Sadly, PDX Jacks folded after just one year of operation. It fell victim to the same flaw that has brought down dozens of JO clubs over the past three decades: Overdependence on a single individual who could not, for whatever reason, keep the project going.
It’s really no different than any other kind of aborted effort. The fewer people support it, the more vulnerable it is to failure.
And I want to state without reservation that PDX Jacks was not a failure. It was just a short-lived club. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at a Jacks club anywhere.
Jacks parties are unique and satisfying experiences. It’s difficult to convey their true nature because it is similar to other group sex experiences but also critically unique in other ways. Everyone has their ideas and fantasies of what a Jacks club will be like but only experience tells the whole story.
From inside the management of a club, and having met and interviewed many Jacks organisers, I know that it is far more difficult to host than to attend as a member. Nobody else appreciates it, but I want very much to see a new renaissance of Jacks in the coming years so I am willing to do what I can to facilitate that.
I applaud your intent to help start a new club in Portland. Portland men can and will support it if the organization is sustainable. I know a few things about making a club work over the long haul and would be grateful for the opportunity to assist you. I’m close enough to actually come down there to help. If you are serious, contact me again and I will respond privately.
I am sharing this publicly because I want anyone else reading it who has been motivated to help form a Jacks club in their own community to know that it is possible, and that there are people who will help you if you are willing to accept help.
The young black man sat in my new member orientation session last night. His eyes did not connect very much. He was nervous, like everyone is at their first Jacks visit. He looked around frequently, not paying full attention, but I could tell he was listening. He was getting the message… I just don’t think he was ready.
My club does a 10-minute new member orientation session for any guy who’s never been to RCJ before. We just want to make sure the rules are crystal clear and more important, we want to introduce first-timers to the culture of this particular JO club, even if they’ve been to lots of other Jacks clubs.
Not everyone likes the session, though most do. Some guys arrive full of themselves, full of their expertise in Jacks clubs, or just not ready to follow somebody else’s rules. It’s okay if those guys just turn around and walk out. I prefer it, in fact. I would like the guys in the playspace to all be into it, all buying in on the vision of friendly, social dick play. If it’s not for them, it’s better for everyone if they just bail out.
I’ll call the young black man “Mark.”
Mark interrupted me to ask a clarifying question as I was explaining that the required minimum participation was stripping to underwear, that if a guy is not willing to strip to his underwear, he’s in the wrong place.
Mark asks, “Is it okay if I wear a shirt? It’s kind of cold.”
I say, “Yes, it’s okay,” reassuring him that it was much warmer inside the playspace.
So we wrap up orientation and a few minutes later, I see Mark in the entryway to the playspace, wearing underwear and a T-shirt. Also a hoody and a hat. He is, essentially, dressed. I can tell that he dressed not to stay warm, but to feel safer.
It seemed to me like he was armored up; protecting himself from becoming vulnerable, naked, by hanging on to these clothes that not only kept him from getting a chill, but were invested with meaning and identity.
And for two hours, I saw him observing from afar, separated from everyone else, not engaging in any way with anyone else and giving off a strong “don’t touch me” vibe.
I felt bad for him. He was there for some reason, obviously. One assumes it was because he was at least a little interested in jacking with other guys! But his clothing armored him and anchored him in another reality. It kept him from trusting, giving himself to the experience and attempting any kind of interaction.
For all I know, He may have been just as shy and standoffish if he’d worn only the underwear, or nothing at all, and I learned that attempting to protect himself with clothes is indeed an indication that a guy is in the wrong place, that he’s just not ready for the Jacks and perhaps never will be.
For my part, I learned that we should enforce the minimum participation rule and not allow guys to wimp out. It’s better they those guys not be in the club at all than be in the room while hiding uneasily behind their armor.