Season 2 Premiere: The History of Gay Cruising w/ Alex Espinoza
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 4 months ago

Season 2 Premiere: The History of Gay Cruising w/ Alex Espinoza

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

PRIDE is back for Season Two! To celebrate the last day of Pride Month, and to kick off the rest of Pride Year, Levi Chambers sits down with queer historian, author, and professor Alex Espinoza to explore the intimate and radical history of gay cruising. Today's four part episode will:

  1. Cover the basics of cruising
  2. Explore its long history
  3. Unlock its secret code
  4. And consider the impact of COVID and dating apps on this enduring sexual practice.      

Alex Espinoza was born in Tijuana, Mexico to parents from the state of Michoacán and raised in suburban Los Angeles. He holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of California-Riverside and an MFA from UC-Irvine’s Program in Writing. His first novel, Still Water Saints, was published by Random House in 2007 and was named a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. The book was released simultaneously in Spanish, under the title Los santos de Agua Mansa, California, translated by Lilliana Valenzuela. His second novel, The Five Acts of Diego León, was also published by Random House in March 2013. His fiction has appeared in several anthologies and journals, including Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California’s Inland Empire, The Southern California Review, Flaunt, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. His essays have been published at Salon.com, in the New York Times Magazine, in The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity, in The Los Angeles Review of Books, Los Angeles Magazine, and as part of the historic Chicano Chapbook Series. He has also reviewed books for the LA Times, the American Book Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and NPR. His awards include a 2009 Margaret Bridgeman Fellowship in Fiction to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a 2014 Fellowship in Prose from the National Endowment for the Arts, a 2014 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for The Five Acts of Diego León, and a 2019 fellowship to MacDowell. His newest book, Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime, was published by The Unnamed Press in June, 2019. Alex is also deeply involved with the Puente Project, a program designed to help first-generation community college students make a successful transition to a university. He lives in Los Angeles with his partner Kyle and is the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair of Creative Writing.

Be sure to follow Alex on twitter

Your host is Levi Chambers (he/him), founder of Rainbo Media Co. You can follow Levi @levichambers across socials.

Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @PRIDE across socials. 

Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com.  

PRIDE is produced by Levi Chambers, Frank Driscoll, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson, and Brandon Marlo. Edited by Frank Driscoll and Daniel Ferrera.

Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com.  

*This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media.

I was sitting at a bus stop. It's a really hot summer day and this guy pulled up in a car and just kind of randomly, sort of he checked me out a couple of times. He drove by, he stopped, he looked at me, you know, and you did a couple of drive bys and then finally, I think I'm a third time. The third time he stopped and sort of asked me if I needed a ride. Uh. That was my first sort of experience dealing with Um, this coded language. I knew that he meant more than just like a ride, Um, and so I got in the car with him and, Um, we ended up in a in a sort of abandoned field, UM, and, you know, we sort of messed around and the strange thing about that whole experience was that there was no there was no manual for how to do it. I just sort of I just sort of fell into it. It was natural. I'm leavi chambers. My pronouns are he, him, his. I'm the founder of Rainbow MEDIAC and this is pride. Each week on pride we share stories by and for the Queer community. We unearthed overlooked history, celebrate community change makers and discuss our collective trials and triumphs. In today's four part episode, we take a deep dive into the age old sexual practice of cruising. Before apps like grinder made finding a sexual partner as easy as Swiping Right, Queer folks would cruise. Today. We will cover the basics of cruising, explore its long history, unlock its secret code and consider the impact of covid and dating APPs on this enduring sexual practice. I think it's Um it was something that almost I kind of felt was recessed gene and my my DNA. That was sort of, you know, just meeting the right opportunity need to sort of awaken and sort of come out, and suddenly that there it was. That's Alex Espinoza, an acclaimed author and English professor in Twe. He took his experience with gay cruising and combined it with Historical Research to publish cruising and intimate history of a radical pastime, a compelling narrative about the political and cultural influence of this radical pastime. I can't think of a better expert to answer our questions about cruising. Let's dive in. So what is gay cruising? To answer this question, we enlisted a cruising expert. Hello everyone, my name is Alex Espinoza. I am a writer living in Los Angeles. So I look at everything from, you know, the relationship to power dynamics between men in ancient grecent Rome to, you know, the molly houses of Victorian England to, uh, you know, Um, the the Hayes...

...codes in Hollywood to, Um, you know, post World War Two tea rooms in the US. Uh, to activists in Uganda and Russia who are, you know, gay and in the closet and sort of navigating that world of anonymous sexual encounters. So the book is really a sort of comprehensive look at the practice, time on her practice and how it's evolved over, Um, you know, um hundreds of years. Alex holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from UC Riverside and a master's degree from UC IRVINES program in writing. He's currently an English professor at Riverside, not far from his childhood home. I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. I grew up in Um, just outside of L A, in a suburb called Um La Puente. Alex was born in Tijuana, Mexico. When he was too he came to suburban Los Angeles with his parents and siblings. I am the youngest of eleven children, believe it or not, and Um, I was born into a, you know, in a household that was that was very large, very very crowded, Um, very noisy a lot of times. and Um, I spent, you know, a good deal of my time, um, not really having a place of my own. I really didn't have my own bedroom, so I used to always, Um, I would sleep out in the living room. Alex made it his mission to find something that would drown out all the noise of the Rowdy household. What he discovered was literature. It was books and it was writing and it was using my imagination. That's kind of what what what kept me saying throughout my my early childhood experiences as a recipient of the Margaret Bridgeman Fellowship at the bread loaf writer's conference. Alex also has a few books under his belt. He published his debut novel Still Water Saints, in two thousand seven, which appears in the Barnes and noble discover great new eight Er selection. His other book, the five acts of Diego Leon, came six years later, but his recent release constructs a narrative that is part memoir and part historical research. The book is All about cruising. No, we're not talking about driving down the highway in a convertible with the top down. This kind of cruising is a bit more risque. My Book, cruising, uh, an intimate history of a radical pastime, looks at the the time honored practice of of cruising, of hooking up for anonymous sexual encounters in public spaces. For those not in the know, cruising is the act of looking for a sexual partner in a public space. Think parks, public bathrooms or, an Alex's case, a bus stop. Frequently the arrangement is a one time thing where both consenting parties go their separate ways. This kind of understanding between me and the stranger that we were going to participate in this act and, you know, I was going to get out of...

...that car and I was going to assume my day and we probably would never see each other again. And it was the first time that I had an experience like that and it was incredibly overwhelming. It was shocking, it was Um scary, it was erotic. I felt shame, but I also felt turned on. So there were a lot of different sort of emotions that that came at me at that at that moment and Um, you know, he had said something to me. He said, well, do do if you have any other friends? Um, I usually hang out at this park across the there was a park across the street from the mall. And he said, I'm usually, I'm usually there. And you know, he said he he was the one that first told me that guys kind of congregate there, right, and that was when I first realized that there were these locations throughout the city where I was growing up where guys would, you know, meet to surreptitiously hook up. After his initial experience, Alex began to pick up on the subtle tells of cruising and took advantage of the opportunities as they presented themselves. I would be sitting at the mall during my lunch break and, you know, random guys would come up to me and, would you know, um offer me, you know, different opportunities to sort of mess around with them. And I mean it was there in plain sight, but it kind of took that one moment to break the seal, Um, and suddenly there I was part of this Um kind of secret world where I could escape too, and I could participate in these anonymous sexual encounters, uh, and then go back to just sort of living my life. was there? was there an element of your first time where, because you did get in the car with him and then drove to a field, was there any element of of it that was that you were afraid, like what if this guy kills me? And it was not just like an unspoken you could just sense that wouldn't happen. Yeah, I could just feel it, I could just I could just tell. But yeah, there was never a moment where I kind of felt like, Oh my God, I'm putting myself in danger. I was the the the allure and the attraction, Um, was was so was so powerful that it kind of kind of trumped everything else. Um, you know it it sort of it. It makes you do things and, you know, rationalized things that you, I don't think, would normally, you know, rationalize that that you wouldn't do. Um, you know, putting yourself in positions like that. It's it's like it doesn't you don't see it that way, right. It's the danger is kind of what makes it so attractive, right. The risk is what makes it so alluring. Talk about an adrenaline rush. Right, Alex said, cruising opened him up to a world where he could meet men and not feel insecure about who he was or what he had to offer. It was a judgment free zone. You know,...

...you gotta understand. I mean I was born, Um, you know, with the disability. I was born, uh, with a condition called Alopecia where, you know, I've lost all my hair. I wasn't the most Um, you know, Um, uh, you know, confident in myself, right, I didn't possess a lot of self confidence. I didn't feel comfortable in my body. I Um was very insecure. Um, you know, Um, in, in, in, I felt incredibly Um, Um, unattractive. And in those spaces, right, in those anonymous spaces, none of that mattered, right, none of that mattered to the men that I was looking up with. The only thing that mattered was, um, this moment of shared passion and and intensity and sexual intensity that we were going to exchange. So, Um, for me, it really became an opportunity to assert myself sexually in a way that I couldn't otherwise, right, um. And so I kind of fell into it. I just sort of, you know, uh, you know, reveled in it Um but at the same time it was scary because this was in the eighties when, you know, there the AIDS epidemic was just starting and and so, you know, there was there was, there was talk about it, but not a lot of people didn't know much about it. So, you know, I was putting myself in risky situations without really fully understanding what I was doing. Right and and a lot of that was because we were living in a time when when there was a system in place that didn't want us to know a lot of that. The history of gay cruising dates back several millennia. Many scholars have discovered homosexuality as far back as Greek antiquity. There Art, poems, myths and even philosophical treaties suggest that all kinds of queer practices light cruising have occurred throughout time. Well, you know, I think, I think what what's interesting in in you know, Greek antiquity and and you know, ancient Greece and Rome is that our our perception of what it was to be gay in those cultures, I think oftentimes is romanticized. You know, we have this sort of tendency to think that like, you know, ancient Greece. You know, ancient Greek uh society was really cool with homosexuality. You know, you see, you see the vase paintings of like, you know, men and engaged in, you know, erotic, you know, activities, and so we have this tendency to think that it was literally like ancient Greece was cool with it. Yeah, you could be gay, you can have orgies and really just like mess around with guys and nobody would but, but that really wasn't the case. I think it was. It was very regulated. Um. Only men of a certain status Um Society, on,...

...you know, in societally, who Um, who were wealthy, who were landowners, Um, could afford to participate in those kinds of activities, right. Um, it was usually with their slaves, um that they would sort of have sexual encounters with and sexual relationships. Um. A, a man of nobility could never be the bottom. He always had to be the top, Um. And and that was because, like you know, a man of nobility, mobility could never be penetrated, right, because that was seen as a sign of of weakness and submission. Right. So, so they were really carefully regulated, Um uh, rules that sort of dictated who could do what. Um. You know, you start to see Um uh in in ancient greecent Rome, certain areas where men would go, especially like docks, where they would go to sort of parade around and watch each other. Um. In some of the bath houses in Rome, you start to see the Um Um, the sort of the advent of Um, certain gestures to sort of signal that you want to do something. You know, sort of combing your hair back would be a sign, Um, that you sort of were interested in someone. It's slowly evolved into foot tapping in bathrooms and giving knowing glances to strangers from across the room. But the main component of cruising that has remained the same is the need for safe public spaces to meet with other people, because one of the things that cruising really needs is Um. It needs people right for it to happen and it needs public places where there's UH, like where people are sort of Um passing through right. It needs a sort of moment of of it needs transience right. It Needs Movement UH to happen. Um. It's not about stacey necessarily. It's about kind of movement, about people sort of, you know, meeting up to with each other, bumping into each other, and then participating in in these activities. Molly houses were kind of like the first they're like the prototypes of gate clubs. Really. In Eighteenth Century England, a molly house was a coffee shop or tavern where men gathered to socialize and look for sexual partners. The Term Molly House derived from Molly Slang, which meant gay man. You know, they were secretive, but they also, I think one of the things that that you start to see with with the formation of molly houses is Um, these these sites that weren't Um, uh changeable, that wouldn't migrate from one to the other. So, because they were in specific locations, that meant that they were targets of rates, right. So you start to see, um, the policing of these locations. Um, during the TORRIAN era,...

...in in a place like London, Um Molly houses were constantly being rated. Right. Um there would be uh informants, men who would sort of go undercover and pretend to be gay and uh would hang out in the molly houses and then, you know, get information about who was there. Um Men would get arrested, would be fined, would be thrown in jail, would be punished kind of in public humiliated and then a molly house would close down and then another one would sort of spring up. I don't need to tell this audience that homophobia has been around forever and certainly like what the Society of reformations Um, all of those organizations were very much rooted in this sort of philosophical notion that that that sex between men Um was wrong, and certainly sex between men and public was like the most the worst abomination. A lot of these organizations were Um operating under this assumption that that that it was a disease, that it was an illness, that it was an infection that needed to be stamped out right, that, you know, in order for a society to be Um, you know, pure and noble and righteous, those kinds of activities just couldn't, you know, Um, uh, you know, we couldn't allow those to breed, to be, you know, to breed and to to flourish. So Um there was an attempt to buy not just, you know, the church, but law enforcement police to really kind of stamp out that kind of behavior because it was viewed as kind of a stain. In every new era of cruising there was a system trying to end the practice. The office of the night was created to curb through criminalization, the act of sodomy and Renaissance Florence, pederasty patrols and mooches Pirst gay men. In Eighteenth Century Paris, the Society of the reformation of manners performed the same function in contemporary London. Alex said, all of these efforts ultimately backfired. They were really powerful and they could affect a lot of change right and arrest men and really change Um, policies and practices, but that didn't stop men from doing it right. Like if, if we're one, if one thing that we are is when it when it, when it comes to sort of our culture is we're determined. If we want to have sex, we're determined to get it right, like we're gonna have it no matter what. and Um, you know, the Algbtq community, certainly, Um, you know uh, exemplified that when when it came to a lot of these rules that were put in place to stamp out this kind of behavior. So do you think that society then that it's interest in preventing cruising is that? Is that more founded in preventing a public nuisance like being drunk in public? is also something that's, you know, frowned upon and for for whatever obvious reasons. Do you think that society's Um attempt to subdue it and make it go away...

...is more about preventing public nuisance or about silence and queerness in public? I think it's both. Actually, I think it's both. I think a lot of times it's, you know, you can't, you can't, sort of you can't uncouple one from the other. I think it's, you know, it's just like with prostitution, right Um. You know, Oh, we gotta, we gotta, you know, like it's it's it's such a it's such a stain. You know, we can't, we certainly can't have this happening. But also it's this this aberration of a Um, you know, a subculture, right, a subculture that Um has over time, always um sort of gone against, I think, any perceived notions of what it means to be an upstanding individual, right Um. So I think both. Really, it's this this impulse and desire to sort of like, you know, clean things up, but also, like, you know, policing and trying to regulate the, you know, the activities of of Um, those you know, Horny game in when we come back trade secrets, CDC recommendations and dating APPs. Before the break, Alex mentioned picking up on the subtle tells of cruising. But how can you know for sure if someone is cruising? Alex says there's this almost made up language for it, but you have to pay attention to pick up on it. I came to find out in researching my book that a lot of other men that I talked to, that that I interviewed for this book, had similar experiences where they would encounter individuals and there was an ever anything spoken. It was just kind of this understanding that something was going to happen Um and we all sort of talked about that. That strange sort of thing that binds us right this, this moment where we sort of give each other a glance and we know that something is going to happen right and we just kind of follow through it. That's how it's always been over the course of hundreds of years when men have hooked up, and it's what makes it so um, I think, such a unique aspect of our of our culture, of of of the LGBTQ community. Unless you know what you're looking for, it's likely you will pass through the cruising grounds and not even know it. Like even if a straight person knew, you know, Um knows about cruising. You know, they might not necessarily know that the bathroom at the J C Penny that they're using as a cruizy spot. Right, you need to be in the note to know that. To that person, to a straight married man who's out shopping with his family, that bathroom is just a bathroom, right, but but to those of US navigating...

...that sort of in between world, right, that liminal space, that bathroom is not just the bathroom, but it's a cruising spot. Right. So I think that, Um, I think that it, you know it. It certainly sort of keeps these sort of illusion alive, but I think at the same time it is it's it's an aspect that's wholly our own and, you know, I don't think it perpetuates necessarily this sort of idea of of closeted culture. Um, you know, I think that it it's just another form for queer men, another another way for Queer men to meet up, Um, to have moments of of of exchange, just like at a bar, or at a restaurant or at a party, right, Um, it's just another form of that and and Um, you know, I think that it's you know, it's Um. It's unique in that way. We briefly discussed some of the trade secrets men used for cruising. A light tap of the foot in the restroom or alonging gaze in the park, through through those of you that out there that watch America's next top model. Um tyra banks is big on smizing. Right. She really sort of can't define what it is, but it's almost like a sort of a one of those like this sort of UN spoken, uh, communication that happens between individuals. The clearing of the throat can also indicate cruising. But at the end of the day, Alex says, the key is patients. It's really a when you know you know situation, there's an energy that you feel, uh, that there's an exchange that you feel between that individual that tells you like, okay, this person wants to have some fun, right, Um, but you have to be patient because you also don't want to misconstrue somebody Um actions, you know, verbal or nonverbal. You always have to be really careful about that. So it also takes a lot of patients. You have to you have to practice patients and Um, you have to know the boundaries. You know, like no, if you're at a stall and you know you're going to the bathroom, you know, you have to know when to look and see if the other person is looking at you right. Um, you know, and you just sort of kind of have to feel it. You know it when it when it's happening. Um. But don't you know, there are those tells, like you know, like I said, like the physical ones, but also the tricky thing is is you can't rely on those because somebody might just be tapping their foot. You know, I do that all the time. You know, it's just a tick. I have my footfalls asleep and I start wiggling it around right and and so you know, you just...

...have to kind of that's what makes it so hard is you can't I can't give you a definitive answer. I can't say like, Oh, it seems definitely somebody doing that. If that guy's doing that, then he's cruising you. You could just be doing that right you. You have to be as a as a as a person cruising. You have to be willing to Um. Allow Um, though, allow yourself to slow down in that moment, allow yourself to really, Um, see what's happening, to observe, I think, the world around you in ways that we're just not taught too right. There's too much noise and distraction around us, and cruising really sort of forces us to sit and be and to understand and start picking up verbal and nonverbal cues in ways that, just like our our antenna, isn't sort of, you know, able to oftentimes pick up that frequency. Alex says cruising has a similar foundation to meditation, meaning it takes a lot of practice checking in with yourself and existing in the moment. And what cruising does is it sort of forces us to to start messing with the dial a little bit until we get that okay, I see it, I see it, Um, and that's what makes it so so special. Right is not everybody can can can not everybody has that patience, right, Um, and you, you really do have to hone it and practice it. It's like meditating. You know, when you start meditating, you're like, why am I thinking about? You know what happened the other day, and you know the whole purpose of meditating. Meditating, it's like, Um, just being in the moment, right, just sort of checking in with yourself. Cruising in a lot always is that. It is just sort of like slowing things down, being in that moment right Um, and seeing what that other person is is interested in. But Not all conversations around cruising are unspoken. While compiling interviews and excerpts for his book, Alex was able to open a conversation with other men who had experienced cruising. In these interactions, he discovered that other people were dying to talk about their experiences as much as he was. It was like opening the floodgates, Um, it was like getting something, just something off of their chest right, like, oh my God, finally I can talk about this incident that I had with this hot dude, you know, back in you know, two thousand, in the bathroom of my college, Right. Nobody's ever asked me about that. I kept that a secret this whole time and suddenly here I am like saying, no, tell me about it. Oh my God, let me tell you right. And I think that we need to start normalizing that a little bit more, you know, we need to start being a little more honest, uh, and, and I mean look what George Michael did, like when he got arrested. He didn't he didn't apologize for what he was like, yeah, you know, I tried hooking up with somebody in the bathroom. So what I'M gonna I'm gonna...

...make a song about it, right, I'm gonna. He wrote a song that's outside. is his Um, you know, his his song about, you know, having sex outside, and the whole video is kind of making fun of and Poking Fun of this whole uh culture of of policing our bodies right and and having sex outside. And, you know, there are worse things in the world that we can be doing, but yet here we are sort of caught up in this idea that like we need to stamp this out, and he kind of reveled in that and I kind of, you know, I admire him for that and I think we need to start doing that a little more and we need to stop being a little less embarrassed or feeling like we're the only ones that that kind of do that right. We're not. How has the pandemic affected cruising? I mean I would think to some degree. Obviously, when parks were closed and things like that during the real harsh lockdowns early on in the pandemic, I mean everything was closed, but how did the pandemic effect cruising well at first with you, yeah, which you saw was a lot of during the early days. He saw a lot of virtual like creezing, like let's do cam to Cam Right Um, which you know is you know, I'm not, I'm not one of the sort of poopo anybody's sexual proclivities, but personally, for me that doesn't really do much right. I, you know, a lot of us really crave the you know, the actual contact, the feel. Um. I think that what ended up happening was you started to see a lot of emphasis placed on, when things sort of slowly started to open up again, a lot of emphasis on outdoors, on you know, this idea that like if you were outdoors, things are a little safer because you know you're in the fresh air and and you know there's distance in space ace. Believe it or not, some recommendations for safe hookups came directly from the centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommended that if gay men were going to have sex, the best kind of sex to have would be through a glory home, because there's the partition between you and the individual, like how we all are with hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes at home. The same is true for casual hookups. You start to see a level of of the eroticizing of of of the cleaning and the sanitizing of certain areas that we're going to be used. Um. So that's kind of how it it changed. It changed kind of our our our understanding of of, you know, our our mortality and and and and during the pandemic. And also, you see, like a lot of sites now are not just as it like you know, now you can state your HIV status that you can also state your covid status right, like vaccinated. Yes, you know, uh, date right at these dating apps have evolved...

...to where you can check if they have their booster before you swipe right. I sort of realized, and researching my book and looking at all these different eras of cruising, is that, just like everything else, it's evolving. Right, it's becoming something else, and I think that, you know, with APPs like you know, scrouff and grinder and and, Um, you know, Um, uh, there are there are some websites that will list specific cruising locations right, and you can go and see like. Okay, there was a comment about an hour ago somebody saying that they're there. Right, I think that those, I think that there. You know, they they are a form of cruising. I think that removes, to some degree or the other, the spontaneity of it. Right. I like to say it's like what, it's the same thing that, Um, what Uber and lift did too, like taxi driving, right to picking up and hailing a taxi. Um, you can still do that. You can still pick up a taxi if you're out on the street, like wave somebody down, right, or you can call Uber and have somebody pick you up at a specific time and take you somewhere, right. So it kind of removes the spontaneity, but the spontaneity is still there. Right. So I see I see I see APPs as as just another tool to help us sort of cruise. Right. Um, you know some some people, you know, some people say like the the old like tried and true, you know, cruisers of the seventies and eighties, you know, would would argue against that and say no, like cruizing and its nature is randomly finding somebody in the bathroom, right. And and yeah, that's true, but but I think it's also, you know, going on on squirt and seeing like hey, there's there's somebody who's going to go to the bathroom, you know, at the macy's near me and you know they kind of they kind of have a nice, you know body, like I'm gonna go and see if I can hook up with them, right, Um. So I think it's both of those things. I think that it's just these are just more tools to help us kind of navigate that right. Um. So, yeah, I'm kind of in the camp that it's it's it's kind of morphing, it's changing into something very different, and I think, I don't think that that's necessarily a bad thing. Alex says, cruising also stands out from dating APPs because it removes vanity from the equation. That's one of the truest powers of it, right, is that it kind of allows for that, Um, you don't necessarily have to get too hung up on on looks or because, I mean, I'm you know, I don't consider myself the most attractive individual, but it you...

...know, you know, and I say this in the book, and excuse me for sounding incredibly, you know, crassed if I do, I apologize, but you know, I I discovered through cruising that, um, there was something very unique about my anatomy, right, that that I think, Um, I hadn't, I hadn't really Um, considered, right, I really hadn't considered that that was one of my best features. How could I say that to people, right? I mean, I don't want to do porn right, but like, how could I say that to people? And and in those spaces, you know, Um, you know, I kind of my my disability and all of the things that sort of made me feel inferior. None of that mattered. All that mattered to those men was what I had to offer, and they liked what I had to offer. Um, and, you know, it allowed me to hook up with men who I wouldn't otherwise have had a chance with, right, who are attractive or who, you know, look a certain way. But there I was, you know, with them, having them do things to me that, you know, if I picked them, if I went to a bar and saw them like, they wouldn't give me the time of day. But suddenly there we are, and there's something really Um cool about that. There's something really Um validating about that. Although the active cruising has historically been frowned upon by our heteronormative society, and has more recently had to adapt to covid and evolve with the rise of dating APPS. History tells US cruising is here to stay. No matter how many times our society tries to Um, uh, you know, push it underground, it'll find a way uh to Um, to come back right, it'll find a way to flourish and and it's certainly evident in the sort of historical Um analysis of the practice of cruising. is every every single time Um, you know, uh, individuals have tried to put a stop to it. It sort of it just roots itself stronger and and, you know, Um continues to evolve in ways that are surprising. To learn more about the complexities of cruising and its existence throughout history, you can pick up Alex's book cruising, an intimate history of a radical pastime. You know, I'm a big supporter of indie bookstores. Uh. So, if there's an indie bookstore near you, or you know indie bound, Um, you know any uh bookshop dot org, you can find the book anywhere and Um. Yeah. So, so check your local bookstores. Um, they...

...should have a copy of it. If not, you can order it. So anywhere, you can find it anywhere. Pride is a production of Straw hut media. If you like the show, leave us at rating and review on Apple podcasts, spotify, wherever you listen to podcasts. Then follow us on Tiktok, instagram, facebook, twitter and snapchat at pride and tune in weekly for more episodes. Be Sure to share this episode with your friends and subscribe for more stories from Amazing Queer people. If you'd like to connect with me, you can follow me everywhere at Levi Chambers. Pride is produced by me Levi Chambers, Frank Driscoll, Maggie Bowls, Ryan Tillottson and Brandon Marlowe. Edited by Frank Driscoll and Daniel Ferrara.

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