I live across the street from a Live Hot Shower Show.

While I’m admittedly often quick to make the cheeky metaphor, the title of this post is the most literal thing I’ve ever written. I live across the street from a Live Hot Shower Show.  Why is this capitalized? I don’t know. But the Raidd Bar, whose awning I look directly down upon from my window, advertises it as such, so I’m going to stick with their stylistic decisions.

My apartment building is essentially at the corner of Gay and Gayer as far as Paris is concerned. The boulangerie downstairs is called Legay Choc (yes, it means what you suspect it means). While I frequent it for baguettes and the occasional tarte framboise, I suspect they make the majority of their money on a little item called le pain magique, a cock-and-balls shaped roll with sesame seeds for pubic hair. Oh, they also sell bags and bags of pale pink, penis-shaped meringues. Need to buy some bondage gear in Paris?  I can refer you to at least half a dozen shops nearby. Les Mots à la Bouche is one of the most impressive gay and lesbian bookstores I’ve ever seen, both for novelty items and serious queer theory. My neighborhood teems bars with names like Le Feeling and Open Café, out of which hoards of well-groomed gentlemen spill onto the street every night. But Raidd Bar, with live DJs seven nights a week and the Live Hot Shower Show, is the king of them all.  I seriously wish I had stock in this place. As my dear British friend would say, Raidd is always heaving.

You may be so vanilla as to now inquire, “What, praytell, does the Live Hot Shower Show consist of?” As far as I can ascertain, there is a large glassed-in vitrine in the center of the bar in which a handful (a large handful?! sorry) of extremely strapping young men, well, take a live hot shower. I’m sure there is also dancing involved, and maybe also some towel work? I’m not entirely sure, because by the time the Live Hot Shower Show has commenced, the windows of the bar are completely fogged up and all you can see is purple and pink lights flashing inside. Occasionally, damp men fall out into the street for a smoke. Everyone looks pretty hot and bothered by the time they leave.  Your next question might well be: “Well, why haven’t you been to the Live Hot Shower Show?” I haven’t been because it isn’t the kind of place that appears tourist-friendly, as one might say. Most of the bars in my neighborhood aren’t particularly conducive to female patrons. And honestly, I get it. Do your thing, boys. I feel lucky to live in a neighborhood where there are people out and about at all hours and I am never, ever harassed on my walk home late at night from the métro. Granted, I’m not harassed because nobody in my neighborhood after ten p.m. has even the remotest interest in me, but sometimes it’s nice to go blissfully unnoticed. If you are curious about what happens inside, Raidd Bar has a very well-designed website, complete with a killer opening video sequence. I’m not going to link there, as I suspect they get plenty of web traffic on their own. But Google it if you would like to see some very cut young men that possess a rather remarkable, if niche, skill set.

The one drawback of living in such close proximity to a Live Hot Shower Show is that it is a rather loud affair. First there is the happy hour, when the first rounds of patrons show up for the night. Then there are the two nightly live shows, in which the music is cranked to full volume (fortunately these guys are as gaga for Lady Gaga as I am). On Fridays, Saturdays, and inexplicably some Sundays and Mondays, there is a serious house DJ until 2 or 3 a.m. Then, there is the inevitable post-bar-ejection hookup loitering, in which a dozen or so drunken guys schmooze with one another on the street until everybody figures out who they are going home with. Finally, around 4 a.m. the dancers from the Live Hot Shower Show go home, glistening, beautiful, and often singing Barbara Streisand songs at the top of their lungs. I’m not being hyperbolic. Last night it was “Happy Days are Here Again.” They nailed it.

I’ve spent a fair amount of evenings watching the proceedings from my window.  It’s pretty addictive, as several of my houseguests can certainly attest.  My mother could barely peel herself from the window during her entire visit for the holidays.  It sometimes makes for a wistful Friday night, like the one I find myself in the midst of now.  I stayed in to try and get some dissertation reading done, and instead I’m looking out the window and wondering why there isn’t more Cyndi Lauper, more Madonna, more ABBA, and more hot-water-centric entertainment in my life.

I’ve become voyeuristically well-acquainted with some of the regular patrons, including one guy who always, always wears a white leather suit, Labor Day rules be damned. He is often bare-chested underneath, even on some of the most frigid evenings. He’s loud, he’s proud, and he never, ever goes home alone. I like this guy. He really puts himself out there. He’s tenacious. Sometimes, long after everyone else has left the building, he is still out on the corner trying to put something together for himself.  Often at 5 a.m. on a workday. But nevertheless, tonight I had a lovely surprise:

You might not be able to tell from my clandestinely-shot photo, but that’s white leather suit guy with ANOTHER white leather suit guy. I watched them for a while and they are definitely an item, a pleasantly touchy-feely item. There was a cheek kiss! As far as I’m concerned, cheek kisses mean these two crazy kids are sharing the Sunday paper over brunch. If finding someone else willing to wear a white leather suit that matches your own when you go to see the Live Hot Shower Show together isn’t the dictionary definition of “soulmate,” I don’t know what is. I’ve never been more encouraged that there is somebody for everybody out there.

Good night, dear reader.  I hope this finds you on the verge of an amazing weekend.  While that may or may not include a Live Hot Shower Show, I do think it gives us all certain lotus-eating paradigm to aim for, yes?

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