When I submitted the first two parts of this to PositiveLite.com, the editor commented that they were “brave”. By going out, learning and doing public speaking I hear many stories by others that are far more brave than mine.
In some of those stories people admit to years of drug addiction. Talking about this subject I can relate to their addiction in a small way. Cruising is an addiction as well, a sex addiction where there is plenty of it around - but you don’t pay for it. You sneak off into the night, don’t tell anyone where you’re going or what you do, and you lie about what you did last night.
Every addiction comes with a darker side, a dangerous side. Mine had me out there meeting a total stranger, someone I knew nothing about, and no one knew where I was, alone when something goes wrong?
Sometimes you get to know some of the men. Someone might want to go for a coffee after the act or just find somewhere to talk outside the area. You might share some war stories, learn what to watch for. I learned that if you weren’t sure about someone, of you thought that he might be a police officer, ask if he is. He is required to identify himself or it’s entrapment if he tries to arrest you.
There is another form of cruising that I was a part of and it actually involved driving my car. There are many places to go with a car - carpool stations, parks, hiking trails or truck stops. You pull in and wait; other men will cruise by you and there will be some sort of contact that will let you know the person is interested. Sometimes people will come up to your car; you chat a bit until you are both sure of what you want. Things can happen right there; you both go off into the bushes or agree to drive to a safer area, and in rare cases you might go to someone’s home.
One night I picked up a young guy. We went out to the industrial area of town, did our business and I began to drive him back into the city. On the way he pulled a knife on me and started waving it in front of my face. He demanded I give him money, saying he was part of the Mafia and he couldn’t go back without being paid. I knew that the Mafia didn’t deal in male prostitution. I almost laughed at him, I just tried to let him think I was cooperating with him until I could get into the main part of the city. I told him I had money in the bank but nothing with me in case something like this happened and I would have to go to a cash machine.
I found a bank with a big parking lot. There was a city worker there cleaning it with a vacuum machine. I pulled in, got out and ordered the guy to get the hell out. I had a witness now if he tried to actually use his knife. The guy almost started crying, telling me he had a girlfriend and a child. I told him that he needed to tell me that he was doing it for money ahead of time so people like me could say “no thanks”.
Another time, I picked up a guy, it was during the winter. I was sitting in my car at a park when the guy approached me, I invited him in. My car wasn’t very roomy and when this guy got in it got much smaller inside - he was bundled up in heavy clothing. Things started rather quickly; it was going to happen right there. As things progressed he was having trouble getting it up and keeping it up. This was not a good thing; he got frustrated and grabbed me around the neck and he was pulling it in a way to snap it. I swear I could see my life playing out before me. Luckily, because of the confined space in the car, it worked to my advantage, I was able to break free. I grabbed my keys, turned off the car and got out. I told him to get out and we would just go our separate ways. If he didn’t I would call the cops. He got out and ran.
I’d like to say that my days of cruising ended on that note but they didn’t. However I exercised a lot more caution. It even continued after my HIV diagnosis - but I never forgot my status. There were times when I knew I had to disclose and depending on the activity all decisions were by mutual consent, with emphasis on practicing safer sex
I can’t say when exactly it did stop, or why, but it has. Maybe it’s the age thing; my testosterone level has dropped somewhat, not completely but it has dropped some.
Maybe it’s because it still isn't a spectator sport.