I like bars. But, I do like a drink and chat. And even with their drawbacks,
bars are one of our main social spaces as homos.
There are guys I know from bars and only from bars. We never or very rarely
socialise outside them. Yet we know each other, or we know about each other. I
think the gay male world is one of the few places where you can know a guy’s
intimate details, you know, how big his cock is, whether he likes to top or
bottom, what sort of men he goes for, any special kinks, does he like to get
pissed on, or get turned on by leather, and still never know his surname, how
big his family is, what his living room looks like or what he does for a
But you will know what he drinks.
In fact, you can know all that about another guy without ever having talked to
him or even had sex with him. You see, we do tend to talk to each other and
about each other.
Every time I see one particular guy walking down the street, I think “There goes
Mr Accident” after a friend told me of an unfortunate occurrence with him one
night, resulting from a combination of too much lube, too many toys, and not
enough douching. Nuff said. And I’ve never even spoken to this guy, and doubt I
ever will. I don’t even know his real name. But I know about that unfortunate
You know the ones behave like dykes i.e. move their music collection and
furniture in by the end of the second date and insist on going to the SPCA and
getting a puppy together.
You know their opposite - the masters of the mixed-message : they are all over
you, they chase you, they send you suggestive texts at odd hours, then, just as
you think things are getting good, they disappear. A few months later they see
you, their eyes light up, they explain how busy they’ve been, and then, they’re
You know the party-boys, the drinkers, the pill-poppers, the p-heads, the bitter
cynics, the eternal romantics, the stoners, the predators, the parasites, the
drunks, the bears, the twinks, the twink-chasers, the daddy-chasers, the happy
couples, the not-so-happy couples, the cock-teases, the sluts and of course the
arrogant “I am so hot I wouldn’t let Dan Carter fuck me if he asked”
The funny thing with the gym bunnies is so many of them are of the “see Tarzan,
hear Jane” types. They spend hours at the gym, they are pumped, they are
ripped, they make the All Blacks look like the Invercargill RSA Ladies’ Senior
Bowling Team. They open their mouths…and sound like Hudson and Halls but
without the wit or talent.
And then you see the serious leather guys, dressed in their dead cow, with their
cigars and facial hair, piercings and tatts, talking about real-estate, recipes
or the opera… I do recall years ago in the old University Club on Collins St in
Melbourne, when I was 18 and fresh *wistful sigh* a this really hot guy saying
to me once “The more leather and chains they have on, the more invisible lace
there is floating in the air behind them”
Yet beyond all this, there are real friendships I have made through the bars.
Even at times when I don’t know very much more about these men, I have had long
intense and interesting conversations, often over months, taken up again every
Saturday night, about life, love, sex, politics, travel etc. Sometimes these
even move beyond the bar – that tentative transplant, like lifting a delicate
plant and re-potting it, moving the friendship into another social setting.
Will we still like each other if we meet in a café, or over a meal? Usually the
answer is yes.
And we do tend to look out for each other. I’ve been picked up a few times off
the floor when too many different substances in combination have had an
undesired effect, and done the same for others too.
The most memorable one was downstairs in the Mineshaft in the 80s in New York.
It had been a very long night of partying and sex, and things were winding
down, when someone gave me something or other, and the next thing I remember is
two huge leathered up muscle boys leaning over me, one fanning my face with his
leather cap saying “Oh honey, are you ok? You don’t want to pass out down
Fancy a drink?