Friday, July 29, 2011

A history that's disappearing

Yes, I’m here at the Denver Swim Club, but swimming. isn’t part of the agenda. But what is the agenda, exactly? On the way here, I kept thinking I was too tired to go on, especially when I got off the bus because my feet started hurting, the ride was too long, and then I sat down on the side of Colfax, thinking it would be cooler outside since the sun was going down, but it was so hot it was stunning. I kept thinking I was going to cross the street and go home, but eventually the express bus came, and I got on that instead.

At the door, the employees stare at me like they can’t figure out what I’m doing there. That seems to happen a lot in sex spaces these days, and maybe it’s always happened but no, now it seems more pronounced. I guess I don’t look like what sex club customers are supposed to look like, which I think means that I’m too friendly, too clean-cut, maybe too young in appearance and not so abject, I’m not sure. Of course I’ve been going to these places for 20 years now, but that’s certainly not how the employees look at me, that’s for sure. One of the employees says: can I help you? Like maybe I've wandered into the wrong place.

They make you sign something at the door that says you won’t do any illegal drugs, or have any unprotected sex, which is especially funny because the two guys working the door or the register or the entry area, whatever it’s called behind the maybe-bulletproof glass – those two guys are completely twacked. No, something beyond twacked I think – twackerjacked. One of them is super-skinny and Latino, chewing on his time while his eyes bulge in and out and he waits for instructions from the other one, shaved chest with stubble growing, nipples hanging there from too much steroid use in the past I'm guessing.

I didn’t really come here because I was horny, I came here because this is a piece of gay history, a history that’s disappearing. On the way I was thinking: I better go now, while I’m here. Even though I don’t have any energy. They’re playing sex-club standards like “I like to move it move it” with that rattle Latino house beat, they always used to play that one at the West Side Club in New York when I went there over 10 years ago, what an awful place. But then everything else sounds like Lady Gaga. Or maybe Lady Gaga sounds like everything else. Like nothing. “I want you-ooh – to take control of me-ee.” And then: “We need a taxi because you’re hung oh-ver… Get up and shake the glitter off your clothes now – that’s what you get for waking up in Ve-gas… Get up and put your money where your mouth is – that’s what you get for waking up in Ve-gas.”

The place isn’t empty, but there’s only one guy I’m attracted to. Eventually I end up in the porn room on one of the mattresses they have arranged on risers, sucking his cock and that’s fine until I realize he’s not touching me, so I sit up to kiss him, but that doesn’t last long, and then he’s just sit-lying there like a blow-up doll or something, I can’t figure out what he wants so I kiss him again and say I’m going to walk around. There’s an indoor pool with a big mural, I like the smiling shark more than the guy in the pool jerking off. But everything looks gray in that room, even the water.

Eventually I find the outdoor pool, which is more cheerful, big square colored tarps covering the fence that separates us from Colfax or the parking lot, forming a fabric rainbow as the sun goes down. There’s a guy holding onto a pink raft in the pool, talking on his cellphone. How deep is the pool, I wonder. I walk to the back: grass! Flowers! It’s not exactly pretty, but it kind of makes me want to play like a kid. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen in a place like this.

Back inside, walking across soggy office carpet. Maybe I’m here because my hair looks good, you have to do something when you like your hair, right? I almost write this on a bandaid box, but then I remember I can use paper towels, that will work better. I’m getting more tired. I should leave. Back around again, I do like that smiling shark. And, an octopus. Outside, I’m sitting on a chair looking out at the sky and someone comes over and sits next to me, takes off his towel and puts it on his lap. I can’t tell if he’s cruising me. He’s pretty cute, but I can’t really imagine having sex. I forgot – no one’s having sex here. I mean I haven’t seen anything yet, except annoying muscleboy porn and a few guys jerking off under towels, staring blankly at the screen. Some Latino queens – one of them got pushed by another into the indoor pool, shrieking until I walked in and then, were they trying to act straight? It’s interesting that now these places are more racially diverse than most gay spaces, but still empty.

The only really snotty, distant ones are middle-aged white guys who were once the cream of the crop. The guy who’s dick I sucked was Asian, a hint of bleach in his hair giving it a reddish tone, or maybe that's the light in here. This guy who’s maybe cruising me is Latino, is he the same one who was in the pool earlier on. I notice there’s a waterfall coming over the roof somehow, pouring into the pool, and I wonder if that’s to camouflage the sound of sex from the street. I mean, when there is sex. I like the poster in the back corner, a naked guy bound and gagged, with the heading “Got Attitude Tied Up.” And, underneath: “Be Submissive and Safe.”

There are no condoms in any of the public spaces, only one in each room. No lube. I say to this guy sitting next to me: I think it’s funny they have a waterfall. He mumbles something, but I’m not sure what exactly. I try again: I like the waterfall!

He says: they have another one in the indoor pool, I think it’s broken. Then he walks over to the pool, and dives in. I notice the pink-and-white striped petunias in big silver Romanesque planters. I don’t usually like petunias, but these are pretty. The guy in the pool swims over to the waterfall: oh, you can climb into a raised part of the pool and then the water hits your back, flesh in a fountain I guess. His back.

The sky is dark now, you almost can’t see the clouds. I watch the light from the club as it filters through the translucent pink raft, making it look like there are glowing yellow bubbles on top. There’s another raft, clear and shark-shaped and I watch as it floats towards the pink raft, slowly gliding through the bluish water. I look up at the sky, back down at the rafts. When they meet I turn to go back inside.

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