Bryan Harrison

Bryan Harrison
Location
Seattle, Washington, USA
Birthday
March 24
Title
Former Enfant Terrible, Now Merely Terrible
Bio
The difference between a rant and an editorial is how much the writer is paid.

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Editor’s Pick
MARCH 25, 2009 6:51AM

The Princess Bride

Rate: 71 Flag

Here

Pretty as a Princess

There's a club a few blocks from my home here on Seattle's Capitol Hill. This being Capitol Hill, it's a mostly queer club, but this being Seattle, everybody's welcome. My partner Michael, the tattooed skinhead chef, sometimes goes there on Thursdays (which are his Fridays) for “Rock Lobster.” He dances and blows off steam accumulated during consecutive 10-hour days spent cooking. I think the retro music reminds him of his time as a teenage DJ in the 80's. Once in a great while I go along. The retro music reminds me of really fun dead people.

The crowd, however, is not much like my good old days of being bad. Most notably, there are a lot of straight women. I'm used to straight women in gay dance bars, but these aren't some guy's office chums, tired of their usual hangout. They aren't someone's friends who like to dance someplace where nobody harasses them no matter how hard they shake it.   They aren't college girls on the cutting edge of cool. These are insular packs of straight girls, and they behave like they're on a school field trip to the zoo.

These women tend to be in their twenties and of the hard-as-nails Tanya Harding variety for which Seattle's benighted suburbs are justly famed. They clearly regard the whole place as a show being put on for their benefit, and their sole goal is to upstage it. I'm no stranger to dissipation, but they consume quantities of alcohol that would put me not merely under the table but onto a hospital gurney. They carry shoulder bags and drinks on to the dance floor, liberally slamming and sloshing everyone in their vicinity. They get progressively more belligerent as the night goes on, screaming, shoving, and groping like shitfaced soccer fans. They're louder than the music, which is saying a lot. Presumably because of the rate at which they buy drinks, the management won't eighty-six them for anything short of vomiting and passing out, which can take them hours to achieve. Worse, they sometimes bring their sullen, Levi Johnston style boyfriends, who retreat to the alley outside to do crystal meth and call drag queens “faggot” as though they've discovered something novel.

These girls think Kate Perry has given them the right to tongue kiss random lesbians. They think it's cool to grope queer men, since they've heard we're free with each other and unlikely to rape their semiconscious bodies in a bathroom stall. One night, one of them decides it's fine to stagger up to Michael and me and breath rancid Sterno fumes into our faces.

“You guys are just so hot,” she slurs. ”It's just such a fuckin' waste. Sfucking' waste!”

Her face has become its own Shroud of Turin, with a smeared, ingratiating smirk that says she thinks she's complimenting us. At first I think she's holding on to me to maintain her balance, then I realize she's pawing the crotch of my jeans. I note peripherally that she's expecting a zipper and that her elaborate French manicure is bewildered by the buttons she's found instead.

Michael is a regular here, and has long since mastered a gaze into the middle distance that says, “You'll regret it if I notice you.”

He turns and says conspicuously to me, “Gas them all unconscious with the fog machine and I'll tie their tubes while they're out.”

I can't resist addressing her directly in my best James-Earl-Jones-is-not-amused voice, “The only thing wasted here is you.” Fortunately, her neurochemistry isn't up to repartee, and once I remove her hand from my fly she staggers off, snarling obscenities.

After years of living with Michael, I don't have to shout “What the fuck?” over the music. I can do it with eyebrows alone.

He responds with the lipless smile he normally reserves for customers who criticize his use of saffron. “That would be tonight's bachelorette number one!”

My eyebrows still don't get it.

Michael sighs, directly into my ear. “The one wearing the crotchless panties outside her jeans is getting married. The one with the scary bleach job is her maid of honor. There are three separate herds of them here tonight, and by Sunday every one of them is gonna be ten pounds of shit in a five pound dress.”

Michael's actually kind of sweet, but having been raised by New Orleans drag queens, he's not in the habit of showing it.

I'm bemused. “She really thinks she's the belle of the ball.”

Michael is not. “She's a fucking troll.”

There

Having lived on the left coast for more than a decade, you'd think I'd be able to recognize a trend without needing the Chicago Tribune to point it out to me. But when Dawn Turner Trice begins, “They've become a familiar sight in gay bars: women holding bachelorette parties,” I can only mumble in shock, “Oh God - it's metastasized.”

Trice describes how some Chicago gay bars no longer welcome women who don't want to celebrate their impending nuptials with the same sort of men they're marrying. While the sociology of this is a depressing swamp, the economics are clear. Bar owners would prefer to have everybody's money, but gay patrons have predictably moved from a weary “Why can't they puke in their own bars?” tolerance to a stance of “Go flaunt your clueless entitlement somewhere else, bitch.” Bars are being forced to take sides.

What's really striking is Trice's assumptions about where the tension is coming from. It's starts with the headline, “Gay rights battle puts strain on parties.” One wants to ask Trice, an African American woman, “Did the struggle for racial equality strain segregated communities in Connecticut? Gosh, those poor sleepless white folks!” Certainly knocking someone down because he has his boot on your neck puts a strain on him, but is that really an honest description of what's going on? When the white lady in the front of the bus fans herself with her hanky and exclaims “Lah! I'm sure glad to sit up here where it's cool, and not stand back there packed in like sweaty black sardines,” is the strain coming from the civil rights aspirations of the blacks in the back, or the brutal self satisfaction of the smug sadist riding up front? The oppressor class always accuses the oppressed of having picked the fight by getting uppity. That Trice, as a black woman, a journalist, and an American in the 21st century can't recognize this doesn't speak well of her.

Trice tells us, “The women come to celebrate without having to worry about straight men pawing them.” Leaving aside the question of when gay men invited such women to dump their war between the sexes on us, my personal experience is that they also come to paw gay men, and are therefore not only pigs but hypocrites. In their minds, their presumptive status as the victims of their own culture apparently justifies their treating someone else's as a zoo that exists solely for their entertainment. They're so unaware of there's a whole other party going on that they can enter it and never suspect they're not the guest of honor. It's not surprising they assume that everyone else's sexual expression must be about them and act accordingly: in this, they're identical to the men they complain about.

Trice then tries for a nicely symmetrical irony, since “The gay men are there because, well, they don't want to be around a lot of women.” Of course we all know gay men despise women because, well, they secretly want to be women, just like we also know about Mandingo's dark designs on the pallid flowers of the South. That Trice tries to pass off this ancient stereotype as anything other than her own ego and ignorance is as offensive as it is instructive. In fact, gay men associate for reasons that arguably have less to do with women than any other human activity. As a gym rat boyfriend once replied when a passing woman remarked to her companion, “I really don't like men who are too muscular,” “Honey, I didn't do it for you.”

Most women have no problem with any of this, but Trice's failure to get it means she misses everything. Straight women often behave so badly in gay bars precisely because no one is pawing them. There's a certain freedom in flashing your tits in an environment where nobody much cares, but also an enormous frustration. The guys cheer, but only briefly until something more important happens, like the DJ playing a decent song. Like two-year-olds whose antics render all adult conversation impossible, the bachelorettes act out the moment they sense they aren't the center of attention. Unlike two year olds, the bachelorettes have the option of taking their problem back to its alleged source: the straight guys in whose company they can't safely be themselves. Instead, they dump in LGBTQ environments and then go home to marry half their problem.

This has been going on since Jesus invented gay bars; what's changed is not the behavior, but its cultural context and therefore its meaning.

Everywhere

Individuals of all stripes have always been mostly-welcomed in LGBTQ environments. We are, after all, a people so various that we need a five letter acronym that even we can't pronounce just to name ourselves. Interracial hetero couples, straight cross dressers, and outcasts of all stripes have traditionally found not just tolerance, but celebration on the dance floors of gay bars (along with the best music). Similarly, straight visitors may show up in their native costumes, rub blue mud in their navels, and otherwise carry out their mating rituals with style and be regarded as fabulous, or at least entertaining.

But there's a difference between “visitor” and “tourist.” Visitors travel to experience something new by being a part of it; tourists regard the world as a culture zoo and everyone else as an exhibit. Visitors cover their heads when the natives do; tourists say, “You know the real God doesn't care about my bald spot.” Visitors say “please” and “thank you” in the language of their hosts, no matter how challenging the atonal vowels; tourists complain the natives' English sucks. When visitors can't stomach the local speciality, they smile and protest they're full; tourists vomit on the Japanese Prime Minister. The apotheosis of tourism is Disney World, which exists only to conform to and confirm the tourist's preconceived notions, and therefore, like the inside of one's own skull, is impossible to visit without mind altering drugs. Unfortunately, those whose vocation is tourism think the universe is Disney World, and that their only obligation is to clap when Mickey and Goofy get down and dirty with each other.

Trice's article ends the way it began, by resoundingly missing the point.

I asked reveler Blythe Thomas whether, in general, she believed holding bachelorette parties in gay bars was “heterosexist,” or insensitive.

“I never would have thought about it like that,” Thomas said, watching a curtain like screen rise on four soon-to-be-nearly-naked dancers. “I could see how this could be frustrating to gay men. Maybe it's something I'll think about next time.”

Thomas' “Maybe… I'll think” is as unlikely as it is irrelevant, because the question itself veers so far from the real issue. If I, as a white guy, exercise any right denied to blacks, I'm complicitly racist whether or not any blacks are present. Similarly, blithe Blythe is a homophobe, regardless of where she holds her prenuptial bacchanal. She's a tourist: she's thrilled with herself for spending an evening at the Cotton Club, but it never crosses her mind to go home and fight to integrate her neighborhood. It's not her choice of party venue that makes her a clueless bigot, anymore than it's her and her drunken friends' revelry that's offensive. (After all, gay men have long since turned bad taste into an art form.)

Let's face it. It's her impending marriage itself that makes her both a bigot and objectionable. She can hold her party at the local Chippendales, where plenty of gay boys are paid to dance for straight girls and therefore “heterosexism” isn't an issue, but she'll still be wrong. That she's rubbing others' faces in her privilege is merely tasteless; the ethical problem is that she's exercising a right not available to all.

Hetero conservatives are free to deal with this by assorted circular variations on, “Because the Bible tells me so,” which in terms of Constitutional principles is indistinguishable from the more honest “Fuck you, faggot!” Hetero liberals have a much harder time of it. After all, everyone wants to have admirable principles, but no one much enjoys having to sacrifice on behalf of them.   Trice wants to conceal the real the issue here by reducing it to one of sensitivity – in essence, taste – when in fact it's one of justice. When everyone is not entitled to marry, the rose petals bride and groom tread upon are in fact the faces of those who have no such right. No one can claim to support transportation equality and then ride while others walk. Whether or not we drunkenly flash our tits and pass out as we go by is style, not substance.

Chesterson said of Christianity, it “has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” The same could be said of liberalism. This issue is terribly difficult, so much so that in my own life, I've thus far dealt with it by declining invitations to the weddings of friends and families with polite excuses. I've been doing it for decades. I've failed to find a way to tell the truth that doesn't contain an implicit demand, and I find myself unwilling to make such a demand of friends and family on my own behalf. But my oldest niece is now engaged, and my family deserves (and will demand) more than a social lie. I can already hear my mother shrilling, “You know, this isn't all about you!”

However, last week a 17 year old from Charlotte testified before Vermont's Senate, prior to the hearings that passed their same sex marriage bill. James Neiley spoke with a calm self assurance I could never have commanded at his age. To be fair, at 17 I was very busy recovering from a failed suicide attempt and running away from home. Having barely discovered I possessed a self worth defending, I wasn't quite ready to do so publicly. Forty-some years later, I need marriage like an Olympic swimmer needs bloomers, but it's not about me, is it?  

It's about James Neily, who I'm told came out to a supportive family when he was 11. It's about Lawrence King, who having been murdered for being a second class citizen won't ever find out whether or not he cares to marry. If the party brides at the club down the street will get this through their expensively coiffed heads, I'll wear their trashy lingerie on my head and cheer while they dance naked on speakers. And when I try to explain this to my family, perhaps they'll understand that it's not about me. It's about our own next generation – the children my two nieces may or may not choose to have – and the effect all our just or unjust choices will have on them.   

After all, these things run in families.

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If I could rate you ten-fold, I would. Heartfelt, eloquent, cogently exposited, beautifully written - and apparently you're not black, a felon, a woman, disabled or mad. So why are we not equal before the law? oh, I forgot: the law is an ass. Here's hoping your argument is as compelling to all who read it. I can't 'family' you, so I'll 'friend' you instead, if I may?
Well...I fell in love with you immediately, as you well know...so I won't yammer on that again here.

My first job ever....doing makeup for a drag show in a gay bar in Los Angeles...There were no bachelorettes then. It was one of the better jobs I ever had, but the 80's were hard on anyone with gay friends, lovers, family....sigh.

My brother (who lives with his partner in Capitol Hill too....hi hi hi, Mister....) can say more with a weary eyebrow than anyone I know....so this and so many other things about this wonderful piece felt so familiar and good.

...and I fucking HATE bachelorette parties, beyond the understated, "hey, let's all get sushi and then watch Boogie Nights at my place later" kinda thing....

You nailed it with the zoo reference.

kisses, mah sweet ....(she said, leaving his crotch alone, and snickering at his sweetly snotty little button fly joke..)
Thanks again for stretching our minds just that much more. As always enlightening.
I made it sound like the 80's were harder on people who knew all the folks that were dying than the dying folks themselves....

Please consider this a lack of writing skill rather than a fucking narcissistic pathology, mm kay? Lordy, I am lame sometimes.
I am going to start printing your writing and making myself a Bryan Harrison book. This is yet another literate, expansive piece that brings things to my attention that demand it. Thanks to P13 for pointing out the button fly snobbery b/c that makes me feel like an insider. Add me to the "I fell in love with you immediately" clique.
You are a very convincing and passionate advocate the likes of which I haven't encountered since tangling with Glenn Greenwald on this stuff over a decade ago. The Visitor/Tourist analogy is quite good. I might take exception to the equating of christian reservations with "fuck you faggot" as on par for the GENUINE believers, but other than that I found it fascinating and prescient.
you had me at "shroud of turin" ... what a spectacular image!!!

I very much enjoyed this post and am blown away by your generosity and patience ... eyebrows included :)

It all just seems very rude to me (the bridal party behavior) ... but classless and tacky usually walk hand in hand with rude ...
When I started reading this post all I could think of was, "How rude!" Regarding the bachelorettes - not you. But as I read the clearer problem came through - thanks for the head whack.
“Gas them all unconscious with the fog machine and I'll tie their tubes while they're out.” Struck me as a hilarious, if not a politically correct line.

The distinction between being a tourist and a visitor was profound, as was the entire piece.

I haven't been in a gay bar for years, so it's kinda' nice to be kept up on the current trends. At least this sounds like a better problem to be dealing with than the police raids of yore.
For years, we had our "goth night" at the Metro here in Jacksonville, a VERY nice LGBTQ bar. It had multiple rooms and we would take one over at the invitation of the owners once a week. The two communities are very bound here in our city. I also found this problem while we were there.

I also doubly sympathize, having grown up in Florida and living here most of my life. I love your distinction between a "visitor" and a "tourist". Some people come to Florida, spend some money, have a good time and then leave. Others drunk drive, make a "Girls Gone Wild" video on the beach in front of my kids and then throw their trash out the passenger door of their SUV on their way back to where they came from.

I guess some people think it's okay to trash the place they don't have to live in, be it a bar or a state. I have a "JodiWord" for these people:
Tourons.
(tourist + moron)

You're welcome to apply that as needed!

(thumbified for your usual insight and general common sense)
After I finished reading this, I kept reaching under my screen to turn the page. Then I said, "Wait--this is not in a magazine!" However, it should be. This is not a post, it is literature. Flawless throughout, brilliantly sustained. I shall rate this, I shall!
Articulate and passionate. This needs wider readership. Salon?
I had meant to say something else. I decided during the gay marriage debacle of 2004 (et al) that I ain't getting married until any consenting adult can marry any other consenting adult. This has caused problems in my home, but is understood.

This is a civil rights issue.
One of my girls said just yesterday, "Girls should be able to marry girls and boys should be able to marry boys." I don't know what precipitated it--nothing in our conversation or radio. She's a very bright kid and it's possible she's just been thinking about marriage in general (we read a lot of fairytale). My husband and I asked her to repeat because we couldn't believe our ears, she did, and then he said, "Yes, that's right." And that was that.

When I was a young nightclub kid with a fake ID, I was ushered into the gay bar scene, at first, by a gay friend, but I stayed for the good music--in those days, only the gay bars played good music. Often, I've gone alone to dance and then leave. Those frat boy/sorority girl types are avoided even by straight people. Sorry to hear about it worming it's way into your circuit--perhaps there is something to be said for taboo afterall ;)
Spoilt and intimidated, dammit.
*Love* you for this! Have always hated the tourist clubbers
Hated feeling like a zoo animal.
Hated being terrified that tourist girl's angry boyfriends were lurking in the parking lots of all the gay clubs.
SO rated.
I knew nothing of this trend until I went to a drag bar for a gay co-worker's birthday (along with my 2 gay bosses and numerous other gay male co-workers). I was amazed by the two large tables of bridge-n-tunnel girls being all scandalous with penis balloons on their heads. I just don't get it!! I'm so sorry this trend exists and I'm very glad you went deeper into the issue.
I'll just stand back and clap loudly... As a fag hag from way on back, I'll expect you to admire my rack while I do it, but only till the next best song comes on. ;)
"But there's a difference between “visitor” and “tourist.” Visitors travel to experience something new by being a part of it; tourists regard the world as a culture zoo and everyone else as an exhibit."

EXACTLY! And true not just in the bar, as you pointed out. I had noticed this trend, but couldn't articulate why it made me feel so crazy. Everyone else nailed how well it's written, so I'll just say - Wow!
Yes! Absolutely! And if it is at all possible...truer than true and written so well! Rated highly.
I can only imagine how frustrating this kind of thing must be for you. Some people's children have no class.
Damn you write well. I love your nuance. And those girls sound like shallow jerks.
This is probably the best thing I've read on OS, and I've been around here for a few months.

If you've read my writing, you know I'm an advocate for deaf rights, much like you're an advocate for GLBTQI rights, if only through your writing. With that in mind, I'm not sure that your approach to heterosexuals who marry is necessarily fair. On that, you wrote

. It's her impending marriage itself that makes her both a bigot and objectionable.

Unlike most people on OS and the world, I don't have access to movie theaters, the radio, and streaming internet video, with rare exceptions. Is it right for me to criticize you for choosing to indulge in inaccessible media, or do I hope that you'll indulge, and help me in my fight to make all media accessible?

I don't think it would be right to call you a bigoted audist for enjoying music on the radio, if you catch my drift.
Congratulations on getting the cover - very well-deserved!
Jon... I adore your willingness to take a proposition to its logical extreme. I'd actually be much more interested in what you have to say about this than any blather I might come up with. But it does strike that there's a crucial difference. Deafness is not entirely a social construct, but marriage is. The gay marriage debate is at its core an argument over the definition of a word – everything else hinges on that.

“Gay Meets Marriage” is an episode in the series, ”When Abstractions Collide.” “Deaf Meets Hearing,” regardless of how abstracted our concepts of deaf and hearing might be, still has a concrete reality at its core that marriage entirely lacks.

I'm not sure where this goes, but neither you nor I have convinced me that I'm not a audist bigot.
I'm a cover boy! What a nice present. Happy birthday to me! (50, yesterday.) Let me run and put my hair on.

Thanks, as always, for everyone's support.

This is an interesting experience. The OS editors' choice of headline for this post has had an effect my perceptions of what I wrote, and I suspect everyone else's. Reading it over, I realize I have sort of said “Get the fuck out of my bar,” which strikes me as egotistical and unproductive. I meant to say something more like, “Gay! Not just for homosexuals anymore!” After all, unlike being touristed, being visited is a compliment.
I am speechless, which is as it should be.. you've said it all. A thoroughly brilliant manifesto. And the Trib should be ashamed of Trice, if she's not already kicking her own ass for being such an asshole.

Okay, so I'm not totally speechless. But I am once again in awe of your towering talent. If I were young enough and you wanted one, I'd offer to have your child. So there.
This was beautifully written. I had no idea of this trend...what obnoxious idiots. They feel entitled to dominant any environment because they are heedless narcisstic fools. It's always about them.

I'd like to be a "visitor" in that bar. I promise I wouldn't get stupid drunk, loud, rude and grope anyone.
The paragraph on 'tourists' and 'visitors' should be reprinted on every american passport.
Um, I'm with Jon on this. I don't think heterosexuals who get married are being bigots by doing so, just because gays can't.

Look, well into the 1960s blacks were de facto kept from voting in much of the South. Was it therefore bigoted for whites to vote?
what a terrific piece...and one which should be in wider circulation...i have seen several great glbt night spots become 'zoo attractions' in my travels, and i hate hate hate it...your distinction between 'visitors' and 'tourists' is something i've tried to communicate to my straight (or as i like to call them, monosexual) friends--i need to print this and simply give them a copy...rated
Leeandra... I think that would depend on how they voted, and what they did in between voting. I'm partial to my bus analogy. Saying "transportation for all!" from inside the bus is at best a very sticky business. In my mind, it has more credibility when chanted from the sidewalks.
Wow. You're so right, and you write so incredibly well. I'm in awe.
That was fantastic, Bryan. One of the most deserved OS covers ever. But... there's something that troubles me about the premise underlying your post: you seem to be asserting—without ever quite arguing it explicitly—that straights shouldn't marry until gays can.

"No one can claim to support transportation equality and then ride while others walk." I don't buy that. Let's say 5% of the adult population gets married every year and 50% of them support gay marriage. Of those, 20% are committed activists and decide to "walk" by not marrying. So 0.5% of the population doesn't get married.

Who notices? The people in their lives that they've probably already made clear their convictions to. Those people who've heard every argument for gay marriage the marriage deferrers can make ten times over. All those people who don't want gays to marry, they probably don't notice. The net effect is people who want marriage for everybody are a little less happy and gay men and women are no closer to marriage.

Straights not marrying is just another way for them to stay at home, and staying at home has a very poor record of changing the world.
All right, Specular, I'll fess up, but only because you've read so thoughtfully that I'd be churlish not to.

"you seem to be asserting—without ever quite arguing it explicitly—that straights shouldn't marry until gays can"

I'm more interested in everyone else's ideas about that than I am my own, and have a mildly ulterior motive in posing that and other questions without trying to have the last word.

My personal belief is that the state should get out of the relationship business entirely, and that legally institutionalized marriage is morally insupportable. Gay marriage is not about equal rights, it's about privileging couples. This strikes me as a step backwards. Rights shouldn't be based on living arrangements or the structure of personal relationships any more than they should be based on sexual orientation or any other majority/minority status.

I believe LGBTQ people have settled for a politically feasible goal rather than an ethically desirable one, and that the furor consists largely of fighting for a right to board the Titanic. I've been trying for months to write a piece framing this in terms of facts, reasoned arguments, and supportable conclusions, but am having a rough time of it.

So please nobody bonk me over the head because you don't like the soup. It's on the back burner and not on the dining room table for a reason. ;)
Oh yeah. Oh, hell yeah.
I'm very sympathetic to your perspective, Bryan. I would prefer the government would get rid of marriage and define something like civil unions where people can name their partner for a small registration fee and change their partner once a year if they want. A lot of corporations have moved in that direction: the benefits (healthcare, etc.) can be applied to whomever you please, from your husband or wife to your sibling to some guy you met on a bender.

I encourage you to write that piece. I think there are some compelling reasons why fighting for marriage isn't just a politically feasible goal. And some reasons why my idea is probably more problematic than it sounds at first glance (aka, children). But it's a good conversation to have, even if it's academic.
I had no time to comment when I first read this. After reading it again, I have nothing to say but "thank you." Rated to the skies and back again.
okay, here's the deal NO ONE CARES ABOUT A 'GAY BAR' IN THE EHR 21ST. CENTURY.

Please, figure it out. I live in one of the "gayest" areas of Michigan with a so-called "gay bar." It's on "hard times." This isn't the 1970's. Straight people really do go to gay bars. It's no longer a "vice" or a "sin." No one cares. A bar is a bar is a bar. And "gay bars" are totally non-esistant. Done. Finished. Kaput. We should be HAPPY!
I have been to gay bars (with my husband as the guest of a gay friend) and lesbian bars (alone, when I was single and unsure what I wanted), but I cannot imagine having a bachelorette party at a gay bar. That just seems...disrespectful.
I loved this book. It was long enough for a book, okay, short story, but great!

You forgot one piece. Us straight guys go there to get pussy. It works like this. You hang out and chat with people, yes, a few gay guys will hit on you, but sooner or later that drunk chick that grabbed your crotch, will grab mine. From there you let her "convert" you. In the morning, you just claim to be bi.

BTW, if you are bi, this is a can't lose evening.
Bryan, they changed mine too, and I hated it the way it missed the point of my post..but your headline change was even worse....way worse.

I wonder what post they read.

You are more gracious about it than I.
If I, as a white guy, exercise any right denied to blacks, I'm complicitly racist whether or not any blacks are present. Similarly, blithe Blythe is a homophobe, regardless of where she holds her prenuptial bacchanal.

This is bullshit. Are you a complicit in being oppressive because you exercise your freedom of speech but people in China would be arrested for doing that? More pointedly, are you a homophobe because you are openly gay but people in Saudi Arabia are executed for doing that? Or if your argument only applies within a jurisdiction, are you complicit in violating others' rights if you get good health care but others cannot afford this?

Although I am married heterosexual man, I am not taking issue with your statement in order to defend myself, because I live in and was married in a place where same-sex marriage is legal and is not a special/separate status - all marriages are legally equal regardless of the spouses. When I got engaged same-sex marriage was not legal here, but it became available just a few weeks before I actually got married because of a Court of Appeal ruling. Was I a bigot because I got engaged at a time when some of my fellow citizens could not get married? Did I cease to be a bigot on June 10th, 2003 when that changed?
Perseph... You're generous as always, but we both know, there's no such things as bad publicity. And hell, the moment I start imagining I shit pearls, constipation is sure to follow.
psychomam... Thanks, but aaaw... I wanna be mad. Or rather, maaaaaad! Friend away.
Happy Birthday! Great essay - I wonder if there is bridezilla party repellent...rated.
DonOntario...

This is bullshit.

Maybe, but you haven't proved it. If we're arguing about the semantics of "bigot," suggest another word. I'm not entirely happy with it myself, but "complicit in discrimination against a minority" struck me as unwieldy, and I wanted to create a strong contrast with Trice's "insensitivity."

Are you a complicit in being oppressive because you exercise your freedom of speech but people in China would be arrested for doing that?

No. I can use my right to express myself to attempt to extend it to the Chinese. Refraining from doing so will demonstrably harm, not benefit them. I will, however, become a hypocrite if I use my free speech to encourage the Chinese government to deny that of its citizens, and hypocrisy is near the core of all bigotry.

More pointedly, are you a homophobe because you are openly gay but people in Saudi Arabia are executed for doing that?

No. I'm setting an example that renders much of their government's rationale for oppression insupportable. I will however be complacent if I forget about Saudi fags, complicit if I do and say nothing while they suffer, and how many complicit bastards can dance on the head of the bigot's pin is a question I'll have to leave to subtler minds than mine.

Or if your argument only applies within a jurisdiction, are you complicit in violating others' rights if you get good health care but others cannot afford this?

It's not irrelevant that I don't share a Constitution with, say, the Chinese, but to simply answer your question, America has no right to health care that I'm aware of. I may object to our dog-eat-dog system, but so long as our healthcare system is based on might (i.e., wealth) equals right, I can't do so on the basis of "rights." Currently in America, no one has a right to health care, only the means to acquire it, or the lack thereof. If we were French, my answer would be yes.

Was I a bigot because I got engaged at a time when some of my fellow citizens could not get married?

Engagement isn't a legal institution and so isn't relevant here, but if we substitute "married," the answer is yes. If you married at a time when some of your some of your fellow citizens were not allowed to do so, you supported an unjust institution through your complicit participation in it.

Did I cease to be a bigot on June 10th, 2003 when that changed?

Hmmm... If I commit a hit-and-run today, will I cease being wrong if it's legalized tomorrow? Cute, but it's a category error. Bigotry is a broad ethical construct, not a clearly defined legal one. I'd say you remain culpable for your earlier complicity regardless of how the situation has changed, but suggest you not lose much sleep over it. After all, we all have to find a way to live, and at some point we have to shrug and agree that nothing that eats can every be truly innocent. The issue is where to position that point, and to remain aware that using feasibility as a justification can lead to expediency of the worst sort.

As for me, I give you points for caring enough to call "bullshit," whether or not I agree with you.
Sigh, sorry, I was one of the women who puked right outside your bar 8 years ago. The only problem with straight wingwomen is that they always expect you to go to their bars- especially if you are bi, since hey, you can go both ways, can't you?! After much whining on my part, my more ambitious single friend found this great gay club for us to go to- yup, you guessed it- it was a guy bar. When her current fling came in with a man for me in tow (and a smile on his face since they had rented a room downtown in a hotel so we wouldn't have to all drive back home, wink, cheesy wink) I gave up and started drinking- alot. All I can say is sorry- it only happened once- and it was worth it to not have to sleep with him.
I am going to name one of my burgeoning tomato plants after you, Bryan...

I haven't gone and visited one of our brother's bars for years, and this is EXACTLY why...I am not a circus animal with a martini.
i myself just turned 50 a few months ago..i woke up early and had some fried dough and strawberry jam..and i only did that to create a memory in case i was asked...'so what did you do on your 50th birthday?" - now i have an honest answer in my pocket -
nothing else that happened on that day left an impression

and i loved this peek into a world that up till now confused the hell out of me...the gay nightclub scene...though on the surface at least, in one respect, it appears to be like most anyplace else with a significant gathering of inebriated people - a nice scattering of assholes and ignoramus's - i'm referring to those who jodi labeled so wonderfully as Tourons

christ, you write so well...i have to keep telling myself...he sits there and polishes this stuff over and over..that each piece is months or years in the making

else it's just not fair

not fair at all

well, i guess i'll have to rate it :p
Bryan,
Sorry but your counter to Ontario's counter is missing the mark--either by intention or accident. If you can't acknowledge his logic, then it's no longer argument you are engaged in.
Great read - thank you - When our actions are driven by what we fear we are not at our best? Our fearful actions make deep and cruel cut as you have described.
Our worst actions are when we act as if we know or think we know or understand but don't have clue what another thinks, feels, tastes, touches, fears.

Please keep up the your writing!
Great read - thank you - When our actions are driven by what we fear we are not at our best? Our fearful actions make deep and cruel cut as you have described.
Our worst actions are when we act as if we know or think we know or understand but don't have clue what another thinks, feels, tastes, touches, fears.

Please keep up the your writing!
OMG! I laughed really hard!!
Those girls annoy me a lot too.
Me & my boyfriend have been doing summer share since 2000.
8 gay guys are in the same house.
We have rules of course,
One of them is NO female guest, because those girls intend to be very messy when they are with gay men.
They drink a lot. They do inappropriate things. They usually puke at the end of the night or weekend.
Not that we don't like females, just because we are sick of cleaning their vomits.
Thank you for writing this article. I really enjoyed it
As a woman who frequents gay clubs at the insistence of a few friends, all late-20s gay men, I'd simply like to say that it usually takes about four drinks for me to feel comfortable at these places, simply because in the back of my mind, I know that some of the men are inevitably saying things to each other such as, “The one wearing the crotchless panties outside her jeans is getting married. The one with the scary bleach job is her maid of honor. There are three separate herds of them here tonight, and by Sunday every one of them is gonna be ten pounds of shit in a five pound dress.”

Of course, no one deserves to be groped by a stranger or told that their sexuality makes them "a fucking waste," but please remember that men, women, straight, gay, old, and young people can all be jerks.
what a great thought-provoking post. thank you for writing this. i hope you don't mind if i send the link around...?

rated rated rated
Once again, you made me laugh repeatedly, and yet, I realize this is a serious topic. Obnoxious people invading your space are incredibly annoying. I'd want that drunken bridal herd out of MY face, too.

I definitely support the right of gay couples to marry. I can think of no logical reason to forbid two adults who truly love and are committed to one another to make that commitment publically to be recognized as a couple and as a legal unit. And I therefore cast my No vote on Prop 8 in California last November. (Producing election results that were both Hooray and Oh Shit, simultaneously.)

However....I think insisting that straight couples can't marry until gays can is impractical, and unenforceable, and could possibly lead to greater hostility from those who are already opposed to gay marriage. I approach the issue more as "let gay couples get married, too" rather than "If we can't have it, then we want it taken away from you, also!" It just seems a more constructive, and inclusive approach in my view, and likelier to gain support among straight voters. If individual straight couples decide they won't get married until gays can too, I salute them and support their right to make that decision. I don't think they're going to get very far by trying to impose their decision on other people, though.

Last weekend, I a wedding of two straight friends of mine. As much as I sympathize with gay couples who want to get married, and hope to get that Bastard Prop 8 overturned, I was happy to see two people who were deeply in love make their vows, cut their wedding cake and dance their first dance, together. I know Kate and Rich had been looking forward to and planning their wedding for over a year, and I would have protested vigorously on their behalf if anyone had tried to tell them they could not get married after all.
Bryan,

Not much to add to the comments above but I felt compelled to at least post something to let you know how absolutely great I thought your post was.

Totally in agreement that the type of gal who would regularly hangout at a gay bar (and I'm not limiting that to the achetypical "hag" -- a large percentage of my girlfriends hang with me and the boys, but they are not "hags") is NOT the type who would have a bachelorette party in one ... those gals truly are their own "insular packs."

They remind me of this 24 yo rancid bitch I met in Vegas one weekend night about 5 years ago ... she was hanging with a lesbian couple who was staying with two friends of mine, she ended up coming up to their room around 4am, unaware of their orientation but aware of the fact that all three of us boys were gay, and she proceded to ask me with a straight face (after telling me about how she smuggles coke onto airplaces using strategically placed balloons -- you know what I mean) , "Isn't the greatest thing to turn someone?"

At first I thought she meant "turn someone on," then I thought maybe she meant sleep with a virgin ... NOPE. And as it dawned on me what she meant, that she could say that while in a room with 5 gay people, that she said it with a certain amount of disdain -- I lost my shit. It wouldn't surprise me if she hosted her bachelorette party in a gay bar, behaving exactly as the "harpie" (since the "c- word" is probably inappropriate for this forum, even if more accurate) you described above, perhaps feeding her alley-bound fiancee meth from her array of strategically placed body balloons.

CL78

PS: I saw another commentor object to the following line above, but I think it's particularly accurate and cutting: "Hetero conservatives are free to deal with this by assorted circular variations on, 'Because the Bible tells me so,' which in terms of Constitutional principles is indistinguishable from the more honest 'Fuck you, faggot!'” RIGHT ON! (And write on as well.)
Your argument for the purity of abstaining from marriage until all have equal right to enter that institution is a little silly considering the movement for gay marriage is relatively new. It is also calling for something different than a bus boycott. My parents who have been married for nearly 40 years are supportive of gay marriage but it would not have occurred to them even a decade ago. As soon as it was brought forward they were all for it. Does that make them ex post facto bigots for being married? Should they have divorced at the turn of the century when this became a focus of activism and work to change legislation? Or is only after activist started looking toward legalizing gay marriage that it became wrong to get married?
I think that is all beside the point ultimately since you’ve admitted you’re making your argument rather disingenuously and are against the state presiding over/institutionalizing any relationship. I think that is an interesting point but on the other hand the state does have an interest in overseeing contracts and that is ultimately (from a legal standpoint) what a marriage is.
I’m support marriage equality and not for any separate but equal laws. I think all consenting adults should be able to enter into an arrangement that is understood as family and be recognized socially, culturally and legally. I would even say that includes arrangements of more than two people but there are certainly even greater social (as well as practical) barriers to that. I’d certainly get behind the idea of civil unions for all – or marriage for all however that works.
On a personal note- in my life it was the gay marriage movement itself that made me rethink the institution of marriage – and how we can change such institutions to serve us rather than the other way around. It made me think about how we can shape our institutions going forward to be about equality and change the nature of the institution itself. A little over a year ago I married my long term partner. I did struggle with the fact that some of my good friends and family didn’t have the same right. But I thought being married and supporting their rights – and showing that is no threat to my marriage is important also. I fought here against Prop 8 and contributed to that effort as much as I could. I hope one day soon I’ll have the option of standing at my friends and sister’s wedding and that their marriage will be recognized as valid and legal like mine. And I’ll continue to fight for their rights until they have them.
SING OUT LOUISE!

And the next time a pack of these puchy broads shows up at your favorite gay bar, put this video on
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELaLrS-KDJo
"When everyone is not entitled to marry, the rose petals bride and groom tread upon are in fact the faces of those who have no such right."

Being able to see things through someone else's eyes is a blessing - unfortunately is scares too many to even try. Thank you for that. It's seldom that I read something that causes me to rethink the way I think. (I also appreciate the buildup to that point. At least one gay man I know has expressed his disgust at being pawed by women who felt entitled to do so, simply for lack of fear of reprisal, so I was really enjoying the beginning. To read so far and to only then think that I, too, don't get it hit that much harder.)

When I asked my old friend and former roommate to be the best man at my wedding, his preference for other men was not an issue for me. Perhaps selfishly it never occurred to me that it could possibly be an issue for him.

Perhaps it's a rationalization, but he had attended and even presided over one of our many friends' weddings, even if out of deference and kindness to us, and myself having attended a gay wedding - in New Jersey, while the Twin Towers were still standing - it never occurred to me that there might even be an issue.

The friend in question has many times caused me to consider other viewpoints, and you've done the same.
"My personal belief is that the state should get out of the relationship business entirely,"

hear, hear. Isn't it a bit hypocritical that two (or even more!) same-sexed persons can enter into a legally binding contract with each other - a corporation - can comingle their funds, pass on ownership to the other(s) in the even of their death, and even fight in a court over who owns what in the event of its dissolution, but are disallowed from doing so if the resulting entity is comprised of nothing other than a living arrangement?

We'd all be a lot better off if marriage were recognized as being what it is - a contract signing ceremony. Unmarried straight couples eventually, after several years, get all the same rights as married ones. Are there Common Law Civil Unions? Can't we just say to everyone - gay, straight, married or not - you've been together 10 years, now you're entitled to half his shit if he leaves you?

I think the a key difference is that corporations (like people who've been married before) plan for their eventual dissolution up front.
seriously, I keep reading and I keep being impressed - to echo Angus, are you so naturally eloquent, or do you mull over every word for hours? I go back and edit my comments as I write them, always thinking I could have said something better (I wrote this sentence 3 times). I'm envious of someone who can let the best words fall right out.

you have a new fan.
Fudo- what you cited is an almost universal misconception about common law marriage. I was with my partner a long time before we married and everyone siad we were or would be common law married after a certain time- not true. Also all of the same prohibitions of a legally recognized marriage apply so if you are in a state that does not recognize gay marriage they won't recognize a common law gay marriage either. Finally common law marriage is only recognized in a hanful of states.
Here are the basics:

-[the couple must] live together for a significant period of time (not defined in any state)
-hold themselves out as a married couple -- typically this means using the same last name, referring to the other as "my husband" or "my wife," and filing a joint tax return, and
-intend to be married.

Link:
http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/pg/3/objectId/709FAEE4-ABEA-4E17-BA34836388313A3C/catId/3C3AF4CE-DB9E-48C4-8DFCFE2E47C91747/118/304/145/FAQ/
Intersting article with the history on wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common-law_marriage
I owe you some thanks for not calling out my post as a Strawman. Some folks do that when I question the logic behind their premises rather than the premise itself. As I’ve read your logic, it looks something like this to me

X participates in an activity
Y cannot participate in the same activity

Ergo, X is discriminating against Y


Fully fleshed, your argument was

Heteros can be married
Gays/Lesbians cannot be married

Ergo, Heteros that marry directly discriminate against Gays/Lesbians.

My counter was according to your logic structure

Hearing people can watch/listen to movies, radio, and streaming media
Deaf people cannot watch/listen to movies, radio, and streaming media

Ergo, Hearing people that watch/listen to movies, radio, and streaming media directly discriminate against the Deaf


Deafness and marriage are both social constructs, and deafness and marriage are legal concepts. Where the two differ is that marriage awards those who participate it with certain legal rights and benefits. Therein is the special crux of marriage and why “Fuck you, FAGGOT” is one of the greatest moral and legal offenses of our American times. Some friends of mine, a gay couple, just adopted triplets. Lets set aside their stupidity for a minute (Seriously, triplets? One is bad enough. Two is hell. Three?) and focus on the legal ramifications. If they break up, who gets the kids? Who maintains custody? How are visitation rights conferred? And we don’t even have to venture into the medical law horrors.

If your writing focused only on marriage, then my comparison falls sort. Movies, radio, and streaming media don’t confer any legal rights on the Deaf. Enjoying them is a privilege. But, you also wrote

If I, as a white guy, exercise any right denied to blacks, I'm complicity racist whether or not any blacks are present.

So my logic can safely apply. That means everyone here who posts streaming video without subtitles or transcripts are actively oppressing me. I really don’t want to think of my favorite writers in that vein because then I have to consider that they’re actively fucking me over.

It’s psychologically healthy for me to distinguish active audism from passive audism. You’re not intentionally audistic when you go to youtube and enjoy inaccessible media, and it’s quite selfish of me to call you out as one for enjoying something that I cannot. I wouldn’t appreciate it if someone in a wheelchair called me out for going out for a jog every once in awhile (LAH, my knees hurt when I run). If you must feel complicity audistic, then there is redemption in fighting for access when able. Fighting for access in movie theaters is a waste of time. It won’t happen in this generation. But, writing places like Mama Salon and asking that they provide subtitles or transcripts to their streaming media can alleviate some of your audistic guilt.


Oh I wrote some bits about deafness as a social construct. For you, and whomever might be interested.
Straights think their shit doesn't stink.

It stinks to high heaven!
The next time a pack of cunts descend on your favorite bar, punch them the fuck out!

And I say that with love.
Celia, thank you (really) for clearing that up. It was my point that straight couples only enjoy such protection.

Jon, I would have to disagree with deafness as a social construct. It is our attitudes towards any physical or mental impairment that are socially constructed.

I do think we define people with how they're different from us (the fat, bald black guy with the lime green pants). But that definition defines us, as well. To call you deaf defines me as being able to hear.

I would posit that the bachelorettes in question don't actually know any gay men. They don't believe they're doing any wrong because (and I'm not defending them) they've never considered anyone else's point of view. They also likely can't conceive of how someone's home could go into foreclosure, as they probably don't know anyone who's had to choose between medicine or food.

I'm going to make every effort to make sure my next home is wheelchair accessible, but that's because my father uses one. Should I feel antipathy to my friends in 5th-floor walkups? (Not required to have an elevator in NYC)

I started doing web design when tables and frames were new and "non-standard." (and stopped very soon thereafter - no questions, please) It was an unwritten rule that you put "alt" tags in all your image links and include text links for every image map. That was because everyone at least knew someone with slow bandwidth who was using a text-only browser. There were many people who weren't looking at the images, and you were expected to accommodate them. (Optimizing the site for text-reading software for the visually impaired was also fairly new.)

That's why it unnerves me to no end when I try to do something on the internet and get told, "oh, you're on a Mac, sorry." This I call willful discrimination - that internet standards dictate accessibility by everyone (that was the point of the web) and some coders just don't consider that not everyone is using Vista. (and I don't mean to equate using a Mac to any sort of impairment, not to demean one nor aggrandize the other, nor expect any sympathy)

I guess my point is that these are constructs, willful, conscious, or not. Some people see better than me, many people run better than me, a great many people are smarter than me. A person's physical ability - and sexual orientation, for that matter - is a matter of circumstance.
David... I'll take that as a complete non sequitur.
Fudo, breeders never consider anyone else's point of view.
Jon...

It's quite possible I'm not following you adroitly enough, but I was writing strictly about marriage as a legal institution since in this context, I think "rights" is synonymous with "legal rights." So I think my bus analogy applies, as does your distinction between rights and privilege.

There's certainly a crucial point I neglected, which is whether or not refusal to participate in a discriminatory institution is always an effective protest against discrimination. I got into that in response to DonOntario, above.

I love how you're willing to get into this stuff and how well you articulate your points. I certainly appreciate the challenge, and my "damn, that doesn't quite make the sense I meant to make" reactions can only improve future product. But when the individual comments begin to approach the length of the post, I'm not sure how I can keep up other than to offer to buy unlimited cups of Seattle's finest for anybody who cares to show up. Which I'd certainly do.
David E... I've not been on OS long, but so far I'm impressed with the proportion of posters who take the time and energy to write coherently, respectfully, and even logically about their passions. In a culture where the ad hominem attack is regarded as an accepted form of discourse rather than the lazy fallacy that it is, this venue strikes me as particularly precious. I try to curb my admittedly sharp tongue, express my anger constructively, and treat others as I hope to be treated.

Of course you're free to tell me to fuck off, but I ask you to do the same. In this context, language like "breeders" can only be damaging when used to make indefensible generalizations with no apparent humor, irony, or wit.
Don't push it Bryan.

Things could get REAL ugly. And I'm sure a sensitive soul such as yourself doesn't want that.
An Addendum

Thanks again, everyone. For me, this has turned into an enjoyably rowdy exercise in the pleasures and pitfalls of self expression. Also in the consequences of editing one's self at 4:00 am.

If I had it to do over again, I think I'd write a somewhat different piece. Certainly everyone's applause and boos have been instructive and I've read them with some satisfying head scratching. "Did I say that? Did I mean to say that?" I'm impressed with the quality and graciousness of almost all the criticism I've received.

In the first section, I do wish I'd made my personal feelings a bit clearer. I'm far more interested in techniques for supporting "the more the merrier" than I am "it's my party and I'll snub who I want to." In particular, I wish I'd expressed more support for anyone experimenting with being sexually expressive and looking for a safe environment in which to do it. I really would rather someone puked on the dance floor than stay home thinking, "I wish I could dance like that guy/girl on TV." Life is short, and it's not that hard to wield a mop.
What is it with this nonse4sne about the state "getting out of the marriage business." Marriage is entirely a function of the state, as I explain here:

http://www.ehrensteinland.com/htmls/library/marriage.shtml

The church may perform marriages. But then so can a justice of the peace, judge or (if you happen to be in Vegas) duly accredited Elvis impersonator. Religion, being the lying scam-fest that it is has always acted as if it were the inventor and soul owner of marriage. This has never been the case. Marriage was invented to annex properties and nations-state. Religions are allowed to perform them in certain circumstances. And nothing more.

Here's a scene from Patrice Chereau's "Queen Margot" that shows the true purpose of marriage in what might be called it's "Calssical State."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MYnqDIzHGI
David, by your comment, "breeders never consider anyone else's point of view," did you mean that to include a particular woman I work with who, along with her wife, are looking to have kids (in other words, breed)? I've always thought her quite considerate.

While I was first exposed to the term "breeder" hanging out at gay venues with friends, I've come across its use by many straight people who believe the mere act of procreation to be an affront against them, personally. ("These breeders get all these extra days off, just 'cus they chose to have kids - how come I don't get my own maternity leave vacation?") Rather than engender that debate, I'll just say that you can find assholes in any social group. I could go on at length about the heterophobic bigotry I encountered (much like yours) because the people I was with at the time didn't think I might be straight (what straight man has gay roommates and hangs out in gay bars?) Much like the white people I know who feel it's acceptable to tell the occasional nigger joke around me because of the color of my skin (mostly caucasian), bigotry and hate-filled discrimination, not to mention lack of consideration of others, are not the exclusive providence of any particular group.
Have you seen "Nick and Nora's Infiite Playlist," Fudo?

More than you might imagine.
David, no, I haven't seen that movie, but mostly because I'm older than 24.

I'm sure it was exquisitely written, and managed to explain that all heterosexuals disregard the point of view of others, and that is was purely a product of their sexuality, and did so without resorting to cliché or stereotypes. Because, as we all know, mass-market Hollywood movies turn the mirror inward and let us see things as they really are, without editorializing. Did it go into detail about why being attracted to the opposite sex makes someone so callous?

Of course, single, isolated [and fictional] examples can be painted across entire groups.

All white people are neo-nazi racists - I learned that from American History X. All black people are thugs and criminals, which is evident in American Gangster, and all Italians are in the mob (Sopranos). I learned from The Producers that all Jews are cheats and swindlers. And I saw La Cage when it was in the theater, so I didn't need the (mostly) straight cast of The Birdcage to tell me that all gay men are flamboyant, femme cross-dressers. Though, now that I think about it, that doesn't explain why most of the gay men I know are burly, bearded, flannel wearers - could the movie have been inaccurate, maybe? Perhaps narrow in scope, only showing one small segment of that population?

I do know this, though, I'm sure all of the assholes who cut me off on the highway (3 lanes over to the exit, thank you very much) are all straight. (but then I'm just playing the odds.)

In fact, I'm sure
I'm commenting to you,Bryan, now because....I hope this comment so long after the hullabaloo doesn't provoke any other comments.
Because if I could keep you selfishly all to myself, I would.
This post is so fantastic. Your writing is like a good chef's knife - sharpened and honed to do the job.

I'm a former hill brat who hung out at the Comet but also worked at the Deluxe and treated the Hill as my personal playground. So, while your post has many different excellent points to posit, I get all weepy remembering how Capitol Hill was back in the day.

God, I loved dancing at Neighbors. It was a much smaller world 10-15 years ago, I'm sure.
I don't know if you were there for the grunge years, but it was pretty egalitarian. I think, anyway. Well, it was for me. It seemed more seamless - everyone was a fucking freak. Identifying as an outsider was a common denominator.
Seattle was so amazing then - you KNEW the guy who ran around in a super hero costume. You waited tables with one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Everyone went to DJ Riz at the Re-bar. reading the Stranger on Tuesday afternoon - hot off the press - was a frigging social event.

So, I guess I'm hogging on your blog to reminisce about a time when I was truly happy and comfortable in my skin.
And, at the same time, everybody died. How many men that I loved? Three close friends succumbed to AIDS, five other friends as well. (The Deluxe was pretty fucking tragic at that time. Really skinny waiters. Dying waiters. Luckily we all smoked a lot of pot - it was so important! To relieve the pain and to stimulate the appetite of these gorgeous, ravaged men. Who were living on two different types of cocktails, or just the regular kind.)

I remember running into a man I had worked with at Bill's off Broadway - the weird pizza place. It was obvious he was dying. We went to Neighbor's after getting drunk somewhere else - probably the old Ernie Steele's - and we danced. And I watched him looking at himself in a wall mirror, and i could see that he wanted to see himself as the younger, handsome, not dying blonde bombshell he had been.
He was also way gone into coke and crystal meth at that point, and I got high with him. He died a week later. I hope that I made him feel beautiful that night.

I don't know that my memories add anything to your blog - except, maybe, that there was a time when maybe you were in the zoo, and I wanted so badly to escape the tourists and join you, because I was horrified by their gaze.

Too many people died. I'm glad you survived, and I'm glad I survived.
Gotta say, I would probably get fiesty with the bachelorettes - probably just tell them I saw a cockroach in the bridesmaid hair hair and then call them a cab.
Punk.

Write more here! You have a lot of fans!