Being a sex-positive dyke, I’ve moved in a lot of spaces, queer and str8 where Eros abounds. But as a woman, the opportunity to to do what the boys do isn’t really available. So I made something happen in my city. And in two other cities in Canada, other women made something happen too.
Andrea Zanin, who writes the blog SexGeek.com wrote a solid piece about women’s bathhouses across my nation in the July/August issue [PDF] for Outlooks Magazine. On pages 10 & 11 are the results of her interviews with myself, Carlyle Jansen of the Pussy Palace in Toronto, and Maggie Haywood of SheDogs in Halifax. Reading it I thought to myself, “are there really only three across the whole country?
They are a legendary part of gay male history and hold a solid place alongside cruising in parks and public restrooms.
A dear friend of mine from my home town refers to them as “Windowless Hiltons”. When he travels he opts for spending the night in one of the many choices that any major city offers. He does it because there are clean towels, and showers, and often an entertainment room with porn on a TV. He chooses the ones with saunas and rooms with doors that lock. He finds them cheap compared to getting a paid tourist bed, and although there is no room service, they are open all night long. Depending on the date and time some even offer discounts.
Did I mention the cruising and the sex? No. But I don’t have to ’cause we all know what’s going on.
Women, on the other hand, don’t have the same kind of thing available to them. Unable to keep a bar going in most (not all) North American cities without support from the str8 crowd or borrowing a night within a gay bar, we smolder with sensuality without the regular opportunity to gather in groups.
But when we get the chance… there is a lot more than just flirting and sex going on. People come together to share space in a way that is impossible in dungeons and dance halls and clubs. One isn’t top or bottom in a space like that. The distinctions between butch and femme break down too. We meet in a way that is SO outside any other time or place.
Like meeting one’s dentist in the grocery store. There’s a shift. There’s a moment when you have to rethink who you are dealing with. And for those of us with body issues? Well… it’s an opportunity to see the full tapestry of who we are as women.