Assault at the Midtowne Spa, Los Angeles; Or, How Sex History Can End With a Bang

Things had been going downhill for quite a while, and I say this not just because of my age (I was born in 1960), but also because of a historical trend: back when I got started being active, way back in 1980 just before AIDS when Greenwich Village was still at its peak, there used to be great bars and the Great American Baths; no one had heard about condoms; people like me would think nothing of finding ten partners a night. Now we are in 2019 (happy new year) and the trend that was all set to last forever in a perpetual delirium-bath of orgies, fizzled out, and it wasn’t just AIDS that did it; what finally killed off the old style was the Internet and especially the Smartphone. Now everyone is on an app called Grindr sending nude pictures to fifty potential partners a night in the hope of reeling in one of them. Some people under thirty spend most of their lives on Grindr.

And then one day I saw that the great Hollywood Spa had just shut down. It wasn’t a surprise. Business had been lousy and it was like a ghost-town. But that was a moment: when I walked up to the front door of the Hollywood Spa and saw a note: Closed For Business Please Try Our Other Facility in North Hollywood… I knew that was the end of an era. You’d think people would get the message and make the long trek from Hollywood to North Hollywood, but it didn’t happen. The crowd never moved anywhere except to oblivion. Then, three years later I noticed one of the world’s last remaining sex clubs, the Zone, had let all their valets go—it wasn’t worth it to keep them around because business was so slow. It’s just a matter of time now…

And the online thing, to which I was addicted for so long, that died too. How? After I got a dog who was not fooled by “Dog TV” (to entertain him while I was away) I realized that I myself was not fooled by screenfuls of youths from New Zealand who wouldn’t show their faces and just typed me messages. Yes, there was a camera, but after a while even the camera got old. Even the chat rooms started losing business and we (I) started living life as a sort of Incel.

The last remaining place  (until last Saturday night) was the Midtowne Spa, located literally in the middle of Skid Row, outside downtown L.A. And not the Midtowne Spa any night of the week, but only once a month when they turned the lights out—literally, and the males partied in the dark. I could almost make believe it was 1980 again. Until I was assaulted.

It happened last Saturday. I got there late at night hoping there wouldn’t be a long line to get in, because who wants to wait for 30 minutes on Skid Row? I was right. There was no line, and I found parking safely in the structure next door. But: inside the bathhouse, the crowd had thinned out drastically compared to the other times I’d been there on lights-out night. After a shower I walked through the dark just in my towel, just like 1980. I walked into the darkest room. I approached two men doing the deed of darkness in the dark and hoped to join in (by this time my eyes had adapted a bit so I could make out something). One of the two seemed interested and motioned for me to join. The other one pushed me away. When I tried a second time, he pushed me away more forcefully, and in front of everyone in the almost dark, I fell down a small set of stairs within the room. A bit shaken and without any clothes I just sat there, hoping I hadn’t made too much a fool of myself. But I was naked, so I reached for my towel, which I’d left up the three steps where the couple was, and as I reached, one of them held on to the towel and wouldn’t let go. We had a tug of war for maybe five seconds, and then I felt it: unlike anything since  the seventh grade. It was like a baseball bat hit me in the face, it was that hard, like bone-crushing strength. I didn’t know what hit me. I just sat there shaken. I was so shaken I said “Sorry” (for trying to reclaim my towel?). I sat there dazed and the two abruptly left. I never saw their faces. And: my towel lay there, so someone had realized “his mistake” after all.

Later, I looked in a mirror. Nothing. No blood, no bruising–on the outside.  I could feel it though, and I still feel it, like when I kiss my dog on the nose I still feel where the fist or bat or foot slammed into my face.

For the first time in almost forty years I have nowhere to go. Except maybe Barcelona…

Or: an angel spoke? God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself? If  I weren’t in the midst of reading all these Enlightenment philosophers, I might almost believe that.*

*Note: A few months after this incident, I belatedly embraced spirituality/religion (see other recent blog posts), so now I do believe God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

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9 thoughts on “Assault at the Midtowne Spa, Los Angeles; Or, How Sex History Can End With a Bang

  1. Alex; read – you did good; nobody really has a p[lace to go. i don’t at eighty with an x-husband expremely bi-polar. even though he was x, he was my person when he was focused; i miss him; i miss my life. i want though, . we keep wanting, needing
    maybe God did for you what you couldn’t do for myself. Love – Gail Gauldin Moore

  2. Alex! I am so sorry that you had to be a victim to physical violence and ignorance! Shame on Midtowne Spa for not doing better and MUST be held accountable for their inability to provide a service to our community and this has happen. I just read this now have boycotted them and so will all my friends. I am RN and I owned magazine in West Hollywood this MUST to rectified by Midtowne and until then EVEery Queen Homo BI must step up! It could have been any of US! I will do my part,
    Please never think that the violence you endure less what is was. If you need ANYTHING please ask!
    JG Out rages in LosAngeles!

    • Shut the fuck up PLEASE! You’re going to boycott a company over someone else’s actions? Yes they need to do something about it, but your an annoying overly liberal entitled son of a bitch who is what’s wrong with this generation. I fucking hate you and cancel culture. You disgust me.

      • You and your overly emotional petty friends are boycotting MidTowne because the author was pretty much told NO by one of the two guys, but he persisted, and he got smacked? It was the author’s fault, and he sort of admitted it. Midtowne doesn’t need whiney little bitches like you and your vapid little friends, anyhow. Kindly do stay away, yes?

  3. Sorry to hear what you endured but one must remember. It’s not the 80’s and today if a person pushes your hand away or the initial shove should have been the alert to move along. Your persistence got you knocked on your ass. I’ve been there many times and when someone’s not interested a mere statement “I’m good” works. So as we want to be respected we must respect everyone…ijs🤔

  4. Wow wow, lots of opinions. I just know that one of your replies refer to it as a smack. It sounded more like a closed Fist Punch to me. And I do understand the Overture being turned down and you trying a second time might be annoying… but I certainly don’t think it deserves a close-fisted punch. In the dark? Where somebody might have a hearing aid, or glasses? And one reply made it seem like you are just so out of line, and I just have to think to myself… look you’re at.. an adult, all male… sexual playground.. I feel bad for you, just for the fact that somebody has the gall to do that. And the cowardice to do it in the dark. I just know if it was me it would have been on and cracking. I am not a violent person. But if somebody inflicts it on me… they better be able to evaporate Into Thin Air. Cowardly actions.

  5. An open hand slap is kind of a benign skirmish. A closed punched fist… is a declaration of war.
    Cowardice actions agreed.

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