Hey gang. Time for some real talk.
About 40 seconds after I pushed my last post public, the sweat and nausea of shame descended on me like a Jim Beam hangover. Normally I have guts of steel with these kinds of things because I’m awesome so this was a weird and unpleasant experience for me.
I felt like my last post was way too cute. I’m adorable enough as I am without needing to ‘write safe.’ On a related note, I’m re-thinking my ban on curse words — vote below. Anyway, I’ve re-focused and this blog will center around my personal experiences rather than a slew of topical rants. Occasionally, though, I will need to gripe about general San Diego tropes. Who had ‘fun’ driving last Friday??
My aim is to collage together my exploits with more editorial content in an effort to distill a “VIBE” of San Diego subculture. Anyone not familiar with Tavi Gevinson’s work and her vibes needs to check this out. There’s nothing quite like living here, which is why they’ve dubbed us the Whale’s Vagina.
Anyway, enough with the meta, I want to talk about an encounter that is still stuck in my mind.
Manic Monday at the Brass Rail is my church. Even though (as the designated driver) I’m limited to one or two stiff, $2 drinks, it is one of my favorite nights.
But sometimes I really wish I could be wasted on Mondays.
In Hilcrest we have two types of “tourists.”
1. Out-of-towners who may not be used to the San Diego flavor of gay and
2. Gawkers who visit any LGBT club like it’s a zoo.
These are not to be confused with the heteregulars (I just made that up!) who frequently join the party because they live nearby, like the area, like the drink specials, and/or have friends/family in the community.
Mondays tend to be quite a mixed night. We’ve got sexy sorority-types who show up way too early and entertain themselves with group photos. And make out with me when I’m looking particularly non-threatening and feminine. There are friendly gay boys who might spill a cocktail on you but won’t hesitate to say hello. Glittery accessories weigh down slight and strong wrists alike, sequins sparkle in the red light of the smoking patio, and the variety of drinkers spill together on the hard ground like the contents of a toxic stomach.
I am grateful for the straight visitors, both tourists and not, because their money helps support the venues that I love. Even the “explorers” tend to amuse me with their antics in a “Kids say the darndest things” kind of way.
This tale of fury is about one of the regulars, not a tourist. Sometimes the sense of belonging and community will get to their head and a straight guy or gal will act they’ve earned The Gay Seal of Approval™ and/or Badge of Honorary Membership. Some of my closest friends are guilty of this at times…whoops.
One such self-stamped mutual “friend” has been openly pushing my buttons since the day I met him. I’ll call him Chuck, as in chucklehead, because I’m mean like that. And the word chucklehead makes me giggle.
I say openly because he told me that “pushing” my “buttons” is exactly what he intends to do. Also, he’s actually doing me a huge favor because he’s teaching me to be more understanding and tolerant of male attention. It’s not his fault I’m so amazing and he’s attracted to me. He can’t help himself. He’s Italian and it’s “just the way they are.” I wish I could better convey sarcasm in text because I am typing so jaggedly that my nail-beds hurt a little….
I told him that the mouse being electrocuted doesn’t realize it’s for the greater good. Probably came to mind because my date that night experiments on rats for a living. Oh yiss, sexy neuroscientist lady…
Now before my beloved guy friends start to wonder if they risk offending me with their compliments or affection, let me stop you. I make it clear when someone is gettin’ in my bubbles and disturbin’ my comforts. Which is why, immediately after Chuck crossed the line between drunken false-familiarity into disturbing amounts of sexually-charged attention, I told him to back down. My first approach was subtle; I told him I’m not very affectionate and shrugged out of his arms. I used to try to be diplomatic because his best friend is super sweet and I like listening to her talk.
After several encounters and a mixture of polite, frank, and even harsh rebuffs with no progress, I no longer had patience for his continued harassment. Just a couple of weeks ago I had told him that I don’t like it when he puts his arm around me. He hangs heavy around my neck which is uncomfortable no matter who does it. First thing he did when he saw me: drape on me like a wet towel. His lips a hair from my ear, he told me that I’m beautiful.
Trapped in a bar stool between smokers, a railing, and his body, I felt like a cornered animal. Even as I chewed him out for what must have been at least 20 minutes, he stood alternatively with his face so close to mine I could feel his breath or with his crotch against my leg. Through my thin tights I could verify that he at least had the decency to not have a boner. Eeeeeugh. “You don’t come to my bar and rub your balls on my knee and act like you have the right to pretend you’re helping me,” I said to him. My friend Richard gave another one of his “Mhmmm’s” and a sassy head shake.
Finally Chuck tired of my rapid rebuttals to his hippie-dippy rationale for harassing me the way he does. For the first time ever, he was the one to walk away from our troubled interaction. VICTORY.
Now, I realize that he was quite drunk and probably didn’t learn anything from me. I hope if nothing else he recalls a sense of negative emotion and hesitates to force his “love” on me next we meet. Love without respect just gets squicky and I am too in touch with my personal limits to let someone willfully make me feel uncomfortable.
I really don’t know what the protocol should be for dealing with persistent arduous attention. I’m a sexy beast; I get a lot of advances. I’ve tried diplomacy, I’ve tried deadpan rejection. Nothing seems to work better than a pre-emptive bitchface (learn the techniques here), but I hate doing the bitchface. There’s no one-size-fits all approach and I’m forced to scrape up patience and empathy all night until I’m exhausted. It’d help if people just took me at my word. I’m pretty good at saying what I mean.
By the way, I don’t mind writing about this publicly. Yeah, he might read it. There’s nothing I’ve said here that I haven’t tried to say to his face. I told him all I want is peace. I guess that’s true, but I’ll settle for the glow I get from being righteously angry at chuckleheads.