So, I live next to a gay sex club. Not a bar, but a sex club. Men go in and come out all night, occasionally sitting outside and smoking, trying their best not to make eye contact with passersby. I have walked past this place for almost a year, and one Saturday at about 3:30 in the morning, my curiosity (and the Red Bull vodka) gets to me, and I decide to finally check it out. Due to my shyness around new crowds, and that whole not being gay thing, I’m pretty shaky before I walk in. My heart’s racing, my neck’s hot, and even though I decide there’s no turning back, I have to wipe the sweat from my forehead before I open the front door.
I walk in and I’m immediately in a small rectangular room filled with mirrors and a ticket booth, like the ones at theaters or carnivals. The plexiglass window is vacant just long enough for me to catch my breath, when a chewed husk of a man saunters up. His skin is pruned like he just got out of a bathtub he’d soaked in for a week and his thinned hair is puffed into a translucent buzz-cut. I try to maintain a cool, calm demeanor but I’m pretty sure the door guy for a gay sex club is going to take about one second to realize the kid with a baby face and jittery eyes probably isn’t a regular. He takes my driver’s license and gives me the basic rate, which at 22 dollars for a 6 month membership and a locker seems kind of steep. It’s not like I’m going to need a locker, I think. He tells me that’s the cheapest he has, and he hasn’t smiled once, so I grudgingly hand him the money before he presses a secret button and the steel door to the right starts buzzing. After just a few minutes being stuck in purgatory between these two worlds, I decide that I’m ready to dive in.
Having no idea what was behind the door, and trying to imagine every possible scenario, I have to admit that I was still a little taken aback when the first thing I walk into is five men staring at me, all of them wearing only towels. For some reason, I just didn’t see that one coming. I freeze, but the husk shows up on the other side of the door, once again behind a plexiglass window. He has a few things to give me- My driver’s license, a key and padlock for my locker, a condom, and a white towel. I take them and head straight to the lockers, trying to figure out what exactly I’m going to do. I pick an empty locker and put my towel away while next to me men are dressing or undressing or just standing naked talking to each other. I’m not exactly sure where to go, but I decide to find an area where people were wearing slightly more clothes.
About this time I start to feel like the impostor I am. I start to worry that someone will look me over and see a lanky hetero infiltrating their space, and then start yelling at me. Yelling at me, of course, being the best case scenario. I’m desperate just to find an area where I can blend in with people wearing pants. I cautiously walk around the halls, looking for a safe haven, when I realize that I’m right next to the sauna and showers. This answers the riddle about everyone’s dress code, but if I can’t find the other areas, it doesn’t do me much good. I begin to try doors, but it seems like every time I reach for a handle a line of towels walks out. I’m starting to get more nervous, which I think makes me look more guilty, which makes me even more nervous, but then I find a temporary solution- I find a Ms. Pac-man arcade game in the TV room. Granted, every one is still just wearing towels, but I’m grateful to sit down and pay attention to something that doesn’t want to have sex with me. I play for about 15 minutes, until my quarters run out, and I feel a little more at ease. I walk back to the locker area, and am pleasantly surprised to find an open hall hidden in the back. Finally, what I’m looking for. I stride over and find a set of darkened stairs. I confidently walk up, but right before I hit the top, a grim reality smacks me in the face; Dozens of men roaming up and down hallways, every single one of them just wearing a towel.
I’m flabbergasted. Completely in shock. I’m the only person wearing a shirt in the whole goddamn place, and everyone notices. I don’t know what to do, but I just start walking down the endless halls lined with doors and filled with men looking to hump. Occasionally a door is cracked open, and peering in I see men lying on a bed naked, either waiting or recovering. I’m sure that people already know I’m a fraud, and it doesn’t help that I keep getting lost. The place is built like some sort of gay labyrinth, and I run into the same dead ends and open doors over and over. At this point I should leave but I’m so far, and for some reason even though I feel an anvil on my chest from fear, I find the stairs for the third floor, and walk up.
It’s pretty much the same as on the last level; dark halls lined with rooms, men only wearing towels looking at me like I’m George Jetson in Amish country. One difference, though, is that there are less people walking around and more people in rooms. Down the hall, I see three guys lined up outside a room like they’re waiting at a bus stop. A man walks out putting his towel back on, and one of the men shuffles in. I try to imagine what’s happening in there, but knowing my track record, I probably have no clue. Then I see the sign, gaudy and fluorescent, painted on a wall. It reads “CAUTION: Huge Cock This Way” bordered with a giant arrow pointing to the left. And like it was almost a knee jerk reaction, that’s the way I start walking.
The hallway begins to get even darker and more narrow. I hit 3 steps, and walk up onto what I can only describe as a rickety bridge; some sort of steel path with handrails, looking down into an abyss. Straight ahead the bridge curves and leads into a small doorway that men are slowly filing into. It was another case where I could only make futile guesses what was past that door. I tiptoe ahead, and try to focus, but then a queue of towels start to form behind me. The line in front is getting shorter and the line behind is getting longer. I’m a fraud and a phony and everyone will know it if I don’t keep going, but I’m terrified. I’m 7 years old again, standing on the high dive at the public pool, glancing back at the big kids yelling for me to jump. And just like when I was 7 years old, I go spineless. I squeeze my way past the towels, grunting “excuse me”, and barrel down both flights of stairs. I run to my locker to get my towel and 2 feet away a naked man is getting blown. I take the towel back to the husk, and he has me throw it in the laundry. He hands me my membership card, laminated with my name, number (I’m in the 70,000’s), and a small graphic of a Tom Of Finland biker. Before I walk out he asks me to please make sure not to lock the key ring on the lock. It’ll be hard to take it off, he explains. I give him a heartfelt apology, and for the first time he smiles. He says to me “Don’t worry, it’s your first time.” I do what I can to smile back when the door buzzes again. I walk out the door, through purgatory, and out onto the sidewalk where I take huge gulping breaths of freedom.
The Snakes on a Plane soundtrack is complete and utter garbage. There is nothing even slightly worthwhile to speak of and you should never, ever consider buying it.