Archive for Gay bar


BlowhardSaturday was my 66th birthday. After celebrating by eating THREE(!) stupidly delicious deserts by Brant, the genius pastry chef, and drinking a nice Allagash Curieux, at Gross Confection Bar, I headed off to Blackstone’s. It’s our one real gay bar in Portland now and gets pretty crowded on weekends. Still it didn't take me long to snag a seat at the bar. I’m 5‘3“ and I feel more comfortable and visible raised up a bit on a bar stool. And did I mention I'm old?

It also didn't take very long, of course, to be accosted by a local windbag. "Oh, look who it is!" he bellowed. I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that because I think I've only seen him on Grindr or Scruff or something. I'm pretty positive we've never spoken in person. Like a typical pothead, he almost immediately started talking about that most tiresome of subjects: weed. My eyes glazed over. I've had this tedious conversation many, many times. I have nothing to say other than that I don't smoke it because I don't like the pot high. (BTW, I think it should be completely legal.) I'm convinced at this point that pot changes heavy users' brains so they don’t believe anyone could possibly dislike pot. They appear to not understand that possibility at all. To a man/woman, they suggest that I just haven‘t tried the right strain yet, as this guy did. Because of course he did.

You know, in my 66 years I‘ve smoked enough pot to know that it‘s not for me. I‘m OK with that. What these folks are really suggesting to me is that I should continue having unpleasant experiences—and they‘ve very nearly all been unpleasant!—until I find that elusive perfect strain for me. No thanks. It‘s simply not a priority for me. Please stop asking! Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more boring to me than weed talk. I don't walk up to people I barely know in bars and start chattering about bourbon and beer, do I? Please, Mary.

He went away. For a while.

When he returned, he pretended to be interested in my views on current events and that's when he became a real blowhard. Lucky me. He asked what I thought was our most existential threat. Country? World? Humans? Gays? He didn't specify. Off the top of my drunk head, I said “Climate change.” (It could have been any number of things but that, unchecked, will kill us all.) His response was “REALLY? That‘s what you think is the most dangerous? Climate change??” with a roll of his eyes. He went on pooh-poohing everything I said, offering no views of his own, just asking more questions. It was infuriating. I finally said "You know, you‘re acting like a superior asshole right now and obviously trying to humiliate me. I'm not interested in continuing to talk to you anymore." Thankfully, he just walked away without saying anything. Importantly, he didn't deny it or try to defend his ridiculous behavior. I guess he owns it.

I'm  grateful that the good feelings that began earlier in the night then just continued. I didn't end up screaming at this asshole, and getting kicked out of the bar. Thanks, Jim Beam!

PS. As I‘ve said many times, I don't like pot but I think it should be completely legal. Just please, stop talking to me about it! I‘m also now a big fan of CBD. I‘ve been using CBD oil daily for about a year now and it‘s made a huge difference in my life. I noticed after about a month that I was sleeping better and was much less depressed and irritable. I don‘t hobble around my apartment in pain from a herniated disc every morning as I did before I started using it. That discomfort is completely gone! I was really skeptical but I‘m a convert. And there is nothing  resembling a pot high when I use it. I recommend it highly. YMMV, of course!

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Not Up My Alley

I had to go to Boston for the day because I had a couple of medical appointments. My second appointment was cancelled, so I had a lot of time to fill before my 11PM train home to Portland. I had already planned to see a film and then have dinner with some friends. Both things were fun but it was a really nutty day otherwise! (And the movie wasn't technically "fun," I guess.) You can skip down five or six paragraphs for the more crazy, gay stuff if you want.

After my morning appointment I walked across the Longfellow Bridge to Cambridge and sat in a Starbucks near MIT to caffeinate for the movie. (I had to get up at 5:30AM to catch the train. That's extremely early for me, so I was pretty fucking tired. Also, I had to fast for eight hours. Ugh.) I thought I’d pay my phone bill while I sat at Starbuck’s wasting time but my debit card was declined. Declined with a Verizon phone representative. Declined on their app. Declined on their web site. I had a large direct deposit just that morning and I was puzzled. I called my bank and was referred to the Fraud Department. The Fraud Department!! It turns out it was nothing serious, though. They unblocked my card and I paid my bill. Still, I was kind of humiliated that I had to do all of this inside, on the phone, in a crowded coffee shop full of MIT geniuses, because it was pouring rain outside. But as my friend Karen said “They didn't even notice you, they all have Asperger's anyway.” She was probably right. Having to do this in front of people, I'm sure, kept me from screaming at the bank, too, and who knows how that would have ended. Not well. I think I’m counting a blessing or something like that.

Since I was away from Portland, of course, I had all of my hook-up apps running. I'm of a certain age which somewhat limits my audience, so I have to really put it out there, if I want to see any action at all—and I do want to see action. I got a message on Growlr just before I left for the theater.

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Innocuous enough, right? Just wait…

I got to the Kendall Square Cinema and attempted to buy a senior ticket. Card declined again! I like to get to the movies early, so I had time. I called the bank again. I was referred to the Fraud Department again. They said I had used my card too many times in quick succession. I said that it was declined the first time! She had nothing to say. We finally figured it out. Because I had used the card multiple times in Cambridge and not Portland, their system flagged the card as stolen. OK. Will I have to go through this every time I go out of town? I hope not! Anyway, they unblocked the card again. I bought my ticket and a belly-busting Coke Zero. There were no more bank problems that day.

The film Son of Saul was really great. It's not a lot of laughs, that’s for sure, but it’s gripping. The cinematography is so striking and beautiful. It's a haunting, depressing, visually rigorous film. Absolutely perfect for me! Cinematographer Mátyás Erdély also shot the depressing BBC series Southcliffe which is totally worth three plus hours of your time. “Southcliffe” was Director Sean Durkin’s follow-up to the stunning Martha Marcy May Marlene.” I could go on down this rabbit hole of film associations but I’ll spare you. Just look up Sean Durkin and Mátyás Erdély and you’ll thank me.

I went back to the same Starbuck’s after the film, to meet my friend Paul. He drove us to Harvard Square to meet his partner Benny for beer and dinner at Charlie’s Kitchen. I like Charlie’s because the have my favorite beer, Steel Rail from Berkshire Brewing. Once again I made the mistake of starting my first beer before the food arrived. I felt really trashed halfway through my first beer. I should have known better but I always, always forget. I’m old. Oh well. We ate and talked and afterwards they gave me a ride to The Alley Bar. I had fun but I was kind of useless during dinner.

I can't say I really like The Alley. I met a really attractive guy there a few times for fun sex a while back. I also had one of the worst experiences—of any kind—of my entire life there, causing me to miss a good friend’s wedding. I’m still sad about it.  You never fucking know. Anyway, the downstairs was kind of boarded up and only the upstairs was open. I’d never been upstairs. It had obviously just been remodeled from the anonymous gay bar kit. Gross. There are less seats than there were at the downstairs bar and no service bar area, so it's more difficult to get a god damned drink. Finally, I got a beer and took a seat at an upholstered bench that seemed to be far, far away from the bar. The seat next to me was empty, or so I thought. Unfortunately, the guy had only taken a bathroom break. He was really something.

He sat down and said hello. I responded in kind. He desperately wanted to talk to me about Donald Trump! I declined, saying that I don’t talk politics to strangers—or even friends, most of the time! He said “Yeah but…” I declined again, still politely. He tried again. I just got up, said “No, really. I mean it,” and walked away. He was completely baffled. I found a café table far, far away from him. I realize as I’m writing this that maybe he had a joke that he was saving up for someone new. I don’t care.

Now, while I was trying to not talk to this weirdo, an older man with a silver pony tail who was being very social around the bar was trying really hard to catch my eye. I was trying really hard to avoid his eye. I only had a short time in town and I was on a mission to get laid. Otherwise, I might have been more social. Maybe. Maybe not. Anyway, I got another message on Growlr.

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It was Terry!


That's him, there, on the left. I can’t even tell you how angry I get when someone who’s not my friend says “my friend,” It’s so condescending. Those same people always seem to address me as “Frankie.” No. Go away.

My feeling, thinking about it later is that my rejection of the Donald Trump guy got around this very cliquey bar at lightning speed, probably before I even walked across the room and found another place to sit! Now, I’ll completely cop to being misanthrope. A proud misanthrope, even. This asshole had no reason to say so, though. Why? Because I didn't want to engage with him? Oh, please. Get. Over. Yourself. Mary.

At my new seat, I was joined by a latino (should that be Latino?)  guy who was extremely friendly. Again, I wasn't particularly interested in chatting with him. I’m not much of a small talker to begin with and, if I sit at a bar chatting with someone, my chances of getting laid drop immediately to near zero. I don't think I could have not looked at him any harder or stared into my phone any harder. He just. Didn't. Get. It. Finally, I said that I’d better go. He remembered that my train wan't until 11PM! Of course he did. Christ. I said, “No, really. I should go.” I was in hell.

I went downstairs and stopped near the door to check my phone. Latino guy passed me on his way out and waved. Whew! I went back upstairs. Terry, who had undone his pony tail, continued to swan around the bar. I couldn’t help feeling he was doing at least some of it for my benefit.

I finally left the bar around 9:30 to walk to the train station. It wasn't a long walk but leaving and spending some time at North Station was definitely preferable to being in this place any longer. Ten minutes before my ETD I got another message from the indefatigable, and obviously obsessed Terry.

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I was already on the train, still drunk. The train was full of either Celtics or Bruins fans (I can’t tell) and I couldn't sleep. It seemed like an endless ride. My cab driver in Portland was adorable, though! Thanks A.S.A.P Taxi!

Maybe the next trip will be more productive. Probably not, though. Sigh.

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