The 10th Sign

confusedI recently came across an article entitled 9 Signs You’re in a Gay Bar. The article pointed out that there is no women’s room, but there are drunken bachelorette parties and something called cruising.

It mentioned some chap named Nick Jonas and his rock hard abs, and loads of other clichéd, yet ubiquitous, features of a gay bar.

But the 10th sign that you’re in a gay bar is that I’m there and I look confused.

It’s not what you think.

Well, maybe it is what you think.

How the hell do I know what you’re thinking?

For some reason, I have the ability to end up in a gay bar without realizing it’s a gay bar. I have a drink, marvel at the friendly people, the cut off shorts, the mesh. I might even hit on the two most masculine people in the place who happen to be players on the women’s rugby team. And I haven’t a clue. It’s a talent.

It’s not a recent talent, either. I have been doing this for twenty years.

My first gay bar experience was in high school. I was walking to the subway, needed change to buy a token and wandered into the first door where I saw a non-scowling face. The man behind the bar was friendly, asked what I needed. He took no end in delighting about my maroon backpack, my corduroy jacket, and my clip on tie.

My comedic memory wants the moment of realization to come when I notice he’s dressed in a leather biker’s outfit and assless chaps, but I’m fairly certain now that he was wearing a blue shirt and brown pants. I’m also sure I left without comedic movie incident. I think I figured it out a few months later when one of my classmates made a highly mature joke on the matter.

My second gay bar upped the ante a bit. Not only did I end up at a gay bar and not know it. I ended up working at a gay bar and didn’t know it. The Frog Pond. The Frog Tree. Something frog-themed. And they had hot wing eating contests every Tuesday night.

Perhaps I never put the obvious two and two together.

The ability to unknowingly end up in specific strange locales is not an unknown phenomenon. I knew a woman in college who often found herself at religious structures in Pittsburgh with no prior knowledge of its existence. Another guy used to end up at a car wash anytime he drank Jagrmeister. A fellow teacher in Prague was like the Angel of Death; she always ended up in a place of employment just after someone had died in it. As in, minutes after.


My exploits have not been sequestered to America. There have been gay bars stumbled upon in Prague, Nuremberg, and Rome. There was a gay bar in Geneva, where it took three beers, no ladies’ room, rainbow themed wallpaper, and a Welshman translating a drunken scene reenactment of The Cage Au Folles for me to get the picture.

So if you walk into a gay bar and see a confused man, as sure as Héctor Elizondo is the poor man’s Edward James Olmos, it’s me, and I’m enjoying a drink and some Kylie Minogue.

And all I ask is that you explain just who the hell Nick Jonas is.

Come clean, Reader! Do you have the propensity to end up in a specific strange locale?

  1. #1 by leslie on February 19, 2015 - 5:35 pm

    Taco Bell drive-through at midnight doesn’t count, does it? Because, Jameson.

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