would like to give u massage dwviwsncq
And this from “Syble Rendina”:
hella excited to do this never done this before, kinda nervous as well kilgjl
I guess the intent is “You are so hot that I’m jerking off here just thinking about— oh fuck, I just came all over the keyboard.”

In addition to the note in the previous post about replies mentioning things I never talked about in my ad, these studiously avoid referencing anything I did mention.

The “Don’t Scam Me, Bro” Reply


From “Cory Raden”:
What's happening?  Im a real fella seeking something hot...my stat is 22 years old, 5'10, versatile and fresh.  I just got conned by a doode on here so I am trying to determine if you're real or not.  But yeah this is my buddy's email so I got to get trucking but if you wanna, I am currently on my profile site so let's swap phone #s and photos on there to be reliable.  This way we can verify to each other that we are both genuine. Don't even respond back if can't even put any time, I ain't trynna to get scammed again.  P-e-a-c-e!
It was followed by a URL, a pic of a guy playing field hockey (me.jpg), and a pic of a guy’s crotch in tighty whiteys with a hard-on (mine.jpg).

And an hour and a half later, from “Mariela Barocio”:
What's going good?  Im a real guy wanting something incredible...my stat is 22 years old, 6'1, versatile and fresh.  I just got conned by a doode on-line so I am trying to see if you're real or not.  Anyhows this is my pal's email so I gotta get bouncing but if you are serious, I am presently on my profile site so let's exchange phone #s and pix on there to be trustworthy.  This way we can show to each other that we are both legit.  Don't even respond back if can't even put any effort, I ain't trying to get scammed again.  Cya!
And it was followed by a (different) URL, a pic of a guy playing field hockey (me.jpg), and a pic of a guy’s crotch in tighty whiteys with a hard-on (mine.jpg).

I swear, it’s Attack of the Mad Libs or something.

The “Married and Down Low” Reply


This one came from “Catrice Strickland”:
hey, straight guy here curious of this, wife just went out of town and i am wanting to try... n
Gee, guy, if you want to stay married, maybe you shouldn’t use your wife’s e-mail address for cruising.  She might find out.

(You’ll note that other bot posts came from Syble and Mariela, also women’s names, and the only Nga I’ve ever met was also female.  Suggestion to the bot programmers: use only male names on replies to Men Seeking Men ads.)

All five of these had Hotmail return addresses, and all with the full name that was listed as the owner plus one or two random trailing characters.  So there’s another bot spot technique.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What is “Gear”?

A few months ago, Leatherpost.com started sponsoring a monthly Gear Night at the Cuff Complex.  This is by no means the first use of the term “gear,” but what does it really mean?  What constitutes or qualifies and “gear” and what does not?

The first uses of the term “gear” that I encountered were in the rubber community, as an expansion of that fetish to include sports gear — jock straps, football shoulder pads, cleated shoes, and so.  (Why expand rubber — which already included two major subgroups of tight latex and thick industrial rubber — with the seemingly unrelated genre of sports gear?  Heck if I know.  Maybe there's a connection via spandex?)

By extension, “gear” would also cover the tools and the accessories attached with other fetishized professions, especially firemen but also medical, police, construction, and so forth.  We certainly have seen an increase in fire fighter pants and boots (and gas masks) in recent years.

And thus, we can come around to an actual definition:
“Gear” is all the fetish clothing and equipment which we accept into the greater “leather community” (and that's a whole 'nother definition) which isn't leather, uniform, or rubber.  “Gear” is the “Etc.”, the “E” in “L.U.R.E.”
Under this definition, note that traditional leathers — pants, chaps, shirts, vests, harnesses, etc. — are not “gear”.  Tight shiny latex or hip boots and surf suits — not “gear”.  Police or military uniforms or cammo — not gear.

Sports
    Firefighters
        Medical
            Cowboys (and Indians)
                Construction
                    Puppy and Pony Play
                        Lumberjacks
… that's “gear”.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Misadventures: Cancel the Three-Way

So after chatting back and forth with this hot guy for a few weeks, we finally set things up for a kink-filled three-way with me, him, and his partner.  I unlocked my pics for his other half. We discussed time, play activities, what play supplies and toys I would bring, the sling, the hot tub, beer and other beverages, and so on.

I got detailed directions to their place, out in East Bumfuck — seriously, an hour’s drive, and I was going to go there on a Tuesday night.  We’re talking I was looking forward to a hot session!

Then late this morning (day of the play session), I got these texts:
Mind giving me a ring?  I need to cancel.  Not the right time.

Have to say no for best ting for my relationship.  Sorry to waste your time.  Thought we were there.  Best, xxxxx.  Please call if u would like to speak versus txt
Fuck.  (Or “not fuck”, actually.)  You can read between the lines on that one.  I imagine a discussion like this:
How come you’re so frisky this morning?

Just thinking about how hot tonight’s going to be.

Mmm?

Really looking forward to getting that guy from Seattle in the sling.  We’re going to have a fucking hot time.

Oh you are, are you?  And you were going to tell me about this when?

What?!

I really thought we had a good relationship here, but apparently you need to go setting up fuck sessions with tricks from the internet, and then you rub my face in it!

What are you talking about? I told you about him last week.  You said “Sounds hot” and told me to set something up!
(and cue escalating screaming match from there)

Or perhaps it was nothing more than morning-of cold feet from the boyfriend, something he thought he was ready to pursue a week ago, but really wasn’t.  Not my place to ask.  Whatever the case, there was obviously need for a touch more extended communication in that relationship before pursuing something like this.

(Sometimes that’s the reason for living in East Bumfuck: keeping the leash on more easily.)



Updated on October 26, 2010
Last week, I heard from the guy and we tried setting things up again.  This time, I played with him and his other half had someone else over as well.  There was some interaction between the four of us, but mostly two couples in two different rooms.

I didn't ask for details on what had gone sour the first time, but it seems it was ultimately less drama than I had expected.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MI6 “used bodily fluids as invisible ink”

Not sure if this qualifies as “ick” or “cool”:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8015180/MI6-used-bodily-fluids-as-invisible-ink.html
Article doesn't say if you hold the stuff over a light bulb to make it readable, though.

Update:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CraigsList Sex-Post-of-the-Week #1 (in a series)

Found this one on Sunday, September 19:
DL Power Bottom 4 U! (Just don't tell my mama) - 21 (Seattle)

Really new at this and I’m excited to finally post on CL. I need to be on the DL, though.

I ‘m a really fit power bottom. I am a virgin. I love a good sling session and am open to fisting if we click. I cannot host, I live with my mother and she doesn’t know. I actually live in the basement but I can get a bit noisy, even when I jack to my favorite Colt Videos. I am not gay, but until I meet the right girl, I want to Party!

I am a real man and expect the same, 20-40 is cool and I prefer hairy muscle studs like Tom Selleck. I am all man at a pink 230, 5’9 with boyish charm at 49. I don’t look my age and got carded once. I feel 21 and that is all that matters!

I don’t have a pic as I am on the DL and don’t know you. Please send me a pic, though. You need to host. As a virgin, I have not been tested, but you need to be. I LOVE box wine so have some ready. Cannot wait to hear from you! Toodles!
I’d love to assume that this is a joke (if so, well written!)… but it is CraigsList!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Trip Report: West Coast Rubber 2010

Before the Trip


West Coast Rubber takes place in Southern California each year on Labor Day weekend.  This is year 6; the first one was the same time as Hurricane Katrina’s after effects were being felt in New Orleans.  The event was originally held in Palm Springs, but has been in Los Angeles the last couple years.  I attended the first 2 or 3 years, but I haven’t been to it since it moved to Los Angeles, in large part because L.A. didn’t hold a lot of attraction to me as a place to go for the weekend.


This year, lots of events that I might want to or need to attend piled up on me for Labor Day weekend: West Coast Rubber in Los Angeles; the Rain Country Dance Association Member’s Retreat (where I’ve been the last couple years) on the Olympic Peninsula; the Northwest LeatherSIR, Leatherboy, and Community Bootblack contest in Seattle; and a possible final VisQueens performance for Anchorage coronation.  (I don’t think the last of those came off.)  I chose WCR.

Travel: Friday


I ended up flying on Virgin America, as it was the cheapest option with decent flight times (10:30 am going down on Friday, 12:00 noon coming back on Monday).  The airline still gives off a lounge/night club vibe, with the white plastic and subdued purple lighting, but it’s ultimately not appreciably different from anything else running down the coast.  I did note that their boarding cards are only about 60% as long as most airlines; I wonder what that actually translates into as a cost savings for printing over the course of a year.  (Probably a whole lot more than you’d imagine.)

There is no host hotel for the weekend, although they recommend the Silver Lake Comfort Inn as it is fairly central to the event locations (Syren, the bars, etc.)  $130 a night for a 2-star hotel, though?  *choke*  So I priced around and found “America’s fastest growing hotel chain”, America’s Best Value Inn, with a motel about a mile from the Comfort Inn at $70 a night.  Much more doable!  (Although maybe I should have poked around on Hotwire and such to see if I could find something more upscale for that price, even if not as close in.)

On light rail to the airport, I got checked for ticket compliance.  This happened on my last trip (Palm Springs in July), too, but had not before that.  After a minute, I realized: light rail has been open for just about a year.  They always said there would be spot checks, but they probably didn’t do any for the first year, to encourage ridership to get used to the train.  And they may only be checking on airport-bound trips, rather than commute direction (since I didn’t get checked on those in July when I was riding the train to work).

Going to Los Angeles, a car is a must.  I found a great deal through Ace Rent A Car, located at the Sheraton near the airport: a Smart Car for about $12.50 a day, $50 total for the weekend, or about half of what it would cost for a cheapest rental from my usual choice, Alamo.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten how much easier it can be to deal with the big guys than these third-tier providers.  Long story short: I don’t recommend Ace — the price was great, other parts not so much.  (Read more here.)

The Events: Friday


After getting to the motel, I drove to a local store to get some groceries — the room had a fridge — and then had a couple tacos at Burrito King.  After a nap, I went to another Mexican place for enchiladas to round out my dinner.

Friday night was the Meet & Greet and Rubber Fashion Show, at the showroom net door to Syren/Stockroom in Silver Lake.  It was a comfortable cocktails venue with a fruit-and-cookies snack buffet and a hosted bar (at least for those with the weekend pass).  A couple photographers were documenting things, so once again I got pics taken with booze in my hand.  Sigh.

(Decent liquor selection at the bar, but the only beer option was Bud Light.  WTF?  And the red wine was okay, but the white wine was described by the bartender as “nun’s piss”; indeed, that intake of breath you do just before a sip said his description wasn't that far off.  Urk.)

The fashion show feature various gear from Syren, including rubber aprons (I need one of those!), dog and rabbit hoods, body harnesses, see-through latex, wrestling singlets, straight jackets, and dildos.  By being a closed event, they were able to have some nudity involved, and at one point, even some on-stage dildo play.

They also announced the new Mr. West Coast Rubber.  Rather than a full contest, they took applications ahead of time and the previous titleholders chose based on those applications, apparently.  It’s as valid a way as any, I suppose, but it took most of the drama and interest out of there being a titleholder; turned the title part of things into an apparent afterthought.  Doing the decision ahead and behind the scenes is fine, but who else was competing?  Can’t you even introduce them?

The winner is Reid from Vancouver, who always sports some great rubber gear when I’m up there.  He’ll do a great job, and might bring in a 4th Canadian Mr. International Rubber title.

After the show, I cam back to the motel for a fuck date with a hot Latin guy who drove up from Irvine (45 minutes away) just for a crack at my ass.  (Something like that makes you feel special, that you’re intriguing enough to take a good long ride to have a good long ride.)  I think I served him well.  Afterward, I went out to the Eagle for the Cub Scout event, and then to Slammer.

Slammer is a decent size sex club, with a main space that is mostly stalls and an elevated group blowjob area.  Several of the stalls are equipped with slings.  There are also two semi-outdoor cruise areas.  Slammer was pretty underattended that night, but I did finally get a hand up my ass at about 3:30 am.

The Events: Saturday


I woke up at 11:30 and went to a nearby diner (Alexander’s Brite Spot) for breakfast.  Piddled around for the early afternoon, trying to set up a play session, but no luck.

Afternoon event was a “slime pit” at the Eagle, from 4:00-6:00.  I got there at 4:15 and was the first rubber guy to show up.  The slime pit — actually a vinyl sheet on top of rubber padding, with lube on top, used as a rubber wrestling pit — didn’t get set up until 5:00.  Six of us ended up wrestling and sliding all over the place.

Somewhere at the Eagle (I think), we found a chair leg or a post or some such wrapped with kitted or crotched yarn, like a weird cozy.  I’ve since found the term “yarnbombing”, which apparently covers this — basically a form of anti-graffiti or a “random act of kindness”.  Why you would do this to a chair at a leather bar, and in plain brown yarn, is beyond me.

Took a nap of sorts — didn’t sleep well — and then out to dinner at Pizza Buona.  Don’t know if it was the sun, the beer, or the wrestling, but I was plastered all through dinner.  Didn’t bode well for the evening.  I had clam linguine in red sauce; yummy, but a huge portion, so I got the rest to go, intending to maybe heat it up for lunch on Sunday in the room’s microwave.  (Never got around to it, alas.)

The evening “Gear Up” dungeon party was at a playspace in North Hollywood called Threshhold.  Typically a het/pan space, it gets rented out for gay sessions as well.  Some “gay event in het sex space” events don’t work very well (I’m thinking especially of the Center for Sex Positive Culture in Seattle, originally known as the Wet Spot), because they are set up mostly to make kinky straight and bi women comfortable, which doesn’t tend to be what kinky gay men want — we don’t want comfort, we want edgy and dark and loud and somewhat anonymous, even with the hint of danger.  Threshhold was one of the better jobs of converting such a space for gay kinky use, with bondage areas and porn in the main area and low lighting throughout the rest of the space; barring the geisha and boudoir themes of some of the room, the space was reasonably conducive.  (One major omission, though: no slings.  Doubly odd because one guy I chatted with on Recon goes there for gay bondage parties and says there are usually a couple slings then.  I can only guess that the people responsible for setting things up for Gear Up aren’t fisters and/or didn’t have any portable slings available.)

Play at Gear Up, for me, was sparse.  Some guys were getting into some bondage and maybe some mummification (not my scene), but beyond that, it seemed to be mostly prowling and dick sucking.  Not that such is bad, if there’s enough of it and it’s good.  (There was some, and some good, just not enough.)  At about midnight, I was prepping to leave — was going to go to Slammer again — but I got convinced to stay, to get into some mutual fisting.

We decided to use the medical room, which had a table with stirrups (although ones that just extended out, not up; silly pregnant women!) and was better (and better lit, although still dim) than other options.  I got into his ass without much difficulty, and then passed him on to David (with big hands, a little too big for his comfort at that point), and then to Peter (with tiny hands, who probably could have double-fisted him if we hadn’t been at it a while already).  We then got me on the table, and he was able to get into me easily (which is always nice).  We played for a bit, but my clean-out eventually gave out (as I thought it was going to; churn churn went the tummy).

I used J-Lube with him because he was in latex, but I was in neoprene and industrial boots, so we used Crisco with me.  This was apparently his first time using Crisco for fisting.

The Events: Sunday


My search for a brunch spot for Sunday was fruitless.  A web search showed a handful of nearby possibilities.  The nearest was a coffee place where “breakfast” was four bagel options.  I aimed for one near downtown, but could not get to it; the street I was on turned one way and took me back across the freeway, to where I would have been six blocks away before I could try to find my way back, so I gave up on that one.  Another option turned out to be a restaurant supply place, and another was closed.  I ended up at Starbucks.  Sigh.

Sunday afternoon was a pool party at a house in the Altadena hills, a beautiful private location with a great view of the valley.  It was attended about half by WCR attendees and half by other guests or people who had bought just the single ticket for that event.

My left shoulder was hurting.  At first I thought it was from holding my own legs up during play the night before, but later I decided I probably strained it a little with the slime pit wrestling.

Unfortunately, after about an hour at the pool party, I made the mistake of accepting a couple hits of pot and I quickly ended up pretty toasted, to the point that I pretty much just quietly sat off to the side the rest of the afternoon.  Didn’t engage with anyone, didn’t go swimming, didn’t even walk around much (and thus stayed out of the sun).  My senses of time and speed were so fucked up, I didn’t trust myself to even walk around much, and If I sat down somewhere I could recline, I was sure I would fall asleep.  (I’m told now that I probably should have walked around more.  I’ll remember than next time.)  Pretty much wrecked my afternoon as a result.  Party was scheduled to run until 5:00 (I think), and I left about 4:45; just picked up my bag and left without saying goodbye to anyone.

That’s the third time I’ve been too blitzed like this to trust myself this summer.  First time, I was hitting it off with a guy at the bar, we had a couple hits with his friends, and some time later I found that he wasn’t there any more and I didn’t remember why (but I can guess) or when he left.  When I tried to go home, I couldn’t even get the scooter to start (probably a good thing), so I went to the sex club for a few hours (and didn’t do much there) until enough had worn off that I could ride home.  Second time, I got toasted with someone else and had some fantastic sex as a result, but then had to ride back to my hotel.  I wasn’t too bad, but being in a new neighborhood in a less familiar city, I couldn’t track well where I was on my route and had to stop twice to check the phone map; I was only going about 2 miles, but absolutely could not tell where I was or how far I had gone.

I’ve done this a couple times in the past at other parties, too, taking more than I probably should.  This is not a feeling I like, very out of control.  Intellectually and after the fact, I apparently am adequately in control, but my brain is racing so much that I feel that I’m not.  Obviously, I have to learn balance much better with this and limit myself to only one or two hits unless I’m at my final destination of the evening.  (If I’m where I’m going to sleep, fuck it, just keep me from falling down the stairs.)

(I’m such a lightweight.  That comes with never smoking anything until in my late 30s, I guess.)

Back at the hotel, I tried to nap, but no good, so I got online for some cruising.  Invited a guy over who was a bit of an SM top.  Some dick sucking and marking up my ass with the tail of my rubber belt (hurts more than a leather one!), and then zoom zoom, he had his hand up my ass.  Ah, very nice.  I appreciate going into some good SM subspace now and then.

Last formal event of the weekend was the group dinner at Casita del Campo, a Mexican restaurant in Silver Lake.  11 or 12 of us were there in gear.  It was an enjoyable time, but I was still somewhat toasted from the afternoon pot, so I was fairly quiet.  At the end, we said our goodbyes.

I had originally wanted to go play some more, maybe go back to Slammer, but with the pot slowly wearing off, my shoulder hurting, and no afternoon nap, I headed back to the hotel.  Invited a guy over for some dick sucking, but ended up sending him away after a bit; I just wasn’t into it, and I went to bed shortly after.

Travel: Monday


Breakfast at Starbucks again.  Sigh.  I really prefer to mix it up.  Maybe should have hit the Mexican place I ate at on Friday night instead, in retrospect, since they serve breakfast.

Returned the car.  Didn’t have nearly as long of a wait, but see this page for the aftermath on the rental return.

Talked to Cliff at the airport, since he had been house sitting while I was gone.  He offered to pick me up at the airport, and suggested we later go to a friend’s Labor Day Party.  After we got back to the house, we did some removing of branches off one of my cedars (in light rain), preparatory to taking it down completely the next weekend.

The party was a bit of a bust, with low attendance (due to the rain and too much partying by people over the weekend) and a lot of the people smoked (and frankly, we weren’t all that interested in the conversations), so we left after an hour or so.

Back at the house, we watched Hairspray (the movie version of the musical version of the movie version; that is, the one with John Travolta).  I haven’t seen the stage musical, but a couple notable songs were missing from this and John Travolta in a fat suit doesn’t make a pretty woman (or much of a woman at all), so I came away thinking that the original Divine movie is likely the best of the three.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trip Report: Wet ’n Hot 14

The weekend after July 4th, I went to Palm Springs for Wet ’n Hot 14.
WARNING: This is going to include discussion about fetish sex activities, activities which some people consider disgusting, some consider unsafe, and which just make some people uncomfortable.  Don’t bother reading this if you are one of those people.

It’s also going to be pretty long.









The Fetish


Wet ’n Hot is a watersports (piss) and fist fetish weekend.

Some description of watersports is warranted here, because people who don't engage in it have many different ideas about what it entails (some right and some wrong).  At its basest level, watersports in sex play involving piss.  This can take several forms and directions, including:
  • Pissing on someone who is naked.  Attractions include hot liquid, odors, and the sexual component.
  • Pissing on someone who is clothed.  Consider the way the clothing changes appearance, weight, and temperature, both as it wets and as it dries.
  • Pissing in someone, orally.  Drinking piss, either as the provider or the consumer.  Also includes drinking from a glass or bottle.
  • Pissing in someone, anally.
  • Domination or degradation, of someone relieving themselves on someone else.
  • Domination or degradation, of having a full bladder and being limited in where and when pissing may be done.
You can easily see how, for people who enjoy these activities, this can be a very sexually piggy thing — control and release, temperature, volume, scent and taste, and just the entire socially forbidden nature of things.  As a result, other piggy activities tend to get done by the same people who are into watersports, and thus are part of Wet ’n Hot, too: group sex, sucking, fucking, armpits, rimming, and fisting — anything that doesn’t need much more than a naked body and a piggy attitude (and maybe some lube).

Event History and My Experiences


Wet ’n Hot started in 1997.  The first time I attended was 2000.  At the time, the event already had a notorious reputation, with the primary resort site having been picketed a year or two before by people (presumably religious fundies) who were appalled at the event.  (Frankly, it just being a sex event was probably enough to get them up in arms.  Piss was just enough of a shock to push them way over the top.)

That first year I attended was fantastic.  Probably 300 people, full run of the large gay clothing-optional resort, and so on.  It was also my first trip to Palm Springs, which colors the memories some, too.  I played with a number of guys, stretched my boundaries, and had a great time.  I still have the event t-shirt from that year (and the next two) and the Palm Springs baseball cap I bought that year to shield me from the midday sun.

The second year I attended (2001), attendance was noticeably down, probably by 1/3.  To this day, I don’t know of any specific reason for it.  Possibly the bloom was off the rose of watersports being the hot fetish activity, or maybe there were internal issues with the host organization that caused problems, less advertising, whatever.  In particular, though, where the resort had been WnH-only the previous year, this time general attendance guest passes were available, which caused Wet ’n Hot to be relegated to just a portion of the grounds and require wrist bands for access.  This meant that people not involved in the fetish were around, and that changed the energy significantly.  Nonetheless, I did get to play with a couple hot guys and had a good time.

I attended again the next year (2002), and attendance was down sharply again, to what I would guess was under 100 people.  Also, piss play was being supplanted by “pig play” — what I referred to as “anyone, anything, any hole, any time” — a lot more multiple partner unprotected sex, mostly fucking but also fisting in what I considered (and still do) inappropriate places and times, and a lot less piss play.  (This is significant: it’s one thing to have more of other stuff, but when you have less of the ostensible purpose of the weekend, something is definitely wrong.)  I played very little that year, and generally had a lousy time.  I decided to not go back after that.

I didn’t hear anything about Wet ’n Hot for a few years, then a couple years ago, my buddy BJ attended, apparently giving some sort of workshop or demo, and he said he had a good time.

Preparation


This year, when the final round of messaging e-mails went out about the event, I saw they were touting 350 guys registered, which surprised me.  I poked around the website and was impressed again about the information they were putting out there about it, including touting it as a piss and fisting weekend rather than just piss play, which I felt could help to direct some of the random pig play behaviors I had seen on prior trips.

Combined with Seattle’s coldest June on record — we didn’t break 75 degrees until Pride week, a record by almost two weeks — and my not having been to Palm Springs in about four years, I checked around and found decent air fare (through SNA [John Wayne Memorial Airport, aka Orange County], two hours drive away from Palm Springs), car, and hotel prices, so I took the plunge.  Worst case, I could abandon the evening events if they were dead and hang at The Barracks and Tool Shed and still have a good weekend getaway in the desert.

(Unfortunately, I swear Delta did a bait-n-switch on me with the airfare, swapping the 4:30 pm departure I wanted for a 9:00 am one that was the same price.  So I had to pay a $150 change fee 5 minutes after booking the trip.  That hurt.  I’ve had this happen once before, perhaps with Delta, so I’m going to watch the site like a hawk the next time I book through them.)

I decided that to streamline my time at the airports — and to save the $25 bag check fee — I would try to do this trip just with a carry-on.  I’m notorious (to myself, anyway) for packing heavy (I need enough reading material, and I want a buffer of a little more clothing than I’ll actually need, and then there’s the leather and the laptop and…), but if I couldn’t go light on a trip where I expect to spend much of my time wearing nothing but pool shoes, then I have deeper problems.

One thing to go was the laptop.  I could depend just on the iPhone for web and e-mail.  Leather would also be reduced to just a pair of boots and a vest; something in case I ended up spending more than a couple Friday afternoon hours at the leather bars, but not very much.  Reading material: three comics collections.  (This ended up being a little too little; I should have taken a fourth, which I would have got about halfway through.  No big deal, the phone had games.)

My only pair of sunglasses broke a week before the trip, so I figured I would have to buy a pair somewhere along the way.  (I ended up not doing so.  Probably should have, but never tracked some down.  Bought some at the Sunglass Hut outlet in Centralia the next weekend, though, on a trip to Portland.)

When I got to the airport, I realized I forgot to pack a baseball cap.  That I would definitely need.  My first instinct was to buy one when I got to Palm Springs, but I have a cap from there (which I bought for Wet ’n Hot in 2000 and meant to bring this time).  So I ended up perusing the Seattle-themed ones at the airport, and ended up with one with red and yellow stripes on it; sounds good, I can tag that as a fetish hat.  (I usually dislike wearing location-branded items — shirts, etc. — that are from where I live, but I could rationalize the exception here, since it would help people identify me better at the event.)

The Event This Year


When I attended previously, the event had been at one resort for the evenings and another for the afternoons.  Now, the entire thing was at the previous afternoon location, which is probably only half the size of the old evening location.  This had a couple good effects, though, because there are several gay resorts within a couple blocks walking distance which they could use (at the old site, overflow locations were not close), and the smaller space made the event seem more crowded, which is valuable for something like this, where proximity makes people more willing to chat and to play.

I can’t say if there were the listed 350 people attending, but the numbers were close enough to that to not quibble over.  Suffice to say that the venue was full but not crowded.  I met guys from Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and even Chile and New Zealand (they were making this part of a larger vacation trip).  Attendance was predominantly white, but there were a few black, Asian, and Hispanic guys present.  Age range was pretty much 30s through 50s, although there were a few younger and a few older.  Body type ranged from slender through chunky/bearish; I don’t think I saw many rail-thin guys nor much in the way of outright fat, but it also certainly wasn’t “be built or go home”.

As mentioned earlier, the last time I attended, I played relatively little, and even the time before that, I mostly played with just a couple guys.  Attendance was up this year, and so was my breadth of play partners.  While I didn’t get all the play I wanted — who does? — I did get plenty.  I knew that I needed to start hydrating early and abundantly, but my body wasn’t responding as well as it should, as quickly as I wanted.

Getting back in the groove of watersports play — I haven’t done a lot of it in recent years, alas, and especially not in the desert — meant I had to “remember” how to hydrate well, and I had some pissing troubles on Friday.

The slings were quite crowded on Friday night — only a little fisting that I saw, mostly fucking that I saw — but I eventually got in one for some fist play with a buddy.  Unfortunately, my earlier clean out had been inadequate or had worn off, so just about as soon as he got in, we have to stop.  A later fuck session showed that my ass was pretty nasty, too, which halted that, and I left a bit later, around 12:30.

Rather than deal with finding a brunch spot (and to save some money), I had gone to the local Ralph’s supermarket and got sweet rolls, bananas, yogurt, and orange juice for breakfast.  I lounged in the room, and then cleaned out and headed back to the event site for the afternoon BBQ and play session.

Attendance was much lighter in the heat of the day.  I’m sure some were still sleeping, or sight seeing, or just marshalling their strength for the evening.  As they did in the previous years I attended, there was BBQ chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs, plus fixings, potato salad, and so forth.

I was more able to do more piss play Saturday afternoon, engaging in some here and there, plus a fisting session, and I put my name in for (but didn’t ultimately win) the International Mr. Piss contest.  I also got a small amount of sunburn; just a little, about what I expected/planned on.

When I had arrived that afternoon, the guy from Chile complimented my piss-yellow tank top, wanting to find one that color, so when I left, I gave it to him.  I've got plenty of tank tops at home, and this one was starting to show its age.  After a short nap back at the hotel, I went out for dinner at a nearby Moroccan restaurant.  I had brought one pair of long pants and a button-down short sleeve shirt for such an event.

That evening, the temperature dropped quite a bit further and a strong breeze came in, making for a cooler, more comfortable evening.  That may have contributed, but my inhibitions were down and my hydration was up, so I was able to engage in more play, both piss and fisting.  (I had a “clean out” problem early in the evening with my first fisting run, forcing me to hurry back to my hotel for a touch up and then back to the party site before the doors were closed at 10 pm.)

At one point, I was making out with a guy and pissing up his chest, but with my extra piss oomph (I’m able to release a very strong stream and piss a good 6—8 feet horizontally), I was able to hit us in the chin, then in the face, and then hit the guy behind him.  I also had a couple fountains during fisting — when the hand comes out, so does my piss — blasting up to hit the cross-bars on the portable sling.  Whee!

Aftermath


On Sunday morning, after breakfast in the room and coffee across the street, I did some fruitless online cruising and then drove back to Orange County airport.  I did chit-chat connect with a guy who identified my fisting interest based the red on the harness in my Grindr photo.  We didn’t get to play this trip, but hope to in the future.  We’ve exchanged some e-mails since then, too.

Made it back home at a reasonable hour — after another brief plane switch in Salt Lake — but I was pretty tired from the trip.  Too much sun, too much liquid flowing into and then out of the body, too much activity.  Just what I expected, but it took me a couple days after to come back to good shape.

In the end, I had a really good time at Wet ’n Hot 14.  It felt good to reconnect with an area of fetish play which I've been out of for some time.  Attendance levels and the energy were nearly back to where it was in 2000, the first time I went (and the one which will always have that special “glow” to it).  I also found that I’ve missed going to Palm Springs at least once or twice a year; even though it’s cheapest to fly into a coastal airport and drive two hours, it’s still a great trip.  I’m hoping to go back for New Year’s this year.

I expect I will try to go to Wet ’n Hot 15 next summer, although I will definitely stay in one of the clothing-optional gay resorts.  More expensive, but you get the full Palm Springs experience.  And who knows, I might win the lottery for a room at the main site.  (Of course, I’d also like to go for FistFest, which is there in June.  Can I manage both next year?  Mmm, we’ll see!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My First Kiss

Conor Friedersdorf on The Daily Dish prompted readers to send the story of their first kiss.  SO I decided to write this up for the blog (and to send to him).

Frankly, my first kiss story isn’t interesting.  It’s the third kiss where you get the goods.

First Kiss: I was a freshman in high school, and there was some sort of Christmas party or dance.  An older girl — sophomore, I think, maybe named Dori? — brought over a sprig of mistletoe and kissed me.

Second Kiss: At our high school, Senior Prom was paid for by the Junior class, so all the seniors had to do was attend.  Which means you kind of have to, or you look weird.  Which means you have to get a date, and dress up nice, and take her out for dinner.  (sigh)  On the girl’s end, that means there’s an expectation of a kiss of some sort in the mix.  My date was my younger sister’s best friend, Amy.

Sense where this is going?

Third Kiss: His name was Lin.

Just short of turning 22, during the summer between first and second years of grad school at the University of Oregon, I finally decided I was gay.  (More on that tale someday.)  That fall, I found that there was a gay men’s discussion group at a community center just a block or so from my apartment, which I learned about from the campus newspaper, so I attended a couple sessions there.  I have no idea what was discussed, how “out” I felt at the time, or any of that.  (I do recall that the next spring, I went to some potlucks and to a gay campout with some of the guys from there, though, so I must have kept going regularly.)

I met a guy there named Lin, originally from Wyoming.  I don’t know how old he was — late 20s, maybe 30, I think today looking 21 years into the past, but for all I know, maybe just 23 or so, but definitely older than me and more experienced.  He was, I think, about 5'9" tall, with a beard and curly hair and a bear-type body.

Memory is weak after all these years — was that the first discussion group I attended, or after several weeks?  No idea.  I’m pretty sure it was the Wednesday of Thanksgiving weekend, and I was making cinammon rolls from scratch, to take to my parents’ house in Kennewick the next morning (a six-hour drive?  Maybe they were for breakfast on Friday?).  Lin came back to my apartment with me while I attended to the rolls, punching down the batter the first time, which had risen during the discussion group.

I have no idea today just how we met at the discussion group, or what I had told him about myself and my then lack of experience, but while the rolls rose a second time, I had my first roll on the carpet.  Fifteen minutes of rolling around on trashy rust-colored shag carpet later, wildly exploring each other’s faces, we came up for air, and I remember his quote exactly:

“Are you sure you’ve never done this before?”

Guess I was a natural.

All we acquainted ourselves with that first night was tongue.  Other gay things came easily (ahem) as well, but not until the next week, after I got back from Thanksgiving.  Getting your first tiny taste of sexuality and then having to spend the weekend with your parents a couple hundred miles away is not recommended for frustration minimization, believe me!

Monday, August 16, 2010

What is a “Craigslist bot”?

There are two types of Craigslist bots:

Posting bots are used to post ads to Craigslist.  In theory, this is a legitimate action, allowing people to compose personal or business ads offline — perhaps several similar ads for different items — and post them with a single button click.  In practice, though, these bots are usually a form of spam, producing ads (especially personal ads) aimed to get people to reply and be directed to a website or simply have their e-mail address harvested for spam mailings.  By some estimates, as many as half the woman-seeking-man personal ads are bot posts.

Here’s a site with recommendations on how to spot these bots.

Reply bots are more clever, replying to your posts to get you to reply back, again either to harvest your e-mail address or direct you to another site which will do God knows what.  They have apparently broken the CAPTCHA security measures to access the ability to send you e-mail.

Some of the advice in that post above is helpful for spotting reply bots.  Here’s the most recent exchange I had with a reply bot, and how I could have (but didn’t) spot that it was a fake.  He replied to my post, and included a pic of a shirtless reasonably cute guy who is even wearing “gay” underwear (2(x)ist brand), saying:

i would love to meet a nice guy for a fwb situation as well. i am free today to meet. how are you? what is your name?

  • You can’t judge just by fractured grammar and capitalization.  I know plenty of real people who write no better than this, especially in online cruising scenarios.  It’s like their brain isn’t what’s engaged when they are e-mailing you.
  • My post said nothing about “FWB” (Friends With Benefits, aka Fuck Buddy).  It was a straight-up (ahem) kink sex post.
  • His post was sent at 1:44 am on Monday.  The odds of real guys being up and posting (and not strung out on something) goes down as the hour gets later, and reduces further after midnight on Sunday.
  • Although his ostensible name is “Darren”, his return address was junk: tamikapateljtvq@yahoo.com
  • The name of his pic file was also junk: fxKeDPlKwD0pTnkDLiPc9wxx.jpg
After I replied back that I was interested, but that I wanted to know what he was after regarding an FWB situation, given the kink sex nature of my ad, the bot replied (with two more pics, these with reasonable names like me13.jpg):

cool :) lets do this then yea?
let me know when ur free
just do me a favor and sign up on my profile
gaysingles
its a service i use to make sure the guys i meet are safe bc ive kinda had somebad experiences in the past
just make sure you say youre over 25 and it should be free
when ur done feel free to give me a call/txt (cells on my profile)
talk to u soon

“gaysingles” was a linked URL: http://www.safelydating.net/dl77, which redirects through at least three sites to resolve to http://tracking.singlesnet.com/redirect/5974?affiliate=127328.  singlesnet.com is owned by Match.com (along with almost 37,000 other domain names).

Needless to say, once you’ve received multiple times the same boilerplate “screening” text directing you to some site you’ve never heard anyone mention before, you know it’s a bot.  But you can tell a lot earlier, if you know what to look for.

Curiously, my final reply of “You’re kidding, right?” got no further response.  Guess they got the address they wanted, and now I’ll get Viagra ads.



Updated on November 1, 2010
Posted a follow-up with several new bot replies.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What does “clean” mean?

“Clean”, when used in an online profile, can have two meanings.  Neither of them is “freshly showered”.

(Former) Drug Use


“Clean” is often used as part of the phrase “clean and sober”, referencing being in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.  Used by itself, it will typically only be in reference to drug abuse (meth, heroin, cocaine, etc.), not alcohol use.  It typically is not used in regard to tobacco and marijuana (although there will be exceptions).

Of course, the only people who use the term in this way are those who are actively in recovery (or those whose lives have been so touched by drug abuse that they are part of that community by proxy, and use the terminology).  Which means that someone using “clean” in their profile this way has had a past issue with drug use; those who have no had an issue generally see no need to use the term.

(Drug and alcohol abuse and recovery are a much deeper subject than I’m covering here.  Please excuse glossing over of the details in this post.  I don’t intend to shortchange the struggles involved, but neither is it appropriate to hijack this post to delve into those details.)

(Lack of) Sexually Transmitted Diseases


The other use of “clean” is with regard to STDs, as in “clean bill of health”.  The implication here is that the individual has had a recent health screening and no STDs were found, including not just HIV but also hepatitis, HPV (venereal/anal warts), gonorrhea, and so forth.

Truth and Accuracy


As ever, what people say in their profiles and what is actually true are different things:
  • Profiles may get out of date, so what was true may be months old
  • Guys may have had an HIV test but not a screening for other STDs
  • Some guys will list what they believe to be true, with no actual knowledge
  • Some guys will lie, especially if they think they will get laid
  • Recovery is a long (perhaps never ending) process, so “clean” is really “clean since date X”
  • Some guys relapse, going in and out of recovery
How can you tell which usage is in effect?  You’ll have to read between the lines and perhaps engage the person in direct conversation.  Look for references to drug and alcohol use, to sexual preferences, and to the person’s involvement in the community.  (Or just come out and ask.)

As always, without assuming that anyone is actively lying, always assume the minimum: that what is in someone’s profile is what they believed was correct when they wrote it, but may not be correct now.  Use the presence of the codeword to start a conversation, not to avoid one.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What does “undetectable” mean?

Medically


In technical terms, “undetectable” (with regard to HIV infection) means that the level of HIV in the blood is below the threshhold for detection, typically below 50 parts per milliliter.  During early stages of infection and before treatment, these levels can soar into the hundreds of thousands and even millions.  With aggressive treatment, levels will settle down to the thousands, the hundreds, and below.  There is a direct connection between this level and how infectious a person is apt to be; a major goal of treatment is to keep these levels suppressed, both to reduce risks of infection and simply to keep HIV from progressing into AIDS and further compromising the individual’s immune system.

Here are two web pages for some more info:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071206220353AAVFSoz

http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/viral_load/test.html

Please note that I’m not a doctor nor an expert on HIV therapy, so I can’t evaluate the details of those pages.  I’m just someone who (a) pays attention and (b) wants to help decode some of the codewords people use online.

Conceptually


“Undetectable” often gets used in online profiles to indicate a person who is in a healthy, monitored state regarding his HIV infection, someone who participates in treatment.  It is intended to defuse HIV-phobia, where guys are scared to have sex with HIV-positive guys.

Risky Behaviors


As with any of the phrases I’ve been writing about, though, “undetectable” is sometimes used as a codeword, something either used or interpreted to mean something other than the technical meaning.

In this case, there is an obvious connection that gets made between “undetectable” and “not infectious”.  This is an incorrect connection, of course, because the person is not cured; he is still infectious, albeit believed to be far less so.  This incorrect connection can lead sex partners to assume that unprotected sex with such a person is “safe”.

(Of course, some people are going to read this and be all offended because they think I’ve just accused them of trying to lure HIV-negative guys into having unprotected sex with them, when they are really just trying to put their health status out there.  Calm down, boys: I’m saying that some men use “undetectable” as a codeword for that result, and that some men read that as a coded invite for unprotected sex.  If you don’t use it or read it that way, super, but don’t lie to yourself: you know some guys do.)

Of note as well is the monitoring schedule.  Just as with HIV tests, which are only accurate at the time of testing, “undetectable” was the state at testing time.  Viral load testing is done every 2–3 months, so if the person has had an immune system change, including a change of therapy, a “drug holiday”, been sick, or gone on a bender — and heck, just day-to-day shifts can occur — what was “undeteactable” then may not be now.  (Add to this that some guys rarely or never update their profile text, especially not portions which would change their chances of getting laid.)  And thus coded use or reading of the term has an added risk attached.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What is a “wink”, a “smile”, or a “tug”?

On most of the cruise sites, there exists a button or link to Send A Smile to another site member (whose profile you are viewing), Send a Tug, a Nudge, a Wink, Poke them, and so on.  But you’ll also see profiles where users say “Don’t send tugs” or “I don’t reply to winks.”

You have to wonder why, if some people hate these things so much, they are still even available.

What They Are

What these things are (mostly) intended to be are content-free “Hello” mechanism.

In the real world, motorcycle riders signal each other as they ride by, acquaintances wave to each other across the bar, and people make brief eye-contact at the supermarket.  We acknowledge each other’s presence and existence, and signal a mild recognition.

The intent of these online mechanisms is pretty much the same thing.  “You’re on my buddy list and I thought I’d say hi.”  “I looked at your profile and wanted you to know I thought it was good.”  “I see that you sent me a smile, so here’s one back.”

Why People Hate Them

The problem that arises is that many of these interactions which gay guys encounter (other than Facebook “pokes”) are on cruise sites, and thus may carry sexual intent.  You wouldn’t be there if you weren’t looking for (or at least thinking about) sex, right?  So when you “nudge” someone, what does it mean?  (Well, it means exactly what you meant it to mean, right?)

For the person receiving the “tug”, though, it could be interpreted to mean many things:
  • I’m your buddy, just saying hi
  • I visited your profile
  • I visited your profile and liked it
  • I want you to visit my profile
  • I think you’re sexy/hot/cute/woofy
  • I think you’re sexy/hot/cute/woofy but I’m too shy to send you a real note
  • I think you’re sexy/hot/cute/woofy but saying nothing more than “I think you’re sexy/hot/cute/woofy” in a note sounds dumb (and nothing more than “Hey” would sound real dumb)
  • I expect you to know exactly what I mean by this and for you to do the correct follow-up, and I’ll be pissy if you don’t
Ambiguity in socio-sexual settings unnerves many guys.  They don’t know how to interpret the signals, they don’t know if they should react, they don’t know what the next move is (if any).  And so rather than making some response which might be inferior or outright wrong, they throw up their hands and say “Go away!  If you can’t be 100% clear in your intentions [which is to say, if I can’t be 100% sure about your intentions], I’d rather not have them directed at me!”

What I Do

When I get a wink/nudge/smile/poke/tug, I treat it for the one thing it unambiguously is: an invitation to (think about) conversation.  (That’s the one thing definite: another person was saying “Hey, I’m here!”)

Then I analyze further.  Do I recognize the screen name?  (And if so, do I need to do anything more?)  I most likely go look at the guy’s profile: maybe I’ll recognize his pic, or maybe he has new pics or new profile details.  If he’s someone I have any interest in acknowledging back — I know him, or he’s sexy/hot/cute/woof, or I just feel that it would be polite — I’ll send at least a wink/nudge/smile/poke/tug in return (I’ll “wave back”).  And maybe I’ll linger on his profile, check out his pics, fantasize a bit, and then send a full message back to him, saying how sexy/hot/cute/woofy I think he is and how I’d like to wink/nudge/smile/poke/tug him in person sometime and is he free tonight or this weekend?

But I find it really hard to be annoyed at someone whom I may not know who is waving at me from across the room.

(Now, if everyone across the room started waving all at once with big sweeping arms and jumping up and down… I’d probably pop one of those Viagra pills smuggled out of Nigeria by the prime minister’s cousin and go fuck them all at once.)

What does “Poz-Friendly” mean?

Short Answer

“Poz-Friendly” means “HIV-negative, but willing to have sex with positive guys, using rubbers and such.”

Much Longer Answer

In the 1980s, AIDS and HIV had the gay community running scared.  Early on, no one knew what it was or how it was contracted.  For guys who didn’t have AIDS and who weren’t especially well informed, avoidance became a major method of dealing with it: avoid social contact and especially avoid sexual contact.

Later, when the sexual and body fluids transmission routes became better documented, the social avoidance issues eventually mostly went away.  Of course, habits born of emergency and fear are hard to kill, so it took years for the bulk of the gay community to re-establish suitable social engagement, and that cascades outward, such that you still get bizarre transmission avoidance notions in third-world countries, such as eating lots of garlic with ward of HIV.

But if social avoidance largely ceased, sexual avoidance didn’t.  How safe are condoms?  How safe is oral sex?  How safe is open-mouthed kissing?  These sorts of questions, coupled with the push to desensitize people to the idea of HIV by encouraging guys to reveal their HIV status prior to a sexual encounter, kept sex with HIV+ as a major avoidance subject.  That continues to this day.  You can see online profiles loaded with terms like “negative”, “clean”, and “DDF” (drug and disease free), all of which are code for “HIV+ need not apply.”

One of my regrets from the mid-1990s is that when I was dating Eric, and he informed me of his HIV+ status, I broke things off with him.  Not directly, consciously because he was positive, but over the following year or two, I realized that was the core of things, and that embarrassed me.  That brought me to a few realizations:
  1. Drug advances at the time were making HIV less of a death sentence than it had been in the previous years.
  2. I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time, so I was cutting off a large pool of potential boyfriends and sex partners by cutting out HIV+ guys.
  3. Until I was told, I couldn’t tell if someone was HIV+, and due to incubation periods and other issues, a guy might not know his own status, so any reaction I had might be only after we had had sex, at which point the risks had already occurred.
After achieving these realizations, I accepted that my own behaviors were the most important part of the equation.  If I insisted on appropriate measures, I could have hot sex and even pursue relationships with guys regardless of their HIV status, and even if they didn’t know their status accurately, I could avoid being a blocker to pleasure.

Obviously, I’m not the only person to have come to these realizations.  They are fairly widespread (although not universal) in the leather community, where there is a more strongly stated awareness of both what safer sex practices mean (due to the broader range of sex acts leather guys engage it) and an awareness of the costs when aspects of the community are sidelined and pushed away (since leather has been itself in the past).

Today, many guys who have come to these realizations and want to be sure that other people are aware of it — especially HIV+ guys, since they are those who are primarily targetted with the phrase — use “Poz-Friendly” (often as “Safe Sex/Poz-Friendly”) in their online profiles as such, indicating both that they engage in safe sex (rubbers and gloves) and that they don’t discriminate based on HIV status.

Mr. Friendly

An effort has been made to attach some iconography to this concept, called “Mr. Friendly”, a smiley face with his nose a + and one eye a -.  (Myself, I think the icon fails.  I identify the icon as the Jack In The Box mascot before attaching sex-related meanings to it.)  You can read more about Mr. Friendly here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

If you leave things hanging, a hookup won’t happen
Or…
Apparently being a top means never having to say “Maybe I was wrong”

Prepping for a recent trip out of state, I started poking around the locals on various cruise sites a couple weeks beforehand, to see who was out there and if I could set up a playdate.  After I looked at one guy’s profile — top, into tickling but also into a bunch of other stuff based on the gear mentioned in his profile — he hit me up.  I told him when I was going to be there, and that I was looking to play Friday or Saturday nights.

Four days before I would be there, he left me a note suggesting we play Saturday morning (so I would have the rest of the day free), and he asked if I was ticklish.  He said he didn’t check the site every day, and left his phone number.

I replied that same night that I wasn’t available during the day, was looking for the evening, and indicated that I wasn’t really interested in tickling.  I didn’t expect a reply back for at least a couple days, based on his last message, and when I didn’t hear back by Saturday (5 days), it appeared evident that since I wasn’t available for when and what he wanted, he had simply dropped the conversation.  Miss Manners probably wouldn’t approve, but such behavior is hardly unusual for online cruise site discourse.

Over a week later, he finally sent me a note back and here’s the exchange that ensued.  (I’ve removed all indications of his identity, but left both his and my text as written, with the exception of changing straight quotes to prettier curly ones and the like.)

Him:
Guess you weren’t really interested in meeting.  Provided my phone number to you twice, and yet you never called to try and manage logistics and meeting times.
Me:
No, you provided it once (check your History).  You proposed a time that could not work for me, and frankly, the tickling fetish isn’t what I was after.

While you said you don’t check this daily, the fact that you made no replies after *Monday* implied to me that you weren’t that interested.

So don’t put the entire burden back on me.  “Crossed signals&rdquo is best.

Him:
Gonna disagree here.  You don’t know how I use tickling in a scene…youre scared of some erotic touch?!?!  I gave u my phone number to use…  U didn’t use it.  Pretty simple.  Hope your trip was good but you did drop the ball.
Me:
Look, it’s really simple: your last message on Monday gave me nothing to feed off of.  You basically said “Here’s what I like to do most and when&rdquo (which is great), but I replied “I can’t do it then and I’m not sure that’s what I want to do.&rdquo  And you didn’t respond back for several days.  Why would anyone call someone after four days to set up something in that circumstance?  As the Magic 8-Ball would say, “All signs point to no.&rdquo

Would you have been up for fisting at 10 pm on Saturday, rather than tickling at 10 am?  Where are my clues for that?

If you still think I dropped the ball, the you’re showing that I was right to.  I *could* have called, but I had no incentive to.

Him:
Whatever u need to think to justify your actions.  See… Humans converse.  Had u done the human thing and called you might have learned what u needed.  It’s not my job to “sell” you on an encounter.  I clearly said I don’t use that interface often.  I’ve no shortage of playmates, but I’d say your approach prevented our meeting.  Pure and simple.  And I’ve “incentive&rdquo to chase you.  Might lookup others with whom I played…  That’s why they are listed in my profile.  Once again, u made no effort.  Last MSG from me, uninspired by you, dude.  Your profile led me to believe you were a bit more than you displayed in this encounter.
Me:
Yes, humans converse, and you didn’t.

And it *is* your job to sell me on an enocunter (and mine to sell you).  It goes both ways.

(And then I blocked him, since it sure wasn’t going to get any friendlier after that.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Diss where I live, that’ll help you get laid!

A couple months ago, I got contacted by a guy on Manhunt who was looking to top in BDSM and kinky play.  We took the exchange to e-mail (that’s what he wanted).  Here’s how it went:

Me:
Hello, sir.  Thanks for contacting me on Manhunt.

I am certainly interested in meeting you for possible play.  I am very much into fisting, but I also like piss play, many forms of BDSM, and just plain fucking and sucking.  I would be happy to strictly bottom for you.

You can reach me at this e-mail address at your leisure.  I am available this weekend, after 11 pm on Friday.
Him:
wknds are unlikely to work for me often
monday mornings are often good for me
where do you live?
Me:
Perhaps some weekday evenings would work?  I could do a Monday morning on occasion; just have to work late to balance it (but I can do that).

I live in Columbia City/Mt. Baker.
Him:
wow, Columbia City, cool neighborhood but not very convenient.
evenings are not easy for the same reason as wknds, happily married with kids
send ass face body pix
Not too happily married, I would guess, if you’re trolling for gay sex to happen when the wife is at work and the kids are at school.

But really: your job as a BDSM top is to seduce me into doing what you want.  My job as a BDSM bottom is to seduce you into doing to me what I want.  It’s a two-way street; just because you’re the ostensible top doesn’t mean you have free rein to dictate all aspects of the scene.

He could have been more firm on the time constraints.  Since Monday mornings are apparently all he was interested in, he really should have made that clear from the first contact.

But for God’s sake, don’t diss where I live!  Just tell me it’s too far to work for you and I’ll understand.

“Fuck off” is a great safeword to stop Internet sessions gone astray.



Updated on October 13, 2010
A few weeks ago, I got hit up by a boy who was looking to recruit another bottom for his daddy/sir to play with.  Guess who his top was?

I politely declined, saying just that I had had a past exchange with his top which didn’t go well, and refused to give details.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What does “discreet” mean?

I often see cruise posts — especially on CraigsList — where the writer describes himself as “discreet”.

Once upon a time, that would have referred to the person himself being discreet, being trustworthy when it comes to dealing with people who may have careers or other situations where it would be bad to have their name and pics broadcast widely in a homosexual context.  (For example, an elementary school teacher or someone living with an elderly parent.)  By extension, a request for a hookup connection to be “discreet” was a request to respect those sensitive areas: don’t broadcast my name, understand why the only pic I can send you includes a woman, please don’t leave sexy messages on my answering machine.

Today, of course, that meaning has mutated.  Today, “discreet” allegedly means closeted.  From Urban Dictionary:
A word gay/bi men use to describe themselves in a cool way that they are closet cases and have no intention of coming out soon.  This allows them to maintain perceived heterosexual privilege while engaging in their true sexual desires.
Beyond “closeted”, though, these days “discreet” today tends to mean “cheating”.  When a guy says he’s “discreet”, you can bet that he’s not in an open relationship and he’s not just in the closet: he’s sneaking around on his boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife without permission.

Which means:
  • He may be giving you a fake name.  (I got hit up by someone going by the name “John Master”, a name one porn film short of “Rod Steel”.)
  • He doesn’t have a facepic to give you.  If he’s gay, he might have a dickpic, though.
  • He may well flake out on actually meeting for sex.  (Yeah, just like the out gay boys, you say, but it’s even more likely.)
  • He will be offended if you suggest that he is cheating on someone.
  • If you ever see him out socially, he probably won’t even acknowledge knowing you (especially if he gave you a fake name), much less be friendly to you.
In general, there are enough horny gay guys out there who are reasonably out that you don’t need to settle for the dodgy ones who won’t do the online equivalent of looking you in the eye.



Updated on June 8, 2010
This post was inpsired by a guy I was chatting with for a potential hookup who dropped the “pretty discreet guy here” bomb only on the third exchange.  I completely blew up at him:
  • If it means you’re scared to death you might be seen in another neighborhood than you are usually in, stay home.
  • If it means you’re scared to death that if I see you out and about, I might say “Hello”, stay home.
  • If it means coming here would be cheating on a boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife — if you don’t have an open enough relationship to do this — stay home (and talk to that person about your interests).
On the other hand:
  • I’m not going to come up to you on the street and say “Hello, want to fist me again” in front of your buddies.
  • I’m not going to post your pics on my blog to say “I did this guy.”
  • I’m not going to stalk you after the fact, or get “weird”.
But:
  • I’m not going to protect your closet (whatever sort of “closet” it might be), but neither will I tear off the door and point at what you have in there.

Friday, June 4, 2010

God Save Me from Muscle Tops!

In April, when I was in Vancouver, BC for Rubbout, I got hit up online by a guy whose profile described him as a “muscle top” (and the pics confirmed that, or at least the “muscle” part of it).  He was hot for me, so I invited him to the hotel room.

I’ve never pursued dating muscle boys.  My shorthand quip has been “If they spend that much time at the gym, they won’t be spending it at the Jim.”  And the perception has always been that most of them are interested in other hardbodies; it’s not like I’m fat — I’ve got a small tummy and would like to lose maybe 10 lbs. — but I also sure don’t qualify as a muscle boy, not even as a muscle bear.  But hey, on the occasions when one wants to play with my, I’ll give it a roll.

When he got to the hotel, he had me put on a pair of black socks he had brought, my black boots, and the black baseball cap he was wearing, while he put on a black toque.  He wants to play with someone dressed like him?  Okay, I can deal with a little costume fetish.

We got into some boot licking and cocksucking, but about every five minutes, he had to take a break to take a swig of what looked like Gator-ade and then of water.  Gotta keep the electrolytes up and stay hydrated.  Maybe he just finished a workout.  Okay, I can deal with this, although it sure breaks up the rhythm.

Feeling up his ass while sucking dick, I found that his crack was hairy as all get out, and prickly hairy (like stubble a day or two old).  Bodybuilders often shave to enhance the show of muscle definition.  The amount of maintenance that the hair in his ass crack implied had to be done to keep the rest of his body seem so hairless boggles the mind, though.  Okay, I prefer some natural hair growth to shaved or even manscaped, but it’s not required.

Every two or three breaks to hydrate, he went and stood in front of the closet mirrors for a moment and checked himself out.  Looked himself up and down, posed.  Total narcissist.  Isn’t that what I’m supposed to be here for?  Okay, getting a little weird.  Wonder if he’s just like this naturally or if he’s tweaking on something?

His phone beeped, as a text message came in.  He reached for the phone — made it hard for me to stay on his dick — but he didn’t need to reply to the message, apparently.  Once is forgivable.  Twice is annoying.  Three times is really annoying.  But once you have me in the sling and your hands are gloved and covered with lube…

Let the damn phone alone!

Jesus Christ, if seeing the text message that you aren’t even going to reply to is so important that you’ll risk slopping Crisco all over your BlackBerry rather than wait 20 minutes, maybe you shouldn’t be playing with anyone.  Decide what’s most important: a hand in the ass or two on the phone.

Needless to say, as soon as I could after that, I got things finished up and sent him on his way.  There’s no graceful way to explode at someone’s behavior once you’re in the sling, so I just had to hurry things along and shut them down quickly.

Now, I don’t know if he had some important business deal or some such pending, or if the texts were from other guys he had hit up, or from his dealer or workout partner or whatever.  It really doesn’t matter.  It’s a version of the same thing that I said when people defended those whose cell phones would ring during a movie or the symphony: if you have to be reachable at all times, put it on vibrate and check it discreetly when it goes off.  And if you being reached means you will have to drop what you are doing and leave, don’t do anything where dropping it suddenly will cause problems for others (like cutting out of dinner or the middle of sex).  In those rare cases where such might occur anyway, let the affected other people know up front, and for God’s sake, apologize if it happens.

It doesn’t matter if you are a parent with a baby left with the sitter, or a doctor on call, or bodybuilder fisting top: “Don’t be rude” is the only rule you need in this situation.

Monday, May 24, 2010

What is an “Open Relationship”?

Seattle has been called the “Land of Open Relationships”, which is to say that in many couples here, the partners are non-monogamous (to some degree), free to create secondary amorous relationships of various lengths and intensities.

(Or to put it crassly, they are free to sleep around.)

I’m referring primarily to gay male relationships here, but it extends to sex-positive straight couples in the area as well.  (And maybe well beyond that.)

In part, this may be attributable to Seattle’s (and Washington’s) rankings in terms of percentage of the population that is gay and the like.  (See this page.)  Some of its is also attributable to the high profile of the Center for Sex-Positive Culture, which embraces a broad swath of forms of sexuality.  And to sex-positive columns like “Control Tower” (by Mistress Matisse) and “Savage Love” (by Dan Savage) which run in The Stranger (with the latter column also being syndicated nationally), both of which have abundantly discussed the concept of polyamory and GGG (Good, Giving, and Game).

You could say that the idea of the Open Relationship is in the water around here.  (And we’ve got a lot of water around here!)

What is an Open Relationship?

In its simplest form, an “Open Relationship” is recognition within a couple that some form of sex outside the bounds of their relationship is acceptable; in particular, it is not “cheating”, since cheating requires such sex to be unacceptable.  This can have a broad range of possibilities, such as:
  • Just Don’t Tell Me: one partner turns a blind eye to the other’s extra-relationship activities, knowing that stuff occurs but not knowing the details of it (or not wanting to know).
  • When the Cat’s Away: when one partner is out of town, that partner (or both) is allowed to play with others.
  • Kink Exploration: a non-kink partner allows the kinky one to explore activities and grow in sexual areas that don’t work for the entire couple.
  • Three-Ways: a couple invites a third person to join them in sex on occasion.
  • Triads: a couple adds a third person to the relationship on an ongoing basis.
  • Secondary Partners: one or both partners develop secondary ongoing sexual relationships, often with the explicit knowledge of the primary partner.  “This is my husband, and this is my boyfriend.”  (This one is sometimes very hard for people to wrap their heads around due to our society’s inability to separate sex from love.)
  • And then there are couples who merrily go their own way and fuck in whatever way attracts them at the moment.  (“See you in the morning, sweetie!”)

How does an Open Relationship work?

Cribbing some from Wikipedia and adding my own thoughts, there are some things which need to be established in the relationship before an Open Relationship can be viable:
  • Fidelity vs. Monogamy: realize that there is a difference between the two concepts and embrace the idea that something can be “just sex”.
  • Trust: both members of the couple have to believe that the other is going to be true to the relationship and not damage or jeaopordize it (which includes that neither one is looking to break out of the relationship nor will do so if the opportunity arises).
  • Communication and Negotiation: open relationships don’t just happen, they should be created consciously (well, “Just Don’t Tell Me” ones tend to be created sub-consciously).  Rules and boundaries need to be set, need to be explicit (ideally), and need to be adhered to.
  • Non-possessiveness: jealousy about sex had with others cannot be allowed to intrude on the relationship.
Is all this really possible?  Hard to say.  Do you know anyone in an Open Relationship?  More to the point, do you know anyone who you know is in an Open Relationship?  (Do you actually know the relationship setup of the people you know?)  Odds are very strong that you do know people in one form of an Open Relationship or another, but relatively few broadcast the details.  (One study estimated 1/3 to 2/3 of gay couples are non-monogamous, although that includes both Open Relationships and “cheaters”.)

Of course, there’s also the question of whether Open Relationships actually work?  Many gay male relationships — and especially ones which don’t have the legal ties of marriage involved — break apart over time.  (This is a version of “Half of all marriages end in divorce,” which probably isn’t completely true.)  Sometimes Open Relationship issues are involved in the demise of a relationship, sometimes not.  (I have had two long-term relationship end which were Open to varying degrees.  One ending had nothing to do with the Open nature of things, while in the other, he found someone else and broke things off with me.)  Do Open Relationships work?  Probably no better or worse than any other relationship type, but they do manage to remove the big stumbling block of “I want to fuck that guy” causing relationship problems.  (What would qualify as “success” here, anyway?  Does it “work” only if the relationship stays Open and the couple stays together until someone dies?)

Rules for an Open Relationship

Years ago, I got these Rules For An Open Relationship (specifically for an Open Relationship where the couple plays individually with others) from a gay comic book artist I know:
  • Safer Sex Every Time: rather than just a pronouncement about protected vs. unprotected sex, this really means “Don’t bring anything unexpected back into the primary relationship, and don’t spread anything that is already there to unexpecting third parties.”
  • No Mutual Friends: this is a version of the straight world’s “Don’t sleep with your boyfriend’s best friend.”  No matter how hot he is.
  • No One More Than Three Times: because that starts to be a relationship, not “just sex”.  Unless you are wanting to go fully into the realm of polyamory and have discussed it and agreed to it.
I continue to think that those are good relationship rules, but I would add one more (from my own experience):
  • Don’t Bring It Home: if your relationship allows play while the partner is out of town, do it at the third party’s place, or a hotel, or a sex club.  “Don’t fuck in our bed while I’m not here.”
And a corollary for those who participate in group sex and anonymous sex:
  • The “Friends” and “Three Times” Rules Don’t Always Apply: if your relationship includes three-ways or going to sex clubs or group sex “play parties”, especially regularly held ones, it can be hard to avoid (or even keep track of!) those rules, so it is probably best to suspend them for such an event.  But only consciously suspend them, of course, and only within boundaries.  In particular, play party sex buddies need to stay as sex buddies within and only within the play party context.
(It’s worth noting as well that all relationships are fluid, changing over time.  What is Open this year should not necessarily be Open next year, as the couple’s needs change.  An Open Relationship which stops being Open does not indicate problems, just evolution.)

Will these rules and guidelines and proper communication ensure that your Open Relationship is successful and lasts for year and years?  Who can say?  Mine did not, but then again, the rules got broken: a play party sex buddy became a friend, and then became a non-play party sex buddy, and then became a “more than three times” sex partner, and then became the new boyfriend, and all this with communication of the situation only coming at the end.  (Ain’t that the way it always goes?)  On the other side, though, because we had an explicit Open Relationship, emotionally charged issues about “cheating” never arose in the final communication, just more analytic/process issues about “broken rules”, which means that the friendships involved have largely managed to survive the demise of the relationship, and that has to be considered a good thing.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What is the “Hanky Code”?

So you’re out at the local gay bar and you see a hunky number you’d like to cruise.  Then he turns around to talk to someone or order a drink, and you get a view of his yummy ass.  But what’s that in his pocket?  A colored bandana?  Didn’t you hear that those mean something, that different colors mean different things?

Quick, get out your gay phone (iPhone) and Google it.  Choose this link.  Or this one.  Or this one.  Maybe check them all out.

What the --?  There are dozens of colors listed.  How are you supposed to remember all this stuff?  And man, if you read the various lists closely, they don’t even all agree!

First, Some History


The Hanky Code is a list of bandana colors and associated (gay) sex activities.

In the 1970s and before, the gay community (and especially the gay leather community) used many non-verbal signals to help indicate sexuality and sexual activity preferences.  At the time, engaging in homosexual activity at all could get you arrested; engaging in kink activities would just make that worse, so these non-verbal signals were invaluable.  Non-verbal signals includes styles of dress — Levis, leather jackets, etc. — and accessories such as keys attached to belt loops, rings attached to jacket epaulets, and bandanas stuck in back pockets.  All completely innocent items, unless you knew to look for them and how to decode them.

(This, of course, is the root of the concept of “gaydar”, detecting other gay men amongst the mass of presumed straight humanity.  All the little signals that we read — sometimes subconsciously — which add up to “He’s gay.”)

Even gay bars and bathhouses “signaled”, via their names.  Straights might not think anything of a given name, but names with sexual double entendres — Hole, Slot, Ambush, End-Up — were as good as a neon sign if you knew what you were looking for.

Top or Bottom


The first thing you need to know is which side means what.  That’s easy: left is top and right is bottom.  Anything on the left signifies top, and anything on the bottom signifies bottom.  Hanky, keys, wallet chain, arm band, knot on a bandana tied around the neck, etc.

Okay, it’s not quite that easy: when this sort of codification first came into being, the definitions were regional rather than global.  The West Coast (California, especially) used Left=Top, but either/both the East Coast and Europe (I’ve never had it confirmed which) used the reverse, Left=Bottom.  Needless to say, this could cause confusion for tourists and business travelers.  By the time the 1990s rolled around, though, California-style had largely won out, although people still knew that there was or had been a difference.

(In terms of heraldry — coats of arms and such — things on the left are dubbed “sinister” and things on the right are dubbed “dexter”.  “Sinister”=Top has always seemed like the right rule to me.)

And for those who are thinking ahead, yes, putting something in the middle can be read to mean “Versatile”.  (Which itself means “Bottom” to some guys, of course.  Off or On, Top or Bottom, Gay or Straight: they can’t conceive of anything outside of binary existence.  Bisexual is right out.)  Of course, you have to be careful with that location.  It’s a nicely symmetric place for handcuffs, but hanging your keys from the the belt loop in the back of your pants makes them hard to reach.

Color Matching


In the case of hankies (bandanas), there are a whole slew of colors out there, for whatever uses cowboys and construction workers and mechanics (whew, is it getting hot in here?) might use them for.  That and knowing that our ability to accessorize is what separates man from animals means that there has to be a use for each color.

It’s easy to reverse engineer the creation of much of the hanky code.  Navy blue is probably the most common bandana color, so it goes with the most common activity: fucking.  Since sucking dick is so tightly coupled with fucking, make it light blue (“fucking lite”).  Red obviously goes to fisting, yellow to piss play, and brown to scat play.  (Yes, Virginia, there are people into that.)  Black and gray are another heavy/light pairing, and get connected to S&M and bondage, respectively.

(As another possible derivation of Red=Fisting, red flags are supposed to be attached to loads hanging out the back of your truck.  I’m sure we can make some connection path to that.)

After the colors that you actually occasionally see in bandanas, and the big ticket leathersex activities that go with them, though, what about all the other bandana colors?  And what about all the other colors of the rainbow, whether they ever actually show up as bandana colors?  (Well, of course they do, or can, exist: go to the fabric store, get a yard of fabric, and break out the sewing machine, boy!)

Why Are There Multiple Lists?  Which One is Right?


It is doubtful that the different lists were both created independently.  Way too many secondary items match up the same on each list for true independence.  More likely, someone created an initial list, and then either (a) different people fleshed out items they saw as missing, or (b) someone tried to replicate the list from memory and got some things wrong, or [most likely, to me] (c) someone decided to “fix” the list, either to match his own preferences or to just make his own variant.

(Ask country line dancers about how line dances that date from pre-Internet days mutated as they propagated, due to either poor memory or “fixing” the dances, resulting in regional differences that are sometimes minor and sometimes vast.  It’s like a giant game of “grapevine”.)

(I was once told that the differences are likely due to geographic separation between East and West Coasts.  To be sure, there has historically tended to be a lot more north/south movement and interaction between leathermen than there has been east/west, at least until the expansion of cheap air fare in the 1990s made that more viable, so I can buy this as an explanation.  This also ties in with the geographic left/right dichotomy mentioned above.)

Decades down the line, of course, what was once intended as fun (or even as funny) now sometimes gets seen as a Holy Artifact of Old Guard Leather, as though Marlon Brando himself whispered it in the ear of Larry Townsend from behind a curtain and Mr. Marcus then transcribed it onto gold plates.  (Oh, I’ll burn for that one!)  And thus guys today encounter the Hanky Code and they think they are supposed to obey it, and to do that, they are required to memorize this super long list of color/fetish combinations.

This is bullshit.  No one expects you to memorize the entire list, nor do you need to.

(Of course, it is an understandable belief in its way.  PINs, passwords, pledges of allegiance, Boy Scout oaths, etc.: our society is heavy on memorization.  And for those of us who are founts of useless trivia, something like the Hanky Code is very doable.  If I can manage to remember the sci-fi codenames, real names, home planets, super powers, and origin stories of 50-odd members of the Legion of Super-Heroes and the order they joined over the course of 50 years of stories and 5 continuities, then pfft, 40 color/fetish combos is a breeze!  Any geek would agree.)

So what we get today is guys new(er) to leather encountering the Hanky Code and freaking out at the long list, convinced that they are being judged as a Real Leatherman on whether they can rattle off the meaning of a coral-colored teddy bear in a silver lamé jumper in the left pocket.  And thus they reject the entire concept out of hand.

(That would be a titleholder or pornstar who wants to cuddle and suck on your toes.  Just for the record, you understand.)

Is the Hanky Code of Any Use?


That depends on what you think the hanky code is or should be or could be used for.

Does it assure you of getting laid?  Fuck no.  (Or is that “No fuck”?)

Does it provide a means of non-verbal communication, an invitation to cruise, converse, and pick-up?  Fuck yes!

Don’t be distracted by the (fun) junk content of the long Hanky Code lists.  No one expects you to be able the tell the difference between Peach and Apricot (bears vs. chubbies) or Dark Yellow and Gold (heavy piss vs. three-ways) in bar light.  Hell, no one expects you to ever even see some of those colors for hankies in the real world.  (Although I know where you can buy most of them, if you’re really interested.)

(Let me stress here again: all the myriad colors and their fetish pairings are intended to be fun!  Peach is for bears because bears are fuzzy!  Mosquito netting is for outdoor sex because of the bugs!  Mustard is for “more than 8 inches” because mustard goes on foot-long hot dogs!  And so on!)

What you do need to remember are the Big 10 colors: Black, Grey, White, Red, Orange, Yellow, (dark) Green, (light) Blue, (dark) Blue, and Brown.  (That is: S&M, Bondage, JO, Fisting, Anything, Piss, Daddy/Boy, Sucking, Fucking, and Scat.)  Oh, and remember anything you like and want to flag, such as Piercing (purple) or Puppy Play (bone print).

(Orange is one of the major differences between the lists.  One list has it as Anything Top/Anything Bottom depending on the side, while the other has it as Anything/Nothing Now (Just Cruising).  I prefer the former, since it echoes everything else in the list better; it gives a pig play bottom something to flag without being needing a dozen bandana stuffed in the same pocket.  And of course, I’m simply confused about “Just Cruising”.  What the fuck is that?  Cruising is what we’re all doing when flagging.  If you don’t want anything, don’t flag anything!)

Does the Hanky Code Get Used?


The Big 10 are just about the only colors you will likely ever see being flagged, and thus the only ones you really need to be able to identify.  Yes, I have seen brown flagged: once at IML and once at MAL.  Not my scene.  I’ve also seen Purple flagged a couple times.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen most of the other lesser colors, or if I did, I didn’t recognize them for what they were.  In the local bar, the only colors I see with regularity are Red, Yellow, Dark Green, and Black (but that’s hard to notice in leather pants), and sometimes Gray.  Yellow seems to have become far less common in the past decade.

So back to the question: does anybody actually use the hanky code?  Well, I do.  If I’m going out to the bar — or generally any time on the weekends, anywhere around town — I have a hanky in my pocket.  (Usually a red one.)  Will it get me a “sudden date”?  Probably not, but on the off chance that someone will see it and approach me, it’s a whole lot better than not having it there!

If you go to any leather bar — and definitely if you go to a big leather event like IML or MAL or Folsom Street Fair — you will see people flagging, and you can be sure they are doing it quite intentionally.

If you are just out and about somewhere other than a gay neighborhood and you see someone with a colored hanky in his pocket, well, odds are against it, but he could be flagging (like I do).  Does he set off your gaydar?  Does he have the bearing of a leatherman?  As noted before, a hanky in the pocket isn’t an invitation to fuck so much as an invitation to talk about fucking.  So go talk (or at least make eye contact) if he turns your crank!  Worst case, he’s a clueless straight contractor.

So, Should You Flag a Hanky?


You know, that’s ultimately up to you.

I know several guys who are completely disdainful of flagging, apparently under the idea that some people — straight people! — flag unknowingly.  As best I can tell, rather than get their hopes up that some random person they see might be a fetish match for them but actually isn’t, they prefer to toss out the entire concept.  Cutting their losses, it seems.

Others can’t decide what they should flag.  Does yellow send too strong a message, will it ruin my reputation?  (Might make it, actually.)  Does light blue send too weak of a message?  (Depends on how much you like cocksucking.)  Can you get away with two hankies in the pocket?  (I say yes, but three is pushing it.)  Three in one and two on the other side.  (Mmm, no.)  Should I wear red in both pockets since I’m versatile?  (Hmm, I’ve never tried it.  Give it a shot.)  Do I just wear orange to cover all the bases?  (To swap around the line Tony DeBlase is famously credited with, only if you’re into kangaroo shit.)  Faced with too many choices, some guys freeze and opt for nothing rather than risk going too far or not far enough.

Myself, I know from direct experience that flagging sometimes does work.  (I was on my way to a fisting party in Berlin, to a bar I had never been to before.  Someone else on his way there noticed my hanky and helped me find the place.  We also played later.)

I’m also cognizant of the historical nature and value of flagging, and I consciously choose to propagate this behavior both to show my honoring of our past and to promote those older rituals which actually still work in today’s world.



Updated on April 6, 2010
You can even get a Hanky Code app for your iPhone!

I forgot to include links to various hanky code listings.  Fixed that.  It was remarkably hard to find one which featured orange in the top/bottom way that I think it should be.  And I found that Wikipedia’s entry has some oddities of its own, like attaching Rust to Pony Play rather than to Western Fetish like I think it should be.

There has been something of a renaissance of additions to the hanky code in recent years, such as:
  • Lightning Bolt Print (Electrical Play)
  • Bone Print (Puppy Play) — (with the color of the background signifying fist pup, piss pup, etc.)
  • Mint Green (Leathergirl)

Updated on February 11, 2011
A recent Facebook exchange with my friend Lorelei brought up the discussion of what a plaid hankie she once saw might mean.  I suggested three options:
  • Dyke Top / Dyke Bottom
  • Scotsman / Looking for a Kilt
  • Lumberjack / His Tree
(This last echoes off of the Rust hanky definition being “Cowboy / His Horse”, which is presumably Western Fetish/Cowboy Gear.  “Lumberjack / His Tree” would mean Outdoorsman Fetish — hiking, camping, etc.  Although now that it’s been proposed, someone will twist “Lumberjack” into shorthand for “Axe Play”.  Sigh.

Updated on September 8, 2011
Corrected a bunch of typos, added links, and revised/clarified some of the text, including adding the paragraph on gay bar names.

Three more colors which vary between lists:
  • White: JO (masturbation) or Not Looking, depending on the list you look at.  As mentioned above with the variances with Orange, why would you flag anything to signal you aren’t looking?
  • Rust: Cowboy/His Horse (which I read as Cowboy Fetish) on older lists, Animal Play on others.  Presumably meaning Furries/Animal Role Play rather than Zoophilia.  This may be a repurposing of an underused color to be something more common today, or it may be a total misconstruing of what “His Horse” would have meant in the 1970s.
  • Lime: Pays for Dinner/Dines off Tricks on older lists, Foodplay on newer ones.  Again, likely an example of repurposing an underused color to be something more common today.
And a mystery one from a recent Facebook thread: what should Steel Blue be used for?  One person suggested sailors.  I suggested some narrow slice of police (state troopers?), since it is close to Medium Blue.