A few months ago, I travelled to New York for a comedy festival. I met a man. We had a date. Sparks flew. We did a lot of kissing in the restaurant/lounge where we had our date, then more kissing and some petting as we wandered the streets of the West Village, seeking a secluded spot for a serious make out session. All the parks were locked for the night. He lived in Brooklyn, with roommates. I wasn’t ready or even sure if I wanted to take him back to my hotel room. With the average Manhattan bar charging an arm and an organ for one drink, where could we find some affordable privacy? Where, I wondered, does the average, non-millionaire New Yorker go to enjoy the phase between flirting and full on sex?
This delightful yet frustrating date dilemma got me thinking about home, funky old Portland, OR, and how many great nooks and crannies exist for the frugally hot-to-trot to enjoy each other’s sexy company. So, because the world needs more kissin’ and lovin’, may I present to you seven carefully vetted free or nearly free places to make out in Portland:
1. The back row of any of Laurelhurst Theater’s theaters (2735 E. Burnside St.)
Classic. $4 each gets you two hours of warm making out pleasure. Mondays and Thursdays tend to be slower (hence, sexier) nights at this theater and the stationary arm rests act as modern day, “One foot on the floor” barriers to things getting too hot and heavy.
2. A dark corner of The Goodfoot Lounge (2845 SE Stark St.)
This mainstay of Portland’s funk dance scene features several dark, comfy corners and areas for you to take things up to R rated make out good times. Heck, you don’t even need a corner, the dance floor will do nicely. The club features free live music Tuesday nights for truly frugal foreplay. Starts at 10 pm.
3. The Clown Room at the Funhouse Lounge (2432 SE 11th)
Recommended for the freaky deaky exhibitionists among you, this scary/delightful lounge area is completely private, until the moment it’s not. Free on Wednesdays, comedy open mic night.
4. In the stacks of Erotica at Powell’s Books (1005 W. Burnside St.)
A risqué and risky make out proposition, the benefits of this setting are self-explanatory but please, allow me: Sexy books with sexy words!
5. The bathroom at Crush Bar (1400 SE Morrison St.)
Pioneers in “Everyone is welcome here” public restroom etiquette, the bathroom at Crush is open to all genders, identities, sexes, all the beautiful colors of the making out rainbow. Notable features include a more-numerous-than-usual amount of stalls, sinks and mirrors, a condom machine and free mints!
6. Peninsula Park Rose Garden (N. Albina St. & Ainsworth St.)
Warning: Romantic! And weather dependent, though there is a gazebo. Recommended for established couples on a date night or dreamers planning their future. Runner up: Mt. Tabor, for those who want to walk in and seriously get it on. Am I recommending sex in public? I would never!
7. Behind the drapes at Lola’s Room during Come As You Are 90’s Flashback dance night (1332 W. Burnside St.)
The cover is $7, making it the big money outing on this list, but still only half the price of one cocktail in the Big Apple. And you can get up to all kinds of shenanigans behind those lovely old, heavy velvet drapes that cover the windows overlooking the lights of west Burnside. Take a breather from the dance floor to do some heavy breathing in one of Portland’s most iconic nightspots.
I hope these ideas inspire you to kiss in unexpected places. Remember, for human connection, no fat wallet required.