The under water adventures of Australia’s most passionate golden showers enthusiast, ‘Troughman’!
02:01 pm
The under water adventures of Australia’s most passionate golden showers enthusiast, ‘Troughman’!

It was a night in May 1978 that would change the life of an Australian man named Barry Charles irreversibly. He was 28 at the time. While visiting New York City, he visited the Mineshaft, a “notorious fuck bar of the seventies and eighties” as he called it in an article he authored in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services in 2003. The Mineshaft, located at 835 Washington St., was a legendary leather bar that was the inspiration behind William Friedkin’s 1980 movie Cruising.

At the Mineshaft, he saw a man in a bathtub—and twenty other men lined up, ready to pee on him. The idea excited him so much that he instantly became the next volunteer to enter the tub. When he got back home to Sydney, he was frustrated that the clubs he frequented did not have the “watersports” facilities that he now craved. At Signal, Sydney’s first leather bar, Charles realized that he could use the shared urinal, universally known as a “trough,” in the men’s room.

It is at this point that we can begin to refer to Charles as Troughman. Troughman started by crouching down and leaning against the urinal but (as he wrote) “it becomes easy to let myself go completely and, no longer kneeling or crouching, I lie right down in the urinal.” To Vocativ he stated that “I just got straight down there and started getting pissed on. It was instant rapport. These guys were all into the leather and S&M scene and they were right up for it straight away. And the bar management didn’t mind. They thought it was great fun.”

In 1998 Kellie Henneberry made a short film called Troughman about Charles. In it Charles/Troughman says, “I’m really into piss,” and adds that “being pissed on” is “my particular specialty.” He continues:

I do it because it’s a sexual turn-on for me, something that really excites me. I discovered it by accident. I didn’t even know that it existed, and then I walked into this club and it was happening. People were doing this, and I wanted to do it! And when it happened for the first time, it just opened all these amazing doors of sexual excitement.

Amusingly, Henneberry uses the “pissing the night away” bit from Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” as her theme music.

Inevitably, Troughman became a kind of mascot for the gay scene in Sydney. Everybody knew about him, but to some extent he was a figure shrouded in mystery. In a recent story for Australia’s Radio National, Greg Appel quotes an artist named Gareth Ernst who was familiar with the gay dance parties of the 1980s:

In the old days at the showground parties, you’d go into the toilets and someone would always twist off the neon lights, you’d get there and it would be really dark.

You’d just hear sounds, you’d get to the urinal, and there’d be this body in front of you rolling around, wanting you to piss on him.

He was kind of nameless and a little bit mysterious … he never said a word.

Obviously Troughman’s behavior was not perhaps entirely consistent with safe practices in an era in which AIDS ravaged gay scenes around the world. The rumor was that Troughman had succumbed to AIDS.

Happily, it’s not true. Appel tracked Charles down. He’s in his mid- to late 60s now. According to Appel, Charles sort of has his old “superhero” persona under wraps—he’s sort of embodying “the Clark Kent version of his character.” He stopped doing his Troughman bit when the culture got more regimented, less outlaw. As he said to Luke Malone of Vocativ,

I wanted to be accepted for who I am, not for how I could be just as respectable as straight people,” he says. “If people want a family or want marriage and these things, then they should be entitled to have them. I would never be opposed to those things. I just don’t see it as my pathway. It’s not how I express myself, so I hope us outlaws don’t get lost along the way.

For Charles, watersport was about “exploring the limits of my sexuality and what turns me on. It’s breaking barriers and it’s making transgressions and discovering that they’re exciting.”

Here’s Henneberry’s documentary short Troughman:

via Exile on Moan Street

Posted by Martin Schneider
02:01 pm



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