"28 year old cocksucker available weekends txt 07xxxxxxx"
I remember the first time I used the toilets at my local library and reading the sexually charged graffiti. As someone who had limited internet access and jacked off to anything slightly homoerotic (lots of time and effort pausing films the exact time a guys junk or bum was visible) finding a space that had gay sexual content and notes left by other gay men was quite a huge moment for me.
I would spend every weekend at the library making sure I would sneak to the toilets to read any new material, which would appear on a fairly regular basis before it would be eventually wiped off or crudely painted over in white paint, another attempt from my local council to wipe out the homosexual agenda. There was one feature that would always remain and was most likely the root cause of the constant painting over of gay smut- a hole that measured good few inches placed under the toilet roll dispenser.
The first time I ever found the glory hole, I knew immediately what it was. After what seemed like weeks of staking out the toilets I heard some one come in to the stall next to me, lock the door and after a few minutes cough. I leaned back on the toilet seat where I knew I could see through the hole without exposing myself and saw a guy rubbing his bare cock and wanking. My diligence had paid off and I was now witnessing real time gay sex- which was electrifying.
The first one I ever encountered wasn't a very hole, more of peep hole than glory hole. I think there is an assumption that the hole has to be big enough to fit a standard sized dick through it- this isn't always the case. The use of the glory hole are vast- sure you can put your dick through it (if it fits) but you can also use it as a peep hole to watch another party wank or (vice versa) or to cruise another guy in the stall, waiting for the coast to clear before joining them in the same stall (a small piece of tissue paper inserted into the hole allows a bit of privacy). My opinion is that a discreet glory hole is always better and longer lasting than a huge cavernous one. In time more popular cruising spaces with gloryholes die a sad death with the instillation of metal coverings installed to cover up bigger holes within toilets.
Finding glory holes is a little like a scavenger hunt and taps into a subculture that has its own set of rules, language and signifiers which may now seem passe but are incredibly important to gay culture. Glory holes were (and still are) the perfect solution for men looking to explore homosexual urges and tendencies whilst providing a sexual safe haven, especially during times when criminal prosecution for homosexual and deviant sexual acts was still prevalent. The anonymity that physical barriers like toilet walls provide allows for sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact. Glory holes free you from a whole load of normal social pressures relating to sex or interaction. It's the ultimate symbol of no strings, nameless sex.
When I think about my own exploration of glory holes, apart from some good and questionable encounters the memories that stick with me the most was the education I got around the subtly of sexual signifiers and the language that comes with the use of glory holes or sex in rest rooms. The art of the glance, the timing of a cough and the inching of your shoe towards the stall next to you to see if the person next to you in interested is one that requires carful practice. These actually have served me well when later exploring sex and different fetishes, for it forces you to become more in tune with the subtlety of other signifiers. What I find nostalgic about glory holes and my use of them was the adrenaline rush they gave and how they provided a spring board to having sexual confidence.
The first flatmate I ever had was a guy called Rik. The day he moved in I told him I would cook dinner and he arrived 45 minutes late and flustered told me "I'm sorry I'm late I was cottaging at Reading station toilets". That was one of the first time I had ever had a conversation with someone about glory holes since my introduction to them 5 years previously. Rik was the one who told me of the use of putting your feet in plastic bags to avoid getting caught by toilet inspectors (something I still haven't done) and how to actually start a glory hole with a screwdriver and wet toilet paper (something I may have done). According to the experts at GloryHoleToGo.com, "The standard size is cut to 3.5 inches by 10 inches, then we edge trim it."
The kinks around using holes are pretty vast. There is the anonymity of both parties, the limited contact, the smell of piss that's lingering in the air. Glory holes however aren't restricted to the toilets at train stations, local libraries and park toilets. They are a staple part of the equipment we use at fetish events and sex parties (shout out to Stuart who built one of the best glory hole walls I've ever seen). Glory holes still evoke something in people that see their use continue and adapted to fit the modern need for convenience. Scrolling down hook up apps you'll come across self proclaimed glory holes and guys who even have their own constructed at home giving an elevated user experience outside of public spaces and sex orientated events. During the pandemic the advertisement and use of glory holes increased, endorsed as the safer way to hook up by health officials. Guidance, published by the BC Centre for Disease Control in Canada, states that using a 'barrier, like walls (e.g., glory holes)' allows for sexual contact but prevents 'close face-to-face contact' which could put a person at risk.
I mention this with a slight smirk, but you don't need to scroll too hard before you find that this is kink/sexual practice seems to have regained its popularity. As is with everything, survival means adapting and if glory holes provide the means to an end in a time where social distancing is the new norm.
It's been a very long time since I used a glory hole, but every time I'm in a public rest room and see hookup graffiti and a small hole I can't help but smile at the thought of this practice still going on and the people keeping it alive.