When it comes to gay pickup spots, I’m pretty ignorant. Until Sen. Larry Craig was arrested, I didn’t
realize airport bathrooms were a prime spot. And now I’m learning that birdwatching areas are also quite popular.
Birders and cruisers have found value in the same patches of land
because not only do they attract scores of birds, but they also allow
for partial privacy and chance encounters in a public setting.
In cruiser communities, birding areas are known to be prime hook-up spots.
"It’s bad, dude, real bad," said Munoz, 47, a Chicago police homicide
detective who began birdwatching during a trip to Yellowstone National
Park. "I’ve been confronted a couple times, and I’ve seen a few things
happening. Like guys in the middle of some things." [Link]
Surely there are better places to hook up, places where you don’t have to worry about birdwatchers dropping in on you — or birds dropping on you.
At best, birders said, the cruisers are tasteless; at worst, birders
said they feel uneasy amid occasional leers and advances.
Birders said the cruisers are generally easy to spot: men without
birding gear, such as binoculars, sketch books or birding books, who
wander the less populated trails with deliberate gaits and searching
Cop: "Look at that guy. He has no binoculars and he’s looking around intently."
Second cop: "Yeah, he’s either a gay man seeking sex or a poor birdwatcher."
Yasmin Nair, a freelance writer who has defended cruising in the Windy
City Times, a Chicago gay newspaper, said public sex allows "one to
negotiate sexuality outside the domestic and restrictive normative
ideas of sex."
Offended birders should simply look the other way, she said.
would say just move your binoculars — look for the red-breasted
robin," she said. "It’s not as if they do it in the open where someone
has to step over them." [Link]
It’s hard to look away, especially when you hear someone screaming, "Oh, Robin! Oh, Robin!"
Munoz said that while birding in a Chicago police T-shirt, he once was propositioned.
"This guy walks up to me and says, ‘How’s it going?’ I’m thinking the
guy’s a birder," Munoz said. "Then he goes, ‘Want to get lucky?’ I
said, ‘Excuse me? Can you read my shirt?’ He says, ‘Yeah, but do you
want to get lucky?’" [Link]
Munoz was a little smarter than I would have been.
Man: "Hey, how’s it going? Do you want to get lucky?"
Me: "Hey, why are you taking your pants of?"
Man: "I thought you wanted to get lucky."
Me: "Yeah, I did. But I don’t think you have a red-breasted robin in your pants."