Back before dating apps like grindr, guys met by hanging out in internet chatrooms. And before internet chatrooms, they met by posting or answering personal ads in gay magazines.
Every gay magazine had a "personal ad" section. The Montrose Voice in Texas, Frontiers in West Hollywood, The Edge in New York, even The Advocate.
My friends and I had lots of fun reading and discussing the new ads every week. We didn't respond often -- who needed to respond to a personal ad when you lived in a gay neighborhood?-- but occasionally one stood out as particularly promising, and we made the call.
We quickly learned to decipher what the code words really meant.
Many of the code words are still used today, in profiles on gay dating sites and the personal ads on Craigslist.
40s: I have fond memories of listening to The Shadow and Fibber McGee on the radio.
Mature: I fought in World War I. At least, I think it was World War I. My memory isn't what it used to be.
Swimmer's build: Twiggy was my idol.
Football player's build: What the heck is football?
Muscular: I went to a gym once, 10 years ago. Who knows, I might go again someday.
GWM: Gay white man.
GBM: Gay black man.
GM: It's racist to reveal your race. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Size of Endowment:
Average: I won an award for "The Smallest Endowment in West Hollywood."
A (Active): Bottom.
A/P (Versatile): Bottom.
P (Passive): Bottom
The Outdoors: It's fun to walk from the car to the club.
Music: Madonna, not Mozart.
Dancing: I was on a dance floor once.
Activism: I support gay rights, as long as I don't have to do anything.
Friendly: I will be cruising other guys on our date.
Generous: I will pay you.
Honest: I will criticize your clothing, your choice of music, your apartment, and your mother.
Successful: I will pay you.
Who He's Looking For:
A man who takes care of himself: I want a bodybuilder.
A man who knows what he wants: I want a top.
Young looking: You should be in junior high.
Athletic: No sports, please.
Mature: I want a Sugar Daddy to buy me things.
Healthy: I haven't educated myself on how HIV is transmitted.
No femmes: I'm afraid people will know I'm gay if I hang out with someone feminine.
No fats: I have issues with my body.
What He's Looking For:
LTR (Long-Term Relationship): Hookup.
See also: 15 Rules of Gay Cruising; and 15 Rules of Gay Dating.