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September 2012


Small Town Queer: Strange Sex

What the hell has happened to sex? Yesterday I heard about someone being into “rain coating.” Now I’m nothing if not a sexual anthropologist—ever in search of new and interesting information and a good dig—so I had to explore this “rain coating” thing. But when I asked about it, I was told this:


“Basically I like to bottom while the other guy wears raingear.”


“Like fireman raingear?” I asked.
“Yea! I love the feel of PVC against my skin! I usually have the guy turn it inside-out so I can feel the shiny side of the plastic. I also love when they wear steel-toed boots. I love to lick them clean.”


I was shocked! Not because of his sexual desires, but because I was expecting it to have something to do with urine. (Weren’t you?) The gay sexual arena is full of many different players of many different teams. Some even have uniforms! I, along with other folks my age, have had to learn much more than we ever thought possible about sex. Nowadays it’s just as important to know what you’re not into, as what turns you on. Having slept around for the better part of my twenties, here are a few things I’ve learned:


  1. You will learn more by going out to some open houses before you make a purchase, than going with an impulse buy in the sexual real estate market.
  2. When you wake up in the morning and see several hundred bird sculptures around the room, leading to a bathroom filled with even more renditions of aviation; it’s probably best to be as quiet as possible, get out, and get on with your walk-of-shame before he wakes up!
  3. If you’re above the age of 20 and he opens up the Britney Spears station on Pandora Radio, GTFO.
  4. Don’t completely shave your groin and its surrounding area—“You can’t play ball if there’s no grass on the field.”


Not to be trite, but I often miss the Disney interpretation of sex I had years ago, before I knew about things like “rain coating.” Back then I thought I’d find a nice girl (man) and settle down (get a dog) together and live in a nice part of town (a split-level far from the bars). We’d grow herbs in our back yard (till the dog dug them up) and plant lavender by the garden gate (which the neighbor’s cat would eat; causing it to die, resulting in a feud that lasted decades.) We’d have our friends (former lovers and people we met at the bars) over for cook-outs. (“Let’s all get drunk and talk about people!”) She (he) would handle the grill (He always burns things so I have to eventually take that over) while I handled the potato salad and other side dishes (recipes I learned from Ina Garten that I’m sure will make everyone think I’m a fabulous cook.)


But this is not how love is in our modern day. With a myriad of sexual tools at our fingertips, people are having more sex with less meaning than ever. It used to be about chemistry and flirting with someone from across the room, only to meet for a drink and charm the pants right off one another. Today it’s about how quickly you can text a sleazy message, and how good you look in your profile picture. Sex has become like Domino’s Pizza; “30 minutes or less!” In ten years, I think you’ll be able to teleport to any bath house of your choice.


I went to a family Thanksgiving with my boyfriend at the time, Michael. He was giving me information about what to avoid with his Mother this time, and he told me to make sure I talked to his Dad about old music again, because “He really feels like he connects with [me] on that.” I was warned not to encourage his Grandmother to talk about her health problems, to avoid the topic of politics with his Uncle Geoff, and above all “Don’t do that thing you do with your face when you don’t like something but you’ve decided to suffer through it, everyone can tell!” I let him go on like this not only because I could tell that he was nervous, but because I was very excited to finally meet his Mother’s sister, Teresa.


From Cuba, Michael’s mother and her family immigrated to the United States from Cuba sometime in the 1960s. While all of her siblings had done their best to conform to an “American Dream,” Teresa earned her living the old fashioned way. She decided to prostitute in Chicago for 20 years, and I was dying to pick her brain.


After dinner, I asked Teresa if she’d like to join me for a cigarette in the back yard. “You bet your sweet ass I do!” She said as though I’d asked her if she’d like to take a huge bong rip at a college party. We went into the back yard and exchanged the usual small talk until she pulled a joint out of her pocket, lit it, and said “So what has Mikey told you about me so far?”


I went straight for sentimentality, which was a mistake. “Only that you’re one of the most loving people he’s ever met, and that when he came out you hugged him and told him to quit crying like a bitch.” She laughed, took a deep inhale—smiled—and exhaled. Then, she looked at me and said, “Mikey and me, we’re the black sheep of the family. I’ve seen more dicks than a 3rd shift cashier at Wal*Mart and Mikey….”
“Is gay?” I asked, trying to stifle my laughter.
“Something like that,” She sighed. We stayed in the back yard for over an hour. I tried to get her to talk about her career, but she wanted to talk about Michael. When we went back in the house, Mike shot me a look, and his mother shot her sister the same look, it said: “Where have you been and you sure as hell better have not been getting stoned in my back yard!”


On the way home, he asked me about our conversation, and I filled him in on my new favorite member of his family. “She’s a trip!” he said, as we pulled into my drive way. “All she wanted to talk about was you! I kept trying to get details about little black books and horny politicians, and she wanted to talk about how darling you were when you ate your first bowl of mashed potatoes. I wanted Sex and the City, and I got Family Ties! I want a refund!” I snapped back. Suddenly Michael turned off his truck, and leaned over to kiss my cheek.


“Sex isn’t always that glamorous, I guess.”




About Nathan: Nathan is a 25 year old activist living in rural Iowa. He enjoys late night conversations, Autumn weather, an open window next to a sweaty dance floor, and a divine Bloody Mary. Nathan left Iowa State University in 2008 with an English degree.