Although I rarely label myself by what I am not, I’m not gay. I do, however, agree with Jerry Seinfeld’s, “Not that there’s anything wrong with it.”
My gender interface orientation, or whatever the chickenshit politically correct term du jour is, added to the unexpected humor on an evening not long ago.
I used to date a woman who had several guy friends who were gay. She told me they were “bears.” Sensing I needed clarification, she explained that they were big burly guys, with facial hair, like me, who could easily be bikers or lumberjacks. They turned out to be wonderful people, and no less manly because of their orientation.
The whole crowd of us got together for dinner one evening to celebrate a group of birthdays. One of the guys, Jorge, confirmed that I was going to join him and some of his friends after dinner at a bar for a drink, and I replied, “Of course!”
I turned to my girlfriend, and reminded her of the plan, when she told me she could not go. She had to be up early the following morning, and furthermore, the hot water heater in her apartment was out and she wasn’t sure how she was going to be able to get ready for work in the morning.
I reminded her that my place was closer to her office than her own, and that I had hot water, so she could stay with me, thinking that, like the white knight every man wants to be, I had solved her problems, and that we would soon be tipping a cocktail with her friend Jorge.
She accepted my offer of a hot shower and a bed closer to her office, but still declined to follow for the after dinner drink. I told her she really needed to go, because I couldn’t go to a gay bar by myself. She responded, “Why not?” My only answer was, “No reason. I guess I’ll go anyway.”
After dropping my girlfriend at my house, and tucking her into my bed, I left and drove to the gay bar. The very juxtaposition of those two acts made me laugh out loud.
When I arrived at the bar, I did not see Jorge out front, so I prevailed upon the bouncer to allow me to go inside to confirm that Jorge was indeed there before I paid the cover charge. I quickly realized as I strolled through the place, looking side to side and sweeping the crowd, that I was actually “cruising” a gay bar for the first time in my life, and for a different reason than the regulars might expect.
Before I could find Jorge, I locked eyes with Stan, the third baseman on my softball team, who often threw rockets across the diamond to me, the team’s first baseman. All four of our collective eyes bulged out of our heads. We simultaneously pointed at each other with the interrogative, “What are you doing here?” Stan said he was there with his wife, and her cousin from Alabama who couldn’t easily socialize in the gay scene back home. “And you?” asked Stan. “I’m here to have a drink with my friend Jorge,” I explained. Seeing me alone, Stan flashed an evil grin. “And just where is Jorge?” he winked, his little gesture filled with a pint of innuendo. “Uh, I’m trying to find him,” I meekly tried to assure Stan. “Sure you are!” blustered Stan, and we both shared a big hearty belly laugh as he threatened to “out” me to the softball team.
Jorge approached, and after the introductions and birthday wishes were handled, I said goodbye to Stan and followed Jorge to meet his friends. We all had a drink, and while Jorge and his pals hit the dance floor, I, not being much of a dancer, stood behind to nurse my beer.
Suddenly, from the crown on the dance floor, I spied Frank, a co-worker who I knew was openly gay. Frank suddenly locked his eyes on me; his face bore the expression as if to scream, “I KNEW IT!” He launched himself toward me like a heat-seeking missile, and hit me with a kiss on each cheek, then grabbed my hand to pull me onto the dance floor.
I thanked him, but declined to carve up the floor with him, telling him I wasn’t dancing with anybody that evening. Frank stuck his tongue out at me, waved me off with a toss of his wrist, leaving me with the idea of how awkward it would be when I next saw him in the elevator at work.
I shared another beer with Jorge and his friends, had a few laughs, and made for the door. Jorge, walking me to my car, offered me some marijuana. When I told him I don’t partake, he told me in his Southern California stoner voice, “You’d like marijuana, Man, it’s amazing; this plant even has a clitoris!”
“Boy,” I thought, as I felt the effects of the alcohol, “Jorge almost convinced me to switch sides!”
I mean, about the marijuana.
By Keith Douglas Kramer
Photo: Google Images