A clean t-room is a *happy* t-room

(T-rooms, lots of men’s naughty bits and raunchy doings, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

From David Preston on Facebook, this public service ad from the US Centers for Disease Control, which David and I, and a number of others, chose to interpret as depicting a scene in an unusually clean and bright t-room / tearoom (from NOAD: “North American informal a public restroom used as a meeting place for homosexual encounters”; more in postings inventoried in the “Sex in public” Page on this blog):


(#1) One in a recent series of CDC Clean Hands ads. I have no idea what the CDC intended the heavy circle and 4-point starburst symbols to convey, or the color difference between yellow and blue (some of the ads have white symbols as well), though they do seem to associate that shade of blue with cleanliness (in a simple world of binary symbol distinctions, that would associate the bright yellow color with dirtiness — but for what purpose, I have no idea)

I chose to see #1 as extolling the virtues of a nouvelle vague in t-rooms, Pleasure Points in Transit Centers, or PlantCents®, or PCs for very short (you’ll note that the two men in #1 are both travelers, shlepping suitcases on wheels). (#1 also celebrates intergenerational sex, but that’s not my topic today. ) YoungMan and NiceGuy, two members of the big queer family on the road, are “transit buddies”, seen here washing up happily after a homosexual encounter (as NOAD carefully puts it) in this very PC. The scene illustrates three things at once:

a PC maxim: a clean t-room is a happy t-room

a PC hygiene tip: share a stall, wash your hands

a PC manners tip: after you’ve come, and before you go, always thank your transit buddy (with a smile, if you encounter one another face to face)

To which — thanks to Bill Halstead — I would add the official PC mood music, Smokey Robinson’s silken-voiced ballad “Cruisin'”, which you can listen to here (#2):

Baby let’s cruise
Let’s float, let’s glide
Ooh let’s open up and go inside

The PC story: the furnishings. They used to be just t-rooms in bus stations, but now they’re PlantCents® for men, Pleasure Points in Transit Centers, maintained for the needs and comfort of traveling men (guys called “transit buddies” in the slang of the places) — “You want it, you got it” is the motto of PlantCents Inc.

PlantCents® — or just PCs — are bright and clean, with softly throbbing music piped in, over the background sound of running water. To heighten the experience, the rooms are lightly but sharply scented with MuskMan® essence.

The WetBars for Men® are separated from one another only by low porcelain sides, for maximum visibility and easy access, while allowing the appliances to be used for urination for those who desire it.

The ShareIt® stalls are dual-purpose facilities, designed to allow transit buddies either full anonymity for their encounters or semi-private spots for full-body access. (Each stall has a sturdy conventional toilet, which can serve as a seat for a user, but primarily functions as a powerful nostalgic symbol of the traditional t-room of the dirty old days; but however symbolic they might be, these toilets are fully equipped to be used for defecation and disposal, should that need arise.)

The stalls have very generous subpartition spaces, providing lots of room for giving and taking dick. Most have a Gloriosky!®, a sizable glory hole with smooth padded edges, and in the deluxe stalls each partition has two, at different heights. The partitions and the Gloriosky!s come with firm pairs of grab bars for the users to balance and support themselves.

Conventional toilet paper is supplied, for nostalgic reasons mostly; but for everyday use, the stalls have dispensers of wet wipes — for hands, mouth, crotch, or ass, according to the needs of the moment — and soft paper towels; also small notepads with golf pencils, for passing handwritten notes; and closed waste receptacles for all of the used paper products. And of course, condoms and tubes of lube. (The company is planning to make simple anal douche kits available as well.)

The floors are a soft linoleum composite, comfortable for the knees, pleasing to the eyes, and easy for maintainance crews to keep clean. From a PC ad:

Say good-bye to grubby t-room knees! No more pointing fingers and mocking in the locker room! Now, only you and your blowbuddy have to know.

The PC story: the iconography. Some stalls are especially well fitted for hand jobs and blow jobs, others for fucking. PlantCent has icons to mark these: a 4-point starburst icon (iconic of a cock and balls) for the first, a heavy circle or torus (iconic of an asshole) for the second:


(#3)The 4-point starburst symbol, in black

(#4) The heavy circle symbol, in black

But, basically, any spot will serve for any act, and that includes the middle of the mensroom floor, next to the WetBars, in the open doorway of a stall, and on the sinks — Just Do It, as the saying goes — so these labelings are at best just suggestions.

The company has long puzzled over the CDC color-coding for its circles and starbursts. For some reason, the agency doesn’t answer mail from PlantCent Inc., so the company just went with its best guess — that bright blue was for clean / cool, bright yellow for dirty / hot — and made temporary placards for buddies to put on doors, mostly to say whether or not they were open for, or actively inviting, yellow stuff: intense dirty talk, domination vs. humiliation, deep rimming, watersports, whatever. They’re not used much.

The PC story: the management. Every PC has an attendant supplied by the company: an experienced, knowledgeable, empathetic, and responsible manager of the facility. He oversees maintainance and supplies; provides assistance and advice to the transit buddies (especially to first-timers, guys who are new to the scene); works to ensure that his facility is protected from the eyes and sensibilities of those who would be offended by its services (“a big ol’ watch queen”, one calls himself, self-mockingly) and especially from the intrusions of law enforcement; and, most important, maintains order in this social world and promotes a positive moral framework for its subculture (involving consensuality, non-violence, openness, accepting all kinds of guys non-judgmentally, accommodating your buddy, and so on).

It’s a demanding job, so PC attendants are, accordingly, very well-paid. If you think you might have the stuff to do the job, put in an e-mail probe to PlantCent.com. Shameless plug: PlantCent Inc. is a fully employee-owned and -run company, with excellent benefits for all the staff. Indeed, as the attendants say, proudly: “We’re not just the managers of PlantCents, we’re also users!” (In fact, if, contrary to the company motto, it happens that you want it and your local PC hasn’t got it at the moment, the attendant is trained to provide satisfaction. Real-world note: I was once given exactly this service by an attendant at the gay baths, on an exceptionally slow Thursday afternoon. Sweet.)

One Response to “A clean t-room is a *happy* t-room”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    If I’ve done my job well, I have some hopes that when you get to the following passage, you’ll have a moment of wondering what it would be like to work as a PlantCent attendant, and whether you should suggest to a friend that he apply for the job:

    It’s a demanding job, so PC attendants are, accordingly, very well-paid. If you think you might have the stuff to do the job, put in an e-mail probe to PlantCent.com. Shameless plug: PlantCent Inc. is a fully employee-owned and -run company, with excellent benefits for all the staff.

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