Hello everyone! Today I am so excited to welcome author Rafe Haze to the blog. Rafe is here to chat with us about his new book, The Next (which Jason really loved). He has also brought a copy to give away! So please join me in giving him a big welcome!
The Manhattan Groin Grope: the evolution of urban straight guy to gay guy flirtation
By Rafe Haze
White tile, wet and warm.
Heavy steam, settling slowly.
Bulging drips splat from the ceiling to the floor.
Cheap white towel across my groin and thighs.
The glass door opens.
The sultry nebula swirls.
A backlit silhouette pauses at the doorway – adjusting to the dimness and the sixty-degree spike of wet heat hitting his face.
Shoulders, broad and thick.
Waist, narrow and tight.
Three slow steps in.
He mounts the tiled bench in the opposite corner.
He drapes his towel over beefy thighs.
Shadowed eyes stare straight ahead into the hot haze, but my gut knows he’s directing half an eye my direction.
His hand flattens on the tile, fingers splayed.
The thick black and chrome watch.
This is the guy that was spotting his girlfriend on the bench next to mine – the stern yet whiny girlfriend with the tightly braided hair benching itty-bitty twenty-five pound dumbbells
The hand with the watch alights, floats, and rests on the round of his knee.
More isolated splats of drips from the ceiling.
He avoids eye contact with yet more intensity.
He slides his ass forward a half a foot on the tile.
The small of his back rounds.
A more relaxed slouch?
Maybe, but his towel has hiked up on his hair-matted thighs as a result.
The bottom of his low-slung sacks peep out from underneath.
His fingers slowly traverse up the hairs of his inner thigh.
A slow, moist slide.
In a flash…
His hand gropes the tip of his dick through the towel…
Before darting back to the round of his knee.
It was brief, but the little fucker definitively initiated…
The next move, of course, would have to be mine.
This would be pure stroke porn were it not a factual account of my first two minutes in the steam room of the New York Sports Club on 41st between 7th and 8th Avenues, this Saturday morning at 9 AM, May 17th, 2014.
The Manhattan Straight Guy Groin Grope.
With his girlfriend showering on the other side of the wall, he grabbed his dickhead in a steam room for a quick adjustment, well-positioned within a gay male’s line of sight.
The Grope has brothers.
The Shaft Squeeze initiated by the Wall Street Asshole charming the gay maître’d for a corner table where he can lambast his wife and kids through his mobile as he loads up on scotch.
The Egg Clutch by the corporate producer through his thin, tailored slacks well within the peripheral of a potential gay investor of the next big Broadway SM(flop)ASH.
Or my favorite: The Scrotum Scratch by Kappa Alpha Gym Bunny Big Boy on the subway just because the awkward stringy gay Juilliard violinist can’t take his eyes off that mound of testosterone.
The Grope has a baby sister: the completely unnecessary prolonged eye contact. Rich and mouthwateringly sustained eye contact that passes as quickly as it arrives, but every hair on this homosexual’s back stands on end while it lasts. It proves nothing. It means nothing. But its effect is as if he just reached under my testicles and tugged.
These brothers and sisters aren’t isolated phenomena. They aren’t shooting stars that stripe the belly of night when the unpredictable stratosphere shoots a rare interstellar load. No, they happen as often as Joey Pizza Punk bitch-honks the Texter in front of him queuing to enter the Lincoln Tunnel. As often as Sarah-Stiletto stumbles down the stairs into the Time Square N,Q, & R subway station at 1:00 AM. As frequently as a mother-fucking taxi driver speeds away from a Queens-bound Puerto-Rican at Herald Square.
In other words, all the time.
This is the underground infestation that every male New Yorker experiences every day of his life. It happened to me on the E train between the gym and home this very morning. It happened through that street fair on 9th Avenue after getting out of the subway. Then at Galaxy Diner picking up a burger.
“Gracious! Who are these head-shifters, shaft-squeezers, and egg-clutchers?” Miss Butterfly exclaims.
They’re the NY husbands en route to meet their wives at the newest wine-glass-clinking tapas joint. These are the pec-heavy, big-gunned boyfriends, west of Central Park West, dragging their Banana oxfords to meet their girlfriends with tickets to Idina Menzel’s newest Broadway belt-fest. They are the CEO’s who are big on charm and low on policy as they cross the ballroom at Grand Central Station to grab a bite at Michael Jordon’s Steakhouse with their colleagues. They’re the single, irresistibly straightish dudes with euphorically upright asses who encourage you to devour them with your eyes as they brush past you, sit directly opposite you on the subway, purposefully widening their legs on the seats, all the while sustaining guarded smirks that message “Off limits.”
These are, for the most part, not the overt sexual predators who sensationalize the Daily News with their offensively invasive roaming fingers, taking advantage of an ass-to-crotch crammed subway rides during rush hour. No, these are New York City’s opportunists who crave the acknowledgement of sexual attraction far more than they crave following through with the opportunity.
What turns you on? Prosperity? Illicitness? Competence? Scruff? A semi-erection? Porn-star pecs? A muscular bubble-butt riding atop huge hamstrings? A uniform? Hustler sweatpants? Whatever it is, these straight guys are in tune with your hankering and work you just for the pleasure of working you.
“Are these gropers closeted homosexuals?”
Not in all cases.
“Are they bisexuals?”
Who can say, and who in shit cares: they’ll rarely deliver.
“Well, if they don’t want sex, then why grope?”
Here’s the deal:
In spite of what one may assume, sophisticated women in Manhattan have become increasingly more puritanical. I do not attribute the general restraint to an increased devotion to Fundamentalism or any such handcuffing. I believe there is an equal and opposite reaction to the tsunamic proliferation of Reality TV cleavage-bouncing, Fuck-You-To-Hell spewing, bitch-slapping, dick-swapping trash that force women to make a choice: emulate or oppose.
Women in Manhattan indefatigably pressure each other to de-slut…de-slut…de-slut. As absent as the Twin Towers are from the Cityscape, so have the fun and dangerous personalities that Jonathan Larson depicted in Rent. Sophisticated females have increasingly muted their behavior, buttoned up their blouses, switched from The Artist Formerly Known As Ho to Michael Buble, bleached their dialogue, and, above else, remained undefiled by male protuberances for ever-increasing periods of time.
The conservatism is most noticeable by its once-a-year contrasting failure.
Observe: Halloween. The one night in the calendar year when all the primal needs that have been bottled up for 364 days under the oppression of puritanical perfection unleash. In spite of millenniums of noble or frightening historical figures at her fingertips to fashion a Halloween costume on, all she will think of wearing are fuck-me pumps, a stretchy black dress that barely keeps her privates from freezing in drafts, and little red devil horns. Or little kitty ears. The pavement clicks with the stilettos of Playboy Bunny cocktail waitresses for one night. And then, the next day, Miss Betty Boop in horns or whiskers goes back to dressing like a probate attorney. She returns to sipping a glass of white wine slowly and conservatively with her covered legs crossed. She’s back to saving second base for the fourth or fifth date…provided he makes six figures and craps rose pedals.
In societies where men cannot have sex before they’re married it’s well-known that straight men will have relations with other men in very underground caves of silence. In Islamic Afghanistan. In Orthodox Istanbul. In Catholic Mexico. And, to a degree, in highbrow, hair-conditioned, silk-skirted Manhattan. When men have to run a Herculean gauntlet that includes pumping iron six nights a week before they can earn a “you’d look sort of handsome if you shopped at Barneys,” they will gravitate toward other sources of affirmation. Resourcefully and opportunistically, men will implement the Manhattan groin grope. If only to affirm what she will not.
As instinctively as a woman’s Pavlovian response when a handsome man walks in a room to tuck a lock behind her ear, he reaches down and tugs, squeezes, or shifts when he’s in a gay man’s spotlight.
Briefly. Superficially. Harmlessly. Scintillatingly.
It’s The Game.
And afterward, the fucker feels King o’ the Heap again.
Just a tiny little thing and he’s restored to Cock of the Walk.
It’s almost necessary to have one golden moment of a sure thing when you’re in a city that suffocates you with nonstop deflation. It’s a fascinating imperative.
Is the practice limited to New York City?
Is it exacerbated by New York City?
“It’s got to stop!”
No way, dear.
No righteousness can thump this practice away.
Not in Manhattan, anyway.
As a gay man who has no biological clock tick-tick-booming, who does not need to get the guy to get the kid before I turn 38, who has no family to insulate with purity and piousness, and who regularly enjoys the succulence of a penis, I could only come across as scurrilous to cast an opinion about ladies who can’t love men who love the attention of other men. But I write gay literature and feel a close affinity to the growing number of writers and readers who do not care for their Romance to be born and bred in a postcard. They want to see love miraculously seed in a murky swamp. And if that seed manages to root, stem, and blossom in spite of the shit that surrounds it, then that frail, tattered bloom has more value than any rose that emerges from a manicured garden.
The Manhattan Groin Grope might be like that singular bloom. It was never in anyone’s plan to exist and violates Mr. and Mrs. Shackle’s social norms, but it thrives in a landscape of tsk-tsks. It’s value, I suspect, is more profound than we’re aware of. Would it even exist if it weren’t a necessary evolution?
But I do not want to alienate Miss Butterfly by casting judgment and appearing insensitive.
Groping just happens.
It’s a fact.
In the steam room, after that broad-shouldered, narrow-waisted straight hottie groped his dick through his towel, I responded by doing the same. That was all he needed, apparently, for he tightened the towel around him and exited. Cock-of-the-King-of-the-Heap-of-the-Wall once again. And because he singled me out as the one to renew him, I felt likewise.
Neither good nor bad.
And my responsibility is not to judge, merely to report.
But God I love NYC!
“I slowly peeked around the curtain until I spied the figure again. To my surprise, Mr. Perfect stood at the window of his bedroom, facing my building. As always, he was wearing a suit, looking the picture of professionalism, dignity, power, and success. His hair was salt and pepper, feathered back to display the rugged handsomeness of his face.
This was a man to whom entire floors of employees in Manhattan glass high-rises might kowtow when he stepped off the elevator. This was a man university libraries might be named after. This was a man who might advise Atlas to shrug.
And this was a man standing at the window facing my apartment groping his dick through his pants.
~ from The Next by Rafe Haze
Dubbed “the gay Rear Window,” The Next is a raw, snarky, no-holds-barred romantic suspense novel of a man stuck in his Manhattan apartment who thinks he’s identified a gruesome crime across the courtyard. It’s less a whodunit and more of a suspenseful how’s-he-gonna-get-‘em plot, slathered with a large, creamy dollop of romance. Unlike Rear Window, the protagonist in The Next isn’t bound to his apartment by a broken leg in a cast, but rather by a self-induced, torturous psychological handcuffing, and the novel, of course, chronicles his journey to this freedom as much as the capturing of the bogey. The second biggest difference is that The Next doesn’t shy away from the eroticism. At all. Hawt men abound. 😉
Rafe Haze Bio
Rafe Haze was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives on the west side of New York City. Having worked for the legal compliance industry, fashion industry, music industry, art industry, and flesh industry (the most interesting people on earth have), his most life-changing employment was teaching Meisner Technique of Acting. He wrote himself out of one whopping funk with his debut novel The Next, and is ecstatically thankful for the entire, messy, beautiful cadence.
Rafe refuses to be handcuffed to one discipline only: he writes classical music for orchestra and small ensemble, country music songs, musical theater, plays, screenplays, and digs two-stepping, line dancing, and West Coast Swinging. Be it words, notes, or movement, the emotional origin, schlep, and endpoints are equally compelling and satisfying.
Rafe is grateful to his twin brother (the straight one) who continues to make the slicing through this rambling, thorny life worthwhile.
Rafe has brought a copy of The Next to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, May 23rd at 11:59 pm EST.
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- Void where prohibited by law.