Prasad Ramamurthy on how a gay dating app has made his travels more satisfying.
Sweat trickles down my neck and back. I realise the hair stuck to his sweaty arm is touching mine. I can feel the heat rising through the wooden slats in waves. I have to uncross my legs and rearrange my balls. Oh, I’m naked, as are the other men in the room. We’re at a sauna in the middle of Helsinki. And I’m here on a date. Gingerly, I look around, as though examining the cracks in the roof, trying to avoid all eye contact. Men, buck naked apart from tiny pieces of cloth to sit on or wipe the sweat out of their eyes, walk in and out. The place has got to be really old, I think to myself. In the corner, a wood-fired sauna stove crackles and sputters every time someone throws water on the scorched rocks to raise the heat in the room. My roving eyes meet another pair that are icy blue. An eye winks, the lips open into a welcoming smile. Then the bearded head, attached to a strapping, hairy torso, nods. With all the strength I can muster to not be a peeping Tom, I smile, nod and turn the other way to face my date.
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June - July 2019