Three Scenes from the Sauna at the YMCA
The old man in the sauna with failing eyes squints shamelessly to see the lean, young thing sitting four feet across from him. I've seen this old guy before with his lost-his-glasses face and hanging skin. Today he's drying himself endlessly -- the sauna heat must have him dripping as fast as he's drying -- so he can shimmy his towel across his back forever gazing dumbfounded at the seemingly oblivious stud. I've never seen anyone squint like this man does: the whole apparatus of his face seems to deflate. It opens rather than tightens, an ovoid slack that makes him look dazed, as if he were being blinded instead of sighted. In this unnerving blindness I'm thinking it's himself that he can't see. His nose and cheeks and chin diminish in his leering in favor of eyes that widen, emptying their contents and making him look childlike in their single-minded yet vague focus. His ass, I see, is tiny like mine will be and his back and shoulders bristle with long white hairs that are almost erect. Slack jawed and loosened up, some pure pursuit of waning pleasure pulls him. He carries a smile on that divination -- it's projection -- he sees what he wants to see -- there are suggestions and outlines -- nobody else can see him he's blown away riding a wind or a current of remembered sex -- if he can't really see he can't really be seen -- the foolishness is reserved for those looking at him not him looking at them he remains inside the regard as a component of the persistent revolving lure.
In this same YMCA sauna I watched a pugnacious little guy (my sense was a Boston Irish tough) fiddle with himself across the bench from me in a way that almost resembled the cruising gestures (and more) that are frequent and sometimes desirable in this sharp-scented wooden box. Others were there and I couldn't quite get the picture. We were most of us naked; he had his hand over his genitals as if he were pushing them down, which was something slightly different than the usual lengthening pull considered a come-on for obvious reasons. He came and went a couple of times and I couldn't complete the picture which wouldn't settle or cohere. There was no seduction in the little room, I could feel that I couldn't feel it. He was a small tough guy, barking at someone on the bench above to move his feet so he could sit. I looked as I didn't look I needed a completing piece. The curly hair, his scruffy wiry beard, slim but rough-and-ready torso. I saw two lines upwards diagonal running from beneath his nipples, long scars where tissue had been removed. I looked back at his dick without looking: His hands still pushed slyly down to keep the disobedient skin pendulous: something two-dimensional, a suggestion rather than a fact. I didn't need another clue I couldn't see. This is the ultimate male province, I thought, locker room and showers in an urban YMCA, made maler by the gay sex that always did or didn't happen. The courage and daring trapeze flight without a net of this person delighted me. Though it took me fifteen minutes to decode I considered his victory complete.
A guy next to me is handsome, swarthy, lean -- but he's uptight in a silly masculine way: "dude" or "hey, man." His cock is nice, though it doesn't grow as he flirts with me and makes me flirt with him. He repositions slightly, inches closer along the steam room's wet shelf. They've been running this thing so hot you can barely see and I can barely see his dick which isn't growing as he touches my foot with his foot like an accident but intentionality is a foregone conclusion. He plays with my foot with his foot and doesn't remember we did this once before. He smiles at me furtively through the steam though it's a weak little smile not a sly one because he's carrying shame in a way that stifles pleasure. It gets too hot, I leave and shower; we reconvene in the dry sauna. He's sitting across from me and rests his foot on the wooden slats surrounding the heating mechanism. I'm not sure what he wants, what to do. He says, "Put your foot up." I stretch and as if it were comfortable and as if it were something I wanted to do place my foot so it's facing his. He makes them meet like they're mirror images and softly moves his sole over mine. His cock is no bigger and neither, now, is mine. There's something too deliberate too narrowly fetishistic in this gesture in a place where wilder things happen routinely. Later when we're drying off and dressing I invite him over to capitalize on the foreplay. "Hey, man, thanks, but I've got to go shop for dinner." Another time, I say -- and suddenly realize I've been had. Footsies must equal third base to this dude. I consider my feet which have completed him, and drive home leaning on their shame and the delicious certainty of having been used.