Want all the fun times of a shady sex club but none of the hassle of talking to people to determine what's out there? Look no further than Yelp NYC's adult entertainment section.
The section contains numerous reviews of Chelsea hotspot Le Trapeze, as well as yearly bacchanal The Black Party and several escort agencies. There are not nearly as many "adult" listings as could once be found on Craigslist, but what Yelp lacks in numbers, it makes up for in ridiculous complaints. You see, unlike our dearly departed Craigslist Adult Services section, Yelp attracts the kinds of people who like to post their opinions on the internet. Just because a Yelper's busy banging multiple strangers at once while his wife sucks another guy's cock, doesn't doesn't mean he's going to overlook outdated decor and a too-small locker room. And don't even get him started on the coat check. Is Le Trapeze worth the gaudy tiles from which it is built? Let's see what Yelp's citizen-critics have to say.
Charon C. writes that when he went, it was "a little too crowded" and "sometimes not dark enough." He also found the locker room lacking: "isn't great, too small." He did appreciate that "everybody was cool about it" when they noticed some people were less attractive than others (as is generally the case everywhere). However, he disliked it that "the 'couples' policy is week [sic]":
"There was one guy that kept following us around trying to hook up with the girl I was with. He had come in with an older woman and then they went their separate ways, kind of defeats the purpose of coming in as a couple. If there is a couple rule, the couples should stay together, otherwise go to Hedonism. Its a downer having the creepy guy, good looking or not, following you around as you move around the place. That a couple guys that don't get it and try to work on your girl while you're doing something like changing to leave."
Do you hear that, creepy guy? Swinging is for married people only!
Reviewer Charlotte S. agrees that there was "a bit too much ogling by men whose wives were elsewhere. We did have a man lay down next to us in a private room and pleasure himself while we had sex." She doesn't say whether she tried to set boundaries with this guy or just let it happen, but maybe the boundaries are supposed to be unspoken at a place like this. I imagine it's hard to have a good time if you're constantly reminding others of the rules. She also thought "the club could use some updating...had a 70's feel to it and not in a retro way." That shag carpeting has got to go.
In addition to creepy single dudes, there were hookers. "There were obvious 'for hire' buxom blondes freely boning the geriatric crew with thick wallets," writes Jaime F. (How does one display a thick wallet at a sex club? Around one's neck?) She continues: "There were lecherous odd couples that were only 'couples' in the sense it got the odd predatory male through the door."
Then there's Joe Z., who was upset at the club's lack of a buffet. Because if there's anything I want to do in between rubbing my hands on various people's pubes, it's eat shrimp cocktail. He was also "afraid to take off my shoes b/c I felt like I'd catch a disease off the floor." Not the anonymous oral sex. The floor.
Sillier complaints aside, these reviews highlight how hard it must be to create an atmosphere where everyone feels safe enough to get naked and explore. No matter how strict the door policy, there is always going to be some creepy guy jerking off in the corner. (This could be a metaphor for most things in life, no?) It might be awkward for staff to go around checking to make sure everyone has a buddy, but maybe that's what they need to do. Then again, in an environment that encourages openness, who's to say that any expression of sexuality is inherently creepy? Why have sex in public at all if you don't want people to watch? If there are any clubs that have resolved these questions in a way that satisfies everyone, they're certainly not on Yelp. I'm not sure that's a coincidence, either.