Metro Theatre – a trip to one of the few remaining old-time adult cinema’s in Canada
I have said over and over again this month that the anticipation and thought of doing something out of your comfort zone is worse than the reality. This is an exception to that rule – my experience at the adult cinema was so much worse than my wildest imaginings I still have the hebejebes.
“Don’t slip,” the cashier (a gentle older man who genuinely seemed to be looking out for me and my gentleman friend) says as he walks us to the general admittance theatre – ewwww. There are two theatres at the Metro, a historic movie theatre on Bloor between Manning and Clinton, that offer continuous play of three porn films from 11:30am to 10pm, 7 days a week.
It was 8:30pm on a Sunday when we arrived through the red door with the “POSITIVELY NO ONE UNDER 18 ADMITTED” sign under a picture of a woman holding a snake. I had paced back and forth outside the cinema with my male accompaniment saying that I might not be able to do it. I wasn’t sure I was brave enough. Did I really want to see that part of society? And did I really want anyone to see me going in there?
I clung to my date and made him do all the talking. Twenty dollars for two got us admittance to both cinemas – the general admittance larger theatre and the smaller one that you need a code to enter (an extra that I think the cashier gave us to be kind). We entered the coded cinema first and besides the musty smell in the air and the giant screen of two women and one man getting it off, it wasn’t so bad. No one else was there. The porn was fairly tasteful. The theatre wasn’t too dirty. I was relieved. I was all worried for nothing.
The decision to check out the larger cinema will haunt me forever. “If anyone comes up to you just give them the bum rush and tell them to go away.” More words of advice from the cashier. “You know how it is. A girl comes into a place like this they get brave.” There should have been horror music as he led us to the door. “If they want a girl, they should just go to a club.” I had a really bad feeling and clung to my gentleman friend’s hang so tightly I was afraid he would lose circulation. “Just go in and take a seat right away.” My date later told me that he thinks if you stand at the back of the theatre that means you’re inviting other people to check you out. We definitely did not want that.
We entered the grand theatre to the image of a black leather corseted woman in white makeup and a top hat on the big screen (this I later found out from my date, as I was too petrified to even pay attention to what was on the screen). The vinyl seats are peeling and sticky. The musty smell is strong. I am creeped out. It’s dark, but I can see about four men scattered around the theatre. All is still when we enter and we take a seat on the side. My date sits like a coiled spring ready to defend me. Then there’s movement. The men are moving towards us. We hear belt buckles clink. It’s been five seconds. I tell my date we have to leave – NOW. I couldn’t even look at the men. My friend said he didn’t want to. Who are these men? Why are they there? Are they lonely? Do they just enjoy the films, as this article about the Metro from the Toronto SUN suggests?
This is a world in which women are outsiders, only to be watched on the big screen as objects of lust. This is not a place where I was welcomed. I stood out, in a very bad way. And I was so happy I had not tried to do this alone. It’s not the porn that shocked me, but the experience itself.
The minute we left we went to wash our hands. I didn’t touch my clothes. My date and I were both overwhelmed. Neither of us had ever felt such an intense energy before as in that second cinema. Every instinct in my body said run.
Some men enjoy this and I am glad there is a place for them to go. The cashier was lovely and the historic cinema beautiful. I would recommend if women want to go, to stick to the VIP room, though. Or just watch porn at home on the internet.