Thursday, November 12, 2009

Very, very Old News

I don't remember when I did the Glory Hole story. It was a long, long time ago --could be five or six years back. The whole thing revolved around a woman (alleged) who'd opened up one of these things in Huntington to basically service five or six men anonymously. I'd heard of the practice, though considered it to either be mostly an urban legend. Seriously, the logistics of blowing someone through a hole cut into a wall sounded like too much of a hassle for all but the most devoted of cocksuckers. And really... I just couldn't see it as being really all that attractive (or comfortable) for those electing to receive. That's a lot of trust to invest in a stranger's kindness.

Apparently, however, it was and is something done --mostly, as a novelty in the gay community. In the straight community, women, for some inexplicable reason, aren't into this -- at least, not without receiving a sizable donation.

That's the background. I did the story. I interviewed the purveyor of the glory hole. It was an e-mail interview (and one of the reasons why I learned to detest the format because it leaves out a lot), but for a photo, I took my camera and went to the nearest adult bookstore. It was the big, blocky one in Spencer. I went in, paid like five bucks to go to "the arcade," and very nervously stalked around, looking for booths that were empty. I wanted to just take my picture and get the hell out.

The inside of the place was appropriately awful, dungeon-dark with a maze of cheap and warped booths. Adding to the surreal fun of the place, there were actually a couple of video games inside, propped up in the corners of the room --in case you got bored, I guess. Inside each booth was a half-fried television and a channel change device, where you could switch to one of several different porn channels. They had all the usual flavors: hetero, gay, lesbian, gay, bondage, gay and something involving an entire community theater troupe.

I got the picture, but then argued with myself about whether I should leave right away or if I shouldn't stay. The clerk saw me go in, of course. I had to buy the token from her in the first place. She might judge me.

I didn't stick around, went home and that was it for the story. I did the whole thing to see if I could make the new management at Graffiti squeal --and I'm pretty sure they did. Actually, I remember that part. Oh yeah, they squealed. They didn't run it and later I posted it here before the great purge I did a couple of years back, but otherwise, it's gone.

Anyway, the story or at least the story of me doing the story has circulated for a while. And periodically, somebody will come looking for me to ask about glory holes and maybe how they can find them.

Today, the guy was an older guy, pushing 60 --and not very lucky in love. To my knowledge, he's never married and has only dated sporadically over the roughly ten years I've known him. He's not a bad guy, but he's a guy and he wants to get his swerve on. So, with no real prospects at the moment, he started taking some chances. He got accounts with adult match sites. He went to a swinger's club. He paid 60 bucks as a cover and was essentially ignored by the women and couples in the room, probably because he's a 60 year-old guy who looks his age and wears it awkwardly.

Somehow, word about my knowledge of glory holes got to him. So, we talked about what was going on with him, what he was doing to improve the situation and how it wasn't working. I couldn't give him much advice. I listened and nodded, told him it was a lousy thing for him, but no, I didn't know where there was an active glory hole.

In a situation like that, there is no giving good advice. He wasn't looking for love or an actual relationship. He was looking to get laid, which as most of us know by now, is a separate article. If you get into a relationship (i.e. get married), you aren't guaranteed sex and sometimes, the relationships available to you aren't worth the agony to maybe get the sex.

Of course, the problem is sex with few strings is less likely for people who aren't especially good looking and charming or have one of the great equalizing traits like money or the complete Star Trek the Next Generation series on DVD. In the old-old days, I had friends who could pull off the casual sex thing effortlessly. It was like being good at parallel parking. Most of them had good looks, a certain amount of charisma and money to throw around (which was funny, since they were also terrible about spending any of it on the girl). However, for the majority of men I know, casual sex was and probably is mostly an urban legend.

It could also be I tend to run with a pack of losers or well-meaning liars.

Still, I tried to be helpful, suggested he could check the personals. Maybe Craigslist would have something for people wanting to pair up temporarily. He left disappointed. I gave him nothing he hadn't thought of before.

I felt a little sick about the whole thing. I am a sucker for weird and uncomfortable stories. I never look away. I can't. Beneath the man's hunger is a need to just be touched by someone, to feel physical contact with another human being. It's something most of us crave and it hurts when all we get is rejection, when others shudder at the look of us. Still, to me, the great sadness is his desperation and disappointment. He's cast aside the idea that another person ought to care about him and has settled for seeking a meager, impersonal release.

It's a terminal kind of hopelessness.


Anonymous said...

I checked to see if I still had a copy of your gloryhole story on my e-mail. No luck yet.


primalscreamx said...

It's probably somewhere. You know, if I ever do manage to become a well-known writer, that article is going to follow me around like a piece of toilet paper stuck on the bottom of my shoe. I will endlessly have to explain it --particularly, if I branch out into Christmas stories or books for children.

The Film Geek said...

You had me at "glory hole."

Hope your buddy gets some companionship soon.