When you forget to flush, according to guest blogger Tony Thompson.
Gay men by nature are more judgmental than Christian Fundamentalists and the Taliban combined. Having spent over half of my life immersed within the culture, like an abused spouse with no real intentions of walking away, I’ve simply gotten used to it. You quickly adapt to what is acceptable dress and music choices. But the one aspect of gay life that still eludes me, leaving me as mesmerized as Jane Goodall observing a pack of wild monkeys, is the appropriateness of how often one goes to the gay bar.
It would appear that a line has been drawn in the sand. On one side are the gays that would rather vacation in liberal, free-thinking West Virginia before they’d step foot into a gay bar. On the other side are the gays that can tell you the drink specials at any bar on any night and which drag queen is hosting what and where. The two rarely cross paths, obviously, but when they do, who exactly has the upper hand in judging the other?
Recently a friend of mine went out on a date with someone whom he’d met at the gym. Being that he is a friend of mine, he happens to be one of the gays that goes out, like a lot. During the unavoidable round of questions and answers, his date asked him how often he goes to the gay bars. Not knowing what sort of response was in order, he stumbled. He didn’t want to come across as a drunk, but he also didn’t want to withhold critical information that would inevitably resurface if the relationship moved forward.
I’ve had similar experiences. I’ve met up for drinks with guys I met online, at “this little place I know of,” only to have them recoil in horror when they realize that I’m on a first-name basis with the door guy and that my paycheck is directly deposited there. I’ve chatted up guys in bars who “hate going out, but my friends drug me here,” only to watch their interest vanish when they overhear the bartender invite me to the staff Christmas party.
I think that most of the judgment comes from the assumption that going out equates to sleeping around, which is an extremely weak argument. Stepping foot into a gay bar doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re open and ready for a one-night stand. Some of the most sexually adventurous of my friends never go out. You shouldn’t judge someone as being a slut for going to the gay bar. But if you haven’t logged off of Manhunt since 2006 and get frequent-customer discounts at the local bath house, that’s another story.
Given, I have been known to enjoy a cocktail or ten on occasion, but going out to me is more than getting tanked and getting laid. Not only is it something that my friends and I enjoy doing, but it’s also a very handy avenue for meeting single men. I’m a horrible online dater. I have the attention span of a gnat and photograph worse than Britney Spear’s crotch, so I rarely have success meeting guys through that medium. I participate in very few extra-curricular activities that might expose me to a mate (read: zero), so I don’t have many options for meeting someone. I actually prefer to meet men the old fashioned way: drunk in a bar.
Going out should be looked upon with the same type of respect that we use in judging any behavior that doesn’t mirror our own. It may not be for you, but live and let live.