Bathhouse Drunks
Bathhouse Drunks

Now comes the most personal story I will ever write. My own relationship with an alcoholic, though using the word ‘relationship’ might be too strong of a word. His name was Thom. The first time I saw him was on the outdoor patio at the baths. We struck up a conversation and he kept complimenting me on my dimples (yes they are my best feature). Pretty soon we started spending time together. I am not ashamed to admit I cared for him very much. If there was one guy that was my type, he was it. People ask me all the time, ‘what is my type?’ I always say, someone with a nice face. And Thom had that. He had a face that was a bit scrunched up, but had lines of sadness to it. It only added to the character of his face. Which made him even more attractive to me. Though he was white, his race was not a factor in my attraction to him. His face is what drew me to him. Being exactly my age, and having many things in common also made him my idea guy. But in retrospect I think he subconsciously viewed me as a transition from his recent break-up to his new life right now.

Mostly I was his drinking companion. I myself don’t drink and had no experience being around an alcoholic. But whenever we would meet up at the bathhouse, instead of having sex with each other, Thom would be at the bar. Putting one back again and again and again. The only intimacy we would have is holding hands, while he was getting drunk. I could count on one hand the number of times we had sex. And they far out-number the amount of times I was his drinking companion at the bathhouse bar.

At first I was patient, thinking okay after this glass of wine, we will fool around and have sex. But then he would order another and another and another. Always getting drunk at the end. A few times he would even say he had to go to his room for a minute. And before I knew it Thom had left, leaving me at the bar waiting for him. One time even leaving his boxer shorts on his bar stool! But there were also times we met up outside the baths. A walk in the park here, dinner at his place there. But even then he wound up getting plastered at the end. He even downed a two-liter bottle of wine in one sitting.

I’ve heard about a few relationships where one becomes an alcoholic, simply for getting involved with a functioning alcoholic. Drinking with someone just to keep up, thus becoming an addict. I didn’t want that to happen to me. And it did become an issue – but with Thom. He couldn’t relate to why I didn’t drink alcohol. He always kept on saying that he had to get me drunken one of these days. He would proclaim think about the entire bar hoping we could do. So strike one against me, I don’t drink. Another issue that came up is that he couldn’t understand why I would want to leave him all alone at the bar. Having spent four hours next to him, watching him get plastered, why would I want to leave him all alone? Thom wouldn’t want me to go home. He worked afternoons, so he could afford to stay out all night and get home at 5 AM if he wanted to. I worked during the days, and it didn’t make sense to him why I couldn’t stay by his side. Strike two against me; my world didn’t revolve around him. Which is what Thom wanted, a codependent. I think it was these two strikes that sealed the deal, leading him to be disenchanted with me.

When Thom was drunk he was all over me, saying he thought about me, really liked me, etc. When he was sober, he seemed to be pushing me away. Again what he really wanted was someone who would be an enabler for him and his drinking. Thom even told me about one incident where he got so drunk, that he fell face first on the street. Next thing he knew he was in the hospital with a concussion. If he had a codependent partner, at least he wouldn’t be alone. Because of those two strikes I mentioned above, I was obviously not what he wanted or needed in a companion. Thom once even told me he couldn’t understand why I was seeing a therapist.

His drinking even affected his marriage. Yes he was married to another guy named Porter. Their live-in relationship lasted longer than the marriage. Thom went out on a drinking binge one night. Pretty soon he started taking shot after shot after shot with another guy. Eventually they wound up back at Thom & Porter’s place. Half dressed they promptly passed out on the bed, their marriage bed. When Porter returned from his graveyard shift and saw the two of them in bed together, that ended the marriage for him. Even though it was completely innocent. I don’t think this indiscretion destroyed the marriage. I truly think it was the drinking, and this incident was the final straw for Porter.

I saw him twice more, once when he was sober and once when he was drunk. Sober, Thom seemed to be pushing me away. Drunk he admitted he made a mistake about us and was all over me again. Then Thom promptly threw up.

But I knew that being involved with an alcoholic would be a mistake. I didn’t try very hard to keep in touch with him. So we lost contact for a few years. Due to a death in my family and other commitments connected to that, I couldn’t go to the baths in the evening (his time). Even if I had wanted to get in touch with him, I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to reach him. Thom subsequently moved and changed his phone number. He switched to another email plan and didn’t have Facebook (at that time). I couldn’t talk to him even if I wanted to. Two years went by, though he did cross my mind a few times. I still cared for him, but I knew as long as he kept drinking we would have no future.

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Gay, Asian, Caucasian, Interracial, Racism, Sexual Politics, Grindr, Male, Men, Discrimination, Sexual Preference, White

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7 thoughts on “Bathhouse Drunks”

  1. “But I do go to the baths for the social aspect and the hope to find meaningless empty sex. I am just as guilty as the next person that is a lost soul.” do you really think you are guilty? Of anything other than exercising your right to do as you please? You really threw me with that.

    And sadly, having known a few alcoholics, Thom and Eli both sound typical and best avoided, so you dodged a bullet, albeit late in the case of Thom. You deserve better.

    1. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I’ve never done any drugs including pot. I’ve never had anal sex at all. And I’ve been celibate for about five years. So you wouldn’t call that ‘goody two-shoes’?

  2. Another great account of one of your experiences and a true grit slice of bathouse life. I wouldn’t consider you irrevocably broken. You seem to have have dignity. And you didn’t go down the spiral downward, for empty sex, or a relationship with a man you fancy. The scene where Thom is fucking another dude, whilst his TiTo boyfriend is “sleeping” next to them in a bathouse cabin, is so awful. And what the hell was he doing there when he was apparently sick? You’re so much better off without him.

    I don’t believe in therapy (20 years? you should have put the money spent on it, in a savings account). You merely need to have unrelenting faith and self confidence (not hubris like most of the bath house posers as that is even more off putting than low self esteem). I’m sure you’ve got a whole lot more going for you than your dimples. If you’ve sorted yourself out, the right man will come along.

    As for the drunks, I find them even sadder than druggies. Alcohol is not sexy at all.

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