You mean you have never heard of the lunch special? You know, the one that costs $4.00. When I first mentioned it to one of my friends, his reaction was, "Wow, where can I get a lunch that cheap!" Well men are hungry, but it is not food that they are craving. What men are looking for at that hour is quickie sex.
The majority of bathhouses (including the one I go too regularly) feature a special, Monday through Friday. During the hours from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, a gay man can cruise the hallways of a bathhouse for only $4.00. On a typical day the 12 PM crowd will have businessmen, bike couriers, students, delivery men, mail men, stay at home dads, cab drivers, and so on. I often think the baths could host a career seminar during the lunch hour. You know, like a Lunch and Learn!
It would take me roughly 25 minutes by public transit to travel from my workplace to the bathhouse. So I cannot make the baths a regular part of my day. But I do get days off, so I have dropped by at lunchtime out of curiosity. The first thing you notice approaching the baths is the amount of traffic. There are so many different types of cars and trucks parked just outside the baths. You have BMWs, Volvos, Station Wagons, Taxis, and every type of delivery truck you can imagine (From UPS to Pepsi) all lined up in a neat row. The bike rack outside the bathhouse is filled to capacity, as students and bike couriers spend their "lunch break" at the baths. Although some cab drivers go to the baths for lunch, they are able to kill two birds with one stone. After an hour of cruising and getting a quick fix, some cabbies will leave the baths and wait for a fare. There is always some businessman who needs to rush back to work in a hurry.
Once inside there is a certain familiarity, as all of these men who stop by the baths for lunch everyday knows one another. There is a lot of talking in the hallway as you hear things like, "Congrats on the promotion" or "What about such and such stock." But there are other lunchtime regulars who do not initiate conversation, but are totally focused on cruising other guys at the baths.
Some of the businessmen would walk around fully clothed in their suit. The only difference was the zipper on their pants – fully open to expose their dicks hanging out. And many of these businessmen are straight! Many straight guys are at the baths, simply because they want a blowjob. There are many women who are wives, girlfriends, or even fiancées who don't like giving their significant other a blowjob. Many women find it gross. What is a man suppose to do if he is not getting blown at home? By going to the baths. A lot of straight men don't consider oral sex adultery or even sex. They just see it as getting off. Regardless of the sexual orientation of these fully dressed businessmen, they all have one thing in common. Clearly these men only want a quick blowjob, before heading back to the office. By staying fully dressed (with the exception of the open zipper) these men send a strong signal about wanting oral sex, and just oral sex. These businessmen get what they need and are in and out of the baths in ten minutes. Now that is the ultimate quickie. $4.00 is definitely cheaper than getting a prostitute to do the deed!
However, it is not only businessmen and students, who spend time at the baths during lunch. Many gay men, who rely on disability checks as their income, are at the baths during that time. Now when I say "disability", do not automatically assume men living with HIV or AIDS. True, guys who do have AIDS and are on LTD (long term disability insurance) are at the baths during the noon hour. However, being on "disability" can cover every disease from living with severe depression to Fibromyalgia. 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 bathhouse the noon hour special is $4.00. For that price, men who are on disability can escape from their problems, albeit temporarily, for 6 hours. They can cruise, enjoy some eye candy, and get laid like everyone else. Being on disability might sound like a great permanent vacation, but trust me, it gets boring after awhile. For your whole life, you had either school or a career as the center of your universe. Then you qualify for disability and that huge weight lifts off your shoulders. Soon you realize that the world is passing you by. With friends at work, men on disability really have to find things to occupy their time during the day. As a result, the baths become part of their daily life, to have some structure. The beginning or end of every month is when you find most men on LTD at the baths. That is when their check comes in the mail.
As I walked around observing all of this, I wound up in the steam room next to another lunchtime regular. He works for the city, which has their offices within walking distance of the bathhouse. We talked for a few minutes and I found out why he goes to the baths every day for lunch. First off it is $4.00, cheaper than lunch in the cafeteria. Second, it is a great stress reliever, to get off in the middle of the day with a little bit of sex. Third, being surrounded by straight co-workers during the morning and afternoon, it is great to interact with some gay men in the middle of the day.
As I continued my walk around the hallways, I noticed that certain men liked to advertise their occupation. Passing by one room, a bike courier hung up his bike gear (including a wheel) on the wall as a visual display. The deliverymen would be completely naked with a towel. The only difference was the company hat they would wear. The day I was there, I saw hats that said, "Pepsi" and "UPS"
As I left, I wistfully felt disappointment that I worked so far away from the bathhouse. $4.00 for lunch. Where else can you get a better bargain? If you work near a bathhouse, maybe you should drop by for lunch one day. You never know whom you might run into. Like that cute guy in accounting?