so there we were sitting at a bar...
friend claims that from reading columns in gay newspapers and
magazines, you would think gay men only ever sit at bars and watch men
pass by or go out on dates with those men they saw pass.
have spent a lot of time sitting at bars with friends, but i have not
spent much time on dates. most of the time i can’t convince myself that
having dinner and awkward conversation with a stranger is a
constructive use of my time. for this reason, i’ve developed a simple
criterion to decide whether a man is worth inviting on a date. question
1: have you read the structural transformation of the public sphere
by jurgen habermas? if you have, you may be the perfect candidate for
further conversation. if not, let’s exchange some quick banter and
leave me to my beer.
joking about this. i’m not that self-centered. i just finished a
year-long relationship though, which is a huge span of time for me, so
i’m feeling picky about with whom and how i spend any amount of
time with my friends has always been important to me, no level of
inebriation. alcohol just seems to lubricate conversation, to pull
people together, as it has for centuries.
there we were, drinking pitchers of beer of amnesia last night: john,
mikiel, and me. a lot of beer into the night, i dizzily and drunkenly
tripped up n. mississippi ave to my apartment, made myself a quick
dinner, and passed out. at seven the next morning with spinning vision,
a headache, and a metallic taste in my mouth, i snoozed the alarm twice
before forcing myself out of bed to quickly eat, dress, and brush my
teeth before jumping on my bike and pedaling the five miles to the
office. hung over commutes by bike are the worst.
basically didn’t get anything done last night. i dropped off some
books at the library then headed to the bar. the plan had been to clean
up around the apartment, make some dinner, read, and relax for a bit
and so i get too drunk to date. i'm okay with this.
though i don't date, i gave seen a lot more gay men drinking beer at
amnesia lately. gay watch 2012. mikiel, john, and i keep our eyes open
for gay dates there. it's a strange phenomenon. we've been haunting
that bar for years, are familiar with the bartenders and the other men
who frequent it. low-key, relaxed, sports always playing on two tv's,
it's not particularly romantic, though it does serve my favorite beer in
portland. so why the suddenly surge of gay dates there this summer?
we will usually now see two or three gay couples everytime we're there.
which is often.
maybe all we do is drink and date and look for new bars. but there's probably something more to our lives than that.
on north mississippi avenue, there are two significant phenomena:
these gay men are choosing amnesia to meet their dates and buddies.
while i love that bar, it's not romatic like i said. i wouldn't take a
date there, though i drink there all the time. but these men dig it.
it's not some loud gay club. it speaks to different sensibilities.
they like the bar for the same reasons i do: good beer and a great
patio. it's just surprising to see so many homosexual men there,
suddenly this summer.
second significance of this change in amnesia's patronage may be that
this indicates a greater change in north portland. nopo has always had a
significant queer population. most of my closest friends live in the
neighborhood, a minute's walk from me. and more gay men seem to be
moving to the fifth quadrant, of all types. it’s easy to imagine the
boise-eliot neighborhood becoming portland’s new capitol hill now at the
final waning of stark street days. and perhaps this will happen.
perhaps a year from now june on north mississippi will be marked by
blocks of rainbow flags. but as gay men have been moving to north
portland, so has everyone else. north portland is just changing and
growing up and getting more expensive. it’s what cities do. they grow
the only thing that hasn’t changed about n. mississippi ave is that i’m still drunk.
really what that means is that i need for one of these new nopo gays
hanging out at amnesia to drag my ass to the gym and help get me in
shape. just let me finish my beer first.