Get your cruise face on

(About the social-sexual world of gay men — men negotiating for sex — so much of this is not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Two recent Daily Jocks postings featuring men displaying their bodies in what is clearly a sexual offer, with accompanying facial expressions: from July 9th, a DJ ad for CellBlock13 underwear, with a model performing two different cruises; and from July 11th, a selfie that won a DJ gift box for its subject:

(#1) On the left, crotch display and Engaged Face (“Hey, buddy, we can do this”); on the right, butt display and Seductive Face (“Think you can handle this, big boy?”)

Ad copy:

CellBlock13 is the raunchy big daddy to its founder Timoteo. Created with a unique style for the man that likes to get down and dirty in his underwear choices, you’ll love CellBlock13’s risqué and seductive designs.

The Cyber X-treme collection features brand new Harnesses, Jockstraps and Shorts with both the latter featuring a detachable pouch and c-ring.

Yes, the pouch unsnaps in a jiffy, so its wearer can achieve an instant response to the exigencies of the sexual moment.

(#2) Frontal muscle fantasy and Supercilious Face (“Look on my body, you peon, and despair!”); Diego is modeling the Varsity brand Debut jockstrap in light blue and teal

Then there’s street cruising, with its apotheotic facial expression, the Killer Cruise, aka the Cruise of Death:

(#3) From my 7/30/11 posting “X of death, killer X”, a cartoon from Ortleb & Fiala’s 1978 book of gay cartoons, Relax! This book is only a phase you’re going through

The facial expression for classic cruising-for-sex between strangers in public is impassive, betraying no emotion; what’s important is the exchange of gaze, held for much longer than would normally be polite in the circumstances. As here, in this bear-cruising photo by Boots Bryant (more on him below):

(#4) In the next photo in the series, Checked Shirt goes down on Business Suit

On to cruising. From NOAD:

verb cruise: [no object, with adverbial] 1 [a] sail about in an area without a precise destination, especially for pleasure: they were cruising off the California coast | [with object]: she cruised the canals of France in a barge. [b] take a vacation on a ship or boat following a predetermined course, usually calling in at several ports. [c] (of a vehicle or person) travel or move slowly around without a specific destination in mind: a police van cruised past us | [with object]: teenagers were aimlessly cruising the mall. [d] informal wander about a place in search of a casual sexual partner: he spends his time cruising and just hanging out in New Orleans | [with object]: he cruised the gay bars of Los Angeles. [e] [with object] informal walk past and assess (a potential sexual partner): he was cruising a pair of sailors. ORIGIN mid 17th century (as a verb): probably from Dutch kruisen ‘to cross’, from kruis ‘cross’, from Latin crux.

[d] and [e] are the mansexually relevant senses.

Guys can cruise each other anywhere, even on elegant shopping streets and in farm fields, but there are canonical sites for public cruising:  certain men’s rooms (for t-room action) and cruising areas of woods and parks. This activity is rarely represented in mainstream media, but it surfaces occasionally (often with the scent of scandal clinging to it).

An example from cruising areas of parks: from my 8/19/17 posting “An urban jungle”, a section on The Ramble in NYC’s Central Park, featuring Al Pacino in the film Cruising. And from t-rooms: from my 4/25/18 posting “At the t-room urinals”, a section on Frank Ripploh’s film Taxi zum Klo.

Some photographers have specifically celebrated public cruising in their works. From the Advocate site on 10/21/17, in “61 Photos of Men Cruising for It in Public” by Christopher Harrity:

In these photographs, [Long Beach CA-based artist] Boots Bryant [Kevin Johnson] depicts the tense erotic rituals of traditional public cruising

On  Bryant’s Facebook page he characterizes himself as an

Artcivious [art + lascivious] shutterbug and artist. My work falls on the boundary WHERE FILTH MEETS FINE ART!

From the portfolio:

(#5) Locking eyes in the woods

(#6) T-room offer

(#7) After the eye-lock stage, the crucial stage 2: contact!

Then on The Fader site on 12/16/11, “Interview: Photographer Chad States on Cruising” by Alex Frank:

(#8) Stage 2 among the evergreens

Chad States opens his book of photographs with an old quote from writer Edmund White: “Although people still talked about sex as ‘disgusting’ and ‘filthy,’ I thought of it as romantic.” Cruising is States’ proof that this is true, a documentation of two years he spent visiting state parks around the country not to go birdwatching or take hikes, but to photograph, quite romantically, the age-old practice of cruising for gay sex in the woods. He took thousands of pictures that are amazing enough for their subject matter alone — in a world where you can watch Kim Kardashian go to the OB-GYN on syndicated television, it feels special to access one of the few remaining undocumented private spaces left. But what’s awesome is that States is more than just an anthropologist. Bathing his subjects in soft light, the work is just as much a lovely coffee table book about nature and an affirmation of the things humans do, and have always done, quite naturally. States turns something thought of as sordid into a celebration.

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