Word of the Gay

*Straight talk on Gay language, one word at-a-time.

#21 “cruise”

The term “cruise” refers to the act of seeking a sexual partner – either the act of moving from one place to another, or the interaction between two individuals.  More recently, “eye-fucking” has also been introduced into the vernacular as a more vulgar, colloquial term to use.

Gay men recognize “cruising” as more than just eye contact, but as a sort of sport – to see who can get eyed, or “checked-out” more times while walking through a gay district.  Some popular areas for cruising include, but are certainly not limited to: parks, beaches, supermarkets, shopping centers, gyms, bars an restaurants.

– verb

1. to move around in order to look for a possible sexual partner 

2. provocative, direct eye contact with possible sexual partners; meant to casually attract a person as you are walking down the street, or are driving in secluded areas

Related: cruised, cruising, cruisy

One movie is tentatively related to this term:  The 1980 cult film, “Cruising” featured Al Pacino as an undercover police officer sent into the beat of the “sleazy” underworld of gay S&M and leather culture in New York City during a rash of serial killings.  Pacino is sent into the scene as a decoy for the murderer, and the film chronicles his encounters with leather daddies, johns, and ultimately the killer.  This film didn’t win any Oscars, and it certainly wouldn’t win any glaad Media Awards either. 

[Origin: The terms was coined in the 16th – 17th Centuries when referring to ships at sea, then given to individuals.  The gay meaning is most likely derived from mid-Twentieth century North America, when the popularity of the automobile, the full development of the highway system and gay culture combined – resulting in “cruising” spots from Mexico to Canada.]

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