The first cruisy restroom I discovered in my youth lurked in a forgotten basement corner of the downtown public library of the town in which I grew up. Even calling it a ‘downtown’ is a little bit of an overstatement. Nominally the library was only two blocks from one of the town’s busier intersections, where the buildings were at their highest—but compared to the places I’ve lived since, I’ve realized that what I thought of in the nineteen-seventies as our bustling Southern metropolis was fairly podunk. The highest architecture there scraped the sky from four stories off the ground. Our biggest attraction was a Planter’s Peanuts shop, where a mechanical Mr. Peanut sign limned in neon lowered and raised his top hat a slow, metronomic style and the fragrant smell of hot nuts enticed hungry visitors.
But to someone searching for excitement, downtown was the place I wanted to be. I grew up in an age diametrically opposite to the current era of helicopter parenting. My folks pushed me out the door at every opportunity. They were thrilled to let me board a bus that would take me from our sleepy neighborhood with its one-room branch library to the downtown area, where the new library building offered opportunity after opportunity for illicit sex.
The main library had been built around and on top of an older building. Although the bulk of the circulating books were in the brightly-lit newer section, where patrons bustled around to find their reading material for the week, and students congregated at the big birch tables to study. There were restrooms in the new section, but they were antiseptic, busy, and devoid of action.
No, the real action took place in the building’s neglected no-man’s-land, where shadows and echoes alike gathered. I’d detour from the bright lights and low ceilings and take my business to the existing older section of the building, where the hallways were made of dark stone. The only people who ventured into this area were those visiting the music archives, where patrons shut themselves into glass booths to listen to scratchy classical LPs or pore over old operatic scores among the musty stacks. The men’s room was at the bottom of the basement staircase. There was a children’s library at the basement’s other end, but it had its own facilities and entrance. There weren’t any stacks or offices or amenities here. Anyone who ventured into this particular section was either lost, or there specifically to visit this bathroom.
I’d first discovered this particular restroom in the heady days of exploration after I’d read in the notoriously homophobic sex manual Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)—which happened to be the only sex manual my parents owned, and which they’d casually given me to read when I was ten—that homosexuals gathered in bowling alley restrooms in order to meet and have sex with each other. Since my part of town lacked a bowling alley, I figured that our local homosexuals were probably having to improvise in other venues . . . and thus there was a period of a couple of years in which I would Nancy Drew every public restroom I came across.
The two-stall basement men’s room turned out to be the first place where I found traces of cruisers’ graffiti. I need somebody to suck my sock, read a scrawl on the tiles followed by a recent date, the first time I went there. Sock-sucking sounded exotic (and erotic) in my imagination for several days. Not until a week of rubbing myself at the thought of it had passed did it occur to me that some other wag had added an extra curlicue to the original cruiser’s C, neatly turning it into an S. I frotted all the more furiously at that realization.
It was in that basement I encountered my first gloryhole of sorts. Peep hole, really. The library had taken out the original toilet paper holder on the wall between the stalls and left the smallest of holes to peek through. Usually men sat on the toilet and immediately stuffed small twists of tissue into the hole to prevent voyeurism, but there were men who, upon seeing my iris reflecting back at them through the tiny fissure, would immediately stand up and show me their wares. Most of the first glimpses of a partial erect cock I ever saw were through that tiny hole. The gloryhole at my parents’ college was larger and had more activity, but there was something inescapably erotic about seeing a man’s meat through that narrow hole, one inch at a time.
When I finally screwed up the courage to have sex in the restrooms a couple of years later, the library basement was one of the first places I returned. I’d lost my oral and anal virginity the week before and was raring for more. I remember how hard my heart beat during my descent down that twisting staircase from in front of the music listening rooms to the basement. By the time I reached the basement, the pounding sounded like timpani.
The restroom was empty when I sat down, but I didn’t have long to wait. I’d only just shut my stall door and pulled down my pants when I heard footsteps echoing along the hallway outside. The door creaked open a moment later, and I heard footsteps cross the floor. The man went straight to the other stall beside mine, closed the door, and played with the buckle of his pants. I heard them drop to the floor.
I looked through the little peephole, and saw motion. The man was leaning down to look underneath the stall; I could see the top of his back bob into view as he attempted to see who was sitting next to him. I knew what to do by that point. I raised and lowered the front half of my foot, keeping the heel firmly on the floor. A casual tap of the foot. Nothing forbidden about that.
His own shiny black shoe tapped. My turn. I moved my foot a little closer to the partition. Let it rest for a brief moment. Then lifted and lowered the toes once more. He responded in kind. Our feet were only a good dozen inches apart. I moved mine to close ten of those inches, and tapped once again.
Then his foot touched mine, seemingly sending electricity through my spine. I dropped my hand and held it right underneath the stall, my fingers cupped to give a resting place for his cock. He withdrew his foot almost immediately. I heard him pull off a length of toilet paper. Then, a moment later, he thrust a scroll of it beneath the stall, wrapped around a ballpoint pen. How old are you? he’d written.
I was twelve. I had a baby face. I probably looked all of ten. I didn’t even have pubes. I didn’t want the guy thinking I was an unsophisticated virgin. 14, I wrote on the paper. I thought the number might make me sound like a jaded habitué of this dank haunt.
There was a long, long pause. The poor fellow was probably wondering what to do. It never really occurred to me during my jailbait days that I was putting anybody at risk with my age. Gay sex itself was outlawed; man-on-man contact between adults was already taboo and forbidden. Accosted homosexuals got written up in the newspapers and were drummed out of town. The situation was already grim in theory. Realistically, sex with a minor in those days probably really wouldn’t have made it any worse. At last the tip of the pen reappeared beneath the stall. I unfurled the toilet paper wrapped around it. If you stick your dick under the stall I’ll suck it, it read. If you come around to my stall and suck me off, I’ll give you $20.
I stuffed the note in my pocket. I still have it, somewhere. I pulled up, but didn’t fasten, my pants. A moment later, I stepped out of my stall and knocked at the door of his. He opened the door and welcomed me in.
The man had thick auburn hair and an impressively bushy red mustache and matching sideburns. He wore a plaid suit that must have looked fashionable in the pages of the previous year’s Montgomery Ward catalog. His pants were puddled around his ankles, though; in his hand he held a very thick six inches. We didn’t need formalities. He stood up, eased me around to the toilet, pulled down my pants, and took my cock in his mouth. I wasn’t a big boy then. My meat was long for my age, but very thin.
He had no problem taking the entire length into his mouth. He must have sensed how quickly he was getting me to orgasm, because he backed off when my thighs began to quiver, then sat me down. He stood up and pointed his dick at my mouth. “You know what to do?” he asked.
They were the only words he spoke that day. I knew what to do.
I opened wide and let him sink his cock into my mouth as deeply as he could plunge it. I was still a novice cocksucker, but I’d been given a few tips the week before. So I wrapped my lips around my teeth, kept them as moist as possible, and moved my head back and forth along the shaft. His thick head nearly choked me several times as it pounded the back of my throat. I kept going, though, trying not to sputter or choke and remember to gulp air whenever I could. After a minute I lifted my hand up to grab onto his big, very hairy balls.
It was the last action that pushed him over the edge. He took my skull in both of his big hands and held it stationary. In and out he started pistoning his dick, not really caring how well I was coping with my first face fucking. After a couple of minutes of that rough treatment, he pulled his dick all the way out, held it a moment . . . then plunged it back in to hold it there. I felt his cock contract and expand. The back of my mouth started to flood with his seed. The load was much more bitter—and bigger—than the first load I’d taken the week before. I wasn’t prepared for that much quantity. I kept swallowing and gulping, though, until he’d unloaded it all in me. When he pulled out, finally giving me a chance to breathe, his dick squirted out a little bit more. It dribbled onto my chin and onto my shirt.
The blow job left me half in love with the guy. I remember gazing up at him with puppy dog eyes, still hard and my own cock unsatisfied. He maneuvered himself in the little stall so that he could pull up those plaid pants and buckle that enormous belt of his. Then he reached into his back pocket, withdrew his wallet, and pulled out a bill on it. I’d never seen Andrew Jackson on currency of my own before. That single bill represent about two months of my regular allowance. He pushed the money into my hand and wrapped my fingers around it to make sure I had a grip. Then he nodded and, without making eye contact, he let himself out of the stall. I heard the restroom door creak and his footsteps vanish up the stairs.
I haven’t been back to that restroom since I was about seventeen years old. Partly it’s because I’m not sure it’s even there any longer—that library’s undergone a few renovations since. I’d hate to go hunting for it and discover it had been demolished to make way for a cell phone charging station or corporate-sponsored virtual reality demonstration on Our City’s River Heritage. Mostly, though, I’m afraid to erase the nostalgic and even romantic view of it I still retain. In my youth it was a Pandora’s box of mystery and eroticism, where every echo spoke of possibility. I’m afraid to see it as it really probably was—dilapidated, small, poorly-lit, and smelly—when it still exists in my memory as a wonderland.