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Tearoom Trade Readings

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SOC 229
Fred Desroches

Chapter 1. Public Setting for “Private” Encounters ­ expectations that sex can be had without obligation or commitment o search for “instant sex” ­ the only “true” tearoom is one that gains reputation as a place where homosexual encounters occur ­ in April-October that Midwestern homosexuals call “the hunting season”- tearooms may surpass any other locale of homoerotic enterprise in volume of activity ­ they are accessible, easily recognized by the initiate, and provide little public visibility Availability ­ most cities my prof has seen were constructed of a native white stone with men and women’s facilities back-to-back under one red roof o heavy wooden doors, usually screened from public view o 3 urine. 2 stalls ­ most of these are located along the expressway ­ tearoom activity reaches its peak at the close of the workday, restrooms draw more customers if located near principal commuting routes of the metropolitan area ­ the two facilities he found that attached the greatest numbers were adjacent to four-lane traffic arteries Locating the Action ­ some might wait for months before observing a deviant act ­ the prof would enter, wait and watch ­ during warm seasons, those restrooms that are isolated from other park facilities, such as playgrounds, tennis courts, etc are more popular for deviant activity ­ the most active tearooms studied were all isolated from recreational areas, cut off by drives or lakes from baseball diamonds ­ an ideal setting for homo activity is a tearoom situated on an island of grass, with roads close by on each side o getaway car is just a few stops away ­ woman’s side of the washroom is barely used ­ active tearooms are identifiable by the number of cars parked nearby o if 2 or more cars remain in front of the relatively isolated washroom for more than 10 minutes then it’s a clue ­ a lone arriver will usually wait in his car until at least one other has parked nearby ­ men who play the tearoom game must know when someone is approaching ­ if the windows are opaque glass, nailed shut and no problem panes, the researcher presume that it is rarely used for homo encounters ­ popular tearooms have at least one pane broken from each window, unless the windows have been opened o so they can see whose approaching ­ graffiti used to provide some indication of deviant acts ­ restrooms of lower class or close to schools tend to encourage more writings than those of middle class ­ in more active tearooms, it says “show hard-get sucked” “will suck cocks-10/12/66 all morning” or “I have 8 inches- who wants it” ­ writings of walls of true tearooms are straightforward Volume and Variety ­ men will come to be known as regular participants ­ popular b/c they attract a variety of men, a minority of whom are active in homo subculture Privacy in Public ­ no talking to guarantee anonymity 1 ­ less personal than any form of sexual activity ­ if the person wants to see the person again, they will have certain standards for that person Chapter 2. Methods: Sociologists as Voyeur Other Tearooms ­ department store tearooms, most men wear ties ­ some places, there are no doors on the stalls in public parks, signals from the stalls are all bodily motion variety Neatness versus Accuracy ­ hypotheses should develop out of such ethnographic work, rather than provide restrictions and distortions from its inception Serving as Watchqueen ­ a man who is at the doors or window from which he may observe the means of access to the restroom ­ he coughs when someone approaches, nod when coast is clear ­ the lookout falls into three main types ­ “waiters”, men who are waiting for someone with whom they have made an appointment or whom they expect to find at the spot ­ the others are masturbators while observing sexual acts ­ voyeurs who appear to derive sexual stimulation from watching others o as being this, he can move around the room at will and observe all that was going on without alarming his respondents ­ waiters sometimes masturbate while waiting Sampling Covert deviants Hooker noted that homos who lead secret lives are usually available for stud when they get caught or seeks psychiatric help ­ entered the tearoom, left, waited in car for the men and recorded their license plate and brief descriptions Systematic Observation ­ developed a systematic observation sheet to record observations ­ report sheet includes place or recording the time and place involved, description of participants, description of weather and other environmental conditions, diagram on which movements of a the participants could be plotted, along with location of the places of contract and sex, as well as complete description of the progress of the encounters and reactions of the observer Obtrusive Measures ­ majority of the participants were married and nearly were all secretive ­ we was asked to develop a questionnaire for social health survey of men in the community so he used that to ask his participants ­ did the interviews a year after the time passed ­ changed his car and appearance so he wouldn’t be recognized ­ mens whose interviewed were completed were middle-upper class and more highly educated ­ those who were lost respondents a more transient group ­ largest single occupational class in the same was truck drivers Chapter 3. Rules & Roles ­ if the player use things like hope, and luck they will experience excitement in the action o such feelings higher the reward and lowers the costs, and increasing the profit Role Flexibility Players: Insertee is the cock-sucker Insertor is the one being blown, in anal the “fucker” Lookouts (watchqueens) 2 Waiters- men who are waiting for a particular person, a particular type of “trick” or for a chance to get in on the action Masturbators- those who either are present just to masturbate or engage in masturbation while being waiters Voyeurs- those who get their kicks out of watching others engage in sex, sometimes are masturbators Agents of social control ­ vice squad members, park policemen and other park employees ­ insertees and insertors are identifiable only in an sex act ­ waiters or even straights can be transformed into players ­ the aggressor was defined as the player who first made commitment Chapter 4- Patterns of Collective Action Approaching ­ gesture with hands, motion with eyes, physical movement, erection, movement ­ while waiting, he looks at the situation over, if theres any police cars o trying to look as natural as possible while checking out the place Positioning ­ once he positions himself at the urinal, hes already begun his first move of the game ­ occupies the end stalls ­ if he stands close to the fixture, and his front side may not be easily seen, and gazes downward, he is straight ­ if playing, he will stand back form the urinal, allowing his gaze to shift from side to side or to the ceiling ­ next step is, the other man move to the urinal at the opposite end being careful to leave a “safe” distance between the two o indicates that those who occupy a stall upon entering are playing what might be called the Passive-Insertee system Signaling ­ For insertees, positioning is vital for informing others of their intentions o Watching for “handling” to see whether he is going to play with himself o Going to pretend to masturbate and that’s a signal ­ willing player (esp intended insertor) steps a few inches back form the urinal so that his penis may be viewed easily o most who are insertors will engage in casual masturbation at the urinal o then begins to stroke it or play with it o as soon as another observes this, he will begin autoerotic manipulation aka erection o the prospective partner will look intently at the other’s dick and occasionally breaks his stare only to fix directly on the eyes of the other ­ if there are doors on stalls, foot tapping or note passing may happen ­ if there is a small hole called “glory hole” carved at about average penis height, it may be used as a means of signaling from the stall Maneuvering ­ the third move of the game is optional ­ conveys little info so it may be skipped ­ others may use this stage to move closer t someone or to move from urinal to stall ­ the restrooms floor plan is the strongest determinant of what happens during this phase of the game Contracting ­ contracts depend by the intended role of the initator ­ those who wants to be the insertee makes this move b holding his partner’s erect penis ­ one who wants to be an insertor steps into the stall where the prospective insertee is seated 3 ­ in the positioning and signaling phrases, they already indicated their intentions ­ at this stage, there is an agreement and sets the term of the payoff ­ man who is seated in the stall and is the passive party to the contract will generally end up as the insertee ­ the man who stands at the urinal and is passive in the contract stage, will be the insertor usually ­ the glory hole serves as a peephole for observation, a signaling device and as a place of entry for the penis in the insertee’s stall Insertee Insertor Active Position: urinal Position: urinal Signal: casual masturbation Signal: casual masturbation Contract: manipulates Contract: steps into partner’s partner’s penis stall Passive Position: sits in stall Position: urinal Signal: masturbation signal: masturbation (sometimes beckoning) contract: accepts partner’s Contract: accepts manipulation Partner’s entry Foreplay ­ may be seen as a fifth phase, it is optional ­ foreplay may help maintain the level of stimulation required for proceeding The Payoff ­ insertors will sustain the action by clasping the back of his head, or placing his hands on his partners shoulders ­ using the hand to stop the penis from gagging ­ handplay tends to raise level of involvement ­ sometimes the act happens in front of the window so the insertor can act as the lookout ­ anal is rare in most tearooms b/c of the time require ­ mutual masturbation is common for reaching orgasm Clearing the Field ­ once sexual exchange is accomplished, most insertors step into a stall to use toilet paper ­ after the penis is cleaned, clothes are rearranged and flies zipped ­ when a man is an insertor, he left for his car immediately after cleansing ­ the insertee frequently waits in the tearoom for someone else to enter o but sometimes he becomes the insertor ­ a pat on the shoulder, wave of a hand and a thanks conclude the action ­ these games take between 5-40 minutes Coping with intrusions ­ the first is zipping the fly o he wants to cover his exposure ­ the 2 is looking innocent ­ straights stay for no more than two minutes ­ the third where participants in the tearoom game cope with disruptive entries involves what he calls “speculative inquiry” o every man becomes his own self-appointed investigating committee o if the newcomer is safe, nods may pass around the room Chapter 5. Risks of the Game ­ they fear discover most ­ someone who discovers them and knows them from outside the tearoom is a fear ­ a possibility of bodily harm 4 The Police ­ before technology was produced, they spied, used decoys and raids ­ decoys are the most popular of catching ­ raids are popular for reactive purposes and for prevention of sex Police Lawlessness ­ the decoy’s M.O may be to loiter inside engaging a suspect in friendly convo, using hand washing or urinal Blackmail ­ most black mailing is done by law enforcement and as a result of decoy operations, some is practiced by those who pose as police officers, a small amount is attempted by close friends of victims ­ sometimes police were paid off by sexual service, donations were made to charity fund in return for release, or just pay them ­ “instant alibi” I have to go to the washroom so I stopped
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