In Which Irony Annoys Us


San Francisco recently ran headlong into a coincidence which registered mightily on mrpeenee. For one, Blow Buddies, our most beloved sex club, closed after 32 years of splooge splashing, a great deal of which was mine. And for another, in the same week, San Francisco lifted the local ordinance that banned bath houses here.

A little background via the way back machine. Bath houses are sex clubs where gay men go strictly to have homo sex. Bars required meeting people and small talk and negotiating and learning people’s names and blahblablah. Baths were straight up walk into someone’s room and start fucking, which is why I found them so darned irresistible. R man said that when he lived here in the 70s, there were dozens of them, some of them specialized, like for fisting or guys with fetishes for truckers.

The tubs (as they are also known) were emblematic of the casual, easy, anonymous recreational fucking that defined a large segment of the gay world, but because of that, they were vilified by homos who wanted to be more accepted by straight society. “We’re not all sluts,” they would bleat, tears welling in their prissy little eyes. “I am,” I replied, as my friends and I lined up for another round of eager sodomites.

Ah, but then AIDS blew into town and suddenly there was a hunt on for somebody to blame, so of course, the sluts took the hit. A local gay reporter named Randy Shilts published a very influential book in the mid 80s called The Band Played On. Shilts was one of the assimilationists who blamed sluts for queer’s bad reputation and made closing down the baths here his mission. And he was successful. In 1985, San Francisco passed the law that forbid sex clubs to have private rooms with doors that closed, which pretty much define bath houses.

So that meant gay men stopped having sex and the AIDS crisis ended. Uh, actually, no. Instead, because gay men still demanded anonymous, no-fuss sex Blow Buddies opened in 1988, a sex club without private rooms and which forbid anal sex, the primary sexual way AIDS is transmitted. And lo, the sluts were joyful and sang hosannahs.

I’ve sung the praises of Blow Buddies before:

speaking of sex clubs, my all time favorite is here in San Francisco, called Blow Buddies.  It manages to bring together the two strengths of the gay community: sex and design.  Plus the music is good, so that’s actually three strengths.  But as to design, let us turn our attention the Milking Room, as our friends call it.  A largish room with a platform about waist high built around the edge.  The platform is equipped with a partition on the outer edge, pretty much chest high, with a hole in it, just the right height for someone, someone like me, to stick their dick through.  The genius is apparent when you realize this means someone else, again, me sometimes, standing on the floor of the room has their mouth at just the right level to suck on the cock thus presented, thereby avoiding the sad discomfort of kneeling all night for glory hole sex.  Genius.

R man and I were so fond of the old joint we wound up as regulars, going every Sunday evening as dependably as old Southern ladies going to church. Praise Lawd. And now it’s dead, done in by Covid and Grindr. I gave up all that sex foolishness a decade ago, but I still will miss knowing it was there providing a safe haven for all my cock sucking brethren. Farewell and thanks.

Did I mention our old chum Mikey is going to the beach?

In Turkey, where I imagine men look sort of like this.

I really like the wallpaper here.

Bath houses were noted for their plumbing.

And for comfortable places to lounge.

11 responses »

  1. RIP Blow Buddies! It’s a trend that is international, I’m afraid – a few years ago, our own “House of Worship”, the legendary Thermos in Amsterdam closed forever (having already reduced its estate from two premises – Thermos Day and Thermos Night – a while back). We felt like laying a wreath…

    Of course, wherever there is (COVID permitting) a gaggle of sluts remaining, there will always be a market for exactly this kind of anonymous, no frills fun somewhere. We were pleased to see that the new owners of De Spyker bar had recently refurbished and extended their own glory-holy dark room, and sex clubs do still exist (even if the biggest ones were restricted to “bar only” while we were there last month). Amen to that!



  2. Please tell me they’re not making things worse by converting the Blow Buddies location into a Starbucks or a nail salon! (P.S.: You can keep the wallpaper. I’ll take the guy holding it up.)


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