It is Memorial Day weekend, and in New York City that means many things - residents leaving and visitors arriving during what is also Fleet Week, where the streets are abrim with sailors in uniform, particularly in Greenwich Village, which for many is party central. That means lots of sailors looking for fun and lots of civilians looking for Men in Uniform. The allure is obvious and evidence is everywhere.
For those looking for a quick tryst, there are both the streets of New York and now, the Internet, with a new world of options, a virtual smorgasbord.
Grindr, a gay cruising iPhone app, ranks prospects based on proximity.
Some sailors and those desiring them whether male, female, straight or gay, use the Close Encounters section of Craigslist for their brief time on shore leave.
Sexual encounters via Craigslist may be better called personal permutations, because if you are going to meet someone this way, you need to know what you want from a menu of 21 categories: w4m m4m m4w w4w t4m m4t mw4mw mw4w mw4m w4mw m4mw w4ww m4mm mm4m ww4w ww4m mm4w m4ww w4mm t4mw mw4t.
This may look rather daunting until you know the simple code: w- woman, m- man, t-tranny. A pair of letters together means a couple, straight or gay. So, we go from the basic m4w (man for woman) to the more exotic like mw4mw (straight couple for straight couple) or ww4m (lesbian couple for man).
Of course there are also logistics to work out - I was always curious about where sexual encounters with sailors might take place because although I witnessed a number of PDAs (see story here), I am sure these couples would be more than happy to oblige to take their meetings private and Get a Room. Since sailors cannot bring these women back to the ship, the classic line of the one-night stand, Your place or mine? becomes something more like Your place or thine? A hotel would be a pricey option. Some city residents have offered their apartments as a patriotic gesture to these men in service.
I am sure being a sailor is a trying lifestyle. The sexual frustration of men (and women*) at sea has resulted in innumerable troubles and solutions. I was fascinated to learn of Dames de Voyage, which date back to the 17th century. These fornicatory antecedents to the modern day party doll, were made of sewn cloth or old clothes and used by French and Spanish sailors while at sea.
But now we have Craigslist or for those who prefer the more traditional approach, the streets of New York City, where sailors have only to stand and let their uniforms work white magic :)
*Nearly 20% of active-duty members of the Navy are women.
Related Posts: Respect, Fleet Week 2009