Sunday, January 3, 2010

Glory Hole Days

(For the sake of the story, we're going to call this guy, "Carl")

Carl, the guy looking for the glory hole, came around to talk again. The swingers club he visited, and was sort of barred from, was in the news lately. People in the county were up in arms. They were shocked and appalled this kind of thing was going on in there county.

Of course, what it boils down to is the locals don't much like it that people are gathering together for the express purpose of meeting others so they can have sex --which is one of the primary reasons why people go to bars, go bowling, even go to church. The club just cuts to the chase without all the booze, bad shoes or the sermons.

Anyway, they'd much rather have people hide behind the pretense of going to see a lousy country cover band than just let people make their own sorry decisions without another butchered rendition of "Country Roads."

I am not endorsing the lifestyle; just pointing out the obvious.

Carl, unfortunately, had little good to say about the experience.

"Nobody would talk to me," he said.

The club itself was nothing spectacular, just a broad, dimly lit room in a non-descript building located in the middle of a corn field. It used to be some kind of store. The nearest neighbor was a bar. The swingers club itself didn't have a liquor license and apparently had no intention of trying to acquire one.

The prices were steep. Couples got in for ten bucks. Single men had to pay three times that (originally, he told me 60 bucks, but that may have been two separate trips). Carl didn't know how much they charged for single women, but I suspect a smile would get them through the door. Women are always in short supply everywhere except the mall.

Inside, morbidly obese married couples mixed with other morbidly obese married couples, had a few laughs and if the moment was right, traded off like baseball cards. Maybe they split a room at a budget motel where every room has two king size beds, expanded basic cable and a complimentary, continental breakfast buffet in the morning.

Nothing really caps an evening of sweaty, fat sex like a couple of bowls of generic brand fruit loops or a plateful of semi-thawed sweet rolls that might be apple or could be peach. Yeah, ain't that the life?

Of course, Carl didn't get that far.

"I couldn't get any of them to talk to me," he said.

So, he took it up with the hostess, asked her for a little help. She told him the club was a place to meet people. It wasn't a whorehouse.

"I asked her to introduce me to some of her friends," he said glumly. "I paid all that money. It seemed like I should get something."

The hostess didn't agree.

Carl got annoyed. He got irate. He got asked to leave.

His therapist suggested he probably shouldn't go back, that it was a bad atmosphere. I went out on a limb and suggested his therapist might be on to something there.

What bothered him the most, I think, wasn't so much the way the people at the club ignored him, but losing both time and money. Thirty bucks is thirty bucks. He could have used that money for lots of things --nothing that would have helped assuage the absolute loneliness and sad desperation, of course, but he could have gone to see a movie. He might have treated himself to a reasonable dinner then spent the evening making awkward calls to various counseling and support lines.

This is what I'd have done, except the dinner. I'd have spent the money on booze then drank until I blacked out. It's what I used to do in college when the girls didn't want to talk to me. I figure it probably still works.

Anyway, Carl had high hopes the swingers club would get theirs through some kind of scorched earth karmic retribution: if he didn't get laid by going to the club, nobody else who went there should either.

I can appreciate the rage.

I've never been to one of these places myself. I was in a relationship, once, where we flirted with the idea of "exploring," of bringing in the second string. It wasn't my idea: honest. It never panned out because I was too lazy to do the legwork and her suggestions for potential playmates made me want to burn myself in an intimate way.

Eventually, the fad passed, as did the relationship. It may, actually, have been an early warning sign things might not permanent, but I was younger then and pretty stupid.

Others can make those kind of combinations work. I have friends who've been involved in open marriages for years, who've managed to stay with the same husbands and wives for longer than I've been married, plus have juggled the emotional and physical needs of additional girlfriends, boyfriends and traveling sales professionals. They don't go to Swing clubs either, but they do spend their weekends dressing up in chain mail reminiscing about the fun that was the middle ages.

I don't do that either. I'm boring.

As far as my very lonely associate, he had a bit of luck just before the holidays. Carl met a nice, educated woman through a singles website. He's not calling it love, but they've been dating for a few weeks. He's hopeful. They have dinner at Bob Evans, then stop in at the local porn stores, where they've watched old men beat off in the back booths and dodged cadaverous gay men loitering in the dark corners. She wants him to buy her some leather lingerie.

"I bought the last one cast iron cookware," he told her. "I guess I can get you some leather underwear."

Romance is not dead, people.

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