Swingin’ Sex? I Don’t Think So …

Night of the Sex Zombie

Le Trapeze was located in a white stone building covered with graffiti. The entrance was discreet, with a rounded metal railing-a downmarket version of the entrance to the Royalton Hotel. A coupl
e was coming out as we were going in, and when the woman saw us, she covered her face with the collar of her coat.

"Is it fun?" I asked.

She looked at me in horror and ran into a taxi.

Inside, a dark-haired young man, wearing a striped rugby shirt, was sitting in a small booth. He looked like he was about 18. He didn't look up.

"Do we pay you?"

"It's $85 a couple."

"Do you take credit cards?"
"Cash only."

"Can I have a receipt?"

"No."

While I was expecting steamy sex, the first thing we saw were steaming tables-i.e., the aforementioned hot-and-cold buffet. Nobody as eating, and there was a sign above the buffet table that said, "You must have your lower torso covered to eat." Then we saw the manager, Bob, a burly, bearded man in a plaid shirt and jeans, who looked like he should have been managing a Pets "R" Us store in Vermont. Bob told us that the club had survived for 15 years because of its "discretion." Also," he said, "here, ‘No' means ‘no.'" He told us not to be worried about being voyeurs, that most people start off that way.

What did we see? Well, there was a big room with a huge air mattress, upon which a few blobby couples gamely went at it; there was a "sex chair" (unoccupied) that looked like a spider; there was a chubby woman in a robe sitting next to a Jacuzzi, smoking; there were couples with glazed eyes ("Night of the Living Sex Zombies," I thought); and there were many men who appeared to be having trouble keeping up their end of the bargain. But mostly, there were those damn steaming buffet tables (containing what-mini hot dogs?), and, unfortunately, that's pretty much all you need to know.

Le Trapeze was, as the French say, Le Rip-Off.

By 1 a.m., people were going home. A woman in a robe informed us that she was from Nassau County, and said we should come back Saturday night. "Saturday night," the woman said, "is a smorgasbord." I didn't ask if she was talking about the clientele-I was afraid she meant the buffet.