Swing low, sweet Geritol, someone's gotta carry me home. Or at least so I'm thinking, assigning myself to cover a glorified swingers' party while searching for intelligent life in Florida's moist midsection.
I'm no stranger to rubbing up against private parts in search of life-affirming and environment-destroying oil. Hell, I'd have sex in a rig, I'd have sex on a jig(saw), I'd even have sex with a fig. So, why not?
The Bliss Club, some devious import from the oversexed tanning beds of South Beach, is staking its claim on Central Florida's slippery knob, proclaiming itself "upscale" in its promotion of libidinous opportunism, and trying to morph the word "swing" into something fantastic and dehumanizing.
Three sheets to the wind, which is almost enough to ensure some sense of grace or privacy while enacting choreographed upscale sexual release, and I'm game. Game like a deer in a redneck's crosshairs.
A few e-mails of the we'd-like-to-see-some-examples-of-your-writing variety, and I'm in. Must be the expletives, I surmise. Although the fact that they asked if I had any hot lesbian or bi gal pals to bring along gave me the sense that I'm being used. I did, however, find a willing accomplice. Very willing, it turns out.
The whole affair is scheduled to finger itself in the public safety of the Bank Vault downtown, and not in some sunken living room deep in the heart of Windermere, so escape is an easy option. So is soothing Italian ice churning just beneath the Vault's charmless downtown overlook.
In a sense, this isn't really happening. But only in a sense, I realize, when I'm approached by a doorman who knows me from my nicotined mugshot. He hooks me up with the event's headmaster, a post-ravey tallman wearing horns glued to his head. "Heaven and Hell," they're billing the event. I'm thinking the former. Hell. Hell is for Hell. Hell is for children.
Somewhat childlike, said organizer comes off all pierced love boy, and is happy to field my vodka-stained questions.
"Why does it swing, swinger?" I swig.
"Our events are a little different from everybody else's, because we incorporate themes into them and we hold them in nightclubs. Other places will do their parties in hotels."
Sounds like a gay bar to me. But it doesn't look like one. The women on hand are hoochie hotties that couldn't be here by mere happenstance. Someone has stacked the deck. "Why the bait to bring the clientele?" I ask Mr. Swinger.
"Because we want to run a sexy, erotic, sensual event that is not a sex club. People might have tried a sex club at one time or another, but they didn't enjoy it, because of the quality of the customer," he appraises. "We try to market to a crowd in their 20s or 30s, attractive, and typically the women are bisexual or bi-curious. These are the people that go to strip clubs together, they go to Hedonism. There's very little jealousy." He throws the "J" word, always a slippery slope with lubricated swingers. "The girls tend to be very attractive. They dress up and they get to look really sexy. They go to a party and dance, and they don't have to worry about single guys coming up to them and rubbing on them."
"But, but, but..." I guffaw, "I'm gay. AND single!"
"We can't have the perception of a single man in the club. Like in South Beach. I have a lot of friends that are gay. But how do I know that?"
Nobody perceives me as straight, and the last time I rubbed on a girl was to pick her off my back. "So why are the guys so cute?"
"That's the first thing I look at." He totally wants to sleep with me. "Because you know why? We're swingers. I know if my wife doesn't like the guy then I have no chance with the girl. I know what my wife likes. She likes tall, thin guys."
I don't care what she likes, naturally, but the lesbian friend I brought along does. She's currently making out with Mr. Swinger's wife and the wife of some other cute guy. Obliviously, I will later be propositioned by one of the guys whose wives is pouring girl juice all over my overwhelmed (and clearly ecstatic) "date." Worse, I'm falling for Mr. Swinger. ("Maybe I should make her jealous," he says. "I've let a guy suck me off once.")
Um, I've done that once, too.
"What brings people here? Shame, right?"
"I would say voyeurism, fulfilling fantasies, because a lot of people fantasize about threesomes, or seeing their wives with another woman." He really means seeing wives seeing their husbands with a blond gay man. "And this is where they come. The girls get out, kiss each other, and sometimes they do a little bit more, and we have to tell them, 'Hey, you can't do that here.' Take it elsewhere, afterwards.'"
Like the bathroom, where I'll later demand this straying husband show me his goods. "I'm a little shy about that," he'll cower.
"We all are," I'll slap him.
OK, back to the interview. Mr. Swinger is explaining that I cannot print his name, just like in the Klan.
"You can put 'Dante' and 'Roxanna.' You can call us Bliss, too. Because that's our name. My family doesn't know, that's why we can't tell you our name."
"Isn't this just dirty?" I unzip.
"Couples that swing together, stay together," he coins my favorite-ever phrase. "You go out with your wife to a club, and you just stand there and don't talk to anybody. You go here, and you can walk up to people and say, 'My name is ...'" Er, Dante.
"We're doing a week trip coming up, we're going to Cancun. I'm real excited because I think we're doing something for Orlando. As long as I can keep the girls in check."
And the boys in the bathroom.