Chemistry‘s closest analog among the parties and clubs I’ve discussed is OneLegUp. Like OLU, Chemistry is a sensuous, sumptuous, occasional affair. I’ve only been to one, but definitely intend to return. The night we went, it was in a loft in Bushwick, a heterogeneous neighborhood in Brooklyn. The lighting was dim and mostly reddish; there was lots of dark velvet.
Before we even were told where the party was, we had to request an questionnaire by e-mail, submit our answers to some ten or so questions – about our relationship, our experience, our attitudes toward sex and swinging, and including face pictures of both of us – and be approved. (In what is perhaps a story for another time, another guy with whom we had “played” once actually managed to be rejected by Chemistry on the same evening on which we were approved – something which encouraged us greatly.) We had applied the night before the party – we were approved within a couple of hours.
At the front table, a bouncer checked our faces against the photos we’d submitted, and sent us to the “registration” table, at which we were given little red velvet pouches containing a few condoms, some lube, and various and sundry other items. We were asked to check our coats, and escorted in. Before us was a crowd of probably a hundred people – hipsters, mostly. Attractive, funkily dressed folks ranging in age from twenty to fifty-five or so, median age probably twenty-eight. This was a hot, and (I thought) relatively sophisticated crowd. If the people at OLU mostly work at the Gap (or maybe Uniqlo), I had the sense that people at Chemistry work at mediabistro and in public radio.
This was a BYO party – there was a drink check, where a hot topless bartender happily would write your name (or, in my case, my “name”) on your bottle, and tend it for you. At one end of the room was an elevated platform, on which various entertainments were presented over the course of the evening, including a burlesque act (Little Brooklyn, doing a remarkable, if not especially sexy, rendering of the Fay Wray/King Kong romance), a male “body masseuse,” who, with his female assistant used his speedo-clad body to offer a massage to all willing comers (my date and me included), and various and sundry others.
In the middle of the room, there hung from a ceiling a metal hoop, on which swung a topless acrobat. Around the hoop were some couches, and all about, the crowd mulled and mingled. Behind the elevated platform were some dividers, and beyond them, beds, platforms, and semi-privacy, on which guests later would splay themselves.
We didn’t stay late enough to report on the quality or quantity of sex (our child care wasn’t overnight that night, and Chemistry gets going LATE), but I can only imagine. As I said, we’ll be back.