No Sex In the City: The Corona Panic Protocol
For starters, I’m gonna go stereotypically ‘gay guy’ here and give you an old Barbra Streisand song quote to get this party started. It goes like this: People/ People who need people/ Are the luckiest people/ In the world. And I really feel the same way. I think it’s amazing how much us humans desire connection; people to communicate with, to listen to, to hug and kiss, to share experiences with and lots more…but especially: to fuck. Ugh, I miss it already! I think it’s been over a week now. It’s nice to be alone sometimes, but I think most of us have an innate need to connect with others. Therefore, it’s in times like these that we are put to the test. With coronavirus and all the scares around it on the rise, our national leaders are implementing simple protocols for everyone to follow, to potentially stop the virus from spreading. Among other things, this mainly entails washing your hands frequently and avoiding social gatherings, the latter definitely being the harder of the two for me.
In my city of residence Amsterdam there are so many social events, spaces, and opportunities to connect with others in-person, but all of them have now been put on hold, and many businesses have been ordered to shut their doors until further notice. In trying times like these, it’s important to remember that crises hit everyone differently and all deal with it in their own way. Some people may be more inclined to take a problem-solving approach to help reduce the potential for the virus to spread. Others may be more inclined to panic and buy as much toilet paper as they can, simply because that’s what the person next to them did. Some people use humor to deal with their anxieties caused by the apocalyptic-themed thoughts in their heads, and some people, like myself, like to escape by spending obscene amounts of time with porn on Twitter. This is all normal and okay. It’s okay to worry and it’s okay if you fuck up when you panic because it’s tough. It’s tough for everyone right now, however at the same time it’s a good time to reflect, and really take care of – and care for! – not only ourselves, but others as well.
I think of the people around me and how this event may impact them. I think of the people who panic and buy toilet paper, but also of those who are afraid because they or someone close to them, is at high risk if infected with the virus, like older folks and diabetics. I think of all the businesses impacted, especially small businesses like our local gay bars and clubs, with no customers, all the while time passes by and bills keep coming in. I think of the part-timers and the independently employed, as they may not have the financial support system or benefits to sustain themselves properly. Some of these people may be local entertainers like drag queens, who depend on social gatherings for their living. I think of sex workers who typically depend on physical contact with others for a living. I think of members of marginalised groups who are often in the most precarious living and employment situations already, like our immigrants, refugees, queers, and people of color. I think of how people blatantly make racist and offensive jokes about Asian people at this time. I think of the social groups like our recently canceled Amsterdam Bear Week, Easter Berlin or Roze Filmdagen and all the artists, employees and community members depending on these events.
The point is: the livelihood of many people is on hold and at further risk at this time and it can be very stressful, quite bleak even. So, to stop further aggravation of this precarious situation: be patient, be kind, but stay away from each other. I know it’s tough, but for just a short time, physically distance yourself from one another, to allow everyone the freedom to get together again very soon. If someone says they don’t want to hook up right now or hug you when meeting in person, don’t be offended, be happy and grateful that they care enough to be diligent. It kinda works like this: you’re not just hugging him, but you’re hugging everyone he’s hugged before you. One could replace ‘hug’ by ‘fuck’ here, but either way: a condom surely won’t save you from this virus!
One of the best parts about working in the fetish scene is that I am a part of a big, fun, and mostly shiny & slick machine that brings people together. Through our parties, events, performances, and shops we connect, and we love it and need it and deserve it! So, in order to get this machine rolling at full force again as soon as possible, let’s all try our best to spend some time alone for now, with our books…or Netflix…or dildos…or whatever you want to do to help restrain (no pun intended!) yourself from making this problem last longer than we’d like it to. So, basically, do us all a favor and go fuck yourself…for now!
Frank is a fat, gay, queer, slutty, loud-mouth, Italian-Canadian, queer rights advocate who moved to Amsterdam in 2018 to complete his degree in Sociology and Sexual Diversity Studies at the UvA. For fun, he enjoys writing, making his friends laugh, and singing poorly at karaoke. On weekends you can find him working in our Amsterdam shop!