Saturday, September 19, 2009

Me and Mr. Johnson

I believe we are all prejudiced to a degree. If you look at a black man, and see a black man instead of a man that happens to be black you have some degree of bigotry. It’s a nuance but a valid one. We just have not evolved to the point where we don’t SEE color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc., and at some base level allow it to formulate some conscious manifestation. Those of us who are strong enough, educated enough, sane enough, mature enough, caring enough, kind enough, fight these base considerations off and keep them out of our rational decision making process. Those of us who aren’t, are Neo Nazis, sexists, racists, homophobes, etc. But we still live in a society where all these forms of prejudice exist. It is better now than it was when our parents were at their prime. And I suspect it will improve from generation to generation. But for now, it’s there.

Today we are going to talk a little about homophobia as it applies to personal space and etiquette in a men’s restroom and locker room. Now I don’t know anything at all about women’s etiquette. Judging from the herding behavior that seems prevalent when they visit the restroom I don’t think I want to know. I’m assuming these rules and guidelines don’t apply. But guys, for crying out loud, get a clue. In 54 years not once has a man looked at me and asked “Do you want to go to the men’s room”? There is a reason for that. It’s the underlying homophobia in all of us.

For example, if you walk into a rest room to whiz, and there are a row of empty urinals, you DON’T pick the one right next to the lone guy who’s already tending to business. You need at LEAST one urinal of separation between you and that other guy. Preferably more if it’s available. That’s the law. It is a definitive breach of urinal etiquette to sashay up to an adjoining urinal and whip it out. It is a MAJOR breach to strike up a conversation. Unless you have known someone for at least a year chit chat at the pisser is forbidden. No one wants to talk to you when they are taking a leak and no one should want to talk to you while you yourself are leaking.

I rode to Sturgis with my wife and a friend in 2008. Great trip. But our stop at Mt. Rushmore was ruined for me by some maniac in the men’s room. It was like he was out to violate every urinal rule in existence. First he takes the spot right next to me. You know you always feel a little uncomfortable when a guy has options but heads straight to the urinal immediately adjoining yours. Then the SOB decides to strike up a conversation. I’ve already stated this is taboo. I mean, it’s hard enough to pee in front of some stranger. We’ve all experienced an advanced form of this at major sports stadiums. You’re standing at what I call “the trough”. You have no choice but to be shoulder to shoulder. There is a line waiting behind you. The pressure is enormous! “Oh God, let me pee… everybody is waiting… guys are coming and going next to me…everyone is wondering what my problem is… etc….”. Shit, I’ve had occasions where I’ve PRETENDED to finish up, shake it off, and slink out with the intention of coming back when all these people are gone. Of course that opens the door to “everyone must be thinking what a pain in the ass… I had to wait for this guy and he didn’t even pee” scenario. This is why so many men head straight to the shitters in these circumstances. They want some privacy. So anyway, this guy (who happens to be in his late ‘70’s or early 80’s which makes his next move even worse) is two for two. He’s right next to me. He’s talking to me. But then he hits the grand slam. Out of the corner of my eye (and I swear I’m not making this up) I see him start stroking his sacred salami like he was at home with a Hustler magazine! OMG, how the hell do you deal with that! I mean give me a fucking break! So of course I’m standing there doing the “oh God, let me pee” thing. Now I can only assume when you hit your late 70’s or early 80’s you need a little help getting the flow started. But Jesus Christ! If ever there was a guy who should take it to the shitter this was him. Well, he finishes up and keeps chatting! I haven’t dripped a drop! But I stood firm until he left. How long could it be right? And I knew he’d leave soon. No one else was in there and I really had to go. He left and I let it fly and got the hell out of there, traumatized to the point where to this day, I have no idea what the fuck he was talking about.

But what brought this subject up was an experience I had yesterday at the local YMCA where I work out. It was a light workout. Thirty five minutes on an elliptical machine then off to the shower. Should have been an easy deal with no incidents. But while in the locker room changing into my workout clothes this guy comes out of the shower and into my row of lockers. Now I kind of know this guy. We see each other there often enough to acknowledge each others presence through friendly conversation. He’s a nice guy. And he’s a talker. I mean yackity yack talker. Which is fine, as long as he’s not standing within three feet of me offering full frontal nudity with not even the slightest semblance of modesty. He’s standing up, I’m sitting down… it was ugly. This is taboo behavior for several reasons. First I should say that I am not blatantly homophobic. I have had very close friendships with gay men and not once has one of them come on to me. One has passed on and I miss him dearly. I believe in gay marriage. But in a sense, I suppose I’ve always viewed it as being analogous to befriending a woman, without tits, who likes football…. But, nothing brings out the subverted homophobic sirens in your head more than some guy waving his Willie in your face. You fight like hell not to look. If you do, he may think you want to. Of course, he may think you’re a homophobic asshole if you don’t. This is a lose lose situation and it is tremendously discourteous to wave your wanker at someone while engaged in conversation. Now I’m no prude. Just ask my family. I sleep in the buff. I’ll even walk around the upstairs of our house in the buff. Occasionally, I’ll venture downstairs in the buff. But I don’t converse in close quarters with my neighbors offering a square straight up shot of Mr. Johnson while standing within two feet of them!

OK, so as if I’m not uncomfortable enough, this very nice guy, who I have no problem chatting with, but who is making me very uncomfortable with his free spirited “I dare you to look” laissez faire attitude regarding his tube snake… this guy has the unmitigated gall to grab a handful of talcum powder and start rubbing it all over his crotch like flea powder on a dog! I mean COME ON DUDE. WTF? Was he trying to make me pass out?

So, if you must strike up a conversation in a locker room and Dick, the one eyed trouser trout is enjoying some fresh air, turn aside. Wrap a towel around your waist. Pretend to be sorting through your locker so you don’t look like you’re trolling the wiener. But DON’T close in on another guy’s personal space. What he will see is a gigantic man eating penis coming straight at him with the intent to either chow down or beat him to death.


Common Sense

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