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The Amsterdam Trip—January, 2005

10:05 a.m. Monday, January 31, 2005

John is downstairs eating breakfast.

We went to “Getto” last night, to have the “bear” dinner. This turned out to be “Bearcelona Beef Stew.” We ate in the same back room as Thursday night. I was somewhat disappointed not to see very many other bears eating with us. Mostly young pretty straight people. Yawn.

The main concession to “Bearness” was a slide show, projected on the wall opposite me, of photos of naked bearded hairy men, frequently displaying hard ons. Nobody batted an eyelash, or expressed any sort of interest. I was surprised by my own reaction to the slideshow; It wasn’t, “At last… I’ve found my home!,” but “Jeez, do I have to look at this shit? I’m trying to eat.” It occurred to me, the problem with Amsterdam and its sex trade/sexual permissiveness is that Sex has turned into one more consumer item. Instead of “Big Mac,” it’s “MacBlow Job.” Sex is fitted into a tidy, mass produceable package: convenient, uniform, interchangeable, cheap and soulless.

Speaking of which, we visited the Sex Museum yesterday afternoon; three stories of pornography from throughout history and around the world. There was a room full of cheesy black & white snapshots and posed photos from the invention of the camera to the present day—explicit shots of men & women fucking. There was a documentary on a tape loop about the history of stag films. Gay erotica was also represented, including a wall display of Tom of Finland original drawings practically thumb tacked to the wall without any covering. Without repression, this material becomes utterly boring. It seems to need repression to have any charge. Or, at least, some mystery. It amazes me that I’m thinking this, since promoting sexual freedom is my main cause in life.

That’s the problem with the Dark Rooms… it’s too easy. That’s also why I’ve never enjoyed bath houses here in the USA. Maybe “easy” is the wrong word. If it’s so easy, why aren’t I getting laid? It’s that I don’t want to. I feel perversely unerotic, within this bombardment of commercialized erotica. I need conversation with my sex. I need to get to know the other guy, at least a little bit, and feel like they know me, just a little.

I finished Bangkok 8 this morning. I’m reminded of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund fundraising cruise back in ’01, when my reading material for the trip was the novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Both books are strangely appropriate to their journeys—Rebecca was all about trying to read other people’s minds and change oneself to meet their inaccurately projected wishes. Bangkok 8 is a murder mystery set in the Thai sex/drug trade, a world of moral ambiguity and shifting paradigms. Actually it gives me an idea for how to write a “road” novel—there’s the novel itself, and whatever book(s) the protagonist is reading during the story. Its’ probably been done, though.

Once again, John and I crashed after dinner. I woke up around 10:00 p.m., dressed, drank the second Cannabia and went out, leaving John to watch TV, sleep, or whatever. First, I went to the Argosy, to check out whatever “Bear” action was happening. I was sort of hoping I’d run into BF&H and his two skinny skinhead pals. No such luck.

Then I went to The Cockring, to check out the absinthe thing—I had two shots, €6 each. It tasted like licorish, but had no particular effect. John later pointed out that, back in the old days, they’d kill half a bottle in a sitting.

In the basement dance floor, a male stripper went through his paces, to the appreciation of the packed room. He was Slavic, shaved head, masculine in spite of his shaved and oiled body. On the floor, immediately in front of the stage, a stoned young man danced lazily, facing the audience, seemingly unaware of the performance behind him. At one point, the stripper, in comic annoyance, rested his large semi on top of the other man’s head. The stoner continued to blissfully dance, oblivious to the object of desire laying atop his scalp.

© 2005 Flaming Artist

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