Apr 1, 2016

Fall 2008: The Darkroom of the Gay Bar in St. Louis

St. Louis, Fall 2008

Most gay bars in Europe have darkrooms, cut off from the main bar by a black curtain.  It's completely dark inside, not even a safety light, although some guys walk around flashing the lights on their cell phones.  You feel around until you find something you like.

In the U.S., there are no darkrooms.  State and local laws strictly forbid public sexual encounters.  Even in bathhouses, private clubs with membership fees, you're not allowed to do things in public areas.  

I've seen the equivalent of a darkroom only once in the U.S.

In the fall of 2008, in St. Louis for a conference, I went to the Spike (I don't remember its real name) on Manchester Street, in the gay neighborhood.

Bare brick walls, a small dance floor, a lot of guys in jeans hanging around staring into space, their beer bottles protruding like phalluses.

I noticed a lot of beer bottles by a door in the back, as if people were leaving them on the way to the bathroom, but it wasn't a bathroom.

They would set down their beer bottle, go through, and return a few minutes later.

After awhile, I investigated.

It was a narrow enclosed patio, partially open to the sky, lit only by the stars and a string of multicolored Christmas tree lights.

No heat except for a red-glowing space heater.

A bulletin board, some railings, no place to sit.

There was a row of men standing with their backs against the wall in single file, waiting.

The rest of the post is too explicit for Boomer Beefcake and Bonding.  You can read it on Tales of West Hollywood.