How Steven got his groove back.
Apparently the chances are good. Barflies get tired of the same filler material. They keep their eyes open, waiting for the first “Say, you’re not from around here” guy to walk in the club. Well, maybe not the first. It takes a while for their own liquid relaxants to kick in.
New guy + barfly. It’s a potent combination. Two men with low/no expectations. One night. Maybe just one hour. It’s practically anonymous. Go in with a new name, the one you wish your parents had given you. Remember when “Dick” was acceptable? Try it on if you can say it with a straight face. If not, there are other studly names. Dirk. Gunnar. Just not Rolfe. (He turned out bad in “The Sound of Music”.)
Go wild. What happens in Vegas and all that. So what if your holiday is in Acapulco. Or Cleveland. Conjure up your own Vegas state of mind.
And, yes, I could stand to have a Vegas moment. I’m in New York City and there are so many attractive men. Men with a fashion sense. Men who clearly seem to be gay. Especially when I’m spending all my time in art galleries and in line for Broadway shows. Of course, the boys of Broadway march two by two. I wind up eavesdropping on two old Jewish women in front of me as they kvetch about all the stars of “Glee”. (They catch me nodding as one of them says Jonathan Groff and Darren Criss make a cuter couple than Kurt and Blaine.)
On my third night in Manhattan, I should be going to a gay bar. Perhaps even a bathhouse if I don’t feel like margaritas. But I get bored looking up gay bars on Yelp. I dash out with the clear intention of picking Steve. I cruise the aisles of Whole Foods on 7th Avenue until I spot him: a pint of Steve’s Mexican Chili Chocolate ice cream, the perfect way to end the night after a Broadway show. Yes, that’s the kind of Steve from Brooklyn that truly whets my appetite. I'm thinking I'd love another go at Steve. He’s my sure thing.
On my final day, I decide to walk through Greenwich Village and to check out the Stonewall Inn. For a Saturday afternoon, the streets seem quiet. I don’t get any sense of a Bohemian culture. Neither do I get a sense that this is a gay area. The Stonewall Inn appears to be a teeny establishment, a big surprise since everything in Manhattan seems so big. I had told myself I’d pop in for a beer but I see no one coming or going and, frankly, I have no desire for any kind of alcohol. I move on, stopping for a moment to gaze at a subpar all-white sculpture to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. The historical milestone deserves better.
If I’m going to stumble on a fling or at least a moment of flirtation, I figure my best chances are just off Christopher Street. I stroll into Big Gay Ice Cream.
Yes, this is my kind of cruising bar.
But, alas, the stereotypes must be true. Gays don’t do ice cream. Not in broad daylight, at least. There are twenty people in the shop. All families and straight couples. I no longer feel inspired to order the Bea Arthur. The camp factor would be fruitless. I settle on the Pumpkin Gobbler instead. I get it to-go.
Two days in a row of self-soothing with ice cream. I’m definitely staying in tonight. And I’ll be doing penance when I get back home—longer jogs, harder swims, heavier weights. It’s not the kind of penance I’d hoped for.