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Friday, October 13, 2006

The Corridor of Man

I do my best thinking in saunas.

Mostly as it starts with 'Why am I here?' and often sidetracks into a more metaphysical bent, if you'll excuse the term.

It was that dead time inbetween gentleman callers: I'd already had one. Well, two. Well, one and a half, as I'd walked out when he wouldn't stop tweaking my nipples. Actually, not tweaking them - twisting them. I kept slapping his hand away, but he insisted, so I said "If you wanted to tune in to Radio Two, why didn't you fuck a radio?" grabbed my towel and left.

So here I am, standing in a sauna corridor, just waiting for everything to reset so I could go back out there and do it all again. You'd think I'd be happy with one (and a half); the only reason being is that the entry fee is fairly steep and you're often weighing up what you're getting for your money. So far it was fourteen pounds for a quick fumble and a hand-job, and frankly you can get that in a nightclub. With a bit of luck you may at least get a Girls Aloud sound-a-like act thrown in as you're tossed off.

It's kind of like waiting for the cistern to refill. And there's not much you can do but sit around and watch the passing parade. Which is always funny. Because no matter how pretty the man, no matter how utterly beautiful, somewhere on his body he will have the key to his locker, making him sound like he's got a cat-bell on as he wanders around the corridors.

(I tuck mine under my watch, readers. Little bit of a tip for you.)

I've got a friend who loves these places. Not for the sex, for the atmosphere. I can only half-understand that; for me the atmosphere is half pure sex, and half the giddy risk of getting a verucca. They're charnel houses of emotion. Palaces of grit and jism.

So why do I go?

Positive reinforcement, they call it. You succeed once in getting something you wanted and you're going to go back. I'm chasing an elusive, glorious afternoon where I'd gone with two very attractive friends and we'd accidentally started an orgy about us just by Rob raising his eyebrow and Darryl dropping his towel. Oh, heady days indeed. That very afternoon I had more pricks than a blind seamstress' finger. And it was quality cock too. Often you come to these places and get some ratty old portions that look like a length of knotted fisherman's rope - seemingly with barnacles.

It's rather like going to a car boot sale. There's innumerable everyday items, but every now and again, you see something really special. Something you'd never normally be able to get, and maybe he'll shrug and follow you into a booth. You see, I'm slightly unfortunate in that I fall between two categories of men. I'm far below those beautiful hunks of meat who only seemingly go to saunas make people wonder what the hell they're there for. Yet I'm (and do forgive my arrogance) slightly above the pot-bellied oafs who can barely get through the corridors without their nipples touching the fetching murals of roman torches encased behind perspex to avoid splashback).

Like this guy here. You should see him. I'm thinking 'If you're going to cover yourself with tattoos, you should at least get electrolysis first, love. From the look of you, it'd like trying to read an IKEA instruction book through a privet hedge...'

My eye ached. My one success here, an Italian, had got a little carried away and coughed his filthy love-muck all over face and some had ungraciously gone in my fabulous green-tinted peepers. I say he was Italian - the only reason I suspected was he said 'ciao' after mopping up and smelled slightly of Chinzano.

You see, you're not allowed to speak in here. It's mad. You're being intimate in many, many ways, but talking..? No. Not allowed. Frowned upon. Positively discouraged,

The only ones that do are the blue t-shirted functionaries who patrol the corridors. You tend to ignore them for some reason, as if they've been labeled 'not for sex' in your head. Like furniture. And girls.

Mostly they spend their time installed in their little rooms, sitting reading the Metro on packs of kitchen roll, completely immune to the shuffling, undulating atmosphere. They'll wander out with a damp cloth and a pair of surgical gloves every now and again to hose down a cubicle. They're like the Doozers in Fraggle Rock. With more singing.

Anyway. I went to a psychic some time back. "You're unique," he said. "You can separate sex from emotion really easily" and I thought 'not that unique, mate - it just means I'm a raving homosexual'. And you could see them all here... There's a guy wandering around who's utterly beautiful to look at, one you wouldn't mind chancing your arm with. But then he starts forward and you notice he walks like a duck. Seriously. With the neck and everything.

There's the one on speed. This is the third time he's been around here in so many minutes. Unsurprisingly.

And there's the man with his towel so high that he looked like he was wearing a ra-ra skirt. Not a good look.

I find it best to gave yourself a yardstick when you get in - a gentleman who isn't all bad, but just that little bit below your league. Not necessary munting, but one you wouldn't normally do even after a few pints. The idea being that if you catch yourself hiking up your towel for him in a dark room, you've clearly lowered your standards and should get out of there. I chose a bizarre little knuckle-dragger with ears like wing-nuts. That helps - you'd be able to see those even in the steam room.

The steam rooms are always good for a laugh as someone's always got their equipment out, though you have to be careful what you're getting as visibility is low. It's rather like The Nothing from Never-Ending Story has descended, and you're left groping around and hope that's the door handle you're pulling in the hope of getting out. Well, you never know! One sharp twist, and the next thing you know you've either made it outside, or you're wiping something unsavoury out of your hair and batting away an offer to come back to his as 'the wife's away, mate'.

Speaking of which, I'm told that lesbians have saunas, apparently. It happens once a month (make your own jokes there) where one of our establishments are graciously given over to our Be-Good Tanya-loving brethren. Lord only knows how it works. Can you imagine our less dainty Ladies Wot Lick cruising? And how would it all work out sexually? For one, I'm completely mystified how they stop the Pringles going soggy in the steam room...

Half hour and still nothing good. I realise my foot's gone to sleep, so I shuffle around a bit, accidentally catching the eye of someone. Didn't mean to, but any movement sets them off. Like raptors.

Oh, it's the yard-stick. I sigh, get my towel and go home.


tornwordo said...

What a fun read that was. Better luck next time!

Adrian said...

To properly adhere to the not talking rule, I'd advise not being really hammered. I was in a dark room once (same as a sauna, except your clothes are within easy reach) singing Alla Pugacheva and Ruslana songs. I didn't remember this until many days afterwards, distracted as I was.

kim said...

You know, I go past Chariots so often, and I always look at it with a mixture of jealousy and incomprehension. I mean, how on earth does one do that casual sex thing? What if they turn out to have a cheap accent? Doesn't it all go limp?

kim said...

Oh, and by the way, you'll heart this, apropos of nothing

Spike said...

ike trying to read an IKEA instruction book through a privet hedge.

Am now reading screen through spray of hot chocolate.

Perry Neeham said...

What is remarkable, really strange, in fact downright bloody amazing, about saunas is the number of very, very unattractive men. Can't they operate a mirror? For once the papers aren't full of shit when they bat on about an obesity crisis.

On the other hand, we physical manifestations of Michelangelo?s David have juices and desires just like overweight, balding, tattooed, gap toothed, tubs of lard. Perhaps it's just as well the Marquis of Darkroom invented the eponymous negative lit lounge.

p.s. How did Kim know you were talking about Chariots (which you surely were) if he/she just walks past?

Lee said...

Well. She knows too much, that girl. I used to live with her.

First Nations said...

another geyser of hot coffee and a tip of the hat for the 'privet hedge' my darling

EarthMother said...

Will I sound terribly gauche if I tell you that I giggled my ass off throughout this entire post?
Scarily, the whole yardstick routine was all too familiar to me. Hopefully, I've never been anyone's yardstick. Eek!

Anonymous said...

It's rather like The Nothing from Never-Ending Story has descended

I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that or it would be all over the place. Makes me long for those lost evenings in the baths with the boys.

Anonymous said...

sounds like the usual unproductive way to spend £14..then a couple more on athletes foot cream...

Owen Blacker said...

Your description of speedy-boy? reminds me of the time I was being fellated in a steam room by someone who was very obviously pilling his tits off.

Aside from that he had pupils like dinner plates, he kept stopping, every minute or so, to dance to the music you could almost hear in the background.

If he hadn't been stunningly attractive, I'd have pissed myself laughing.

As he was, I contented myself with spraying myself over his face :o)

Owen Blacker said...

PS: I'm now not gonna be able to remove the image of saunacleaners as Doozers, I hope you realise? :o)

Da Nator said...

Laws-a-mercy, I don't know how you boys do it. Goodness, it was was like a tour of a foreign land. Fun, but a little scary.

I'd take exception to your remark about "less than dainty" lesbians, but, being one, I know that no-one ever needs to see me in a towel or less, no matter what the wife says.