Loft 18+ (Yonge Cinemas): Saturday, 11:53pm
I enter the Loft 18+ (also known as the Yonge) Cinemas from Yonge Street, just south of Gerrard, and climb the stairs, mesmerized by the LED lights along the mirrored walls.
I insert seven dollars in change into the machine and push through the turnstile, leaving the ordinary world behind. There are five cinemas in the space: two straight ones on the second floor, three gay on the third and a series of private booths. I automatically head for the gay cinemas but find them quite typical: they’re filled with gay men, doing what gay guys do in a pornographic setting — there’s a much better selection of men at a bathhouse or sex club.
I decide to try the straight ones instead, just out of curiosity, and am pleasantly surprised. There is something sexually ambiguous about them, something I haven’t experienced before, along with an element of danger, especially if you hit on the wrong guy. Needless to say, I am hooked. Most of the men here are not the type you’d notice on the street. Many wear ball caps, carry backpacks and look like they just got off a city bus. You’d think they just made a quick pit stop on their way home — and maybe they did. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the occasional jock or daddy, the handsome sort, though that requires a bit more patience.
There are three doors past the gate in the straight section: Cinema 1, Cinema 2 and the washroom, which is a private stall. I turn into Cinema 1 and find some kinky fare playing onscreen: a man with puffy chest hair and thin arms is fucking a girl in fishnets from behind, using his foot to press her face into the wooden floor. Her moans are muffled by the theatre’s cheap speakers, making them sound like something in an inaudible dream. Three other men are in the cinema watching; it is too dark to tell who is masturbating, but I hear a belt buckle clinking.
The cinemas are small, with only a few rows of seating in each one. I stand at the back near the door to keep an eye on things — I don’t want to miss an opportunity. At first, I worry that I look odd back there, peering at people: I’m the only one standing. Nothing is truly odd at the Loft, though, so I stop worrying.
I scan the room, back and forth, waiting for some action to erupt, using the porn onscreen as my focal point. Later I’ll learn that all it takes is for someone to make a sign: flash their cock, give that look, something, anything and the whole room ignites. People start gawking and grabbing, sucking and tugging. On this first visit, though, I wait 20 minutes and nothing happens — it’s as if people are there to watch the film.
I venture to Cinema 2, which is much more lively. Approximately 20 men stand around the first row with their cocks out, jerking off to something happening there. The bluish glow from the movie screen seems pasted on the skin of the patrons, adding to the frenzy. I move to the front and find a woman leaning back in her seat with her skirt up and panties at her ankles. An elderly man in his 60s is eating her out, chomping down at her crotch. A few minutes later, the man next to him gets on his knees and takes over. The crowd stares, ravenous, jerking off and licking their lips. It isn’t quite what I was looking for, but I find the scene intriguing so continue to watch as other men take turns with her.