COMMENT | How gay men Hooked Up before the tech
The Rural Closet
In my mind, this is how I imagine the closet to be. A crowded dim place, smelling of hay, stale clothes, and dried semen. Somewhere a dog had whimpered, but now fallen quiet having relieved itself. The warm stench of canine urine adds to the atmosphere. The silence is broken only by the notification sounds of mobile phones.
Once in this dank place, men stood shoulder to shoulder, but these days there is more space as most have one hand held high trying to get a signal on their mobile device. Where previously the darkness was only ever broken by someone “coming out” and leaving the door ajar, now there is the constant glimmer from various apps as men try to hook up.
Thirty years ago it was all so different. The rural closet of old, required an energy and commitment. Some might even say it was healthier; as before technology brought available cock through the electronic ether, men cruised and cottaged.
There was a community of nodding acquaintances. Friendships were created through the frequenting of a familiar hunting ground. Regulars were known and most visited at around the same time of the day and night, on their way to and from work, or perhaps walking the dog later at night.
Knowledge and warnings were shared of those who could be discrete, others who could not be trusted and some who engaged in unsafe acts. Some would come and go in total anonymity, their only desire being to purge themselves of an urge, by way of quick grope and fondle of another similarly excited.
The characters had nicknames such as Picnic Paul, or Coral Colin, the Raven, Whopper of a chopper, earned from bringing a sandwich and a flask, working at the local bookies, just watching and never playing and an endowment to behold.
There was a sense of camaraderie, people watched out for each other, and even cared to inquire if someone was not seen for a while, “Is he ill?”, “What’s the matter; cock gone soft?”, “Warned off by the Police”, and the worse thing of all that could happen?
“Prosecuted for importuning and named in the papers!”
The fellowship that was once synonymous with the male seeking like-minded company would often take up a whole evening for no reward. Then quite by chance, it could sometimes pay dividends with a little pleasure and relief. I remember being told it’s not what you get, for it does not last that long; it is more the thrill of the chase.
The meeting places of convenience by name and nature are mainly boarded up, demolished or converted to snack bars on the highways and byways. The cruising grounds are still there but now, a more aware public is suspicious of a man alone.
Not all change is for the best. Some if it although safer now lacks humanity, being so clinical, so antisocial and just seems to be nothing more than”a meat rack in the cloud.”
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.