A Spy In The House Of Love
Looking for love at the Edgewater West

What I know about the Edgewater West before I arrive: It is a clothing-optional swingers' resort where couples parade around in various states of undress, looking both at and for other couples in similar states of undress to have sex with. What makes this place different from other "adult resorts," and the thing that allows me to show up alone, is that the Edgewater is not exclusively for couples. Single people are welcome to look for love as well.

See also...
... by Jayson Gallaway
... in the Crave section
... from December 29, 1999

I am afraid it will be like the Exotic Erotic Ball, playing host to an army of hoary voyeurs with disposable cameras, looking through the hotel's many blatantly open windows, clicking off snapshots and masturbating like chimpanzees. Perhaps packs of men with dubious visa status whose only English seems to be "how much" prowl the grounds each night in their tragicomic quest for love. I am not eager to join these sorry ranks, but having seemingly exhausted all traditional routes to a meaningful relationship, I figure what the hell.

I register at the front desk and prepare for love. I check into Room 136 and take a stroll around the grounds. So far I see mostly couples. The people here seem just a little too happy. I think it's the way they look at me extendedly and say "hi" in the same tone they would order a steak.

A dancer who works at the club introduces herself as "Mischief." She has huge breasts and her perfume smells like a three-day weekend. She offers to give me a tour and I drool in acceptance. She is barefoot and walks on her tiptoes. I have been here for less than an hour and have already found true love. We go back to her room, which is ablaze with candles and the light of the porno on Channel 3.

"You wanna line?"

"Sure," I say. A line of what I don't know, but somehow I think to ask would make me seem like an asshole. Never look a gift rail in the mouth.

Mischief is bent over a table, cutting lines on a Massive Attack CD case. Her breasts shake as she chops, and I fail miserably at not staring. I have always had a soft spot for large-breasted women chopping narcotics. Turns out she has a serious talent for this. She slides the CD across the table to me, passing a gold straw along with it. I cannot tell what the fine white powder is -- coke, speed, or heroin. I'm guessing coke.




It's going to be a long night.

"Here," she says, "do another one. Then we gotta go."

A really long night.

Each week the Edgewater features adult cabaret entertainment in the nightclub. Mischief emcees this week's show, which stars a porn actress by the name of Summer. There is something about Summer that is subtly but thoroughly annoying, and it's not until I get a lap dance from her later that I figure it out: She has the smile, personality, hair, and voice of Cindy Brady. Not that this is a completely bad thing. In fact, getting a lap dance from Cindy Brady after she's had D-cup implants installed is a fantasy I've had for a long time. She seems to think Mischief and I are "together" and wants us to "hang out" with her and her boyfriend. I don't argue, and Mischief just smiles and shrugs maybe. I pay $15 and we get our picture taken with Summer.

The show is over and Mischief and I are "trolling." This involves simply ambling around the grounds, looking into people's open windows, and exchanging glances with other singles and couples. We come to a room with a lot of people and activity in it. The occupants recognize Mischief and invite us in. The group is trying to get as much helium into a life-sized, anatomically horrific love doll as possible.

Apparently there is some conflict with the people upstairs, and they are going to float this doll (named "Margarita") up over the second story balcony and scare the bejeezus out of the neighbors. When Margarita's psi reaches about 200, I start to rictus in anticipation of explosion. Someone whispers "valium" in my ear and hands me a pill. Then it happens: a deafening pop, and pieces of latex vagina and plastic mouth fly around the room. I take the pill.

Having fished all the pieces of Margarita's plastic genitalia from my hair, Mischief and I are back in the nightclub, dancing to '70s funk. Well, I'm dancing. Strippers can't dance. They get so used to swinging from brass poles and grinding and whatnot that they actually seem to forget how to dance. But now the valium is kicking in on top of the crank and I'm having trouble dancing myself.

"You need a lap dance," she says.

I sure as hell do.

She sits me on one of the club's many couches and says she'll be right back. She returns, pulling Summer along behind her. Mischief sits next to me and Summer writhes on both of us. Soon everybody is licking everybody else's nipples and a gaggle of single guys stare from the bar. It can safely be said that I am now swinging.

Later, Mischief walks/carries me back to Room 136. The valium is amazingly strong. I'd rather be in her candle-filled love den, but she seems adamant about using 136. Mischief and I hoover another huge line of speed and she starts taking off her clothes. Three guys have already coagulated outside and are standing there expectantly. I lock the door and close the curtain.

It is three in the morning and I am killing ants in the bathroom of Room 136. After two hours of unholy (in some states illegal) sex, we both popped a few Xanax. She passed out and started snoring almost immediately. Hours later, here I am, gacked out of my brain and killing ants like it's my job. More Xanax.

I wake up semi-rested, teeth clinched, naked, and wrapped in my plastic sheet. Hardcore porn emanates from the TV. Mischief is gone.

I pull on my pants and journey over to the hot tub before I check out. About a dozen other partygoers are basking naked in the morning sun, drinking mimosas. The group is very quiet, and I get the feeling none of them have slept. No one speaks.

It is then, there, in the calm and cool of the morning, that I truly see the hot tub. Its waters are calm, even stagnant. It looks like egg drop soup. Were a female to get into this tub, she would be pregnant inside of a minute. "They chlorinate it every Wednesday morning," someone says.

Memories of the previous night filter back into my head, and for the first time in about 20 years, I feel like I should go to church. I want to take a bath.

But not here.

Jayson Gallaway is a writer living in San Francisco.