Memory: I want to take you to a gay bar

Another memory. Didn’t mean to have another so soon. We shall see.

An acquaintance had recently come out after moving to London. Either as a show of support or because the girls wanted a legitimate excuse to go to a gay bar, he invited us to the Rupert Street bar, on Rupert Street in Soho.

I think I was brought along, as friend by proxy, because I didn’t have the traditional British male values towards homosexuality, i.e. I don’t hate gay people.

I didn’t have any particular objection or desire to visit a gay bar; I don’t even like pubs, so a gay bar is just a pub with better décor and more disco music.

The odd things: I felt very fat, despite being in relatively good shape; I felt really badly dressed and groomed; and I understood what it felt like to be a woman because blokes were staring at me in the manner of assessing sexual characteristics. This last was the oddest – I don’t think I’m the gay type but, having lived in Clapham for a while, I was told by my girlfriend that I was eyed up by men more than she was, so it shows that men are complete sluts regardless of their sexual preference.

I don’t recall much else about the short time spent in the bar – it was, after all, just a bar and I don’t feel natural in any bar. I don’t drink or smoke, so it’s not my milieu; so it doesn’t matter, gay or straight: it’s just somewhere to be with other people before going somewhere else.

The girls loved it, just for the novelty and the way camper gay men act around women in general. They also had fit gay men to look at – there weren’t any fag hags to be found.

Perhaps Rupert Street wasn’t gay enough; the hardcore crowd probably see it as a tourist pub for the newly out, the acceptable face of the gay bar scene. So I can’t judge from my experience. It was nothing special. I don’t know what the song was all about …

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