The Bathhouse Lunch Special
Do you mean you have never heard of the lunch special? The one costing $8.00? When I first mentioned it to one of my friends, his reaction was, “Wow, where can I get lunch that cheap!” Well, men are hungry. But it is not the food they are craving. What men are looking for at that hour – is quickie sex.
Most bathhouses (including the one I go to) feature a special lunch-hour rate, Monday through Friday. From 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, a gay man can cruise a bathhouse for only $8.00. On a typical day, the noon crowd will have businessmen, bike couriers, students, delivery men, mail carriers, stay-at-home dads, and cab drivers. Every profession is represented during that hour. I often think the baths could host a career seminar at noon – like a “Lunch and Learn”!
It would take me roughly half an hour by bus to travel from my workplace to the Bathhouse. So I cannot make the baths a regular part of my day. But I get days off, so I have dropped by at lunchtime out of curiosity. You first notice the number of parked cars outside the baths. There are so many different types of automobiles parked just outside the building. You have BMWs, Volvos, Station Wagons, Taxis, and every delivery truck from UPS to Pepsi lined up in a neat row. The bike rack outside is stacked as students and couriers spend their “lunch break” at the baths. Cab drivers get to kill two birds with one stone. After an hour of cruising and getting a quick fix at the baths, some cabbies will leave the Bathhouse and wait for a fare. Some executive always needs to rush back to work in a hurry.
Inside the Bathhouse, there is a certain familiarity. Many of these men know one another, seeing each other daily at the baths for lunch. You can’t help but overhear several different conversations at the same time. However, other lunchtime regulars do not initiate conversation, as they focus more on cruising to get laid.
Many wives, girlfriends, and even fiancées don’t like giving blowjobs, as they find it gross. What’s a man to do if he is not getting blown at home? – they go to the baths. Many straight men don’t consider oral sex cheating or sex – they see it as getting off.
Regardless of the sexual orientation of these fully-dressed businessmen, they all have one thing in common. These men only want a quick blowjob before heading back to the office. By staying dressed (except for the open zipper), these men signal about wanting oral sex – PERIOD. These businessmen get what they want within ten minutes. That is the ultimate quickie. Let’s face it – $8.00 is cheaper than getting a prostitute to do the deed!
Not only businessmen and students spend their time at the baths during lunch. Many gay men who rely on disability checks for income also visit the baths at noon. Being on “disability” can cover every disease, from living with chronic pain to severe depression. Because a disability check barely covers the essentials in life, going to any place to mix and mingle with other gay men is expensive. The lunchtime special at the baths is the exception. Although rates vary from sauna to sauna, at my local Bathhouse, the noon-hour special is $8.00. For that price, men on disability can escape from their problems, albeit temporarily, for 6 hours. They can cruise, enjoy eye candy, and get laid like everyone else.
Being on disability might sound like a fabulous permanent vacation. But trust me; it gets boring after a while. You had school or a career as the center of your universe for your whole life. Then you qualify for disability, and that enormous weight lifts off your shoulders. Soon, you realize the world is passing you by. With friends at work, men on disability have to find other things to occupy their time. As a result, baths become a daily part of their lives. So they can have some structure. You will find most men on disability at the baths around the beginning or end of every month. Why? That is when their check comes in the mail.
As I observed all this, I wound up in the steam room next to another lunchtime regular. This guy works for the city, which has offices within walking distance of the Bathhouse. We talked for a few minutes, and I discovered why he goes to the baths daily for lunch:
1. It is $8.00, cheaper than lunch in the cafeteria.
2. Getting off in the middle of the day is a great stress reliever
3. It is a great way to interact with some gay men in the middle of the day, particularly after being around by straight co-workers
As I continued my walk around the hallways, I noticed that certain men liked to advertise their occupations. Passing by one room, a bike courier hung his bike gear (including the wheel) on the wall as a visual display. Delivery men would be walking around wearing only a towel. The only difference was the company hat they wore. The day I was there, I saw hats that said “Pepsi”, and “UPS.”
As I left, I wistfully felt disappointed that I worked far away from the Baths. $8.00 for lunch. Where can you get a better bargain? If you have a job near a bathhouse, you should drop by for lunch one day. You never know who you might encounter.
Like that adorable cute guy in accounting?