Words: Jameson Farn
Bathhouse Babylon is a true, tell-all account of the gay sauna world from when I was a former long-term manager of these establishments in North America based on my past diaries.
During my 10+ years of working in this business, I would consistently get asked amongst close friends or even at dinner parties to mention some of my most outrageous experiences.
With that, I decided to put together a book, with not only the unusual sex acts that took place and the details that might surprise the reader (like straight men being notorious for having the loudest sex!) but also from a business and sociological point of view and the dynamics that come into play when you are working inside such a venue.
Lucky At Lunch Special
On weekdays this bathhouse got to be known for the Lucky at Lunch special, with the tagline, “If the girls at the office only knew."
Lucky at Lunch was a hugely popular special. Since we were located in the downtown core, this was an especially enticing promotion for the business crowd.
This would also attract the kind of men you would have to once in a while keep an eye on as many of them considered themselves to be straight and were either married and half the time they also had kids at home. Which could feel a bit awkward if they were going on about their family in conversation to you when you know they just had sex with someone, and then just stepped out of the shower room massaging their still semi-hard c**k in front of you while asking for a fresh towel from behind the snack counter.
For these straight men, the desire to act upon those sexual urges and fantasies could at times be considered stronger depending on how the person handled their emotions as they could be concealed at first and then practically explode if things didn’t happen to go as planned for themselves while in the bathhouse. This would once in a while be the case if it was their first time at the baths and had a whole, very preplanned fantasy in their mind of how things will go for them.
This was certainly not an everyday occurrence but if it did happen, it would be quick with a lot of yelling with the patron then rushing out the door. What could have also set them off is simply because a guy tried to touch their chest, ass, or even grab their d**k as they walked by.
Many men will use the bathhouse as a cheap version of a hotel, which could be quite common, just without the in and out privileges, well, that depended on their situation too. If they just got off a long flight and didn’t want to be bothered with the process of finding a hotel, couldn’t afford one, or didn’t want to bother a friend for a place to crash, they would normally tell the cashier at the window that they just wanted a room to try and sleep in and would ask to be put in a quieter, darker area of the club.
On the other side of that, we would get customers contacting us by email or phone to let us know they were flying into town for Pride week and asking if they could (or demand) reserve a room for up to 4-5 days, which always got a no for an answer.
Some men would show up with their knapsacks and suitcase, dressed in rainbow attire at the start of Pride weekend, check-in, and think they can just keep renewing and that we wouldn’t notice so eventually we’d have to lay it out to them. These men would often make such a mess of themselves with whatever booze and/or drugs they snuck in within the first 8-16 hours while stating it was in the name of Pride as an excuse so then they would be asked to leave.
Staying well past 16 hours is generally frowned upon as going through night and day transitions inside a place, whether a patron notices or not, the employees and other customers will start to see it taking a toll on not only them as their behaviors start to change for the worse but also in how they treat everyone else in the space.
There have been many instances throughout my years of working in bathhouses where I’ve seen owners or managers let customers stay for up to 72 hours or more, even a week or two, under the guise of the customer being a good buddy while also letting him stay for free. If you wanna see someone simply look and act messy, see what they are like after 24 hours straight in a bathhouse. It ain’t pretty.
Regular customers to a bathhouse are what is considered the bread and butter of the business in almost every way.
These are the men of any age, body type, and background who, without fail, will show up at the club on either their favorite day or night of the week, at the same time and for the same length of stay. Many daily.
If they love your nightly evening special, they will be there for it every night of the week it is running. You can bet on the time they will come in and what locker or room number they will want.
A cashier can make easy tips and the same with a housekeeping clerk just by having everything set up to go the minute they arrive and while they are in the place. Plus, it's not unheard of for them to give those same staff members a Christmas and/or birthday present every year, often something remarkable.
You’ve got to love these guys in many ways. They may act like they don’t notice you on the street, especially if they are in the closet, or with family or friends as they will see the world you work at as being a place of refuge for themselves where they can be exactly who they want to be. You learn early never to take offense by any customer if they don’t acknowledge you in the outside world, and you always let them speak to you first as that will tell you it is fine to converse with them and that the situation for them outside of the club is all clear.
You also get to learn more about a regular customer by their moods, laugh at their jokes, they may even really annoy you but they are a big part of the customer base that can be relied upon financially for the bathhouse.
These men always tend to mean well in who they are and will be very protective of the bathhouse for not only themselves but also on behalf of the staff and other patrons first.
To read Bathhouse Babylon in full, click here.