Friday, June 25, 2010

a night out

A friend was doing a small burlesque show out in Boystown last night, so some of us decided to go out and be Prideful. The show didn't start till 11, and all of us had to be up by 630 or 7, but that's the point of Pride--to prove, even at your advanced age, that you can still stay out too late in a bar and manage to get up in time for work.

My GF was horrified by the late start time, which just shows how overwhelmed she is these days by having to move out of her office, because nobody loves a bar more than GF. But I decided to go.

So my friend L shows up with a very young little twinky boy in tow--our friend M's latest crush. M has been chasing the young ones and washboarding his abs ever since his husband dumped him a couple of years ago. M is adorable, and seems to get a lot of boys, but this one is young even for him. He's seriously like just barely 21 at the most. Sweet and catty--reminds me of rural gay boys I've known, the way they have no role models so they decide being gay means being an over-the-top flamer hairdresser. He's not from much, and has moved back in with his parents in the South suburbs after doing a tour in a musical production. And yes, he does in fact prove to be a hairdresser, currently in beauty school on the North side.

So he's funny in a way that drains you, you know, because he's trying hard, and you feel as if you should participate and validate. But sweet and heartbreaking in that he says things like "Oh you guys are smart. I'm just a dumb hairdresser." And so I have to tell him that I actually considered going to beauty school after being denied tenure, which is true, but that I decided I couldn't be on my feet all day because they are so bad, which is also true. But I don't know if he believed me.

So we all get to Halsted, and of course parking is a nightmare. We find a tight spot on a side street by Roscoe's and L tries twice to get it in but can't. So I do it of course and the little boy cheers and says it was so good he came (!). I am rather proud of my parallel parking ability, as it is one of my True Talents.
But then, just as we all turn from the triumph of the parking space and begin to walk down the street towards the bar, L remembers she forgot--what? Guess. That's right--her ID. The one that is now a potato chip as a result of going through the washer and dryer in her pants pocket. That would be her driver's license, which apparently she just doesn't carry anymore because it doesn't fit in her wallet. Even though she's, I don't know, driving.

So we are prepared for the evening to end right away, and I'm thinking maybe it's not such a big tragedy to go home, since it's unwise for the old and ungainly to venture out into "Nightclubs," as the seedy bars in Boystown style themselves, but there is our friend Washboard Abs M at the door in front of the bar, talking to our friend C the burlesque dancer. M is cute and lithe and muscle-y, and C is all dolled up with glitter on her face and long thick lashes, and they are so gay and beautiful under the streetlamp, luring the farmboys, that I am awash with love. They both hustle us through the door without incident, in large part because we are so freaking old the doorboy doesn't even card us. Except he does card the sweet young rail-thin hairdresser. Bitches.

So we have a lovely table and a free bottle of champagne, which those piggy gay boys we're with swill down almost immediately, which is fine because it's sweet and warm and you can just tell it's a bad hangover lurking like an evil genie in that bottle. A couple of maddening friends of M are at the bar and they are also sweet and tiresome at the same time, but L and I are drinking vodka and resigning ourselves to a deadly day today (Friday)at work. M is all over this child bride of his, who is busy texting and swaying on his stool as M curves his body over him. Apparently M is now telling everyone the boy is "the love of his life." Right now this boy is just fading out, bored and drunk.

Oh M, you are such a cliche, though you know we envy the fact that you can still ride that rollercoaster. We watch, whisper, and smugly cluck, safe in our lives where nothing ever happens.

At one point the boy is closing his eyes and his head is dropping, and soon it's time to "take him to the potty room" to hold his hair back while he brings forth the bounty of the evening. Unlike my friend N, though, who can party till dawn with the help of strategic oral purging throughout the evening if necessary, this child has no concept of pacing, and has missed his window of opportunistic regurgitation. Sadly, M now has to make good on that daddy/husband thing he's got going, and this means he has to drive the boy home, way South, long before C's burlesque number, and not even half way through the show.

The crowd in the bar is small but good-natured, even when the boring comedians come on. The dancing boys on stage pop their balloons to reveal chiselled physiques, and the girls bounce and jiggle and twirl to polite appreciation (this is--need I point out--a nearly all-male crowd). Our friend C is the last act, and she nearly falls off the front of the stage at one point, but pulls it back together and sails on. She has dark eyes and a hooded look which can smolder if she doesn't rush through the routine, but I think the wobble has thrown her off a bit. She spins her pasties with vigorous if distracted athleticism. It seems as if she's only on stage for, like, 90 seconds. At this point it's 1:30 in the morning and really time to go.

Out in the night the mohawked, eyelined, high-booted, transgendered people drift down the sidewalks. A hippy throwback dances in the light spilling out of a bar. The moon swells overhead, almost sated. L and I stop for onion rings and fries at Burger King, telling ourselves at least we aren't eating White Castle (though this morning my crispy stomach is failing to distinguish a difference).

I walk in my house, and GF and her mom are sound asleep, but Maude is wailing. I go in and pick her up, and immediately she stops crying and starts conversing with me about how dark out it is, and how dark, too, "in here." I change her diaper and offer her water, but she says no, she wants milk, so we walk up the hall to the kitchen, past the lava lamp, which is still on as a kind of night light for me. She says, "It's pink!" and we agree it is very pretty. She actually chuckles as I make her a bottle, a low happy laugh. I put her to bed and brush the hair from her dark eyes, leaving her to her contentment.

And that is my night. It is 2:15. L texts to say we had parked in a permit zone, and she has a $60 ticket on her car she hadn't noticed until now. I text that I'll split it with her. Just the cost of an evening out on a night in June, Vega conspicuous overhead, under the rising moon. Happy Pride everyone! Here's to all those who glitter till dawn, heedless.


deb said...

Always a happy thing to find a Sfragett post on my reader.

This year San Francisco's Pride theme is "Forty and Fabulous" (40 yr anniversary of the SF parade...) - and we are all feeling a bit frayed around the edges in our glorious forties!

What Now? said...

You are such a damn good writer, Sfrajett!

I gamely attempted to go to a late-night show about a month ago and realized that I'm just too old and cranky (or at least cranky when I'm tired) to make it worthwhile.

Julie said...

This is so beautiful. Thank you.