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Friday, November 4, 2005

From the Savage Love Mailbag

Posted by on November 4 at 10:24 AM

This just arrived in my Savage Love inbox…

I am a gay man and I have a sexual interest in the sounds of men using the toilet. There are several restaurants very close to my home, and I hide a wireless telephone headset in an inconspicuous place in the bathroom close to the toilets. I can then record the sound of men farting and defecating from my home. My husband is aware of this and tolerates it, but he believes that this is unacceptable behaviour which infringes on the privacy of others. I believe that no harm is done and that there is no good reason not to do this.

But I just want to make a few things clear. I do record the transmissions, but only for my own personal use. I don’t share them on the internet or anything like that. No cameras are involved - I record audio only. I am not interested in seeing the men I hear (in fact, it would ruin the experience for me). I never go into a womens washroom either. Since these are public washrooms with multiple stalls only, and since the sounds that any person makes there can be heard by any number of perfect strangers, I do not feel I am invading anyone’s privacy. Lastly, as far as I know nobody is aware of it at all (my microphone has never been moved or stolen), and the whole situation is anonymous (I have no way to identify anyone by their noise).

My husband believes that recording anyone without their permission is invasive, but anyone who even enters the premises is filmed by the restaurant security cameras, and my audio recordings are much less invasive. However, I have agreed that I will turn over to my husband all my recording equipment and live with the recordings I already have if even Dan Savage himself thinks what I do is wrong.

Pitching Headsets And Retiring Telephones?

Hm. This is a question that could stump a modern Solomon. No man using a public, mutli-stalled restroom can reasonably expect that his farts go unheard; still, in many places it’s illegal to tape record someone without their knowledge—but those laws are usually about tape recording conversations, not flatulence. And while no one would like to think that their farts are being recorded and, er, enjoyed by a perv/stranger, none of these men know they’ve been taped, or their gas has been taped, and even if the tapes were to fell into the hands of someone tempted to broadcast them—a local TV news team, a sex advice columnist, or Howard Stern—there would be no one to match any individual with his farts. So… no harm, no foul? I wonder…

Sometimes I can’t believe I get paid a living wage to contemplate things like this. But why should I have all the fun? What do you think, SLOG readers?