Nobody grabs my butt anymore
By Buddy Early, March 2020 Issue.
When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I suppose I was a bit of a barfly.
You could’ve found me in any one of a half-dozen watering holes somewhere
between two and five nights a week. I didn’t always drink a lot when I was out,
but I enjoyed being in community spaces where I could be my authentic self,
instead of at home watching Law & Order reruns … like I do now. So,
there I was: at Wink’s, Roscoes, Padlock, or Charlie’s, spending money that
might’ve gone toward repayment of a student loan or on a car that didn’t make a
weird thud every time I made a right turn.
Some pretty inappropriate things went on
in gay bars of yesteryear. I’m not too much of a prude to admit I once
rendezvoused in the bathroom at Wink’s. Before Charlie’s expansion, you
couldn’t walk from one side of the crowded bar to the other without having some
part of your body groped at least twice. And – let’s be honest – none of us
went to Padlock unless we wanted to do some stuff or see some stuff.
me for saying this, but I miss it. Not the bar-flying and drinking, but the
inappropriate behavior. I know I am at risk of being canceled by the culture
for stating this, but I wish more people would grab my butt.
When I came out, I was impressed with a
social scene that had few identifiable boundaries on sex, where people were
blatant in their quest to simply get laid. This was refreshing. For a young man
who had suppressed all sexual desire and activity for 25 years, I liked being
viewed as a sex object and did not mind if someone only saw me as a piece of
This may sound odd coming from me,
especially if you remember my column last summer in which I divulged I had been
celibate for five years. And if this reads like I am proposing we all go around
grabbing people’s butts, nothing could be further from the truth.
But I wouldn’t mind if someone grabbed my
Some years ago, a female friend was
pumping gas at a north Phoenix gas station when a complete stranger walked past
and slapped her on the rear end. This friend – close to my age – had very
clearly had enough of this nonsense and decided to take a stand right then and
there. She summoned the police, who arrived minutes later and arrested the man.
I applauded my friend then and I still do.
It goes without saying that she has endured much more in life than me, at least
as far as inappropriate sexual conduct is concerned. The circumstances of that
butt slap and the stakes involved were much greater than anything I’ve faced.
Her stand on that day was for all women who, for most of their lives, have had
to put up with shit like randos slapping their butt, rubbing their back,
placing a hand on their knee and stroking with one finger in that way that
makes you want to shed your skin, and worse.
I guess that’s the conundrum we face in
2020. How do you know what someone’s threshold is? Can you predict whether
someone likes to have their butt grabbed? You really can’t. which is precisely
the point. It’s probably best to assume most people are not thirsty like me and
are not OK with that kind of butt attention.
(Let me be clear: it was a nice butt.
Perky and round. It was very grabbable. These days I have a “last call butt” at
best and I’ve come to terms with that.)
Again, maintaining my current celibacy
doesn’t make me a prude, and wanting my butt grabbed doesn’t make me a
hypocrite. Rather, these things demonstrate how I am in control of my sexual
desires and behavior, and I can say no (or yes!) to someone who might ask me
for sex. (I do it all the time on a “dating” app called Scruff.) A person bold
enough to, as we used to say, “put the moves on me,” does not require me to be
triggered. A sexual advance does not
necessarily equate to harassment and assault.
Sexual freedom is something so many of us
and the generations before us have been fighting for. If we’re not careful we
might go down the path of the puritanical society we’ve warned against: a
country where merely expressing our sexual longings and intent is shameful, and
where getting laid is immoral.
I’m not saying grab my butt when you see me out. But I probably won’t call the police on you, either.