Sep 27, 2014

That Bathhouse in West Hollywood

Last night I dreamed about that bathhouse in West Hollywood again.

We used to go there every Sunday afternoon, after church and the French Quarter.  It was on a street lined with bright, glittering shops and restaurants, always crowded with people.

You entered through a huge glass storefront and paid a squinting, suspicious elderly woman or drag queen.

After depositing your clothes in a locker, you took an elevator upstairs to a vast series of pools, some warm, some cool, all bathed in semi-twilight.  There were hundreds of men, maybe thousands, all naked or wearing towels.

There was never much sex going on, but it was warm, and safe, and I felt an amazing sense of belonging,  This was home.

Sometimes in my dreams I'm back there, at the bathhouse or gym or whatever it was, feeling that warmth and safety and belonging.

But more often I'm trying to find it.

I drive around, but the streets are unfamiliar and confusing.

I cross a vast night-dark field, knowing that it's just at the bottom of that hill, but it's too late, there's not enough time.

It's not open yet, I must come back later.

It's gone, turned into artist studios or a boys' school, and the new proprietor gets all flushed and nervous when I ask about what was there before.

The problem is: That bathhouse never existed.

There were no bathhouses in West Hollywood when I lived there.  The only such place that I have ever gone to regularly was The Club in Fort Lauderdale, which looked nothing the place in my dreams.

So what am I dreaming about?

Death and rebirth?
A screen memory for an alien abduction?
A desire to find that elemental belonging again, to go home?

See also: 15 Reasons You Should Go to a Bathhouse