If you ask my boyfriend for a snowboarding lesson, he’ll make an unenthused face before diplomatically explaining to you that spending a day listening to you complain about the cold while wearing a marshmallow suit might not be that great for him. I wish he had the same attitude about golf lessons, but, alas, he does not which is why it was foolish of me to say Saturday, “Today is your day. We can do whatever you want.”
“No. Probably not, but take a stab at it.”
“Let’s go golfing.”
Fuck. It’s possible that an entire week of bad behavior due to some graduate school stress and a lack of sleep thanks to a Bachelorette addiction, has passed. And as a week of this is not very pleasant, he is probably owed a smile, some god damn enthusiasm and the question, “Do we have time for me to make you a quick cocktail first?” but this isn’t exactly how it played out. I actually made a face like I was having a lot of stomach distress and then kind of moaned, “Ughhh. I really don’t want to plaaaay golf.”
His aggressive eyebrows moved toward the sky as he reminded me, “Today is my day.”
“I know you know I didn’t mean that.”
“Well, I’d still like to golf on my day.”
“How about this? I’ve been thinking it might be fun to write an article about swingers and there is a swingers club in Denver and we could go do that instead.”
“Yes, as in like a place where fairly unattractive people have sex. Publicly.”
“So you’ll quit this nonsense about golf?”
An emphatic, “yes” coupled with the aggressive nodding of his head commenced.
The website lists an entry fee of $20-30 per couple on Saturday nights online which is why we are surprised when someone born in the nineties wearing hipster glasses and a Molly Ringwald prom dress is manning the door and declares, “Fifty.”
“The website says $20-$30 per couple.” I protest.
“Yeah, but tonight we’re having a fundraiser.”
My eyes may or may not have said, I hope this isn’t a fundraiser for children while my mouth said,
“Go to the bar and pay him.” Molly Ringwald doesn’t bother to answer.
“Forty.” The bartender states matter-of-factly.
“Forty?” My boyfriend asks.
I shrug at him and in the process bump into a surprisingly attractive woman standing behind me. She’s brunette, thin and isn’t wearing an outfit that would suggest a lifetime of daddy issues. “Sorry.” I state.
“Oh, it’s okay.” She smiles.
“Okay,” I state, suddenly experiencing an all-over body awkward.
She stares deep into my soul and brushes a piece of hair away from her face. Nervous laughter commences. “Still sorry” I mumble into my drink before turning back to my boyfriend.
“YOU JUST GOT HIT ON!” He whisper-screams.
“I KNOW!!” I whisper-scream back. “JUST REMEMBER WE (SPECIFICALLY, YOU!) ARE NOT FUCKING ANYONE ELSE TONIGHT!” I am still whisper-screaming.
There is a bar upstairs. Everyone is white with varying degrees of unnaturally tan skin. The men alternately look like body builders or slight, middle-aged grocery store cashiers and the women are a collection of low level admin assistants and prostitutes. That is to say, they either kind of reminded you of the company receptionist, what with her tendency to have long, overly personal phone calls at work while lying about going to the gym that morning or girls that were waaaaay too good-looking to be at this fucking seedy joint, with its dark hallways, dim lighting and confusing stripper pole. We watch as some women mount it only to discover it isn’t connected to the ceiling at the top and thus is basically non-functional. This is only entertaining for so long. “Want to look around?”
Beyond the upstairs bar, there are a series of empty bedrooms that look like a bad motel decorated the way a man would attempt to decorate a guest bedroom after his wife left him. Which is to say, there’s basically just a bed, some mismatched curtains and a viewing couch in every single room. This makes sense because it is actually a bar and a hotel, which is why sex confined to those rooms is legal.
The entire experience is underwhelming until we encounter a throng of perverts huddled at the threshold of a single door, tittering away excitedly and squealing with the nervousness of teenage virgins. I creep past enough to find myself in a large, mostly empty room. Three or four people my age are talking on the couch while a man and a woman engage in some very deviant acts on the bed.
My eyes are adjusting to this spectacle when a grown man standing next to me squeals, “He’s like a gladiator!!”
This is true, albeit the comment still lacks any dignity. The performer has the proportions of a football player and longish black hair, if you’ve watched Game of Thrones at all- he looks exactly like Moon of My Life before the curse but after the forced rape. It’s hard to tell what the girl looks like, but she seems tiny and clearly has had a pedicure.
We go to a different room. A more innocent room if you will. There are some people lounging around on the bed and a few people talking on couches, but it looks more like a house party than a fundraiser. We sit next to a thirty-ish guy whose wearing a golfing outfit and texting. He looks up at us. “Hey.”
“Hey.” I remember I’m a sex columnist and I should be asking some questions. “Is this your first time?”
He assesses my boyfriend and I. “Are you guys going to do anything?”
I laugh because I’m wildly immature and because in about three minutes time, something really disturbing has started to unfold between an older man and a woman standing far too close to my head for comfort. I don’t want to report that I’m on assignment because I want people to act natural around me but I also don’t really like where this is headed. “No. It’s our first time and we’re not ready for anything like that.” I comment.
“I think you guys should.”
“You guys should.” He repeats to my boyfriend. “I’d watch.”
I don’t then point out that this club basically has the same effect on me that HBO Real Sex specials do- which is to say, it seems like a sexy experience until people in jean shorts with haircuts from the year 1992 start to do things that they interpret as sexy but the rest of the world interprets as awkward until all sense of eroticism has completely vanished.
“We’re going to go get a drink.”
I will tell you this: the trek back from the “innocent” room to the bar was a landmine of images that will forever be seared into my head. I may or may not have made eye contact with a guy sitting on a couch, who was simultaneously crying and being pleasured. Grown man tears were too much for my brain to process, even my brain on alcohol. “We should go.” I stated.
On the way out, we stop to talk to a friendly, non-threatening couple smoking by the exit. He’s German and his face is a mess, but she’s pretty and peppy and looks like she should be teaching kindergarten or something at the moment. I learn later that she’s a therapist. “Do you guys come here a lot?” I ask.
“Tonight’s our first night. Is it usually like this?”
“No! Tonight is like so tame.” She rolls her eyes. “Normally it is crazy busy and the clientele is way better looking. There are like weekly house parties too and sometimes they are really boring but sometimes people really go for it.”
“Like, do you go for it?”
“Oh yeah. All the time. I’m married to a European.” She rolls her eyes. “It’s like no one would even care over there. We just can’t have sex with the same person twice because then it’s cheating.”
“I just saw a guy getting a blow job and crying at the same time.” I state.
“GROSS!” I am comforted by her reaction. Before I was just worried that I was being judgmental, like I came into someone else’s house and then criticized their culture… which I did, but at least now I had the support of a swinger on this as well.
Afterwards, everyone wants to know if it was weird. They say this by saying, “That’s so fucking weird! Was it weird?”
And I’m like, “It was pretty fucking weird. Kind of like being in Thailand for the night.”
“Was it sexy?”
“No. It kind of made me want to move to Utah.”
“Was he into it?”
“About as much as I was.”
“Would you go back?” And here I feel like this question meant, Would you go back with me because I’m very, very curious??
Anyway, I don’t actually want to list the details of where I went, but if this hard-hitting, powerful piece of journalism wasn’t enough for you, you could probably google a few extremely obvious terms and satisfy your perversions on your own.