Are Bathhouses Meant To Stay In The Past?

Are Bathhouses Meant To Stay In The Past?


Is There Potential For Them To Make A Comeback?

Okay, it's a Wednesday. I think surviving halfway through the work week gives us approval for another #InstinctAfterDark post! Okay, since society loves nostalgia, is there a chance bathhouses may make a comeback?! I'm only half kidding about this! Seriously, think about it! I'll ask the big question here: Have you ever been to a bathhouse? Sigh, if I'm going to be honest as a strong, non-judgmental member of the gay community; yes, I have. Turning eighteen-years-old and having a large, zany group of gay friends: I was convinced experiencing a bathhouse was almost a rite of passage. #FacePalm. 

My bathhouse experience in likely isn't what one would want it to be. For starters, no one told me to wear sandals or to keep my shoes on! I recall walking up the stairs of a particular establishment and stepped in what could've been either lube, semen, or worse. Men were too grabby, personal space is definitely non-existent, and I'm under the impression that she isn't supposed to stink- the smell in a bathhouse is similar to sulfur and guilt. It was too much! As I've matured, I don't look down on those who attend bathhouses, but as taboo as they are, I don't believe anyone is honest with themselves or friends of their attendance. In the past, my generation of gays in my hometown neighborhood of Chicago wouldn't dare even say the name of the local bathhouse in public. Instead, we'd disguise the business as Jewel, a local grocery store located not but a few minute walk away. If you were seen going to Jewel or openly supported it, you were ridiculed. "Only creeps go there!", we'd alleged. 

Now, in 2018, I cannot help but wonder if bathhouses may potentially may a comeback. While we need to educate and protect ourselves, Prep has made us more confident and the stigma of being HIV-Undetectable is slowly losing it's fear within the LGBTQ community. I strongly believe that the political climate we're in has made the community more united. I am finding it hard to discover ruthless, aggressive, touchy men in dance clubs. Are we further progressing as a community? Instead of heading to a bar to be surrounded by Bachelorette parties or a new era of uprising gays, would it be easier to visit an updated bathhouse? I think if someone would advertise a new bathhouse as a place to socialize – and play – they could definitely create a new vibe to attract men of all colors, shapes, and sizes within our gay spectrum. An area for fun and play – come on, that sounds wonderful! I think back to Bette Midler beginning her career in bathhouses. Imagine if the next-coming of Cher is just an eager young girl singing to a handful of men in towels. Wouldn't that be game changing?!

Do you think bathhouses could make a comeback – with a possible reinvented strategy?! Hmm…

3 thoughts on “Are Bathhouses Meant To Stay In The Past?”

  1. I’m from philly and in a long term relationship, but I still miss going to the baths on a Friday or Saturday night. It be nice if bathhouses made a comeback, even if for Nostalgia sake.

  2. The last time I was at

    The last time I was at Steamworks, I'd had a long day. Overnight Megabus to Chicago, and then walking all over, from Union Station to the Aquarium; lunch near the Merchandise Mart and then the Art Institute. All I did for the time I was there was sit in the hot tub. I was exhausted because I hadn't slept at all. I did play a bit, but that hot, bubbling water was what I needed. Those jets on my lower back were invigorating. I went to dinner, caught the bus back to Mpls. and slept all the next day.

    I love bath houses.


  3. The thing I miss most since

    The thing I miss most since moving back to NC from the SF Bay Area is the baths in Berkeley. It was clean, uninhibited fun. They have showers, hot tub, steam, and dry sauna. They also have condoms and free HIV testing. 


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