Btw, do you like my spoopy new banner image? Pumpkin, more like pumped-kin!
It was Saturday night. My stomach was roiling from the previous night, when I tried to ingest an entire bottle of wine the same way a python ingests a capybara. I was wearing a simple, well-fitted chino pant and an Adidas shoe, along with a denim jacket that I had just ordered from Amazon. It was major.
My family was in town, and rather than rejoice in familial traditions—i.e. mental warfare and ostracizing a random family member at any given moment (this reads a lot more horrible than it actually is; for us, nothing is more fun than putting one of us on the outs)—my sister, Margot, and I were drinking gin & tonics in my apartment, about to go out to a bar.
When I was a kid—still am, so I should’ve written “Since”—I pictured bars with the wistful nostalgia of a Depression-era alcoholic. Long wood counters, a grizzled bartender, a barely-clean glass of amber something. Slow, molasses afternoons, and a jukebox playing in the corner. Simple. Rustic.
When I learned about “clubs,” I was disappointed to learn that I had missed the cocaine-era of the ‘90s. I also figured that clubs were the only places where you got bottle service and tinnitus. BUT BIG SURPRISE. Apparently bars are like that too.
Now, I’ve been to bars before. When I was in London (whispers but makes sure you can hear) I went on a bunch of bar crawls. But that was to British bars, where they’ve been built four hundred years ago. And since I’ve been back/legal, I’ve gone to a few small local bars, where I was able to talk, listen, and—most important—judge.
I’m more of a house party person, where I know the people and can chat and—crucial to me having fun—sit/recline on someone’s ratty Allston sofa. I like being able to bully my way into controlling the Spotify playlist, and I get a major semi from looking through people’s medicine cabinets and room décor. Loud, too-close, too-crowded clubs don’t really do it for me.
However, we’re walking up to this bar and I learn there’s this thing in the adult world called “covers” and “lines.” Let me break this down for you; I’ve had maybe two experiences with covers in my life, barring expensive, exclusive clubs in London—I studied abroad in London, London, England, ever heard of it, you dirt pleb. One was in freshman year, trying to convince some drunk frat boi bouncer to let me and a gaggle of girls into a party. The other was me, all limbs and rosacea, paying $15 to go the 18+ night at the local gay bar.
I don’t pay covers, I sleep underneath them.
Anywayanyway, we go to the bar, we/she pays the cover, and we walk in. IMMEDIATELY I AM AMBUSHED/ASSAULTED BY THE SIGHT OF HETEROSEXUALS. I love heterosexuals. My parents are heterosexuals. But I don’t generally “hang” out with heterosexuals. If I hang out with heterosexual guys, I pretend that they’re in love with me. If I hang out with heterosexual girls, I pretend they’re heterosexual guys and that they’re in love with me. I’m just not built for heterosexual fraternizing; I have hay fever and bad eyesight at night.
But this place is chockful of guys in Patagonias—so much fleece, so little space—and girls in strappy tops. Also because I’m a guy, guys trying to walk past me just shove me, whereas if I were a girl, they would gently move around me/take 33 cents for every dollar I make. Either way, we’re both fucked.
I also hate seeing straight people flirt. There’s something so creepy about it. I mean, I hate seeing queer people flirt too. I’m an equal opportunity misanthrope. But with straight people, all I see is ten years down the line, one David’s Bridal dress later, and the screaming set of twins they’re going to have while trying to figure out how to poison each other and get away with it.
Also, straight people, because they’ve never had, you know, the crap kicked out of them in middle school or dealt with having to have Perez Hilton be one of us, they’re so entitled. I was standing, talking to my sister and her friends, when all of a sudden, I feel a tingling at the nape of my neck.
Let me set the scene. I was wearing my denim jacket over this oversized skaterboi long-sleeved tee—because I’m awful—and I had popped the collar of the jacket (not full-on erect, but like a rumpled pop—I’m not a monster). I popped the collar because if I didn’t, I would’ve looked like a missing Duggar child. Anyway.
Side bar: “Rumpled pop” sounds like the kind of music Kesha would play.
I turn around, and some str8™ guy in a GREEN-AND-WHITE PLAID is putting the collar of my jacket down, saying (over and over), “Collar down, bro, collar down.” I, in my “non-threatening heterosexual man” voice, said, “HAHAHAHAHAA NO THANKS I’M GOOD” and tried to push his hand off. My fashionista nemesis didn’t get the hint and tried to make sure it stayed down.
He finally leaves, and when two feet away, I re-pop my collar and turn back to my friends. I see out of the corner of my eye, this low-rent Tommy Hilfiger try to come back to me. (!!!) “NO NO, I’M GOOD,” I Gila monster-hiss, flashing my teeth in what he thought was a smile but was actually a sign of aggression according to apes. Which is apt, because that plaid dick was definitely out to get Haram-me. And I was telling this Haram-bae “Haram-nay.” Is that even funny?
It was fun, but I’ve filled my quota for hanging out with straight people for the rest of the calendar year. However, the night wasn’t a total wash because I saw a literal grandmother at the bar, and later in the night, I saw a middle-aged guy in a Hawaiian shirt slow-dancing to ‘90s throwback pop. Every cloud.