Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Jiminy God.

“I should not have pled guilty,” says Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig, of the revelation that he was charged in Minnesota for lewd conduct. “They were misconstruing my actions.”

And what were those actions? After security at the Minneapolis airport received complaints that a man was loitering in the restroom, a plainclothes police officer was dispatched to investigate. Senator Craig moved into the empty stall next to the police officer when it was vacated, then blocked it with his bag to obscure the view inside. He peered through the cracks in the stall, tapped his foot, and repeatedly waved his hand under the partition to get the police officer’s attention.

Senator Craig claims he was stooping down to pick up a piece of paper, which I guess must have been flying around – he was trying to stomp on it with his foot or catch it as it was flying up into the next stall and he blocked the door so it wouldn’t fly out the front. Sure, that’s plausible.

It’s almost as likely as Florida State Representative Bob Allen’s explanation for why he was busted for the same thing last month: he thought he was about to be mugged by the African-American undercover cop, so he offered $20 and a blowjob.

As a gay man who has been harassed in restrooms and locker rooms, I have seen exactly this behavior: the foot-tapping and the reaching under the partition to indicate interest. The policeman certainly has grounds to suspect this is what Craig was after; if the Senator wasn’t pursuing a restroom quickie, he certainly had a spectacular misfortune in coincidentally mimicking the internationally-recognized tea-house tap dance.

Part of me feels pity for the senator, another victim of cultural attitudes that require repression and denial instead of allowing people to live their lives plainly and honestly; it drives them to dangerous furtive encounters in bathrooms and rest stops. But my sympathy is tempered by rage over his hypocrisy: here is yet another closeted conservative politician who has scored political points by demonizing gay people. He panders to folks who think there’s something wrong with me by claiming I’m a corrupting, destabilizing force in American culture. Well, buddy, this tax-paying, church-going registered voter isn’t running around on his wife having anonymous sex in airports. Senator, heal thyself.

When confronted earlier this year with recorded testimony that he’d engaged in gay sex in Washington, D.C.’s train station (such allegations have been dogging him for forty years), Craig responded, "The gay movement, we know it for what it is. It's now aggressive and it's liberal and it's naming people to try to put them in compromising, difficult situations." Then he exclaimed, “Jiminy God!”

If the senator insists on pursuing anonymous, adulterous, meaningless sexual trysts as a hobby, he should find a better place to do it. It’s called the internet. In the meantime, he could stop projecting his own character flaws onto millions of law-abiding gay and lesbian people in order to exploit them for political gain. And let me pee in peace.


Gino said...

but he said he aint gay.

personally, i think looking for you know what in a restroom is about as unromantic as it gets.
oh, yeah...
i really like the image of my next date sitting on a toilet ingrained in my head. yuck.

Neel Mehta said...

Good post. GREAT title.

Jade said...

I agree Gino... totally unromantic... unless it's in that fabulous World's Best Restroom that you posted pictures of sometime back. Now THAT is a great place to hook up.. all fancy and clean and flowers everywhere.


Tea-house tapdance? If it's internationally known, why is there no Wikipedia entry for it?

DJRainDog said...

Indeed, he said he ain't gay. Technically, neither am I. And frankly, I don't want to be part of any group that claims him as one of its members (well, okay, I suppose the human race is general enough). And perhaps in his mind, he's not gay. This was a problematic issue at the dawn of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as doctors and social workers and the like were interviewing the men who were presenting symptoms. "No, I'm not gay!" they'd fervently protest. (See the depiction of Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner's Angels in America for a rather brilliant illustration.) These men did not fit "the stereotype" of gay men at the time. They were, instead, men who would pick up other men on the street or wherever and would have sex with them, but without what they deemed the characteristics that represented "gay men" (and generally without anything resembling emotional commitment or romance). Thus the scientific community coined the phrase "men who have sex with men", commonly abbreviated "MSM" to describe these people. The phrase still appears on many health forms. And thus, I'm often confused when people use that abbreviation, as they've begun to do of late, to refer to the "mainstream media". ;-) What's confusing me right now is who is this "Jiminy God" character...

Aethlos said...

"internationally-recognized tea-house tap dance" FANTASTIC. i'm stealing that! xoxo