My Tenth Anniversary
My Tenth Anniversary

It occurred to me that I will be celebrating ten years of going to the baths – my tenth anniversary this month. Wow, I cannot believe it. The past ten years have flown by. At age 31, I realized that I would have spent one-third of my life walking the halls of a bathhouse. That is longer than being in high school and university combined. That is longer than some of the jobs I have had. Ten years is longer than some relationships. Just think, a ten-year-old is running around somewhere. That is how long I have been at it.

Weekly bathhouse visits have been the one constant in my life for the past ten years. Come rain or shine, snow or sleet, summer or winter; a week has not gone by that I have not frequented the baths. Why have I spent so much time at a place with drugs, prostitution, narcissism, and sleaze? I explained my reasons in the story, Why Gay Men Go To The Baths. You should re-read that essay again to understand.

It does not even feel like ten years since I was that trembling newbie walking through those bathhouse doors. To tell you about my first bathhouse experience, I need to take you back a few years. As an 18-year-old, I experienced those feelings toward guys and tried to deny them. I watched guys in the shower area at a local pool. However, the shower area also became a cruising spot for gay men. I used to stand under the water’s hard pounding for hours and hours, watching the action but never participating. Curious about that pool, I wondered if other places were similar. So, I opened up the yellow pages and tried to find some. In the phone book, I stumbled across the word “Bathhouse.”

I went to one but did not have the guts to go in. I was so naive about being gay that I had no clue what this place was. For three years, I used to stand outside and watch various men go in and out. Finally, I found the courage to go in and was amazed at what I saw. Rooms were everywhere, and men were walking around wearing only a towel. I had no idea what I was supposed to do. So I went to my room, undressed, and lay on my bed. I’m not one to kiss and tell, but I was damn lucky I didn’t get in over my head.

After showering, I left, vowing never to return. But of course, as all Bathhouse addicts will tell you, we keep returning for more and more. For the first five years, I kept up a vicious cycle. I would run out of the baths, berating myself for going and saying this would be the last time. Then the next day, I could not get to the baths fast enough. It took years to be comfortable with my sexuality, and I’ve been okay with the idea of going to the baths. Through therapy, I have realized that sex is not a dirty word. Sex is a beautiful experience between two people that should be wonderful and enjoyable. Why should I apologize for going to a venue where sex may occur? We are all consenting adults; if we want sex, we should have it.

Going to the baths taught me much about life and being gay. All you have to do is re-read my stories to know what I have learned and observed. I feel like I have gone to a gay university for ten years with what I have learned at the baths. The conversations I have had with men I’ve met worldwide have been experiences I will treasure forever.

Being older has now put me in a different age bracket. I used to be in the naïve newbie category, trying to make sense of the whole bathhouse experience. Now that I am more confident about my sexuality, I’m in the regular bathhouse patron slot. Despite the superficiality at the baths, I am on a first-name basis with other regulars and the staff. With life being cyclical, I see many newbies who used to be like me. I have approached some of these guys and offered advice on the whole Bathhouse scene. Unfortunately, many of these guys have a chip on their shoulders to hide their insecurity. So they are hard to approach.

Recently I struck up a conversation with a newbie I have seen on and off at the baths. We chatted for a bit, and then he left. Later I talked to one of the staff about how cute he was. The desk clerk told me he regularly comes in at lunchtime almost daily! He checked his receipt, showing he checked in at noon and left 6 hours later!

He seemed to be like me years ago; Going to the baths at all hours of the day, learning about gay life in that environment, and inching out of the closet more and more.

It is all cyclical.

Update – 2023
It has been over 20 years since I wrote this story. I’m a lot older and a lot wiser. August 2021 marks 30 years since I first went to the baths. Where has the time gone? At the baths, of course! Thanks for reading for all these years, and see you at the baths.

4 thoughts on “My Tenth Anniversary”

  1. Love to read your stuff. I have or will be celebrating my own 35 anniversary soon. All great memories. As I love sex with all types of men and ages the steam bath is the best place to meet them.

  2. I really like your bath house stories, you should write a book….called my adventures at the bath house in America…please write more stories

  3. I have a question which may stem out of me overlooking some details or misunderstanding. If you stress so much about how Asians are being discriminated against in bathhouses and how they don’t get picked up by nothing by prime timers, so why have you been going there for 10 years? So you just been “observing the gay community” for all these 10 years without having sex with any white guys? Don’t you think you are somehow exaggerating the issue? Just agonizing over particular instances? You wouldn’t be going there if you don’t get hooked up with any hot guys rite? By the way I like your site alot it’s very informative and best luck to you.

  4. Interesting because your stories convey thoughts and feelings. Most stories are just sex. Yours are humane; gives more or less an idea of your character/personalities.

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