During a recent costume party, the club is filled to capacity. The air sparkles with glitter. Pop songs thump through an expensive speaker system, and corresponding videos play on flat screens over the dance floor. Other screens show porn.
One woman is dressed as a "bedbug," with antennae on her head and a small bed hanging around her neck. A couple has painted blue every inch of their bodies to create Avatar costumes. A man has a cardboard box advertising "free mammograms." Another man is dressed as Bill Clinton, an outfit that includes a portable lectern with the legs of a Monica Lewinsky sex doll hanging out of the bottom. (One of the managers, a man known as "Little Allen," tells the judges in the costume contest not to pick Bill Clinton because "he's a ringer" — he wears the same costume every year.)
Holiday parties are big here. For Halloween, the club had five different parties, with names such as "Ghouls Gone Wild." For Thanksgiving, there was "Pornucopia" (members entered raffles to win bundles of adult movies).
As the night goes on, a tall, slim woman dressed as a fairy approaches another woman dressed as an angel, whispers something in the woman's ear, pulls down the top of the woman's dress, and begins to gently bite her nipples. Nearby, a bald man in a zoot suit receives oral sex from a woman in a cheerleader outfit. More than one guy sports a Hugh Hefner costume.
All the food — a delectable spread that includes pecan-crusted salmon, spinach-stuffed chicken, a carving station and a salad bar, and a small fountain of chocolate for dessert — is cooked in-house by a team headed by a Haitian man named Maurice. Around 1 a.m., the luscious dinner buffet turns into a large breakfast buffet. The carving station becomes a gourmet omelet bar. There is a strict no-nudity policy around the food.
"We want to do everything within our power to enhance the entire evening," Maurice says. He's worked at the club for 12 years, and although club rules forbid employees from participating with patrons, couples sometimes invite Maurice to the back. He always declines, though. "I like my job too much," he says.
The "playrooms" are set off by frosted double doors with a bouncer standing guard. But before anyone can go through them, all clothes must come off. Members are directed into a locker room, where they are assigned a locker and offered a crisp, plush towel. Ladies must remove their high heels; they can damage the furniture.
The back room is divided into two parts — a couples side and a singles side — with a bar in between, manned by a chipper bartender in a red corset who lines up plastic cups of ice water for overheated participants. Each side has a bay of four vinyl-covered mattresses pushed together and a row of private rooms and curtained alcoves. There are also couches and sex swings throughout the place. The ceiling is mirrored.
By midnight, hundreds of people are scattered about the back room, an orgiastic mass of flesh and overlapping bodies. The same music pumping over the dance floor plays in here. In the darkness, faces seem to blur, and names, ages, and occupations all fall away. Bowls of condoms are placed around the rooms. Plenty of people are using them, and plenty of people are not.
At one point, Cee-Lo Green's song "Fuck You" comes on. "I see you driving 'round town with the girl I love, and I'm like, 'Fuck you!' " There are bare asses in every direction. On a mass of beds, six men and eight women are divided into three groups, with members rotating. One man thrusts into a woman from behind as she performs oral sex on another man who is kissing another woman as that woman is straddling a man who looks like he's either in immense pain or staving off an orgasm — or both. "I guess the change in my pocket wasn't enough/ I'm like, 'Fuck you! And fuck her too!' " The couches around the bed are filled with naked bodies, most paired off with either the woman on top or bent over, facing the wall. A few couples just hold hands and caress each other as they watch the bedlam. A man and a woman both fondle the breasts of a young blond who is watching a couple vigorously making use of a sex swing. "Although there's pain in my chest, I still wish you the best with a... 'Fuck you!' Ooh, ooh, ooh."