The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections nearly had apoplexy over this one. They only allowed it through provided I warn my relations and those with weak constitutions to come back tomorrow.
A friend is coming to visit next week. He recently texted us wanting our opinion whether “Flex” or “Chute” is better. Naïvely I thought he was talking about work-out whey powder. Upon edification these are the two in-town bathhouses. Said Friend proposes we three make an outing of it, a sort of bar-hopping.
Jolly good fun. Maybe.
Urs Truly has never been to a bathhouse. When I lived in Chicago I literally lived kitty corner to one of Windy City’s more notorious and salacious ashrams. I was too timorous to enter in. Later, when I was more courageous, I was not comfortable to do so for I had established a small private practice; several of my patients and analysands who regularly went there. Psychotherapy is intimate enough but to encounter one’s patient literally naked is even more ticklish. So I never went.
Mind! I am curious to know what goes on in one of these places and see what all the fuss is about. I am tempted to take up Friend’s invitation. I see it as a sort of anthropological expedition like Margaret Mead among the Bantus, observing tribal rituals. Friend says it is more fun to go with someone than by one his own and I can’t imagine why. I suspect (since he is more handsome than I) I may act as a sort of foil viz. a gentleman caller sees us and opts for him rather. Is there something more/else to do in these places? I imagine the halcyon days of Rita Moreno-types singing in the pits providing entertainment ala “The Ritz” went out decades ago.
I wonder too how negotiations occur viz. haggling over what one does and doesn’t want to do and (more important) the disclosure of one’s health history and status (perhaps there are forms?). Just my luck I go on my first outing only to pick up something unwholesome like athlete’s foot.* I surmise in this day and age of Grindr** going to a bathhouse for companionship seems time-consuming and unnecessary; perhaps the ones who go to yon places don’t have cellphones. Or perhaps everyone there carries their phones around the place, walking around in towels looking down not ahead, absorbed in their cellphones, texting others rather than conversing with those right in front of them – like any usual group of gay men.
In the end I probably won’t go not out of prudence or squeamishness but out of fatigue. Friend gets picked up from the airport quite late this Friday night and I will have been up since 5AM. I am at the age where the night is meant for sleep. I may drop off Friend at the most convenient of the two places and see him in the morning. This won’t be the first time I’ve woken in the morning, made some tea, and waited for his return from the walk of shame.
* Do they provide slippers or does one bring your own? So many questions.
** Something else I have not experienced. Should I call Auntie Mame or count my blessings?