I’m Not Cruising, You’re Cruising: A Beginner's Guide to Cruising

July 28, 2021

May 1, 2023

Keith Cole


A quick guide to cruising this spring and summer in Toronto

My curiosity with cruising first started with the 1980 film Cruising famously starring Al Pacino. My actual on-the-ground fieldwork with cruising started in Toronto, 1983, in a famous cruising park. The park shall be unnamed but for those who know, know. It can still be found just a little north of Bloor Street East and still maintains the same name but has lost its reputation as a cruising ground. 

Back then I would bury my stuff in the ground before cruising. Yes. You read that correctly. I would bury my shorts, shirt, socks, keys, wallet and be left wearing my running shoes, jockstrap and baseball cap. I would have my cigarettes, lighter and poppers in the strap of my jockstrap. Now I was ready to hit the bushes.


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Looking back, I cannot believe I buried my stuff in the ground in the dark and could remember where I did this after hours of sex in the woods. That was the second use of my cigarette lighter. The first was to light my cigarettes or the one of a handsome stranger leaning against a tree “looking for a light,” and the second use was as a torch to help me get dressed and go home.

From this experience, I gained a lot of knowledge…

Here are some tips when out and about cruising

  • Before you drop to your knees try and do a quick glance or a quick brush of the ground beneath you. Having a used needle or a piece of broken glass jammed into your kneecap really hurts. 

  • Beware of pickpockets! I never really worried about this since I was in a jockstrap, but some guys would offer to blow you, drop to their knees, pull your pants down by the back pockets and … wallet gone before you know it. 

  • If the night is a busy one, go off the beaten path and look for smaller pathways and see where that takes you. Sometimes if the cruising area is busy you will run into “colleagues.” Yes, it can be uncomfortable but remember they are there doing the same “research” as you so remember your manners and social skills. 


  • Please keep lighters, matches, bike lights and telephone screen lights to a bare minimum. You are cruising for anonymous sex and distractions like lights, loud laughter, gay giggles and chatter are annoying. Low moans and groans are acceptable (key word: low). 

  • If wearing long pants and socks and in a really bushy area my suggestion is to tuck the bottom of your pants into your socks. That way you are keeping weird bugs, thistle and bristle type things and sharp grasses off your skin. Not always a fashionable look but YOU can make it fashionable.

And now some tips on public sex in general

  • It has been a while since I have been in a bar cruising but one thing I did learn once, many years ago, is that a blow job in a washroom stall is a two-way street. He does that to you. You do that to him. Woody’s is no place for selfish behaviour.

  • Speaking of toilets, it has been a while for this for me as well. I have had four experiences in public bathrooms, and they all start the same way. In the stall and next to you the foot starts to tap lightly, and a throat is cleared a few times. If there is a gloryhole you are lucky, but you might have to be prepared to scoot under the stall and again, silence is the golden rule. 

  • I had a great lesson a few years ago taught to me by a friend. He was a hard drug user and would look to buy drugs in a Toronto west end park known for this type of buying and selling. Out of curiosity, I went with him to this particular park and minutes into my adventure my friend told me to stand still and drop my pants. He dropped to his knees and put his face in my crotch. It turns out he noticed long before I did that police were around looking for drug dealers and “not gays” and the police told us to go home. What a neat trick! Turns out my pal figured this scam out when he was a university student at Queens in Kingston, Ontario. Apparently, drug-seeking students would hit a certain park near campus and if the cops came in, they just “acted gay” and were told to go home. 



Some personal cruising highlights, tips and tricks

Here is a little pandemic ditty. Last summer I was in a famous Toronto cruising spot and saw the cutest boy ever. He was wearing a mask hanging off one ear. As he went from tree to tree, he put the mask on fully but removed one side once he found a new friend. His mask was dripping with cum. It was sort of sweet in a drunken hot late-night kind of way. When he was leaving the park, I started to follow him and did so for a while. But then I felt creepy and weird, so I jumped on my bike and went home. 

For me, as I get older, the sexiest cruising is the “look back.” You casually pass someone and catch each other’s eye for mere seconds and walk away but then you both magically turn back simultaneously and grab a second glance. It still happens to me, and I love it. 


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Finally, if I ever get stopped by the police and I often do not carry identification, I have memorized a full address of someplace not my home (including postal code) and I have a fake full name (first and last) and a fake telephone number (with area code) that I can recite fully and confidently either sober or drunk. It is called self-protection and it works. 

Please investigate free services, The 519 Community Centre provides if you ever need legal advice because of your cruising habits, check out The Hassle Free Clinic or Safer Six for any advice need for nasty STI’s and educate yourself on the many free services (including legal and health) several LGBTQ+ organizations provide. 

Happy Cruising and I will see you in the bush!

Illustrations by Shain.

Disclaimer: Our intent with this (brilliant) piece is to provide realistic tips if you chose to cruise. Please be safe out there and please keep the locations to yourself. There are resources out there to find where to go, sharing them along with this article isn’t one of them. Be safe and have fun!

Illustrations by @illustra_shains