MAY 2, 1950
Unparalleled Orgies of Perversion Exposed by Intrepid Flash Reporter
Toronto Steam Bath Uncovered As Den For Unnatural Vice!
On a warm spring evening last week a FLASH reporter penetrated into a vice den the like of which is probably not to be found this side of Algiers' Casbah or the brimstone engulfed cities of the Biblical plain — Sodom and Gomorrah!
On the outside, and to the passerby this den of unnatural vice is an ordinary downtown west steambath — but inside, all the unnatural vices and sins that are normally found only in the psychiatrist's case book are practiced — not secretly and furtively — but openly and flauntingly!
This particular steam-bath caters to men only every night of the week after midnight and also for three evenings during the week — the remainder of the time is devoted to the fair sex. However, this account refers only to the men's nights.
There is accommodation for some 150 people in a large room filled with leather-covered couches so close together that they are touching and for 75¢ one may enjoy a steam-bath and relax on these couches afterwards. In actual practice many of the city's homeless who have 75¢ use this establishment as a lodging house — but as for the idea of relaxing on one of the couches after one's bath — it's impossible!
No sooner had the FLASH reporter lay down on one of the couches than a nearby figure arose — and completely nude — walked over to his couch and lay down on the one beside him. All this time not a word was said — then slowly a flabby white hand began an obscene groping. This was only the first of many such encounters that went on all night. In four hours in that basement room FLASH'S representative was approached no less than SEVENTEEN times--and this, mark you, in a lighted room in full view of the people all around.
Not His Type!
These approaches varied from the obscene groping of hands to a furtive touching of the knee — then to a disgusting attempt at a kiss — then to whispered descriptions of what would take place if the reporter agreed. Some of these were comparatively easy to rebuff — the mere act of turning over and ignoring their advances was enough to discourage them while with some it was necessary to tell them where to go. One of these seemed to take the reporter's sulphurous directions quite philosophically. “Not your type eh?” he muttered as he minced off in search of a more willing companion.
Huddled around a table at one end were a group of Polish-speaking men playing some card game incomprehensible to the average person while in a darkened corner a group of "rubby-dubs" were quietly imbibing rubbing alcohol — these two groups were at least draped in the conventional towels and sheets and seemed to take no notice of the surrounding orgy of perversion —but the vast majority of men in that room were naked, and in full view of one another, went their unnatural way — importuning others to join them in orgies of unnatural sex.
Toronto The Good!
On looking around that hideous room the FLASH reporter could see men in the act of sodomy while others were indulging in even more grotesque forms of perversion —and above the aimless rambling of the ruby-dubs and the mysterious jargon of the card players came grunts of perverted ecstasy.
To stand up and look about that room and view the number of acts of abomination going on simultaneously is enough to make even the hardest-stomached observer sick —and enough to make him wonder "is this — COULD this be Toronto the Good?" Or is it an orgy of Imperial Rome — Or Sodom the night before the fire?"
However this room is only half the establishment. On the street level there is a reception desk flanked by a bar at which sandwiches and coffee sent up from a nearby restaurant, may be purchased — or for a slight consideration a bottle of beer may be procured. Around this room are some more leather couches — but possibly because of their proximity to the desk our representative saw no perversions being practiced there.
However, at the back of this room are a number of cubicles, some single and others double — all containing the same leather couches but affording a certain amount of privacy. These cubicles may be rented for an additional $1.75 and when the FLASH man had had as much of the lower room as he could stand he made his way to the desk and paid the extra money for the use of a cubicle.
In keeping with the shameless perversion already described were the next events. No sooner was he at rest in the cubicle than a faint tapping was heard at the door —he opened it and there was another of these unnatural beings — offering in effeminate tones — "a good time" for $10. The reporter decided to talk to this one — a mere boy of seventeen or eighteen, and so offered to buy him a coffee at the bar.
The boy said his name was Rae J----- "R-A-E" — not Ray he was anxious to point out. Tall and slim — he had carefully parted hair — wavy and auburn — quite probably natural as few dyes could stand the moist heat of a steam-bath. His manner was ingratiating and coupled with his pleasant smile one could easily see him handing round cakes at a vicarage tea party — until he spoke — the mincing, simpering accents of the habitual homosexual coupled with the wave of the limp wrist immediately branded him for what he was.
This boy — by his own brazen admission was a male prostitute — "Work" said he in the mincing tones affected by all of his ilk "is for working men and horses — and you don't see me with four legs."
He confided that he regarded this as "a cheap place" — but that he was obliged to ply his trade there as he had had all his clothes stolen by "a dear friend" while he was in jail — for shoplifting.
The reporter asked him what he would do when he got the money for a new outfit of clothes.
"Why" simpered the creature "I'll go and work in a classy place — the Royal York or the Ring Edward. There's lots of Americans who'll really pay for what I've got."
When risked why he had chosen the reporter's door to knock on he claimed that these cubicles were invariably inhabited by those who were willing to pay — and it was an understood thing among those who plied this unnatural trade that there was to be no interference while one of them was "entertaining" a client.
When the reporter told this creature that there was no market for his services as far as he was concerned — there was at first an exhibition of sulks that an accomplished actress might well envy and then — "you look as if you'd be a nice friend for me — if you don't want to go into your cubicle — would you like to come to my room—it's very near here?"
Enter The Husband
At this the reporter told him to "get the h... out of here" where-upon he left. But no sooner had he taken his departure than .another of the same ilk — a little older this time—offered to sympathize.
His eyes well sunken and red-ringed — and with lines etched about his eyes and mouth that made him a grinning caricature of the picture of Oscar Wilde's "Dorian Gray." Again the simpering accentuation of every second word — accentuation underlined by a wave of a limp wrist was evident, and yet by his choice of words — and by a faint underlying accent one sensed that this was not a child of the slums — a young opportunist like Ray — spelt R-A-E. And in a more placid moment, undisturbed by revulsion at the scene all around one would perhaps wonder what had made him like this — a pitiful caricature of a woman in a man's body.
"A horrid little bitch, isn't she?" was the opening gambit — "She's nothing but a low-class whore." Note the free and unthinking use of the feminine that seems to characterize all these perverts. "You did well not to go with her" — continued the effeminate voice — "you know what would have happened to you?" "You'd have gone back to her place and her husband would have knocked your guts out." "Her Husband?" queried the slightly befuddled reporter —"Well, the man she lives with" came the reply.
"Now, I'm not a bit like that — in fact I'll come to your place — and then, as spontaneously as if it had not been rehearsed — "I'm an awfully good cook and valet — do you think you'd like me to look after you?"
At this the reporter beat a hasty and disgusted retreat to his cubicle determined to last out the night —and see what else could possibly happen. Actually nothing did —beyond four more soft rappings on the door he was left in peace until early morning — when, as he awoke and prepared to smoke a cigarette he felt instinctively that someone was watching him. He pulled the door open suddenly just in time to see a figure hastily descending to the room of abomination below. To the sickened, disgusted and shocked reporter the morning air tasted good.
These events give rise to one thought — Why and how can these things be tolerated in our city —is this town to be judged by the same yardstick as Port Said—as Marseilles or Saigon? What are the police doing about it? Do they know that a section of Sodom has been transplanted into Toronto the Good? And if they don't know about it — why not?
But when and if these practitioners of unnatural sex are caught —don't do as an unenlightened judge did many years ago with one of England's brightest literary stars —Oscar Wilde. Don't put them in another Reading Gaol, but send them where they rightly belong —in an institution for the mentally sick. To put them in jail is only to spread the cancer of their perversions among those perhaps not already tainted with the mark of vice. Try — for pity's sake — to cure them and make them realize the joy there is in being a normal human being.
And to those of you who, in disgust, throw down this article — FLASH'S representative — who experienced these horrible advances is the one who asks "have pity — and try to reclaim these lost ones from their Well of Loneliness!"