The Castro Part II

Don’t click on the video if you don’t want to hear loud Katy Perry music.

(I filmed it on my phone while inside a club in the Castro, just to capture the vibe)

The reason I broke this article into two parts is because I wanted to convey 2 separate messages. The first is that the Castro was fun, and if you haven’t been, you should go. However, this second part will address the fact that Jay and I didn’t really enjoy our visit, for various reasons that should not discourage anyone else from going.

As I explained, it was my idea to go to the Castro, and I thought Jay would like it. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem too enthused about it. The entire way there, he was in a bad mood. At first I thought he was just still mad about how I made him look at the sea lions for what he considered to be “too long.” I didn’t think he was upset about going to the Castro since he complains about how he worries girls will not accept the side of him that likes guys, and here I was being totally accepting.

But as the night progressed, he seemed… grumpy.

After we bought the jacket, Jay complained that he wanted to change out of his sweatshirt and wear his new jacket. He explained that some of the gay guys were judging him because he wasn’t dressed stylishly enough.

“… Bullshit.” I said.

“I’m serious. All these guys keep looking at me.”

“I thought you said they were hitting on you,” I teased. (He had complained a little about how he doesn’t like being leered at by older gay men).

“Some of them are.”

“I don’t see anybody looking at you,” I said. “Nobody gives a crap about you.”

We kept walking, and I started paying more attention to people who passed us. And to my surprise, I realized he was right; people were looking at him. And I was really confused about why. Some of them were probably trying to be flirtatious; I asked Jay how they could tell he was bi, and he said they probably couldn’t.

“I think they’d still be doing it if I was straight,” he said.

Other people were looking at him in a different way. Possibly some of them were judging him, but I really have no idea. A middle aged gay couple passed, holding hands. They were both wearing some pretty sexy coats, and one had an off-white scarf. So freaking stylish. They gave Jay a really quick ‘up, down, up’ kind of look. They seemed strangely curious. I thought maybe they were trying to figure out if he was gay or not… or maybe they were trying to figure out what a straight guy was doing in the Castro… That doesn’t make much sense though; it’s a tourist attraction, and I’m sure plenty of straight guys visit each year. Maybe they were judging his clothing. Who knows.

As Jay changed out of his sweatshirt, I couldn’t help but mumble, “Sure that sweatshirt was fine for me, but now you need a jacket to impress all these gay guys…”

Basically, Jay spent the whole night sulking. He sulked while I was buying a cookie, he sulked during sushi, he sulked while we were trying to decide what bar/club to go to. And then, when we actually went to the bar/club, things got really bad.

At first, I assumed that I would be the one not having fun at a gay club. For example, when we walked up to the door, they didn’t card Jay, they just waived him right in. But the guy literally held out his arm out to stop me and said he would need to see some I.D.

“It’s because he thought you looked young,” Jay said, sensing I was pretty ticked off.

“No,” I said. “It’s because I’m not hot enough to get in without being carded.”

“That’s not true.”

“Oh don’t give me that,” I said. “I’ve been clubbing. I know how it works. If you’re hot enough, they’ll let you in no matter what. Clearly, I didn’t make the cut.”

“Well whatever. He doesn’t think you’re hot because he’s gay. He’s only going to let in cute boys,” Jay said.  “This is what guys feel like all the time when they try to go out and have to wait in line and pay cover, and you girls just get to walk right in.”

Indeed, the night turned out to be a complete role reversal; Jay got all the attention, people bought him drinks, the bartenders made them extra strong- all the perks that girls usually get. And yet he still seemed grumpy and on edge.

Then I started to see why he wasn’t a fan of clubbing in the Castro.

A guy came up to us while we were lingering near the bar and started talking to Jay. Where’re you from? What do you do? Are you a student blah blah blah… Then he was giggling and touching Jay’s arm. Then he was asking what we had done in San Francisco so far, and Jay said, “I dunno, we’ve just been walking around the city. This is my girlfriend, by the way.”

“Oh,” the guy said. “So you’re straight?”

“No, I’m bi,” Jay explained.

The guy smirked. “So you’re on your way to gay then.”

“No, I’m bi.”

“Whatever.” The guy walked away.

“This is why I didn’t want to come here,” Jay said to me. “I knew this would happen. People have been judging me all evening, and I hate it.”

Isighed. I still don’t necessarily agree that people on the street were judging him; I think that part was all in his head. Even so, it would explain why he was so tense all night. To make things worse, he was right about the club; people here were definitely judging him. And it got worse as the night went on and everyone got drunker.

Some people would roll their eyes when he said he had a girlfriend, or turn and give me a look of pity, like “you poor thing, can’t you tell your boyfriend is gay?” Other people were just plain mean, saying things like “You don’t belong here,” or “Why don’t you come back when you actually come out.” A couple people said things like “Pretty sure you’re in the wrong club,” which maybe means they thought he was straight; so its not an offensive thing to say, but it’s unfriendly at the least.

A few people were friendly and totally chill about it. We met these guys from… Holland I think, who were really nice. We also talked to this ridiculously hot black guy who had witnessed one of the offensive comments, and agreed that making a bi guy feel unwelcome at a gay club was just uncalled for.

The thing that baffled me the most is that some people said these kinds of things without having any way to possibly know he was bi. I didn’t get how they could tell. Or maybe they couldn’t tell?? Maybe they just didn’t want straight guys there, or maybe they though he was gay and tragically trying to pass me off as a girlfriend… I really don’t understand what they thought our relationship was, or why they were automatically hostile to him. I’m still baffled. I used to go to gay clubs with a gay guy friend, and people seemed to know that he was gay and I was his best girl friend, and everyone was nice to us. I mean lots of gay guys party with girls, so why didn’t people just assume that about me and Jay? Anyway… I have no idea.

So as it turned out, Jay was miserable for a lot of the night, and I on the other hand had a pretty good time once I got past being I.D’ed at the door. The music was good, the guys were hot, and no creepers bothered me, so overall it was pretty fun except for the fact that Jay was getting hated on.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The Castro Part II

  1. Both parts read like two different trips to two totally different places! Sorry to hear Jay was so miserable… but I can understand a lot of it: Some of the shittiest things I’ve ever heard about my being bi has come from gay men! I’ve been to San Francisco and the gay district… and got a lot of the same looks that suggested I was in the wrong part of town; I think I would have felt more comfortable at a KKK meeting compared to the way a lot of the gay people treated me – and without knowing whether I was straight or bi.

    And when they did figure it out, most people were pretty nice… but not all of them; I actually had to put a very painful wrist lock on a dude who tried to push me out of a bar I wanted to check out (because of the music coming out of the place) and telling me that “my kind” didn’t belong there.

    Don’t let yourself be bummed out because of Jay’s reaction to the close scrutiny he received – it’s almost typical and even hypocritical because a lot of gay men don’t like us… but they wanna have sex with us and then we’re just fine.

  2. I can’t stand when people think “he’s on his way to being gay” as if that’s the end of the rainbow. So cliche.

  3. Northern Minnesota Bi-Guy

    I really like this post. It really illustrates the typical complaints we bi-folks have by showing, not telling. I’m a big believer that in literature, showing is powerful than telling. Thanks!

  4. Nathaniel

    I really don’t know how to feel about this.

    So as it turned out, Jay was miserable for a lot of the night, and I on the other hand had a pretty good time once I got past being I.D’ed at the door. The music was good, the guys were hot, and no creepers bothered me, so overall it was pretty fun except for the fact that Jay was getting hated on.’

    What…? If I had a partner who was not comfortable with where we were due to being ‘hated on’ due to their sexual orientation I would leave pretty quickly.

    • Yeah, I grappled with leaving, but Jay said he didn’t want to. I didn’t quite understand why he wasn’t having fun until after we left. Plus I think his desire to stay and drink was outweighing his desire to leave.

      But you raise a valid point; I would never encourage him to stay somewhere where he was legitimately uncomfortable.

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