Am I finally starting to see the gay bar for what it really is?

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    Apr 16, 2008 2:49 PM GMT
    Ever go to the gay bar, pick up on all that goes on around you, and then head home with a general feeling that your soul had just been crushed a little bit?

    Maybe I have been heading out and about more lately and am merely losing my perspective.

    Thoughts?
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    Apr 16, 2008 3:09 PM GMT
    I still say the bars are just like the internet - it's what you make of it.

    Or the old saying, You get from something what you put in to it.

    I generally don't go to bars often - gay-specific or regular ones - but when I do, I usually have a good time. As I almost always go with a group of friends and we enjoy our time together. Such as this past Saturday, when we spent too much money playing late 80s, early 90s faves on the video jukebox system. On the rare occasion I step out alone, even then I can usually find someone to talk to - be they someone I know, someone I'm vaguely acquainted with, or someone new.

    Meanwhile, if/when I encounter someone cool to talk to, maybe meet them again somewhere else, that's good. If I encounter some rude fop who deserves a dirty look, that's part of the soup. If all I hear and see are the natterings of flocks of sad protoqueers, perhaps I need to try a different night or a different bar. icon_wink.gif
  • jarhead5536

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    Apr 16, 2008 3:10 PM GMT
    Interesting can of worms you are opening here. Having lived outside a major metro area for several years now, there is no such things as a gar bar, gay restaurant, bookstore, neighborhood, etc. in Great Falls, Montana. There are simply places that are open-minded and there are places that are not. IMHO, the concept of "gay community" is an artificial one. We are an artificial community, existing purely because of the fact that no one else wants us (or wanted us in the past when all this homo infrastructure was born). Sort of like a prison "community". In 50 years time, I predict that there will be no such thing as a gay community anymore, as we will have been fully integrated into the broader society, and the raison d'etre for the "ghetto" won't exist anymore.

    One sees all sorts of bad, self-destructive behavior in a gay bar. A sort of heirarchy of oppression is abundantly clear to anyone who is even casually observing. The binge drinking, the cattiness, the sad craving for attention, the judgement, all of it - symptoms of people trying to make themselves feel superior because they have been made to feel inferior in the larger society in some way.

    In my neck of the woods, when my husband and I want to go out and have a cocktail, we go to a place here in town that is "gay-friendly" only in the loosest possible sense. And I love it. On our last extended trip out of town (to Seattle), we went to some of Bret's old haunts from back in the day when he lived there, and it was MISERABLE. I said to him, there are some seriously unhealthy people here, and he said, welcome to the Emerald City. I couldn't wait to get back to Montana...
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    Apr 16, 2008 3:13 PM GMT
    jarhead5536 said

    One sees all sorts of bad, self-destructive behavior in a gay bar. A sort of heirarchy of oppression is abundantly clear to anyone who is even casually observing. The binge drinking, the cattiness, the sad craving for attention, the judgement, all of it - symptoms of people trying to make themselves feel superior because they have been made to feel inferior in the larger society in some way.


    Forgive me, I am not trying to be the antagonist here..
    But what you have described is almost any popular bar in the world...
    Str8 or Gay.



    (It is why I hate "stand and pose" bars gay or str8.. they are equally desperate and tragic).

    carry on.
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    Apr 16, 2008 3:19 PM GMT

    jarhead5536In 50 years time, I predict that there will be no such thing as a gay community anymore, as we will have been fully integrated into the broader society, and the raison d'etre for the "ghetto" won't exist anymore.


    I feel very similar to this, although I don't think it's an artificial community so much as a declining one. I've watched it happen over the past few years as more and more of the young college gays here are much more integrated into the social scenes of their hetero peers.

    mnjock2003But what you have described is almost any popular bar in the world...
    Str8 or Gay.


    I also feel strongly about this. Bars are bars. They tend to steadily draw certain types of people/behavior with little bits of all the other peoples/behaviors peeking in on occasion.
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    Apr 16, 2008 3:19 PM GMT
    Jarhead...God. stop crying about the gay community. I hardly beleive that we exist just because no one wants us. Jesus. If thats your community, you can have it. I will be part of the one that people want to be a part of.

    Rugger, the bars here need some more life. You know there was a tie (when Clinton was in office) where being gay was more of a community affair (not politicial comunity) and there was a fun friendly, slutty frivolity in the air. Plus the music is lame and there is no spirit in the service.


    I have had a dream to open a club/bar sometime. It would be about the people that go there and the music. Not just some commercialized pre-packaged crap that includes drag shows, kareoke, and soft core porn playing on the TVs. (well there would be no TVs)
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    Apr 16, 2008 3:33 PM GMT
    I think maybe all the healthy ones have moved on to straight/mixed venues. Sometimes I forget this though. Sometimes I am lazy and don't want to make the effort of navigating a mixed crowd. Sometimes I go in to hang with a group of friends I know will be joining me, but after a few drinks turn it into a BF hunt (with the associated disappointment such a crowd brings).

    Obviously this is one of those threads created to allow me to think out loud. ;-)

  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Apr 16, 2008 3:38 PM GMT
    DJBens,

    If you read what I said, the infrastructure of the modern gay community was created during a time when we were excluded elsewhere (like blacks used to be. Black restaurants, clubs, hotels, etc, ya know). It's not always that way anymore, and the time is coming when the necessity for self-segregation will dissapear. Having said that, I put myself through college as a bartender in the hottest gay bar in Houston back in the day, and I saw all of the behavior previously described nightly for four years. I stand by my comments...
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    Apr 16, 2008 3:54 PM GMT
    Dammit, Rugger, I still haven't met you out yet. Why can't I be the one to crush your soul?

    I promise to keep you drunk, shove you toward impossible BF potentials, sing loudly along with the OCH/Rain mix, beat you at pool and darts, and then pork you out at Doggie Style (the Oxford, I believe, is the best way to fatten you up after hours).
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    Apr 16, 2008 4:00 PM GMT
    The gay clubs/bars in Austin do suck! I'm originally from Houston, and it's funny to even hear my own sisters say how they love to go to the gay bars in Houston but never in Austin. Although I usually can have a great time anywhere as long as I'm with my close friends. I think it's the huge crowd of college students that makes the gay night life less enticing.
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    Apr 16, 2008 4:07 PM GMT
    Beating Rugger at pool.... ha you may want to challenge yourself a bit more. Sorry Rugg, you know I am no better. icon_biggrin.gif

    I guess, I am a bit more picky and really look to the bars to step it up. The clientelle will follow. I have tended bar in Austin and New York, and lived in miami, SF, NC, Houston, ATX. I think there is a entaility that comes with a bigger club scene.

    Debouchery will follow no matter where you are. Bars are designed to go out and get fucked up and hook up. Otherwise they'd be called libraries.

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    Apr 16, 2008 4:18 PM GMT
    I've watched it happen over the past few years as more and more of the young college gays here are much more integrated into the social scenes of their hetero peers.[QUOTE GOES HERE


    That's the case where I am now. I've dated so many guys who wont even go to the gay scene. They don't feel they want it or need it.

    I use to be that way. But after going to the gay village in Toronto a few times it was nice to meet other guys like me and be hit on and flirt with. It was the samethings that my hetero counterparts were doing in "there" bars but I never got a chance to do.

    I think there should be an equal balance of both when your gay, because the gay scene gets old and once your seen as a regular its not as exciting. These guys who never give it a chance I feel bad for. They never had the chance to date guys in high school and now the only venue they have to gay men is internet dating. I think bars are an important part of develpoment in modern society and culture. Even if picking up in bars is trashy. It's something you learn from. These "straight" gays have unrealistic veiws of gay relationships and from what i've seen almost always in the closet and internally homophobic narrow minded tools.
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Apr 16, 2008 4:25 PM GMT
    I try not to let gay bars have that sort of power over me, but sure it's happened. Sometimes it's hard not feeling invisible, part of the wallpaper. If I'm in the right mindset, I can enjoy them. But I can't have an agenda -- if I have expectations of meeting someone, then I'm likely to be disappointed. If I go there simply to have fun, the pressure is off. Especially if I'm going with friends. But, most of my friends are partnered now, so as a result I don't go out very much any more. I'd love to find some activity to meet guys that allows for me to really interact and talk. It's really hard having conversations in bars/clubs, at least the one in L.A. that I've gone to.
  • Squarejaw

    Posts: 1035

    Apr 16, 2008 4:33 PM GMT
    The Smiths:

    “There’s a club if you want to go
    You could meet somebody who really loves you
    So you go and you stand on your own
    And you leave on your own
    And you go home and you cry and you want to die”


    Plus, you get to pay a cover!
  • TexanMan82

    Posts: 893

    Apr 16, 2008 4:36 PM GMT
    Eh Rugger, the gay bars in Austin (I'll only speak of Austin since that's where I live) are what they are.

    I have fun, but I have NO expectations. Maybe you're expecting something that Rain just isn't there to provide.
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    Apr 16, 2008 4:41 PM GMT
    Even most times when I'm not actively looking to meet anyone, I just see this sea of potentially wonderful people who are so wounded that they resort to all kinds of sketchy and self-destructive behavior.

    I've always seen the potential in people, even when they don't see it themselves. Maybe I should stop being so engaged like that.
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    Apr 16, 2008 4:42 PM GMT
    ...and how come it's only the hot ones who run around with the coke, the poppers, get the stds, etc.?

    Broad brush I know...again..."thinking out loud".
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    Apr 16, 2008 4:45 PM GMT
    DJBens77 said
    Debouchery will follow no matter where you are. Bars are designed to go out and get fucked up and hook up. Otherwise they'd be called libraries.


    As someone who works out of a large university library, I have to attest to there being quite a bit of hooking up and debauchery going on here. Just the other week while I was reviewing resumes as part of a search committee, I watched 2 guys hook up in one of the upper floor restrooms during a quiet time of the afternoon. The one even went so far as to fake talk on his cell phone that clearly wasn't on. They came out about 15 minutes later. The cuter one's shirt was no longer tucked him and the other one seemed flushed around the cheeks and lips.
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    Apr 16, 2008 4:46 PM GMT
    XRuggerATX said...and how come it's only the hot ones who run around with the coke, the poppers, get the stds, etc.?


    Is that because you notice them and not the unhot ones who're doing the same things?
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    Apr 16, 2008 4:52 PM GMT
    probably
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    Apr 16, 2008 5:41 PM GMT
    The gay club!

    Rugger, what is it around you at the gay club happening that crushes you? Is it the fabulousness, oh I know...it's the large variety of fruity coktails made to perfection for your pleasure. It couldn't be all the wall to wall male eye candy (I know all of it ain't...but some of it is). Let's not forget the music! I get it, how many TIMES can you remix Madonna's songs, but is this really enough to crush you? Can't you see the big picture?

    gay

    These are OUR clubs and they are teeming with our sisters. I know, some of them are self absorbed, shallow, oppurtunistic, whores, but it's not like you don't get your choice of undesirables at any other venue in society: the park, the grocery store, a straight club (god forbid).
    Photobucket
    So when you go to a gay club, why focus on the negative things that might be happening or the undesirables that might be there? You're there and are a stand up guy, right? Could you really be the only guy there wanting to have a good time or the only guy who is going home later to sleep...alone?

    I go for the music and to support gay business and to be near my sisters. What they are there for, well, that's not really my problem.
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    Apr 16, 2008 6:00 PM GMT
    That first photo in GG's post brings the fab and the tang. Lord have mercy. icon_biggrin.gif
  • CAtoFL

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    Apr 16, 2008 6:43 PM GMT
    I guess since I used to own a gay nightclub, I should add to this post.

    A lot of you are right on target. For the most part, you get out of the experience what you put into it. But there is also some responsibility on the part of the club to entertain. I used to tell my bartenders that we'd better be good - our clients can make these drinks at home for a lot less money than they're spending with us. So we did game shows, bizarre events (squirt gun parties, for example) and we even, I am sad to report, were the first club in Palm Springs to have karaoke.

    The clubs today have a different problem and, if you're reading this, you're part of 'it'. The internet has changed the game completely. While gay bars were our 'town halls' (we had few other public meeting spots), the internet has completely replaced this function. You no longer buy someone a drink and strike up a conversation, you check out their profile and know more about them in two minutes than you were likely to find out the entire first night of meeting them in a bar. This isn't, by the way, a complaint. Just an observation - the rules of the game have changed. My friends who are still bar owners know this and have seen their overall clientele base slowly but steadily decline over the past decade as a result.

    One of my friends in his early twenties laments that as a result of this change, romance for his generation is dead. No more dinners to 'get to know' someone. A lot of gay sites make hooking up no more difficult than ordering a pizza and frequently, in less time.

    On the plus side, look at how much easier it's become to come out. When I was in college, it was a scandal that one of the Resident Advisors was found to be gay. He was drummed out of his job AND the school. Nowadays, who would care? Assimilation into the mainstream can be good.

    A final note: Gay bars can be depressing. There are some people in the bars that have addiction problems and are - literally - drinking their lives away. If you want to avoid that sadness, stay away from the happy hours and wait until after dinner to hit the clubs. But be sure to take along a good, happy attitude and a smile. As one of my friends once said "it's not important to be the hottest guy in the club. If you're having the most fun, people will want to be around you".

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    Apr 16, 2008 6:47 PM GMT
    Gay bars are like the window of a bakery: the overly decorated "pastries in the window" all look so inviting that you can't turn your head away to see a good canoli or cinnamon bun that you'd like under normal circumstances. The bar for beauty is set high by just a few people and those guys are the only ones really enjoying the experience.

    I was in Columbus over the weekend and barhopped and found the experience to be typically deflating. I know that as surely as night follows day someone here will argue this point (and I've had a few exceptions on this rule myself) but you can't go to a gay bar alone and expect a good time. For the most part gay men are 14 year old girls; only as secure as the group they hang with. They go in their gaggle and want to only meet other guys in their gaggle and stay in the safety zone of their clique. They see a person who is alone and assign a negative meaning to his solitude. What's wrong with him?

    If you want to meet someone then you need to have your group and then merge with the group of the guy you find interesting, like two weather systems colliding and mixing.

    Austin has a great gay scene that isn't ghettoed into one area, but the bars in the Warehouse District are just as shallow and hollow an experience as any gay bar anywhere. The ones in Austin that are off the beaten path are better for meeting people, but they don't have quite as much eye candy. However, they do have a lot of good canoli and cinnamon buns. icon_wink.gif
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    Apr 16, 2008 6:49 PM GMT
    PS - I think you hit the nail on the head. the Internet has changed the game considerably. I lived in Austin 11 years ago, when there were at least 3 additional gay bars. Happy hours were usually packed and people stayed through the deadzone times, 7pm - 10pm.

    I got into my relationship before Internet dating was available, so I missed that force. I still beleive that meeting in person and getting to know, like, hate, whatever another person can never be replicated online.

    What saddens me is that there are tons of great guys who are just stuck behind their computer.

    Get off the keyboard and dance, talk, flirt. As a gay community, we are losing our spaces. Our gayborhoods have playgrounds, our bars serve more women. But I go out and the bartenders and owners have this, if you build it, they will come mentality. No sir. I think we all need to kick it up a notch.

    Some may think this sounds sad, but I love the nightlife. I am able to enjoy it and not be a complete mess. Just cause you like to go ouot to bars does not mean you are a flake, a scum or a druggie.