Huh. Here’s a post from deep in my past, which I wrote and forgot about, never publishing it. Let us venture back, through the ages, to March of this year…
Last Saturday, I got out of bed at 7am so I could make it to the Bijou, which is a gay porn theater in Old Town, by nine to meet some friends/colleagues. One would expect a porn theater to be pretty quiet before lunch. Then again, gay men in our society don’t have that many safe havens, so I should have anticipated that not only would there be customers, but that they would not be happy with our intrusion – especially those of us in the group who don’t sport penises and, therefore, aren’t in ‘the club.’
I was there for a non-speaking role as an extra in a scene for a friend’s movie. The scene takes place at a film festival, and my job was to sit in the audience and stare at the screen. (The scene has nothing to do with porn – the theater was simply available because the film’s PA works there and we could use it for free.) For the first half hour we were there, they continued playing the skin flick the guys had been watching when we chased them out for the shoot. It was vintage, military-themed, and we got to Mystery Science Theater that shit for a while while we sat on trash bags in the ancient, thoroughly-stained seats (pretty sure I was at risk of pregnancy just walking in the door).*
The experience gave me new sympathy for gay men in Chicago. I’ve always known that boys are gross, but they tend to curb their yuckiness around their female counterparts – and vice versa. Without women around, however, all men, regardless of sexual orientation, are less self-conscious regarding their bodies and bodily fluids. At the Bijou, the men are practically guaranteed that no woman will ever show up (my experience is evidence to the contrary, but I get the impression that it’s the exception that proves the rule). So the walls are down. This may be very freeing, but oh – the drawbacks. The drawbacks are clear.
On the plus side, the Bijou has a sex maze upstairs that is completely unlit. So you don’t have to see the mess you’re moving around in. That sounds good, right? Unidentifiable, disoriented strangers groping through the dark? That’s a plus side, right? Guys, you have to really want to see the plus side.
Afterward, the director treated us all to a lovely brunch at Bistrot Margot, where I enjoyed the sandwich aux oeufs. Yes, I washed my hands first.
*I have eliminated more explicit descriptions as I have been informed they were “gross.” Okay – word pictures are uncalled for. If you really want to know what it was like in there, drop me a line.