Guys: You can’t take your shirt off in San Francisco’s Heteronormative Castro

(There’s an update to this article down this page).

Hola a todos. I was reading a review of a local business geared to the super-wealthy. This business is in The Castro of San Francisco. It’s a cycling work-out corporate chain. Rich idiots with dinero/money to throw away pay $32.00 – 39.00 per class to ride a stationary bike in a hot sweaty room with an instructor screaming at them. Sounds lovely. I think loud pounding music is also part of this scheme. The word “cult” has been associated with this business because of the cult-like mentality of some of its clientele and their feelings of devotion for this business, and they don’t shy away from that description. It appears that shallow rich Millennials — mostly females — like to be seen there. It’s important where you’re seen, is it? This business has the typical (phony?) gushing 5-star reviews that one expects to read on a certain increasingly disreputable business review site with manipulated reviews. Females write gushingly how they “love, love, love, love, love” this business. Sigh. One idiot comes all the way over here to The Castro from Walnut Creek (25 miles away in the East Bay of the Bay Area) to ride a stationary bicycle in a hot, sweaty room — even though this business has a location in Walnut Creek — and she pays all that money, plus transportation costs. Stupid is in.

The reason I’m even writing about this is that one of their customers, a guy, was on his second visit to this business at The Castro location. He was wearing a cotton tank top while riding a stationary bike. He said he got too hot and took his shirt off. As he wrote, “big mistake!” He was reprimanded for that in front of the class by the instructor and told he had to put his (wet) shirt back on. No, I’m not joking.

During the Gay Mecca days, one saw lots of guys with their shirts off, sexy holes in their jeans, some butts showing, and other rad sights that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. It was all part of the “Only in San Francisco” at that time. It was part of what made The Castro unique and a special place in those days in a sex-positive way. The Castro was a very sexual place during the Gay Mecca days. Today? It’s 180 degrees the opposite. That’s because the foaming-at-the-mouth conservatives ranted that: “It’s time for the gay community to grow up.” Translation: Sex is bad. Become conservative. Become a prude. Think “old.” Oppose any fun in The Castro as we conservatives take over and completely sanitise it, except for the Rainbow Flags because we need them for the tourists. It was called “The City’s War on Fun” at the time. One thing after the other was being shut down. And that’s what los pendejos did. Ever since then, as an example, the sex stores in The Castro have been forced by the SFPD to put white stickers over any sexually-explicit sex scenes (such as dick and ass shots) on sex video covers displayed in the sex store windows because, hey, “sex is bad.” And if you are looking for sex after you have “grown up” (according to the conservative trash around here), describe yourself as “discreet” and “down low” (closeted). Not “out and proud.” So today, The Castro is a very prudish, conservative, nonsexual neighbourhood by comparison. Until this all happened, I never knew that any Queers/GTLBQs were conservatives. I had never known any Queer conservatives. I should also point out that the conservative Castro led the support for the San Francisco city-wide nudity ban. In 2017 and in the new conservative Castro, a guy is not allowed to have his shirt off. Apparently it offends some prudish females, if not other guys as well?

The male customer I mentioned who was reprimanded for having his shirt off wrote that: “This is the Castro, the last place heteronormativity has not been fully imposed in the city, or it was. The Castro is a neighborhood where people should feel free to be themselves (wherein you ride a bike and sweat bullets) and this specific neighborhood ought to consider fostering an environment where its patrons feel comfortable.”

Yes, The Castro should be about people being themselves, but that’s not the case today. Today’s Castro is all about heteronormative conformity and that cannot be over-emphasised.

He also mentioned that he goes to a workout place in San Francisco’s Marina where guys are allowed to have their shirts off. But in the conservative Castro, it is not allowed at this cycling business. Is this ridiculous rule because most of the clientele are females? Females have never seen a guy with his shirt off before? It used to be that guys could have their shirts off so what kind of sexism directed at a guy is this? He said he felt publicly shamed and humiliated because, again, the class instructor yelled for him to put his shirt back on in front of the entire class rather than pulling him aside and talking with him one-on-one.

The Cesspool/the US is so conservative when it comes to seeing the human body, including a guy’s bare chest. And when it comes to females: Oh don’t let me get started on that! It’s often about “her dress is too revealing.” As if people have never seen the female body before! I can’t stand prudes. I’ve noticed on “The Q” (the shopping network) that the swimwear they’re selling for women is not bikinis, but rather layered “romper swimsuits” which look more like conservative dresses. They come down to about mid-thigh. Of course one of them comes in conformist solid black. I can’t imagine being in black at a beach or pool. I think that would get extremely hot under the hot sun. Does no one think of that, or is it all about “being in black?” So one wears a dress to the beach or pool, and not a “revealing” bikini? Cover up, cover up! Don’t show any skin in the prudish US where people are afraid of seeing the human body.

In The Castro, you might see a guy with his shirt off purely by accident; a jogger quickly running through the barrio/neighbourhood and no one has time to scream at him to “put a shirt on.” But even on hot days, I never see it. It’s surprising that cargo shorts or gym shorts are still allowed because guys are showing some bare leg.

About 2 years ago, mi amigo/my friend told me that he heard two guys at his gym talking (this was the gay gym at the time) and one said to the other: “You have to put your shirt back on. This is the new Castro.” Regarding The Castro gyms, mi amigo also told me that The Castro was the first barrio/neighbourhood in The City to forbid guys from taking their shirts off in the gyms and that was back in the early 1990s. Loco.

This reminds me of a well-known vlogger on YT who shall remain nameless. He lives in Manhattan. Awhile back, he was producing a video at Times Square. He looked up at a billboard which showed Justin B*eb*r in just underwear lying on a bed. JB was doing an ad for a brand of boxer briefs. This vlogger looked up at the billboard and said, “Justin, put a shirt on!!!” Oh lord. That’s the type of prudish comment I would expect to hear in Topeka Kansas or some backwater place, not from someone who lives in Manhattan. Although I’m aware that Manhattan has also been sanitised and become quite conservative. Since then, this vlogger has shown his hypocrisy by not wearing a shirt on occasion. I guess he forget what he told Justin. As for his wife, what a piece of prudish and judgmental work she is. She, too, has body-image issues. I don’t know how he can stand her. They have quite a dysfunctional marriage. She’s always miserable.

As I’ve written before, what one sees today here is — no matter how hot it is out — most guys and females are wearing all black, head to toe. It’s yet another silly fad for conformist people. There are some people in colour on occasion, but the sheeple are mostly in all black or black and gray. All black gets really hot in the sun, but today conformity is more important to many people than their comfort. Guys around here are usually wearing: New black or gray jeans, black or gray t-shirt or black or gray long-sleeved shirt or black/gray striped sweater or an all-black dress shirt. Females are wearing: Long black dresses or black tights/leggings and black or gray shirt. They’re what some of us call the “Black and Gray Cult” and it’s usually the Millennials who are dressed in such a conformist way.

I also see a lot of stupid joggers and cyclists in conformist black, or black and gray even at night, and without any lights on them. Presumably they enjoy getting hit and having their face hit the asphalt because a motorist can’t see them well, especially when the motorist is distracted by their phone. But to a lot of people, being a conformist is more important than their safety.

It was reassuring to read that someone else has noticed how The Castro has drastically changed into a heteronormative, sanitised and conservative barrio, having been ruined by the prudish basura (mostly the conservative homeowners and conservative merchants) with their body-image/body-shame issues as well as their many other issues. Chau.—el barrio rosa

UPDATE (el 10 de julio de 2017/the 10th of July 2017): Hola a todos. I was in The Castro late yesterday afternoon and had a very pleasant time. When I first got there it was rather dead out. One reason I thought I should update this article is because there were two guys standing at the Jane Warner Plaza (Castro and Market Streets) with their shirts off. It was warm out. No one said a thing to them apparently. I didn’t see anyone bothering them. That was good to see. There were mostly Queer boys walking around, some holding hands. That was nice to see. There were a few breeder couples but they were definitely in the minority and sort of blended in, and they weren’t making out or being obnoxious as they can be and that I’ve written about. The Castro felt more friendly and warmer, and I saw people wearing more colour. On Castro Street itself, I saw more rad and less conformity. What I saw reminded me more of the old Castro of the Gay Mecca days and that was good to see. Just people — again mostly Queer boys which was nice to see — enjoying themselves and I enjoyed myself. I hung out just to take it all in and appreciate the moment, because it’s not often like that in The Castro. And I just wanted to say this because I don’t have an agenda and have written a lot of negative things about The Castro. It’s all been true. But I like to be objective and when I see something that’s the opposite of what I’ve written lots about, I like to write about that too. As I’ve also written, it really depends upon when — the day and the time of day — as to what one will see in The Castro. It’s unpredictable. But I had a very nice time yesterday. I saw one “flaming Queen” Queer boy briefly leave his group to go talk with two people he didn’t know presumably about something going on with his group. The two people listened to him and then wished him good luck and he got back into “flaming Queen” mode and went to catch up with his group. LOL. That was funny. I see a couple of the bars are promoting a Drag Queen event. That’s good to see as it would be a shame to see that art form disappear. As I started to leave, it was getting dead again as it was when I arrived. Two skateboarders slowly skateboarded down the sidewalk of Castro Street and no assholes bothered them. Yes, it was nice out. Nice to see. My time felt like a special moment in The Castro, and I really appreciated it. Chau.—el barrio rosa


“Queering The Castro”

The Closeted Queer Community (2017)

San Francisco’s Straight Mecca (November 2016)

You Go, Girl! You Go, Ms Thang!

More back to the 1950s: Gay guys marrying females in droves. Sad.

2 comments on “Guys: You can’t take your shirt off in San Francisco’s Heteronormative Castro

  1. D8

    Hola, I was in the Castro earlier today and it was the opposite of what you wrote in your update. Straights and baby strollers galore. No gay guys at all that I noticed. Babies, babies and more babies. Birth control is out. It is amazing how a neighborhood can change so drastically. Be gay one afternoon and all straight the next morning and mid-day. Thought I saw one lesbian couple hugging but when I got up to them it turned out to be a straight couple wrapped around one another like they had tentacles gluing themselves together – the tall, short you’ve talked about. Thx.

  2. Chris

    My partner and I live in Florida, and we knew it was all over for the San Francisco that we had come to love when we heard about your nudity ban. We couldn’t believe that was happening to SF and that it was being led by the gay community.

Fin. The End.