I'd be willing to bet there are more than a few men who'd kill for my job. My assignment is to go to an orgy filled with gorgeous women and write a story about it.
There's one little wrinkle I'm gay.
I'm also curious, and that's the characteristic that leads me to volunteer to visit newly opened swingers club Wicked on Queen West. I decide I'll go with the flow and just let what happens happen.
Finding a woman to escort me to this kind of function is not exactly easy. Single women can get in alone for $10, but men must be accompanied by one or more female dates, at a cost of $40 per couple.
I don't really know how to bring up the subject with my female friends, so I start by asking them how their day's going and casually move on to the part about the orgy. It goes over like a small nuclear bomb and ends badly.
My next move is to ask a hooker I know if she'll do me a favour. A raspy smoker's voice responds, "You want to drag me to some horrible place in the burbs where people have sex for free ? Forget it, I'm having a garage sale that day."
The club's owners, Shlomo and Aurora Benzion, tell me to just come by myself and they'll invent a cover story. It's nice of them, but it turns out it would've been better to bring a date.
I arrive at the club early on a Saturday night for my pre-party tour and interview. Shlomo Benzion, a smart, good-looking 30-something metrosexual, impresses me right away. He knows how to work the media, particularly a smitten gay reporter who too quickly asks him if he's straight or bi.
"I'm talking to you because I want to be open about what we're doing here. We're not doing anything wrong," he says. "And the more I talk about it, the more people will be educated."
He knows the swingers movement (he hates the word "swinger," saying it has connotations of fat old people wife-swapping) is in its infancy, and there's a lot of work to do before their lifestyle catches on and gains acceptance. I want to talk more about my own interests. "Is it a heterosexual club or a bisexual club? Do guys also have sex with guys and do girls also have sex with girls?"
"It's not unusual to see women having sex together, but it's less common to see men," he says.
The second floor is a dance bar where early in the night people drink, dance and mingle. After they've got enough alcohol in them, if everything goes well, it all turns sexual and people start making out all over the place. A third-floor orgy space has a number of common and private rooms where people can have sex.
I say to him, "Do you know how many guys would die to have their own penthouse like you do?"
"Well, you know, women are kind of my hobby," he says. He corrects himself. "Actually, they're my obsession."
Partner Aurora Benzion's completely cool about his obsession. Her own hobbies include men and women, so she's better off than he is.
With all the formalities out of the way, they send me off to mix and mingle. The only single guy in the place, I mix like oil in water.
From what I can detect, there is very little cruising going on. In fact, the place seems about as sexually charged as a Wal-Mart. People are pretty much sticking with their dates. There's absolutely no sex going on. A few couples off in the corner do a little light petting. It feels very awkward, so I gravitate to the friendly young coat-check woman for comfort. It's her first night on the job, and she's as curious to see what happens as I am.
As the night progresses, a fairly large number of couples make their way upstairs to the penthouse, but nothing happens in the bar area. As far as sex goes, it's a pretty dead night. Shlomo explains that a lot of the customers are newbies, too scared to make a move.
The only place to be is upstairs, but it's absolutely forbidden for a single man to go there. My only chance to gain entry to the third floor is to pick up a couple I've been making eyes at. They're both hot, and I can tell he's definitely interested, because I've caught him staring. But his female companion isn't responding the way I'd hoped. Eventually, they slip upstairs into Canada's Wonderland together without giving me another look, and my hopes and dreams dry up with last call.
I duck out at around 3 am. Within half an hour I'm back in my natural habitat at the Bijou bathhouse, where it takes me about five minutes to get picked up. I can't help thinking how hard everything is for the average heterosexual male. It's so much work and trouble for them to get laid.
When you think about it, gays are the minority, yet there are eight busy bathhouses in town that operate 24/7. Straights are the majority, but there's only now one club for them to go to. It's only open two nights a week, and only one of those is busy.
I guess straight people out there should thank the Benzions for leading the way.