Bars and dance clubs serve many social functions. Yet apart from being a site to let loose, bond with friends, and advertise your identity on snapchat, there is an underlying motivation lurking in the back of some intoxicated minds: finding someone to have sex with.
If you decide to take on this latter goal, you may find yourself going through some hoops which can be fun and flirtatious, but also exhausting and defeating. You must scope and approach or respond accordingly when approached, all while untangling intuitions about their intentions and personality. Let’s say you even land a lay, you then must trust this stranger well enough to either take them home or go to theirs.
Because I have used clubs for this end, sex clubs seemed to promise less worry about misunderstanding intentions. They are more upfront because you can assume everyone is there to partake in some form of fucking. And forget about splitting über fare on the way home to a stranger’s shabby apartment, you can rub junk right there in the club.
The honesty of a sex club had long appealed to me before my stay in Paris. Thus, given this curiosity, my lonesome travelling, and stereotypes of Paris as a sexual city, I decided to do some research on which club to attend while I was visiting.
I found a Parisian blog, Les LoLos (translating to “The Boobs” en Français), with a great piece about The We club. I don’t remember being able to find many reviews on other clubs, so after reading some of Les LoLos other posts, I judged her as a credible author and decided I would hit up the We Club.
It was a Friday night and my hostel had accrued travellers from their bunks and local Parisians who were unaware Les Piaules was more than just a trendy bar. I met some people who were celebrating a birthday. They were planning to go to an indie bar, but the birthday gal received a giant-ass teddy bear as a (short-sighted?) gift and so they decided against it.
Drunk off my own bottle of wine, I decided to go to the bar myself. I took down the address, bid my acquaintances goodbye, and hopped on the metro (Belleville to Châtle).
The indie cover was too expensive for my taste. But then I remembered reading that The We Club had free entry and drinks for single woman (compared to 100 euros for single men). And Google maps informed me it was only 700 metres away. Unfortunately, I was in trousers which is something the club forbids for women, but I still decided to try my luck.
The entrance was like that of a bank in a parallel universe: you enter and are locked in a small dark room while someone looks at you through a security camera.
Once permitted, I began walking up the stairs until a woman in a tiny outfit informed me that it was “impossible” for me to get into the club that night. I was not given an explanation. I assumed it was because my trousers but had to laugh at the translation “impossible” which has such a heavy connotation in English – it was as if I came back in a skirt, a dress, or a stripper’s outfit, I would be declined.
The next night I was more prepared for the sexist dress-code. I adorned a black skirt, a white turtleneck, and fishnets. This time, I had no problem entering.
At coat-check, they took everything: my jacket, purse, and cellphone. A white man was checking in at the same time as me. He made small talk with me in good English and I watched the clerk scribble “Pierre” on his ticket before she hung up his coat.
After I checked-in, I got my first screwdriver and began exploring.
The venue was dark with red and purple backlights throughout. From the coat-room, there was an upstairs smoking room (a cancer-box), and a downstairs which housed a bar and DJ. There were two more descending levels from the bar. One with a bathroom, a BDSM swing, and a whole area of the floor made of leather cushion resembling some sort of sex play-pin. The lower level was smaller and had rooms with more cushions as the floor and portholes in the walls for voyeurs to peek into.
The crowd was small and mainly middle aged – there were maybe two other women among the (approximately) ten people around.
Pierre followed me around and I didn’t necessarily want him not to. I soon found out Pierre wasn’t his real name but his alias: the French equivalent of “John Doe”.
I wondered aloud to him if everyone comes here to have sex and he responded “well, you go to a badminton club to play badminton,” which was a very innovative way of saying “duh.”
I confessed that this was not how I expected a sex club to be. Nothing about it was erotic besides the fact that you could have sex if you wanted to. He asked if I was expecting something like Eyes Wide Shut. I had to laugh. I guess I kind of was. His knowledge of Kubrick was comforting.
I felt at ease in our conversation and to be quite honest, it’s probably because I had the leg up in our dyad. Given the small sample size of people here, I assumed that I had power because he wanted to fuck me (spoiler, I was right).
I went to get another drink from the bar. I smiled at an older woman who danced on a stripper pole with her male partner while one tit casually hung out of her shirt. It was then I finally realized the club’s main oddity: the DJ was playing top 40.
Yes, this music professional expected people to get it on to Watch Me Whip (watch me nay nay). I asked if his job required him to play this music. It didn’t, this was purely a consequence of his artistic liberty. Sounds like an abuse of power to me.
He even got offended that I dared to question his choice and ranted about how sexual taste is subjective. To each their own, but this dude is fucking wrong. If this is oh-so erotic for YOU, please spare your patrons and save this shit for your Spotify masturbation playlist.
Another strange (yet not surprising) thing were the older men scattered throughout the club. They stood alone, sipping their drinks and loitering near the areas where action promised to unfold. To their pleasure, a man and woman were slowly getting it on in one of the rooms. I peeked through the porthole to see her ass in the air as she gave head in the red light. I didn’t stay to watch for long.
After another drink and some more conversation with my unspoken partner for the night, I finally succumbed to the sexual milieu. I was making out with Pierre for a whole of 12 seconds until I opened my eyes to find three old men gathered very close to us. Like personal bubble close. Intently watching. I was not shy about my shock:
“What the fuck!!!!!!”
I led Pierre to the bathroom where we end up having sex, which was quite a conservative location given what the others were doing.
By the time we finished, there was an orgy happening in the sex play-pin. There were about four people arranged in a messy ensemble, knotting their limbs to reach those sensitive parts. Unlike Pierre, I had no fervent urge to join. In fact, I hardly even wanted to watch. I felt overwhelmed at the sight and so I went to the smoking room where I knew old men would give me free cigarettes.
That night I satisfied some curiosity and got laid. Pierre was at my hip for much of the time, and I was all too comfortable to seriously approach anyone else. I liked having someone who knew what was going on show me the ropes (no, not those ropes).
If I have any grievances it was the lingering men who make me wonder how my experience would have been different if I were completely alone.
I still plan on going to the sex club Oasis Aqua Lounge, in Toronto when I return to observe and experience the different facets of human sexuality. You know, for science.