That night. It happened. And I survived to tell it. I was seduced yet again by my unsatisfying curiosity for the new. I'm glad to report I was not disappointed. Instead, I received an expected dose on reality in homo-factions. A couple of weeks ago I wended into unknown territory, a realm in which I had if not little knowledge of, but again, my undying curiosity provoked a sense of inquire for a different experience. (I use the term "different" here in the standard sense of unfamiliarity; for the slow ones). I made prior arrangements to meet with two distinct friends (though they both seem to delve in this peculiar type of divertissement) at Town, a two floor, partly composed of wood, college kids laden, super queer club right off U street (they call themselves "boutique", which I think, only makes them sound pretentious; it's a darn nightclub).
On one special night out of the week, harry, robust men, some with protruding bellies congregate at the aforementioned locale. These burly homos are known, to the gay world and culture at large, as bears. This a subculture within a culture. What I would learn later about this subculture would frighten and intrigued me at the same time. I've found myself at the second floor surrounded by these types. It was "Bear's Night". The upper plant was decorated by glowing white balloons that randomly changed colors, similarly to the ones you'll see at an oriental restaurant. I still don't know what those fluorescent ropes suspending from the ceiling were alluding to, but it was recognized as part of the decoration. Gargantuan plasmas hanged on two walls, displaying the most random shit. It usually shows a distorted remix of visuals of whatever the DJ is playing, but in this instance the gay on duty was still waxing body hair somewhere. What stood out, but not necessarily for good, were these plates of cookies placed scantly around the venue. I'm not a misophobic, but the source of these treats looked dubious. I never touched one. They almost stayed intact the entire night. "They gotta feed the bears", a friendly bear told me later as I enquired about the sweets. Then I thought, "send me a pasta!".
But then, there I was with a drink in one hand observing "the bear behavior". Picture this: If you were at a BBQ convention in Middle America. Now, think of all these greasy men groping each other dressed ready to go hunting or maybe S&M hunting. I was the pope at a sex shop. The sight was tantalizingly exciting enough for Peter Marino (who I love!) to come join the festivities. It was leather accruements, combat boots, and mesh shirts galore. Of course, with the exception of the stylish, non-bears ones. If for some strange reason you can't quite grasp the ethos of this community with my depictive descriptions, peep the wondrous shots below. Apparently, bears are not as intimidating as you might think. They are actually nice people. The gentleman right below was kind enough to pose for me. I thought it would be an interesting shot (whether you find it attractive, that's subjective; judge me by my novice photographic approach). The guy following looked like he could serve duties as my bodyguard and yet talk about the state of the economy (currently taking applications). I was loving his seemingly timid disposition. I thought of concealing his identity not because he told me so, but because I thought it looked Margiela-ish.
I was working the room, hoping from one contingency to the next. I caught up with the two friends I arranged. It was pleasant seeing both. What wasn't quite unpleasant was what I unwittingly found out through one of them. I'm a very visual person, and it always works in my advantage. At one point during the night I noticed this 30-something unassuming bear-wannabe with a thin black band around one of his arms. I was curious to learn if there was any type of symbolism behind it. My friend confirms my doubt. He tells me the arm in which one wears the band, right or left, determines your sexual position, top or bottom (that's gay 101, google it). I needed more. He pulls out his phone to further explain his point, and before I know it, a graph bares on his screen. This pretty elaborate graph is categorized by color and side (left or right). The graph sure looks complicated, but I quickly reckon the main points. Colors here take more of an explicit literal meaning; a yellow band signifies urine, and whichever arms you choose to wear it, translates to what end your position plays during the "the golden shower". I'm sure you can conclude what the brown color meant, but my friend assured me that he has not seen anyone sporting that color in his bear-mingling career. (I saw another gentleman with a black tee that bear the word "pig", that's self explanatory). Who knew this whole bear thing could be so complicated? I suggested of using a verbal language when addressing these type of interests, which seems more practical than memorizing all these high school tricks, but the bears are like fashion people, they rather tell it visually. I came out of that conversation with an expanded mindset.
I adore full-stacked bars, not necessarily for the alcohol value, but I enjoy seeing all these bottles containing colorful liquids positioned next to each other. I find it alluring. In my mind, Zaha Hadid would be the one who will design my future bar, and George Clooney would be my bartender (a boy can only dream). Adding to the liquor conversation. As I was waiting to be served my drink, a bear, who I saw was gawking me earlier, slithered his way through the crowd, came close enough and uttered a "woof!". I though the man had a wolf complex, but then I realized I was in his world. I said, "What am I suppose to say to that?". I don't remember exactly what he replied, but our confabulation lasted close to 30 seconds. It came to a conclusion when I suggested he should buy me a drink, that ensued a negative reaction (I had already ordered and payed for my drink, which was about $8.00; this was only a friendly test). Red Flag! As he was walking away I noticed a big flashing sign festooned on his back, "Broke!, Broke!, Broke!"
As the gathering was coming to a conclusion, the bears decamped and headed to their caves. Needless to say, any of those caves were not in my agenda for the night. As I was coming down the steps, I immediately recognize uncountable legions of gay kids surrounding the stage. The drags queens were out. It was their time to perform and sing for their life, in true RuPual fashion. I seldom come early enough to catch the show, but this time I was there as the show was in its early stages. I was destined to club hop, so my time in the house was limited. I pulled the camera out and caught the above shot of this queen, whose name do not come to mind now, but her look is a hybrid of Beyoncé meets Tina Turner meets Diana Ross, in case you couldn't tell. (The first time I saw him, I was bamboozled for a second. I thought he was actually a born-female; then I thought this is exactly how less experienced, borderline-sexually confused straight men get chicaned; As an advice, always check the merchandize before you buy it...literally).
Before heading to Dupont, I stopped by Darnell's (Florida Ave. and W Street NW). The decor is unlike any other lounge in D.C. I love Darnell's motley collection of art, hanged on brick bare walls all over the lounge (he once told he there were bestowed by his artist friends). The lights dimmed low, creating an intimate setting. I don't think words do justice, thus your own observation is required for an accurate assessment. The lady holding duty behind the bar caught my attention. Her dress was reminiscent of what Stefano Pilati just shown for YSL resort 2012. The vintage find caught the nautical essence of Mr. Saint Laurent 1982's collection. She wore it belted and hair pulled back. I was loving it. The drink she prepared, a cold "sex on the beach", quenched the thirst, and actually started my night.
And don't worry, you'll see my handsomeness in future posts.