Re: Tea for two

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Here's another one that's a more general overview of the phenomenon (via Republic of T).


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 10:41 AM
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I'm kind of torn by this. While I think legally, the arrest was bullshit, and the practices of policing that lead to such arrests are historically and probably still homophobic, I sympathize with men who don't want to have to use public bathrooms that are simultaneously being used as locations for public sex, and I'm with Pants in the other thread -- if you want a blowjob from a man, show up at Pride, or at least on Craigslist, and get a room.

I can't really object to reasonable policing intended to prevent the use of public spaces as venues for sex.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:13 AM
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Are private stalls in a public bathroom really public spaces?

I can't say I would really mind if two men were having sex in the stall next to mine. It would creep me out, sure, but the high cost of any "reasonable policing" (if such a thing is possible here) don't seem worth it.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:32 AM
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Your choice: "cost" s/b "costs" or "don't" s/b "doesn't"


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:33 AM
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Maybe I'm just being squeamish. But while I wouldn't mind coed public bathrooms at all, given that in a bathroom I'm either fully dressed or in a stall with the doors closed, I'd be creeped all the way out by realizing there was hetero sex going on in the next stall while I was trying to take a shit. If I can see your feet, it's public.

Anything that's really genuinely imperceptible to other bathroom users, eh, what's to object to? But if it was, there wouldn't have been complaints.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:36 AM
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Well, I kind of get creeped out when people are shitting in the stall next to me, but you know, what are you going to do?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:37 AM
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I can't say I would really mind if two men were having sex in the stall next to mine.

You don't have small children that you accompany into public bathrooms, I take it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:37 AM
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I sympathize with men who don't want to have to use public bathrooms that are simultaneously being used as locations for public sex

Maybe I'm a pathetically naive straight chick, but I just can't believe that this is a serious problem for straight guys. At least I have never heard nor read any straight guy griping about being in a bathroom where people were getting it on (other than that dumbass Tucker Carlson, who deserves to be made as uncomfortable as humanly possible).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:38 AM
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6: Well, you could rub their foot with yours, which would probably clear their stall out pretty quickly.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:38 AM
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7: Apo, have you ever taken your kids into a bathroom where people were having sex??


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:39 AM
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creeped all the way out by realizing there was hetero sex going on in the next stall while I was trying to take a shit

Does the "hetero" add anything here, or would you be less (or more?) creeped out by homo sex in the stall next to you?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:39 AM
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And the comment I really wanted to make, which is that I wish Drum could manage the same clarity of tone and viewpoint when writing about women's issues that he somehow manages to do in the linked post.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:40 AM
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8: This is once in my life, so it may not be a huge problem, but I remember a friend at MIT complaining that the bathroom convenient to his lab was uncomfortable to use because it was too cruisy (I don't remember how he put it), and he ended up walking to another building to avoid walking in on people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:41 AM
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I just can't believe that this is a serious problem for straight guys

Once again, I don't care if somebody's getting blown in the stall next to me, but I'm often in public restrooms with my kids, and no, I don't want that going on next door. Also, I don't really believe Carlson's story.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:41 AM
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There was an expose by the local news channel of a public bathroom in the park near my parents' house (with all the fun that 'expose' and 'local news' implies) where worried parents were convinced gay sex was going on only yards (yards!) from a playground.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:42 AM
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11: I was using 'hetero' to indicate that, as a hetero person, it wouldn't be the fact that the sex going on was other than my preferred style of sex that would creep me out. Mostly, I don't think it would make a difference to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:42 AM
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have you ever taken your kids into a bathroom where people were having sex?

Other than me and my kids?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:42 AM
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Serious answer: no, I haven't. But I have taken them into airport bathrooms.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:45 AM
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I love to see the folkways kept, yes, dulcimers for everyone. Risky, anonymous bathroom sex isn't worth hanging onto. This sentence is here so that I have something to type while I resist crafting a sloppy analogy to seatbelt laws or bans on asbestos.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:47 AM
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B, I was in a bathroom where gay sex was occurring (interstate rest stop) when I was young, and my dad was visibly pissed trying to explain it gently to me, though I think on the whole I was pretty unaffected by it.

But I have as an adult been in a number of restrooms where hetero sex was occurring (mostly in skeezy bars), and it creeped me the fuck out. I wouldn't exactly want that condoned.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:47 AM
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17: Right. You licking your kid's butts, or they yours, doesn't count.

14 and 15: I know people worry about this kind of thing; I'm just saying, I don't know that they really have a lot of cause to do so.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:48 AM
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20: Okay. Well, eh. There are a lot of things I wouldn't want condoned that I'm still not willing to say should be illegal. Chill out, prudes.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:50 AM
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22: Are you arguing for an end to laws barring public sex, or just arguing that they shouldn't be enforced in public bathrooms?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:51 AM
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I'm saying that worrying about this kind of thing is ridiculous and that probably public sex laws are unnecessary (surely anything that's overtly disruptive to the public is covered under public nuisance laws or something). Also that I can't believe Apo is invoking a "but think of the children" argument.

And yeah, I've passed people fucking in the bushes. It's really not that big a deal. I dunno, as long as there's a reasonable attempt to at least shield people's view, it's not that hard to look the other way or, if you're trapped in a stall, to bang on the side and say something like "can't you wait until I'm out of here, thanks." Is it really all that much more bothersome than people making out heavily in a park on a summer day in full view, or the like?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:57 AM
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22: Prude?? Fuck you. Look, the creeping was generally much less about sex occuring than about the worry under the circumstances that it might not be fully consensual. So do I need to, like, stop and listen, to try and discern exactly what's occurring? One situation was questionable enough that I did report it the bar's management--tehy called the cops and I don't know what happened from there. But I shouldn't have to be making these sorts of evaulations. In fact, if I see someone having sex in a manner that is neither private nor obviously exhibitionist, I think I ought to be entitled to assume without in-depth analysis that something untoward is occurring, and to respond appropriately. This is probably an unattainable ideal, I'll grant you, but in general laws against bathroom sex at least help support that ideal.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 11:59 AM
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surely anything that's overtly disruptive to the public is covered under public nuisance laws or something

Wait, you're against public sex bans but in favor of broader, vaguer laws giving more discretion to the police?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:01 PM
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Are we allowed to make laws based solely on things that creep us the fuck out? That was my first reaction too ("ewewewewew"), then I thought "wait that's basically what anti-gay people say," and then I thought "no, I wouldn't want ANYONE, gay, straight, whatever, having sex in the bathroom next to me." Same reason we have laws against public nudity? Sure, some people are more comfortable about it than others, can't we still protect the squeamish among us when those squeamish are in the majority, when those squeamish aren't discriminating against anyone? I use question marks because I am afraid of making affirmative statements?


Posted by: justjenny | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:08 PM
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Is it really all that much more bothersome than people making out heavily in a park on a summer day in full view, or the like?

Yes, to me it would be.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:08 PM
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Also that I can't believe Apo is invoking a "but think of the children" argument.

Oh please. If I take my kid into the RDU airport bathroom, I don't want to have to explain people fucking in the stalls. Go get a room or do like we did as teenagers and go park your car in the driveway of an abandoned house. Park at night? Graduate library? Have at it. I honestly don't care. But some public spaces are more public than others.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:08 PM
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Are we allowed to make laws based solely on things that creep us the fuck out?

27: Most sex laws can't be explained by anything but that.


Posted by: Rousseau | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:15 PM
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20: I think on the whole I was pretty unaffected by it.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:15 PM
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Graduate library? Have at it.

But think of the poor undersexed graduate students tempted to the gay lifestyle by this hedonistic display.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:16 PM
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There are straight grad students?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:17 PM
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It's the probable impossibility of reasonable enforcement that makes me oppose these laws more than my general nonchalance about being near more-or-less public sex. String operations are awful and wrong (in this case). And should we really be using police resources to answer complaints?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:18 PM
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Not by the time they're done working under me, Apo, I can assure you of that.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:20 PM
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Probably no. But if the airport wanted to station a security guard in the bathrooms, I wouldn't call them bad people for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:20 PM
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25: So your argument is that the possibility of rape is something you shouldn't have to think about? Jesus.

29: If. Has that in fact ever actually happened to you? And what about, say, people making out on the bus or in a park? Should we pass laws so that you don't have to explain that to your kids either? What about, say, Dr. Phil on the television in the burger joint? I didn't really want to have to explain to PK about domestic violence and the complicated problem of victimized women who are so demoralized that they can't protect their own children. Should we pass laws against televisions in public places so that I'm not forced to do that again? Come on, Apo.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:25 PM
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29: Does this shit ever happen with lesbians? Isn't the real point that men are sort of crazy? We should all probably be chemically castrated by default, at least until we're aged. (Some men, like Craig, are obviously more...vibrant...than others.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:25 PM
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36: Exactly. If, say, a public park is a known cruising place during the day when kids are around, and you want to discourage that kind of behavior, you fucking patrol the place. You don't have to arrest people to discourage them from doing things that are, to most people including them, embarrassing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:26 PM
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The rhetorical question is banned! The slippery slope is banned!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:27 PM
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I'm going to be charitable and assume that the part of 37 that was responding to 25 was completely unserious.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:28 PM
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I'm not being intentionally snide here: I was wondering about the deterrent effect of stings vs. visible patrols, and, just as a first guess, it doesn't seem crazy to think that the threat of undercover cops has more deterrent effect with identical resources than does a visible patrol, which requires a constant investment of manpower.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:29 PM
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Should we pass laws against televisions in public places...?

Oh yes, please!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:29 PM
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Public sex is swell. I'm all for it, in general.

But yeeeah it can be a little disconcerting to enter a bathroom that's too sexually charged. You don't want to have to explain why you're exposing your genitals before taking a piss.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:29 PM
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think of the poor undersexed graduate students tempted to the gay lifestyle by this hedonistic display.

I am aware of a U.S. university that prohibits the serving of alcohol in places where it might be observed by undergraduates. If our culture were a person, it would be in denial. Or just, you know, crazy.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:31 PM
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For instance, any bathroom with a rubber curtain instead of a door always gives me pause.

Just to muddle the issue some: what about two guys (or two women) making out in the bathroom?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:31 PM
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42: Agree entirely. If it's all public patrols, then it's sort of easy to see where the bathroom sex will move. Which, one assumes, means public patrols everywhere. Expensive. (And basically the same problem that the cops have with dealers and prostitutes, or so The Wire would have me believe.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:31 PM
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I can't believe I'm actually responding to you, B.

Has that in fact ever actually happened to you?

No, but I've never flown through Minneapolis, either.

people making out on the bus or in a park

That's fine. I'd like them not to be having sex, though.

Should we pass laws against televisions in public places

Do I have to link to the Anatomy of a Troll post?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:32 PM
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Wow, this is a liberal site. Debating whether public sex should really be a crime.

I could care less about nudity at beaches. I don't want my kids being freaked out just bc someone is naked. But I can also prepare them for a trip to the beach.

But sex (and things approaching sex) is different. This goes back to the system of government. We protect certain basic rights. Beyond those basic rights, popular opinion gets to make the rules.

I don't have any problem with the rule: no sex in public.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:36 PM
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I agree with RFTS in 6, and I think more emphasis needs to be placed on this point. Sometimes the sounds of someone shitting in the stall next to you are incredibly gross. The farty sounds. The squirty sounds. In some cases, I'd rather listen to people have sex.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:37 PM
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I was groped in a men's room at Port Authority (NYC bus station) while in midstream, when I was a teenager about 30 years ago. Presumably the sort of thing that happened to Tucker, exept I just suppressed the nausea, zipped up, and left. I also observed "four feet in a stall and too much breathing" more than once around that time in my life. It didn't ruin my life, but it was extraordinarly unpleasant and somewhat frightening. Frightening because you can't tell wehther it's consensual or at gunpoint, so you don't know if you're going to be next. Preventing this sort of thing is an excellent use of police resources.

A policeman in the bathroom also presumably has a radio and can be on call for any other sort of crime. Much of patrol work is standing/driving around waiting for something to happen. Putting the manpower where the crimes are known to be occurring is quite sensible.

BTW, a crackdown on this sort of thing in Port Authority, including sting operations, was one of the more successful aspects of giuliani's "broken windows" effort to make Manhatan more pleasant. I know several New Jersey suburbanites who resumed regular visits to Manhattan after the bus and train stations felt safe again. This did result in increased tourism and restaurant going, increase jobs in the services sector, etc.


Posted by: unimaginativeguywhocantthinkofawittycybernym | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:38 PM
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Rob, I totally agree with you. I thought I'd be in nirvana with our new single-occupancy bathroom, but now I just sit in fear of someone walking in on me even though the door is locked.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:39 PM
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In some cases, I'd rather listen to people have sex.

ie: in the case of two really hot people.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:39 PM
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This is ridiculous. Making out in public = OK. Having sex in public = Not OK.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:41 PM
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50: I was at Goldman Sachs once and I had to listen to a young douchebanker type take an incredibly stressful and unhealthy-sounding shit while scrolling through his blackberry. The saddest thing my ears have ever heard.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:41 PM
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The farty sounds. The squirty sounds. In some cases, I'd rather listen to people have sex.

Those cases being those when latter does not include the former?


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:42 PM
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Wow, this is a liberal site B is trolling.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:43 PM
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I don't have any problem with the rule: no sex in public.

Nor do I. I have a problem with there being sting operations to entice people into soliciting public sex. There are *plenty* of rules that we manage to enforce without ridiculous laws. And I am going to hold firm to the argument that "I don't want to explain that to my children" is a bullshit argument--to offer yet another analogy, I do not like public billboards for Hooters or strip clubs, but you know, we live in a free country and sometimes we have to explain shit that bothers us to our kids. Suck it up.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:45 PM
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53: Yes, two hott people, but they only need to have sexy voices. Something involving Cory Flintoff and Corva Coleman maybe. I suppose they'd also have to have great looking feet and calves.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:45 PM
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54: in a bathroom, though? That seems kind of skeevy.

Seriously, though, I completely understand people not wanting their kids to come upon to strange, grunting, naked strangers when they're trying to convince them the potty isn't scary.

Rules against public sex: a-ok! Rules against public sex at Burning Man (true! There totally are!) are kind of stupid, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:46 PM
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I'm generally on the LB/Apo side of this one (surprise, surprise), but I certainly understand the concern about whether or not aggressive aw enforcement is the best way to deter this sort of behavior.

I actually had one of these cases once, involving the mens restroom directly across the hall from the children's area of the public library. Sad, really.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:47 PM
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I have a problem with there being sting operations to entice people into soliciting public sex.

Eh. In this case, there had been complaints, and the Senator made the first move. Now, I'd call that sufficient to show him a badge and ask him to leave the bathroom, not enough to arrest and prosecute him -- I don't think he completed a crime -- but he wasn't entrapped.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:49 PM
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I was typing 62, but then LB hit Post before me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:50 PM
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Entrapped... by love!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:50 PM
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Maybe I should franchise my simulacra; install a line of blowjob-safe public restrooms with pre-drilled, self-cleaning glory holes around the country. They'd have working toilets too, obviously, so you could maintain plausible deniability. "It was the closest john! I'm old! I thought the hole was some kind of reverse bidet! Wide stance! Wide stance!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:52 PM
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I do not like public billboards for Hooters or strip clubs, but you know, we live in a free country

So you're okay with naked women pole dancing on the sidewalks, then? If not, suck it up.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:52 PM
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I have a problem with there being sting operations to entice people into soliciting public sex.

You really should go on a sting if you are doubting that this turns into sex. This is a very ritualize mating game that takes place all over the country.

From a legal standpoint, think of it as punishing them for an attempt commit a crime. For the most part, attempts are punished exactly the same, unless you are talking about felonies.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:52 PM
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"on the sidewalks" s/b "in public bathrooms"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:53 PM
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66: I totally am. Sifu Tweety: 1, Hypocrisy: 0!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:54 PM
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63: This differs from our usual commenting pattern how?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:55 PM
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62, I think, gets it exactly right. The return signal made by the undercover officer was designed to separate actual cruising behavior from random foot-tapping. Had the Senator not continued his cruising signals, I doubt he would have been arrested. But he did, so he was.

Having said that, he probably could've beaten the rap.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:56 PM
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Will, I don't think the doubt is that sting operations are on shaky legal ground; it's that a sting operation to catch someone who wants to have consensual sex in public is a really shitty thing to do.

At the very least, as LB said, just tell them to leave.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:56 PM
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Something involving Cory Flintoff and Corva Coleman

aagh, npr != sexy.


Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:56 PM
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58, that's not an analogy, it's some sort of slippery slope argument or a "reductio ad absurdum" in reverse.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:56 PM
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73: tell me you wouldn't be excited to take a shit next to Terry Gross blowing Daniel Schorr.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:57 PM
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66: We are not talking about people having sex on a public sidewalk, Apo.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 12:59 PM
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75: yes, but that's different...


Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:00 PM
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68->76


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:01 PM
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it's that a sting operation to catch someone who wants to have consensual sex in public is a really shitty thing to do.

At the very least, as LB said, just tell them to leave.

You people dont seem to understand. I've defended this type of action. They don't just leave. They come back. You have to arrest them and then ban them or they continue to come back.

When a place has been picked by people for public sex, it is very difficult to get it to stop.

These sting operations are not typically done very often. Only where there have been problems.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:03 PM
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Sifu, did I need that mental image? no. Did I need the mental image of Terri Gross demanding oral from Daniel Schorr? I most certainly did not. Afternoon: scarred.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:04 PM
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49: There was a discussion on just that issue on Volokh a while back. Apparently there is comity between the liberal and conservative sites on public sex.


Posted by: янтарный | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:04 PM
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Does public radio specifically choose its personalities based on having names whose spelling is difficult to guess correctly? A way to make sure that we get strictly an auditory rather than a visual impression of these people?

I got about six letters wrong when I first guessed how to spell "Kai Ryssdal".

And as for Lynne Rossetto Kasper, I can't begin to tell you how intuitive that isn't. Not to mention Ofeibea Quist-Arcton and Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson.

Even Daniel Schorr spells his last name wrong. And here's the most impossible-to-remember spelling of all.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:04 PM
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Daniel Schorr

Just had his 91st birthday.

My money is that Terry isnt up to the task. Gotta bring in Lakshmi Singh.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:06 PM
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I honestly fail to see what the significant difference is between "I don't want to take my kids into a bathroom where people are having sex"/"people having sex in a bathroom scares me because it might be rape" and "I don't like my kids seeing women presented as pornified sex objects every fucking time they turn around"/"people arguing in public scares me because it might be domestic violence." Look, we live in a free fucking society; if anything, the prevalence of pornified women is far more damaging to kids than walking into a bathroom where people are fucking once. Or even twice. And if you see or hear something that you think might be rape, FUCKING SAY SOMETHING. Jesus. I've done it, and I'm a small woman. Your right to not have to worry about rape is small fucking potatoes compared to your responsibility to fucking speak up if you see or hear scary shit happening.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:06 PM
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80: "Blow you, twenty bucks?"

"Terry, that's a great question."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:06 PM
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They don't just leave. They come back.

So? You finish peeing and *you* leave, and if they come back and finish fucking, you're not around to be bothered by it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:07 PM
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84 takes trolling to a new level. Time to go do some work.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:07 PM
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Look, we live in a free fucking society

...where it is against the law to have sex in public.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:08 PM
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The proliferation of Starbucks out to render this question moot.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:09 PM
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58: A sting operation isn't a law, ridiculous or otherwise. If you don't want your local municipality's law enforcement authorities conducting such activities, vote for that hippie running for mayor on the Two Tofurkeys in Every Pot! Two Pale Young Boys for Every Lonely GOP Senator! ticket.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:09 PM
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Free fucking, society!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:09 PM
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I honestly fail to see what the significant difference is between "I don't want to take my kids into a bathroom where people are having sex"/"people having sex in a bathroom scares me because it might be rape" and "I don't like my kids seeing women presented as pornified sex objects every fucking time they turn around"/"people arguing in public scares me because it might be domestic violence."

It's actually pretty straight foward: on this one, we have the votes, and you don't. Sometimes democracy can be hard.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:11 PM
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The stores dont want it happening.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:12 PM
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82: Soterios Johnson, anyone?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:12 PM
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84: Sex in public bathrooms is rude. Rude in a good way if you are two college-age girls wearing tight white ribbed American Apparel tank tops without bras, short denim skirts and black cherry vine-pattern lizardskin cowboy boots, rude in a bad way if you are anything else.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:13 PM
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I am not trolling, and I am well aware that public sex is illegal.

I am, however, bowing out of this argument because you people are shocking me with your ridiculous beliefs that The Law Must Protect Us from people fucking, because it's such a common problem and we're all too delicate to deal with even *thinking* that public sex might happen around us, someday, and we can't bear the thought that if it ever should we might actually have to tell people to knock it off if we're really that upset about it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:15 PM
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95: Rude it is. I have not argued otherwise.

I'm going to go eat Thai food for lunch.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:17 PM
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I'll repeat LB's question, then: you believe that all laws against public sex should be repealed? Or are you just worried that you're going to get arrested for blowing somebody in a bathroom?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:18 PM
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Yeah, see, I'm all about the law protecting us from illegal stuff. I really don't like unenforced, or randomly enforced, laws. If it's okay to do, make it legal, and if it isn't, enforce the law.

And if those are my options, public sex goes in the 'enforce the law' category.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:18 PM
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There are not roving bands of police officers stopping public sex. When there is a problem, they do a sting.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:21 PM
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I honestly fail to see what the significant difference is between ... "people having sex in a bathroom scares me because it might be rape" and ... "people arguing in public scares me because it might be domestic violence."

I can't believe I'm replying to this, which is really quite the side issue, but: arguing in public does not equal domestic violence, and it's not hard to tell the two apart. If someone were beating someone else in public, I would feel at least some obligation to try and help, if possible. That was my whole point: it's often *not* really easy to tell whether what's going on in a closed bathroom stall is sex or rape. So that puts the bystander in the position of having either to neglect the situation entirely (potentially ignoring something very bad) or pay quite a bit more attention to other people's sex than that bystander might otherwise care to pay (and still likely be unsure of the situation).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:23 PM
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99: I've never liked that distinction. There are things that are probably okay to do sometimes that really shouldn't be legal (in my world: cocaine) and there are things that are probably pretty anti-social and that you shouldn't do that really should be legal, or at least decriminalized (to many to mention).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:27 PM
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we're all too delicate to deal with even *thinking* that public sex might happen around us

I think b's defensive because she's been trysting with the boyfriend in msp bathrooms on layovers.


Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:27 PM
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pay quite a bit more attention to other people's sex than that bystander might otherwise care to pay

Yeah. Part of what's going on here is that couples having sex have a strong expectation of privacy -- if you've been observed having sex, and your intent wasn't to be an exhibitionist, you've been wronged. And people feel this way even unreasonably (See, e.g., SEK's 'students fucking in his office' story, where they got really hostile about his kicking them out of his own office, where they had no right to be at all, much less fucking.)

The creepy feeling about public sex is a feeling, partially, that you, the involuntary observer, are in the wrong for being present and observing in a place where you would otherwise be fully entitled to be. And the dismissal of people who are put off by the solution of yelling "Hey, knock it the fuck off" as just squeamish doesn't really work -- as supported by SEK's story, that would be likely to be perceived as a very hostile thing to do, and likely to provoke a hostile response.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:30 PM
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102: I'd flip it, I think, and leave legality out. There are illegal things that are clearly harmful to others--driving drunk--and the laws ought to be enforced pretty rigorously. There are other illegal things--underage drinking--where the harms to others are much less clear, and enforcement should be limited to cops stealing your beer.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:30 PM
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102: The latter category is fine -- saying that if something's bad enough to be illegal, the law needs to be enforced, doesn't imply that everything that's a bad thing to do should be illegal. The former? Eh, I think saying "there are things that should be illegal, but the law shouldn't always be enforced" like cocaine, makes them legal, mostly, for nice people who police like, and illegal for everyone else. I don't like that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:32 PM
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106: I don't like it either, but can't really think of a good middle ground... "decriminalize," I guess.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:35 PM
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84:

if you see or hear something that you think might be rape, FUCKING SAY SOMETHING

Assuming you mean say something to the police rather than to the putative rapist, that works for me, but it won't for B, because the police response will be to check it out but arrive too late. They will generally arrive too late to catch anyone in the act, but they will ong the complaints, and complaints will accumulate, so they will set up a sting operation . . .


Posted by: unimaginativeguywhocantthinkofawittycybernym | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:38 PM
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I will add that this "public" sex is often taking place on private property. If Sears or Macy's doesn't want people to have sex in the bathrooms, then people shouldnt have sex in the bathrooms.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:43 PM
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B totally makes sense here.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:44 PM
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B. is not a troll. She just has a large box of randomly assorted strong opinions. She shuts her eyes before she reaches into the box.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:48 PM
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I don't have a strong opinion on whether cops should be busting people for restroom blowjobs, but I wish they would crack down on restroom cell phone use.

There's nothing more unnerving than standing at a urinal next to a guy with a cell phone in one hand and his wang in the other, chatting away while taking a piss.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:56 PM
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106: That's right. Having something illegal but enforced just seems like a good recipe for only enforcing the law when the person is otherwise undesirable. And wanting something like sex in public to be illegal but the only enforcement mechanism to be citizens angrily telling the offending couple to stop it seems like a recipe for citizens taking the law into their own hands.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:57 PM
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112: Not even a guy talking on his cell phone while banging a stranger in the next stall?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 1:57 PM
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114: I think I'm okay with cell phone use during sex. It's cell phone use during excretory functions that squicks me out.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 2:00 PM
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113: you know, the thing about it is, I feel like laws are destined to work that way anyhow. As long as law enforcement has discretion, they will use that discretion to disproportionately punish those who they don't like or trust. On the other hand, law enforcement with no discretion inevitably ends of forced to punish people in counteruintuitive, counterproductive ways. So, on the matter of law's ability to eliminate the effect of personal bias on the delivery of justice, we reach an impasse.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 2:01 PM
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Is it really likely that sex in a bathroom stall is rape? Honest question.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 2:44 PM
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117: If "too drunk to consent" means rape, then fairly likely.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 3:49 PM
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At least, if the bathroom is in a bar.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 3:50 PM
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To my surprise, (because the thought of public restroom sex completely sketches me out) I think I agree with B on this one, at least in the case of restrooms. I think that listening to two people have sex is approximately as unpleasant as listening to someone having a difficult BM. But I don't get *mad* about someone having a difficult BM, I just don't want to hear it. Like fucking, shitting is something most people want to do in privacy and don't want to observe others doing, and the incomplete privacy afforded by stalls in public bathrooms I guess are a compromise between privacy and expense. If that's the most privacy we can expect in a public restroom, then it seems like sometimes you're going to hear an awful BM, and sometimes you're going to hear sex (which needn't necessarily be noisy).

I certainly think sex in public restrooms is tacky and undesirable, and that property owners are well within their rights to discourage it. But especially because tearoom sex will only get less common as acceptance of gays increases, arresting people for it seems like overkill. At most, it seems like the level of obnoxious behavior that people get ticketed for.

As for protecting the children, again, I think the likelyhood of exposure is low, the significance of the trauma overstated, and the remedy the same as any other scary experience you might have to deal with - an explanation at whatever level's appropriate to their maturity.

I have to admit, I'm somewhat on the fence about this. (The "it-might-be-happening-at-gunpoint" objection, however, is just weird.)


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 5:07 PM
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The other surprise was reading something by David Ehrenstein that didn't leave me aggravated.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 5:09 PM
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(The "it-might-be-happening-at-gunpoint" objection, however, is just weird.)

Might be more of a hetero thing? I never have run into people having sex in a bathroom, but I'm pretty sure my reaction to becoming aware of a man and a woman in a bathroom stall with heavy breathing would be to try and assure myself she was all right. I could see that being much less of an issue with two men, where you'd assume the strength differential was small enough that one would be really unlikely to be able to quietly restrain the other.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 5:22 PM
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At most, it seems like the level of obnoxious behavior that people get ticketed for.

It's a misdemeanor, isn't it? It doesn't seem like too much to ask that people fuck in private. Just as I appreciate that we don't let people shit in the middle of a park, or even pee against a building wall.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 5:33 PM
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Do I? No. Have I? No. Would I? Seriously unlikely. Never observed it either. Would it bother me? doubt it.

3:
Are private stalls in a public bathroom really public spaces?

Not a lawyer and not American, but I'm sure it's just as illegal with y'all to excrete *in public*, so definitely only for a very special value of public. .

51: Yeah, I know the feeling, though not an identical situation, most unpleasant. But that's just assault, gender and location regardless.

101:
it's often *not* really easy to tell whether what's going on in a closed bathroom stall is sex or rape.

Schrodinger's Fuck?
Seriously unless you worry and suspect coercion every time you encounter evidence of congress absent signed and witnessed statements to the contrary (motels / hotels / parked cars in known makeout spots...) then I'm sorry but whatever it may be, this sounds paranoid and homophobic.

106, 107 Oh come on. There's more than one sentence available you know. Guilty != off with his head.

117, 118, 119: No of course it isn't. Possible, certainly, but it is also possible and indeed rather more likely that some of the offstage noises today at my matutinal excretion were evidence of serious ill-being on the part of my neighbour, possibly worthy the attention at least of a paramedic, but they and others as noted above are conventionally appropriate to the setting and the most attention I pay them is to try not to pay attention, it's really not that difficult.


Posted by: TehMeh | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 5:33 PM
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Well, I could see the reaction being a het thing, I suppose, but it still seems like a weak reason for criminalizing bathroom sex. Rape's illegal on its own; what makes the bathroom case difficult is that you're aware of sex without enough information to determine if it's consensual. In that sense it's exactly like all the sex going on around you that you're not aware of.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 5:36 PM
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I'm oddly happy that my thing about how being witness to other people's shitting resonated with others.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 5:50 PM
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Uh, "about how being witness to other people's shitting is unpleasant".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 5:52 PM
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Are private stalls in a public bathroom really public spaces?

At a bare minimum, they're consigned for specific usage. It's pretty clearly not a first come, first serve mini-room. I'd be pissed if all the stalls were always occupied by squatters who lived there, and I find their justification for using it as a mini-room much more compelling.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 5:52 PM
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I'd be pissed if all the stalls were always occupied by squatters who lived there, and I find their justification for using it as a mini-room much more compelling.

Seriously. The whole point of a restroom is to isolate difficult shits from the rest of society to the largest extent possible. We even install automated air freshener dispensers. If you go to Japan, sometimes they'll even have little speakers to play noises to cover up whatever ones you happen to be making.

If the point of them was to provide a place for people to have sex, they'd have condoms, pillows, and little lube dispensers. But they don't, with the possible exceptions of some particularly trashy gay bars.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 6:09 PM
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124: this sounds paranoid and homophobic

Paranoid I guess maybe, but "homophobic" is an interesting choice considering I was talking about hetero encounters in bar bathrooms. And really, I don't it's too "paranoid" in a lot of circumstances: see 118, which in my experience describes dirty-bar hetero bathroom sex more often than not.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 7:48 PM
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Thank god for Cerebrocrat.

108: Assuming you mean say something to the police rather than to the putative rapist, that works for me

No, I mean say something to the person you think is in trouble. E.g., "is everything all right?" I've stepped into arguments and said that, and yes, I damn well think people should step into situations where people are getting drunkenly mauled in a bar, say, or the like. Most rapes are really crimes of opportunity, rather than the imaginary armed stranger we've all been taught to fear, and it is not that hard to draw the attention of both potential rapist/abuser and potential victim to the fact that other people *will* intervene. And yeah, you might get a hostile reaction where some guy tells you to mind your own fucking business (I have), but being told to mind your business is not going to hurt you.

Now that said, yes: if the situation seems so violent it might be dangerous to you to intervene (e.g., the screaming I heard in a motel late one night), then yes, for fuck's sake, you call the cops.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 8:07 PM
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(e.g., the screaming I heard in a motel late one night)

Oh, sorry, that was me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 8:13 PM
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132: No, it was definitely of the "help!" variety.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 8:17 PM
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131 "Hello, sir, the lady seems to be creating a disturbance. Is there anything I could do to help?"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 8:33 PM
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Topical! Diddler on the Roof:

"You want the naked truth?" jokes Robert Yates, a LeClair Ryan attorney whose eighth-floor office window faces west. "They were doing some undercover work, without the covers."

Bonus points to the local cops, who let 'em off with a warning, seemingly because they were shiftless passers-through and, shit, they were just doing it on a rooftop. Like, whatever, man.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-30-07 10:25 PM
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131 reminds me of the swashbuckling apartment intruder that was in the news a few months ago.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-31-07 3:19 PM
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I'm fascinated by the old community folkways

"Scores of teenage male prostitutes and transvestites battled with clubs, knives and petrol bombs in a three-day 'gay war'. Police arrested two young men after one bar was set ablaze and another was completely ransacked in the Thailand resort of Pattaya. Foreigners including British tourists fled the area, 100 miles east of Bangkok. The area is famed for gay sex tourism but the trade is in recession."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 1-07 7:25 AM
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