Everything about me is self-made, hard-won: this hairy stomach, these chest muscles, this carefully trimmed beard—all of it a mosaic that makes my reflection strange but not dissonant, all of it my ticket into this grimy, foul-smelling, sexed-up space. Essentialist for sure—and a gay bathhouse in many ways is probably not the male bonding he intended to describe, but what could be more homosocial and primal, more of a testing ground, than this? The locker rooms are a silent, filthy dickbonanza—a cornucopia of penises I try not to notice but find startling. Several men look at me, then away, then back again.
The other pedestrians on the sidewalk included a cute bearded guy in slacks and leather shoes, a bald guy in a green T-shirt, and a hipster in all black. Right before we got to a shop selling Seahawks and Sounders jerseys, all three of them ducked into a nondescript brick building with Gallery Erato written on the window. We were all going to Rain City Jacks, a men's jack-off club that has been gathering in various spaces throughout Seattle since The very first meet-up was in a suite at the Silver Cloud Hotel on Capitol Hill, and only five men showed up. But on June 11 at Gallery Erato, men showed up to celebrate the club's 14th anniversary. Because of the club's strict rules—no oral sex, no anal sex, nothing going inside anyone's anything—all kinds of guys show up, not just gay guys.
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Tom Matlack asked guys what makes them feel connected to other men. The good news? In that pursuit, here are men talking in print, for the world to see about what makes them feel most connected to other men. Guys, there may be hope for us yet…. Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.