I like a good steam or sauna session and I was getting fed up of gay saunas (bath-houses in USA) where the emphasis is NOT on the hot rooms (which aren't even usually hot enough) and most guys parade around the cubicle areas in towels. I heard about an old-fashioned steam club in the East End of London. Actually, I read about it on a gay cruising listing site, but it did say that the venue was mostly straight, the facilities were good, guys massaged and schmeissed* eachother, and it was possible to get a hand or blow job but you'd have to be very discreet about it. One unfavourable comment was that there was a bunch of old loud cockneys shouting across the lounge about whether they'd had a bath yet. (* Schmeissing: a european jewish tradition of cleansing for males. The schmeisee lies naked on a bench in a steam room with a towel over his head and the schmeisser (also naked) gives him a thorough going over with a large raffia mop-head fully charged with soap-suds. Like a combined massage and scrubbing. It's supposed to be a mutual thing. If you recieve but don't give, you're known as a schmeissing ponce, lol.) So I decided to check it out. I took a towel, swimming trunks and a track suit with me, not knowing what the dress code was. I changed into my trunks and carried my towel out of the locker room and walked through the lounge area where men were sitting around in towels or bathrobes or loose casual wear. The wet area was downstairs, so I headed there. It wasn't glamorous or fancy. The floor was smooth concrete and most of the seating was plastic garden chairs, with a line of open showerheads along one wall, glassed-in steam rooms were along another wall and there was a sauna cabin and a plunge-pool. A few guys were wearing trunks like me, but most were buck-naked. They were mostly older guys (40s to 70s) but there were some young jack-the-lads around too. I went into the first steam room, the coolest. Two guys were lying on marble-top tables being massaged by other men. I sat in there for a few minutes. It all looked above-board. I moved into the second steam room which was quite hot and I had a good sweat. No-one was being massaged there, just one or two men sitting around. Finally, I braved the really hot room. It was almost scalding! The hottest steamroom I've ever been in. Two guys were in there, a boxer and his trainer I think, because one was being encouraged by the other to run on the spot in there. When I was done I came out and had a cold shower in the main room. I realised my trunks were all sweaty and most guys in the room were naked, so I took them off and rinsed them out under the shower. Then I sat down naked on a bench. A naked middle-aged guy sat next to me, said hello, and before long I found out he was a regular there, that he was a van-driver with a dodgy back, a non-practising jew and that he and his wife had just painted their bedroom a shade of lilac. I did peripherally notice that he was medium-hung and cut (of course) but that was not the subject of my focus. He found out I was a first-timer, unmarried, had cured my back problems caused by desk-work by going to the gym, and had decided my own bedroom colour scheme. And I suppose he peripherally noticed that I was average and uncut. Feeling a little self-concious as a gay man amongst mostly naked straight-seeming men I made a policy decision to look people in the eye rather than the crotch. Well that worked! I had several conversations, including some with shouty old cockneys in the lounge and some interesting Latvian construction workers in the smoking area (who told me they had bought their non-english speaking workmate a T-shirt emblazoned with "I'm only here for the blow-job" to wear on-site, lol). Well, next week I'm going back and the shoutiest oldest cockney (73, with two stents in his coronary vessels and a wife who can make a lemon purse it's lips when she bites into it - he says, lol) says he will schmeiss me. Though that's after he had mentioned that they all knew what sometimes happened in the massage room and didn't approve, and I'd replied that that was not why I was there. It is primarily a social club and community centre, not a pick-up joint, and I'm aware of that. I'm not the only gay man there by any means. But I loved bathing and sitting around in various states of undress with a bunch of other men most of whom were straight and our focus was not on our genitalia. The men there are aware of their and others' cocks, but not obsessed by them. I haven't announced my gayness to them, but but I don't hide it and they're not stupid. We just get along. I wish there were more venues where that could happen.