Saturday, October 11, 2014


Perfect day and then I had to ruin it. I went to a gay pub. My timing was off from the start. 9:40. Too soon. It wasn't a matter of being overly eager. I had to walk around the block twice to convince myself to go in. No, I had left my Seattle hotel early on a quest to try two scoops of ice cream before Bluebird it closed at 10.

The Caffe Vita and pumpkin flavors were oh so creamy.

I suppose the ice cream was the enticement I needed to place me in the Capitol Hill district which my tour guide referred to as the LGBT neighborhood. Like almost all such neighborhoods, the Ls, Gs, Bs and Ts are so identifiable anymore. What I saw was a lot of young people—and “young” has been redefined as well to under 35, maybe 40. The too were on a quest: the hot spot to get drunk on a Saturday night. (It seemed that some had put in considerable time researching this.)

Amidst all this buzzy hipness and cigarette smoke, I knew I was out of place. I needed an old-fashioned gay bar. Something simple. The kind of place where I could walk in a day shy of the big 5-0 and draw a few head pivots as the New Guy.

Of course, that place is somewhere in Neverland, but maybe I was still riding my own little buzz from the coffee ice cream.

According to Yelp, the Madison Pub was my best bet. Sports bar. Pinball. Friendly bartenders. No attitude. (And no mention of twink dancers in skivvies taking the limelight off a New Guy. Bonus!)

Destination known. Still, I wasn’t that excited. Walking into a gay bar alone on a Saturday night takes guts. I needed the two laps around the block to convince myself that no one would see an “L” on my forehead. I reminded myself that there are pleasures beyond ice cream.

Or so I'm told.

I needed to stop waiting around for some ideal.

Get what I can.

If I can.

The fifteen-year drought had to end and it wouldn’t come to me with a knock on my hotel room door. "Room service!" No, that only happens in badly acted porn scenes. In real life, the pizza guy only offers pizza and police officers only issue tickets. At least, that’s been my experience.

Stepping foot in a gay bar would be a nice change from constantly checking to see if someone new had sent me an online message. Or if Hot Guy #78 has finally replied to my clever missive. (I know,...I should stop hoping after three weeks. Four tops.)

Finally, I was all pepped up. Must go in. Get it over with. Work your big smile. Not too big. Must not appear deranged. A chill kind of smile. A post-ice cream grin. Yeah, perfect.

I hadn't even fully walked through the door before I knew this pub outing was a mistake. Had they had one of those awesome revolving doors, I'd have spun myself right back out to the sidewalk. Alas. No such amusement. Instead, I quickly oriented myself and stepped right to the bar.

Friendly bartenders, right? Well, this one got the guy ahead of me his beer and then walked off. Apparently a spill needed urgent tending. Or limes needed cutting. Or I just needed to serve my time. I leaned against the bar and lost myself in thought.

What to order? I really wanted a glass of Chardonnay. Not a gay bar drink. Rum and Coke. With all the ice they load in the glass, I'd gulp it down in thirty seconds. No, I fell back to my old routine. I ordered what I hate. Beer. No chance of guzzling. I'd take wee sips and extend my stay to thirty minutes, maybe forty (if it turned out they were fresh out of limes).

When I got my Corona (with lime!), I toured the bar. The intent was to peruse the setting in a slow, casual manner. I wanted to look at ease with my aloneness. But I was like a too-young flower girl, rushing down the open aisle, just wanting to get it over with. So much for the rehearsal.

I parked myself on a stool and dared to gaze around to see what I’d left in my wake. Nothing. No conversation halted. No flirtatious wink. Not even a lewd stare from a creepy old man. (Oh, god. Maybe that’s my role!) I refused to go there, instead devoting my stare to the nearest TV screen. American college football highlights.

Yeah. I could watch this all night. (Not terribly convincing.)

After a quarter hour, the pub population multiplied—doubled, then doubled again. It got noisy. People sang along to Eric Clapton's "Cocaine". (I'm not even going to start on all that's wrong with that sentence.) Hooting and hugs followed. Each “So glad to see you” came with triple the exuberance of a chance street meeting. This was about getting noticed. And me not.

I looked about. No obvious cruisers; no one I had any inkling to attract. I watched the same college football highlights again. Yay, team in green! I played with my iPhone. (Okay, I did more than play. I wrote this blog post. Right there. In the bar. I’d waved the white flag, not that anyone noticed.) I finished my beer. Blech. Lime can only do so much.

And then I left. Forty- two minutes. Exceeded expectations. Not that it amounted to anything.

It's okay. The evening wasn’t a total waste. The ice cream was excellent.


Rick Modien said...

Haven't been to a gay club or bar in...what, two decades? And now, after reading this, have no reason to go. Some things never change. Thanks for satisfying my curiosity. Okay, I wasn't that curious.

Thanks for posting. Love the comment about, were you supposed to be the older, leering gay man now. Well done.

Rural Gay said...

Quite frankly, I wasn't that curious either. I went as a Leaving No Stone Unturned exercise. Now I can cross that off my list. I fear that a Liza Minnelli concert is next.

oskyldig said...

As I was reading I couldn't help being drawn to a specific quotation of yours:

"(I know,...I should stop hoping after three weeks. Four tops.)"

I guess that means me still idling on hope 7 years later is a bit over the top? Now I really feel like a failure... #FML

Rural Gay said...

So who are you holding out hope for after seven years? Must be quite a catch.

oskyldig said...

Being a catch would be debatable to be honest. I guess being a Cancer, I'm unfathomably loyal. I guess sometimes it's about feeling or treating myself how I feel I deserve.