Tuesday, September 04, 2007

In Praise of the Water Closet

By Kelly Jean Cogswell

If you're going to have a quickie, it might as well be in a public toilet where the basic needs are generally taken care of, and you have all the facilities for fluids to go hygienically from one tube down another. There, help getting off is an act of kindness really, like passing toilet paper between stalls when somebody's out. What's a simple blow job between men?

I've often wished it was as easy for dykes. There's always such a line outside the bathroom door, and inside, too, where there's the scrum at the mirrors and soap. If someone's tapping their foot, it's from impatience at the wailing toddler being coaxed to pee. There's the sound, too, of tampons being unwrapped that doesn't get anybody's juices flowing.

I've tried semi-public sex myself. A girlfriend and I went into the backroom of a bar once where the boys were having a sweetly chaste circle jerk, but when I decided to crawl under her skirt, the bouncer decided we were positively "unsafe" and tossed us out. Though now that I think about it, it was probably the sight of female parts that the guys didn't like, the invasion of boobs and omnivorous vaginas.

That's the thing about public sex. It stakes out territory, something I'd like to see women do more of. Out of a hundred seats in the U.S. Senate, only sixteen are dick free. In plenty of neighborhoods, women can barely walk on the street at night, much less fuck there, forget the ballot box. At a mere 5'5' I consider pepper spraying the dark spaces between cars and carrying a machete.

For women, getting arrested for cruising, or screwing each other in public would be an advance, a sign of entitlement, or at least daring.

I'd like to see marauding packs of dykes in all the dark alleys, peeing in corners like guys, leaving lipstick on lampposts and window panes, hanging out in toilets scaring away the hets who linger with powder and eyebrow pencils and diaper bags and are always demanding if I'm in the right bathroom until I'm tempted to flip up my shirt and show my meager tits.

Which makes me wonder what it means to "out" a guy who's already screwing in public. His body's out there. Or his dick is, anyway, before he puts it away and moves on. Is he gay? Or in this post-Stonewall age, just homosexual? Or nothing at all? Should we take him at his outraged word? "I'm not gay." Making him just another asshole?

Heterosexuality means so many things. It's a convenient mask even for straight people. There's nothing a man can't get away with if he puts on a suit and acquires a wife. As a woman, get a wedding ring, tuck a baby under your arm, and just wait for the social perks. You're a mother, that's it. Behind the fa├žade, anything goes, screw the mailman or papergirl, find a sheep.

Straights themselves know that heterosexuality is a kind of amputation, a ritual scarring with benefits. I remember how my mother regretted marrying and told us so repeatedly, but at least it got her out of her parents' house.

Likewise, a little sex in the airport john shouldn't get in the way of a three bedroom split level with semi-detached garage or singing in the church choir or a nice congressional seat where you can fight the queers wedging open the safe little community you've built. Or that's how the reasoning goes in the dark corner of the closeted brain until you see the looks on your colleagues faces.

The delusion is interesting, though. I think queers pushing for marriage are often playing the same game, imagining the word will give them legitimacy, and not just tax advantages and inheritance rights. More importantly, it'll lay down a road map, offer roles so we don't have to keep reinventing ourselves, discovering what it means to be queer, what it means to be good.

I can see the point of that, too, like a suit and tie. I've always admired them, at least on Cary Grant who was born for a snow white shirt and suit coat. It must be a relief to get up in the morning and grab one of each with no need for coordination. The key is to remember all the latitude and longitude of what's underneath, and recognize that like heterosexuality, suits are a game and mask.

I sometimes want a short cut, too. Like religion with the rules that'll get you to heaven. Don't worry your pretty little head about morality. Just be a husband and husband, wife and wife. Leave your contradictions in the toilet.

You can find sex there, or violence, or love. You can make a cult of it, or catch something from the seat.

No comments: