Monday, June 22, 2009

Club Dallas Newsletter, July 2009

Come One Come All

And bring a buddy. For the month of July, Club Dallas is fighting back with its popular recession busting "Buddy Night". On Thursday nights during the month of July, when you bring a buddy to Club Dallas during the hours of 4 pm to midnight, your buddy gets a free locker when you pay for a room. This is great value. So don't be late to this popular event!

July 4th Celebration Around the Pool

Join us poolside on Saturday, July 4th for a complimentary BBQ while we hoist the Stars & Stripes in celebration of America's Independence Day. Festivities begin at 1:00 pm sharp and don't forget our regular Sunday 1:00 pm BBQ during the entire summer. Clothing strictly optional, of course!

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

Summer is back and that means more time out doors for many of us, especially more time by the pool working on a tan. One question that always comes up is whether or not you can get a suntan on a cloudy day. The answer is an unequivocal "yes." In fact, cloudy days often mean that there is a greater chance for severe burns. That statement seems counterintuitive on the surface because many of us think that if we can't see the sun then we're not going to get a tan but it's the invisible rays (the UV rays) that are at work and are responsible for sunburns and suntans. Its' true that clouds act as a filter for the UV rays but still about 80% of the sun's UV rays can pass through clouds, fog and haze. When we're laying out on cloudy days we don't feel as hot as we do under direct sunlight so we tend to spend more time outside. We might even neglect to apply sunscreen leaving our skin completely vulnerable to the sun's UV rays. These two factors are the main reasons for some of the severe burns that have been reported on cloudy days. So, if you do lay out by the pool on a cloudy day, you should use the same precautions as if the sun were out in full force.

Summer is fun but sunburn is not. When working on a summer tan whether you're out on sunny days or cloudy days start out slowly. Gradually increase the time you expose your skin to the sun. Always, always use a sunscreen when out doors. Look for a sunscreen that's water proof. Reapply sunscreen after you've been in the water. If you're skin is fair or your hair is red or blond or your eyes are blue than choose a sun screen that has the highest SPF factor. Limit your time in the sun during peak hours, usually from 10 am to 3 pm. If you're taking medication (especially for HIV) or herbal remedies, check for side effects to sun sensitivity. Most of all, use common sense when out in the sun and be particularly careful on cloudy days. The clouds will not protect you from the effects of the sun and can actually fool you into thinking that you're not getting a burn.

If you should find that you've spent too much time soaking up the rays and you come away with a burn, here are some things that you can do. Obviously the best possible way to treat a sunburn is to avoid being burned in the first place. There are many ways to do this and sunscreen is the best. You can buy it in many different types of SPF (Sun Protection Factor). Depending upon your skin, choosing the best one for you is not that difficult. The lower the SPF number on the bottle, the less protection you will get. A higher SPF number means more protection. If you have a fair complexion, then an SPF of 45 or higher is good for you. There is waterproof sunblock also available, so you can still enjoy water sports (Remember, we're talking water sports of the "outdoor" variety here). Also, wearing a hat and covering your skin up with loose clothing is a great idea. Being covered makes it impossible for the sun to get to your skin. Aloe helps to soothe the pain and calm the sunburn. This can be purchased at most stores and it is inexpensive, depending on the brand you buy. Aloe also has other benefits; if put on right away it will help your sunburn turn into a tan. There will be less peeling of the dead skin and possibly none at all. Using a wet rag or cloth and applying it right to the burn area will provide some temporary relief from the pain and discomfort of a sunburn. Some people say that soaking the rag in a mixture of vinegar and water will also draw out the heat of a sunburn. Make sure to take in enough fluids by drinking water. When sunburned, most people tend to get really dehydrated. Use an anti-inflammatory for the burn. This will help take away pain and inflammation out of the burn so you are more comfortable.

Summer Reading

Whether you're out by the pool or under a shade tree or sitting at home, here are some reading suggestions to help you through our Dallas heat.

The Distance Between Us (by Bart Yates) looks at the world through the eyes of a bitter old woman and does a good job doing so. Hester Parker is not a likeable person and one finds it difficult to sympathize or empathize with her. As an individual, Hester is hard to handle, and with her family - the messiest collection of talented eccentrics gathered under one roof - she is even worse. It is only when dealing with Alex - a fellow even more damaged than Hester or her kin - that Hester allows her finer nature to come through; a nature that failed her when her youngest son Jeremy needed her most. Only toward the end does Hester manage to come through for her family in need. The Distance Between Us fascinates us with its unique (if disturbing) characters, brisk dialog and interesting plot, even if the ending left us a bit cold. Ironically, the most disappointing character in the book is Alex, the gay character

My Lucky Star (by Joe Keenan) This hilarious novel (his third) takes off where Keenan's previous books left off. He again depicts a world of humorous, campy gay life, but this time in Hollywood rather than Manhattan. Despite being published by Little Brown, a stately New England publisher, this book doesn't mince words when it comes to hot gay encounters of the Hollywood kind. While not overly explicit, it is as graphic as a heterosexual romantic comedy of errors would be. Female readers (and even some straight men) will find out what two gay men might get up to if left alone with perfect, seductive lighting! This is a fun, quick read by a Hollywood writer (Keenan won several Emmy's writing for Frasier) that raises suspicions he is writing about real celebrities and just giving them new names.

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less (by Jeffrey Archer) Archer is best known for his long and entertaining sagas that span generations. However, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less covers just a few months and concentrates on four main characters who have been seriously conned by one very brilliant guru of deceit. The book plots out how the four men go about getting their revenge in often funny and ingenious ways. This is a good and light read with interesting turns and twists to the plot as you get closer to the end of the novel. You'll finish with a smile on your face.

A Special Note to Business Owners

Club Dallas is always looking for ways to help promote gay and gay friendly businesses. If you have a business website and you'd like us to help you promote your business via our newsletter, we'd like to talk to you about our link exchange program. For more information, please send us an email using the contact form on our website. We'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Some Out There Fetishes

I recently came across an article describing some rather far out fetishes. That took me back to a conversation I had with my lover a long time ago when I was young and oh so very naive. My lover and I were in our early twenties. He was a year younger than I but was light years ahead of me in the experience category. We were having a conversation in bed where most of our conversations usually took place. Somehow the topic of our conversation turned to fetishes. I can remember how I just listened in absolute disbelief as he described, what I learned later to be, some of the tamer types of fetishes that involved urine, scat, leather and farts.

Quite a bit of time has passed since that conversation and I like to think that I've broadened my experiences a bit more since then but after reading the article that took me back in time, it occurred to me that I still have a way to go. Even though I've adopted a "live and let live" attitude to most life events as long as no harm is done to anyone, I was shocked at some of the fetishes I discovered in the article I just came across.

One of the tamer varieties and one that I've never heard of and am not even sure it merits being called a fetish is mucophilia. This is when sneezing or even just watching someone else sneeze can lead to an orgasm. Then there's acrotomophilia. I've read about this somewhere or saw something about it on TV. This is sexual interest in being an amputee. The hardcore types might actually end up removing one or more of their limbs without anesthesia. Have you ever found yourself having sexual fantasies about your partner while he was asleep? There's a name for that, too. It's called somnophilia. Some somnophiliacs lose all sexual interest if the partner wakes up. For some partners I've been with, somnophila might have been the better option. There's autassassinophilia which is about people who fantasize about getting murdered and are unable to get sexually aroused unless they are in an extremely dangerous situation. This one is a bit heavy duty for me because the really committed ones end up getting killed. Then there's the equally dangerous asphyxiophilia, arousal through strangulation. Stigmatophilia is sexual arousal by body piercings and tattoos. Dacryphilia is arousal by tears and sobs. People with these fetishes often have sadistic tendencies sometimes acting out their fantasies in BDMS scenes by humiliating a sub until he breaks down and cries.

I'm sure that's not all of them but once again I've learned just how naive I am. Maybe some of you could share some of what you know about fetishes I missed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First Time at a Gay Bath House – What to Expect

One of the most frequently asked questions by guys who've never been to a gay bath house is, "What can I expect when I get there?" So, I thought I'd try to shed some light on that question by telling about my first visit to a bath house in St. Louis, Missouri. The name of the bath house was Club St. Louis, which is part of The Clubs chain. I was lucky because I went with my best friend who gave me the grand tour and that's really the way to go. If you can go with a friend then you won't have as much anxiety about the whole experience but if you don't have a friend to hold your hand then that's not a problem either ' cause I'll give you the information you need to get you in the door and get you moving in the right direction.

First of all, you need to be at least 18 or older. You'll also need some type of identification. This is only to prove your age. Any information that you provide at the door is NEVER used or revealed to anyone else. Nothing will ever be mailed to your home. You can either purchase a membership for a block of time which is usually from 3 to 6 months and for which you receive a membership card which you can use for future visits without paying for membership all over again or you can purchase a "one-time only" membership which is good for only once visit to the club. Any paperwork that you fill out for a "one-time" membership is destroyed immediately when you leave the club. There are also gym memberships available for purchase but we'll talk about those in a later posting. Once you purchase a membership, you'll be asked if you want a room or a locker. That's a fairly straightforward concept. Rooms allow you more privacy and there are a variety of rooms to choose from. There are regular rooms, video rooms and VIP rooms. Prices and amenities vary depending on the type of room you choose. Basically, regular rooms and video rooms have a single bed and other rooms like the VIP rooms are roomier with larger beds. You can call ahead to find out more by going to The Clubs Website to get a phone number for a club near you. Finally, your locker or room is yours for a set period of hours depending on the day of the week – no sharing please. If you go with a friend, he'll have to have his own room or locker. Busier times of the week mean that you "own" your room or locker for fewer hours but you're free to renew the time limit should you decide to stay longer. Once you're assigned a locker or a room, you'll get a towel and key and you're on your way.

Once you've found your room or locker, you can change into your towel. If you prefer to stay dressed, that's fine too. Almost everyone wears a towel. That's what I did. It's unusual to see guys walking around stark naked. Do what you feel comfortable doing. That's the important thing. Once you've decided on what you want to wear, take a walk around. My friend showed me around and then left me in a darkened room where I couldn't even see my hand in front of me. Find out where everything is. Besides the whirlpool, saunas, swimming pool, TV lounge, etc., there's plenty more to get into. Again, you determine your comfort level. If you only want to pamper yourself by taking advantage of the steam and hot water works, then go for it. It's a great way to relax! Take a swim if you want. Swim suits are optional. If you're looking for more, believe me it's there!

I hope you find your first visit to a gay bath house as enjoyable as I found mine. I've been a steady customer since my first visit. For another perspective here's a little video featuring a straight guy's first visit to a gay bath house that you might also enjoy. I wonder if he ever went back!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Gay Man's First Experience at a Men's Bath House

My first experience with a men's bath house was during the American Bicentennial. It wasn't a gay bath house. Although I was gay, I'd never heard of a gay bath house in my home town and I was a far cry from my home town anyway. I was in London, England at the end of a 6-week European vacation. I guess I had crammed too much activity into my six week sprint across Europe because I was feeling run down, had a scratchy throat, stuffy nose and ached all over. It was April in London and the weather was cold and rainy which only added to my physical discomfort. I had read about the restorative value of steam rooms and saunas. The Romans had them. The Greeks had them. The Russian ones were noted for helping to mitigate the effects of severe hangovers. So, I decided to search out a place to remedy my run down state.

I ended up in a section of London where I had the address for what was called a Turkish bath house. I had no idea what to expect but I screwed up my courage, pushed through the door and went in. Once inside I found myself in a small lobby facing an overly made-up matronly attendant with pink hair and a florid complexion sitting within a small cage against the wall. There was a whiff of chlorine in the air which when mixed with the matron's ample perfume had already begun to clear my stuffy nose. I approached the cage, asked how much, paid my money and was handed a towel and a key to a locker. I had no idea what I was supposed to do after that so I told the attendant that it was my first time and asked her if she could tell me what to do. She smiled politely, told me to go through the curtain area and that she'd be in to show me around. I nodded that I understood but instead of moving from her stool she just started laughing. It was more of a high pitched cackle than a laugh. She finally said in her very precise British accent, "You Americans are so funny. We're not as liberal as you are. I can't go in there with you. It's for men only, luv! You'll see the lockers directly in front of you. Change into your towel, lock your clothes away and have a good look around. You'll get the hang of it in no time."

Well, I did as instructed, still smarting a bit from the matron's teasing and feeling more than a little embarrassed by my massive if not youthful gullibility. Who would have thought that we Americans were all that liberal anyway? She was right about one thing, though. Once I started looking around, it seemed fairly easy to figure things out. There was no gym equipment. The physical fitness craze hadn't made it to England just then but there was a steam room, a dry sauna, a whirlpool, a luxurious swimming pool, showers and a special room for what was called a "soap massage." My "gaydar" told me that there were a few gay guys around but for the most part there was nothing really overtly gay about the place. So, I set off to experience all the amenities that my newly found Turkish bath had to offer.

And sample I did. I tried out all that the bath house had to offer. The only real mistake I made was jumping into what I thought was a regular swimming pool just after coming out of the steam room. What I didn't know was that the swimming pool was filled with water so frigid that it could have come directly from the North Sea. Had I not been so young and with a healthy heart, I might have just succumbed to instant cardiac arrest due to the abrupt temperature change the minute I hit the icy water. I ended my bath house experience with the "soap massage" which was exactly what it sounded like. A big brute of a man soaped me down and gave me the massage of a lifetime. I could have done that a couple more times with him but by then I'd already spent most of the afternoon at the bath house and it was time to go.

Reluctantly I showered, got dressed and bid my rosy matron a fond farewell. I stepped out into London's miserable weather only to discover that I was somehow immune to it. I'd never felt better. My energy was back. I no longer had a scratchy throat and was breathing freely. I was on top of the world and could honestly say that there was a restorative value to my visit. It wasn't to be my last visit to a bath house. My next visit would be to a gay bath house but more about that in my next post. Until then, why not check out our website at TheClubs.com for more information on our locations and facilities. We have everything you'll need, minus the pink-haired matron at the door, to give yourself a well deserved lift in spirit and well being.