A Summer in Montreal

Priape - Montreal I walked by the bathhouse building several times. It had a discreet entrance, a nondescript façade. On the few past occasions I’d gone into a gay bathhouse before—in gay old Barcelona, in gay old San Francisco—it had been this way: a last-minute mental fencing match, a wrestling with the bathhouse angel, Thinking Fast and Slow About Whether or Not to Enter the Bathhouse. Now I was in gay old Montreal, passing along Saint-Catherine Street again. I turned a corner, walking in an expanding spiral away from the bathhouse on the Plateau, then reversed course, spiraling back towards it. This prolonged little drama of indecision might, I thought, either exhaust my racing mind, which was eminently capable of talking me out of doing anything, ever, or successfully muzzle that sweaty, stinking animal curiosity that had gotten me moving in the first place. Of course I was kidding myself: during that part of my life, curiosity won out almost every time, at least when it came to the question of entering some gay lair or another. I craved a connection—higher, lower, however one came by it—and the craving mastered me. A thunderstorm had passed through earlier in the day. Now, however, as I made my way back to Saint-Catherine, the sky was “clear,” which is to say: oceanic, dark, deep inasmuch as it stretched out and out into the great, grave beyond. I knew almost no one in town, and I’d be leaving soon. Straight couples and small groups strolled along the park, speaking Québécois French, West African French, English, blends of these, other tongues. Soon, the dotted, solemn, yellow-white lights of the park gave way to the cheerful ones of the boulevard, where people dined and drank en plein aire or in luminous rooms behind glass. A pleasing aroma of flesh and char and fat wafted from a brightly lit kebab shop.

By Evan James – Full Story at Travel + Leisure

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