By Brian Fencil
Photo courtesy of Greg Earl.
In April, an unmarked, aged box truck cruised the roads of California’s Bay Area. It first stopped at Oakland’s Art Murmur, and parked with its back facing a crowd. In front of them, the back door opened, revealing a small room that looked “like a cross between a childhood fort, and a strip club.”
What was the strange truck with its even stranger room all about?
Hooking up, of course.
The Oakland onlookers were told that for $75, The Hook-Up Truck will drive to anywhere in the Bay Area, pick up a couple, and allow them 30 minutes of privacy. To play safe, the interior comes fully stocked with contraceptives. To get the mood right, users can adjust the temperature or even turn on the camera that’s installed.
It should be no surprise that The Hook-Up Truck would start in SF, arguably the most sexually liberal city in the US. Each year, SF hosts a series of unique events such as the Annual World Naked Bike Ride, the Bare to Breakers nude race, and, of course, the Folsom Street Fair, a several day festival of leather, BDSM, nudity, and epic dance parties.
The idea for The Hook-Up Truck came to artist Spy Emerson, the truck’s founder, after hearing stories of people “doing it in cars, or between cars in random driveways,” she tells BTR in an email.
“This just totally inspired me–the sexual adventuring of people,” Emerson describes.
Galvanized by people’s adventures, and the obvious problems around them, Emerson started imagining a mobile room for short-term rentals that would duly be part of “an artistic statement regarding the commodification of, attitudes toward, and media representation of sex.”
Emerson wants to be sure that users have an enjoyable, safe experience, so there are several rules: participants must be 21 or over, only 2 people at a time (no animals!), and they cannot be intoxicated, loud, or rude. To keep the Hook-Up Truck clean, there are rule like “no blood play,” and dirtying the room can bring fines of up to $5,000. It is doesn’t have bedding, but furniture that can be wiped down and cleaned easily.
The Hook-Up Truck debuted a few weeks ago, and gave a few free visits, though it is not yet taking business. At the moment, it is in a legal “gray area” because nothing like this has been done yet. The police and the Department of Public Health don’t know how to classify the truck, making it difficult to obtain a business license; however, the back door of the truck is expected to roll up for couples this summer.
Already, an incredible number of different people want to rent the truck. Emerson described interested parties to the Huffington Post: single moms, people with roommates, workers in the financial district, employees on their lunch break, and, naturally, kinky folks who are into the adventurous outlet it provides. All of the interest is getting Emerson to think about expanding to other American cities like Miami, New York, and Chicago.
One of Emerson’s hopes when starting The Hook-Up Truck was to create a platform to discuss sex. Already, the truck is a very successful catalyst for debate. Numerous media outlets decided to run stories on it, including Glamour, TIME, CNN, Cosmopolitan, and a multitude of others. Fox, unsurprisingly, was offended, and others even cited the truck as evidence to show that “our society has gone to hell.”
So how about the actual hook-ups?
“Mission accomplished–I totally had sex in there and it was great,” Evan Tracy told SF Gate about his experience with his girlfriend.