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What surprised you when you first started going to gay bars?

I expected a lot of flouncing around, everyone drinking girl drinks, and shirtless muscle guys.

No flouncing. Tons of Bud Light. But there were a few in-shape guys.

by Anonymousreply 15608/26/2020

I was too nervous and freaked out to notice.

by Anonymousreply 108/04/2020

Definitely the old, fat guys, because I was like 19. Now I’m a part of the old, fat guys. Beautiful.

by Anonymousreply 208/04/2020

OP, I think it kind of dependd on which bar was your first. Some were closer to your expectation but, yes, it was just a bar where the patrons were gay. However, there were a few more of us sissies too, so we could feel comfortable.

by Anonymousreply 308/04/2020

Few earrings. No caftans.

by Anonymousreply 408/04/2020

I thought it would be like the Blue Oyster. I assumed all gay bars were full of leather daddies.

by Anonymousreply 508/04/2020

No one want to see my poosey.

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by Anonymousreply 608/04/2020

It was just like the Rusty Anchor, minus Blanche and Dorothy.

by Anonymousreply 708/04/2020

How much I DIDN'T like drag. When I went to my first gay bar, there were drag queens and I realized I really didn't enjoy drag at all.

by Anonymousreply 808/04/2020

My first gay bar was Kit Kat in Boystown, Chicago

by Anonymousreply 908/04/2020

Mine was the Dock, in Cincinnati.

by Anonymousreply 1008/04/2020

R6, TBH, drunk me would’ve graded a snatch or two. From a few feet away of course.

by Anonymousreply 1108/04/2020

Was surprised at how average most guys were. Not that I was expecting everyone to be gorgeous, but they all looked somewhat like me. Clean, nicely dressed, and just hanging out and talking with friends. I didn't discover the fun stuff until later on.

by Anonymousreply 1208/04/2020

R12, I was surprised at how many guys wore khakis, but it was a weekday when I first went. Weekends were much different.

by Anonymousreply 1308/04/2020

Guys just grabbing my ass as I walked by.

It's more common at trashier bars, but it happens way more than I imagined.

by Anonymousreply 1408/04/2020

How at home I felt.

by Anonymousreply 1508/04/2020

My first experience was in college, The Bar in Champaign, IL. I was so nervous but I felt welcomed. I remember seeing this sexy older black man making out with a young white college guy and couldn’t take my eyes off them. I didn’t know that I would be turned on by black guys but I really hadn’t known much going in.

by Anonymousreply 1608/04/2020

Very dark, and it seemed everybody was smoking. No one was friendly.

I remember men gathered near the doorway to cruise whoever walked through the door, and seeing disappointed faces at my entrance.

by Anonymousreply 1708/04/2020

At how quickly the bitter locals turned on me when I didn’t want to go home with any of them.

At how incestuous small local gay bars are. Everybody has fucked everybody and they’re just waiting for fresh meat to walk through the door.

by Anonymousreply 1808/04/2020

I was surprised that gay men just had regular conversations about life.

by Anonymousreply 1908/04/2020

Pier 9 and Lost and Found in DC. Everyone seemed to have a good time dancing, laughing, and cruising.

by Anonymousreply 2008/04/2020

[quote] What surprised you when you first started going to gay bars?

That I wasn’t kicked out at age 16 (!) and 17

Granted, it was crowded. And no doorman. This was at The Elephant Walk in San Francisco and Uncle Charlie’s (?) in NYC

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by Anonymousreply 2108/04/2020

Purse flying as soon as those hot muscular guys opened their mouth.

In short they were as Mary as me but just well built

by Anonymousreply 2208/04/2020

R22, I make the mistake of assuming men on apps who look masculine sound so as well. It's funny how wrong I am.

by Anonymousreply 2308/04/2020

I was surprised that Stonewall was the LEAST gay of all of the gay bars I’ve been to. I also discovered that in most gay bars I either felt invisible or like a piece of meat, neither of which I was comfortable with.

by Anonymousreply 2408/04/2020

The music was really bad. It was the mid 80's, and every club only played that "Hi-NRG" shit. Every song sounded the same, and it wasn't a good sound to begin with. I eventually got used to it and actually learned to somewhat like it...what choice did I have?

by Anonymousreply 2508/04/2020

1. How much I hated '80s music (example: "Give Me Tonight").

2. All the smoking. I had to toss everything in the laundry after a night out, even my socks.

3. How easy it was to get laid. Pick the hottest guy, then work my way down, usually not too far.

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by Anonymousreply 2608/04/2020

That if the first question someone asked me was my age, they were best avoided. I was 19, but looked 15.

by Anonymousreply 2708/04/2020

Until I went to the bars, I didn't know that gay men were mostly in packs. Unfortunately for me, I joined a bad pack and was in it for a decade before it broke up and I had to become a lone wolf.

by Anonymousreply 2808/04/2020

R27. Ohh That problem is still with you. You look only 46 even when you are 66

by Anonymousreply 2908/04/2020

No one grabbed my ass

by Anonymousreply 3008/04/2020

Hey, me, too, R16! The Bar at the height of the Disco Era, bleah.

As someone mentioned further upthread, I, too, was kinda surprised at how ordinary-looking most of the patrons were. Granted, some of the guys DID win "The Gene Pool Lottery," but not most.

Never did hook up / go steady with anyone. Too worried re: grades, keeping my part-time job, and, sadly, buying into the born-again lunacy re: gays and the Fires Of Hell (I'm long over that last part, Praise Jesus.)

by Anonymousreply 3108/04/2020

The glass showers on either side of the dance floor. Both contained a big bottle of Pert.

by Anonymousreply 3208/04/2020

I only went after 2000, the year I graduated college. I went to the ones in NYC and was disappointed. They seemed pretty seedy, and the clientele were a lot more sex-focused than I was comfortable with. Maybe they were more fun in prior decades.

by Anonymousreply 3308/04/2020

Blake's on the Park in Atlanta...around 2009. I was mainly shocked how small the drinks were, and that they were all served in plastic cups. I went with a friend of my ex, who promised me my ex wouldn't be there. Surprise, surprise when the ex walked in and I realized I'd been set up. Got completely sloshed and my ex and I made out. I think that's the last time I ever saw him...no love lost.

Also, this song was playing on the video monitors as we walked in. I still think of Blake's every time I hear it.

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by Anonymousreply 3408/04/2020

[quote]R33 They seemed pretty seedy, and the clientele were a lot more sex-focused than I was comfortable with. Maybe they were more fun in prior decades.

Yes...we all sat around with our knitting bags and traded recipes.

None of this dirty birdie “sex-focused” stuff!

by Anonymousreply 3508/04/2020

I quickly learned that the gay world is not utopia. It mirrors the same drama, hierarchies and bullshit as general society. As an 18 year old, I naively envisioned it would like a film where there would be a warm ‘second family’ waiting for me complete with a fag hag and PFLAG surrogate mom.

by Anonymousreply 3608/04/2020

I was surprised by how desperate and pathetic most everyone there seemed.

I knew it wasn't my crowd. I left within ten minutes and never wanted to go back.

by Anonymousreply 3708/04/2020

A lot of them smelled like dirty ass.

by Anonymousreply 3808/04/2020

How many of the men seemed to take Jack McFarland as their fashion and behavior role model. I quickly lost count of how many guys were in pastel button downs and khakis with that brush cut/longer spiky moussed hairline, and how fey and intrusively interested they were in the love lives of strangers they'd just met.

by Anonymousreply 3908/05/2020

[quote]What surprised you when you first started going to gay bars?

No windows. (This is going quite far back.)

by Anonymousreply 4008/05/2020

The uninvited inappropriate touching.

by Anonymousreply 4108/05/2020

R20: Me too. Nice to meet a fellow "veteran". Our experiences probably aren't typical because both the Pier and the L&F were huge discos with several bar areas that drew hundreds of customers on weekend nights. Also, DC is different ... always has been, always will be.

I was surprised at how many very good-looking guys there were at the L&F. Later I found out about their restrictive door policy, which accounted for the high concentration of younger, clean-cut men.

This was the mid/late '70s, by the way, which was a fantastic time to be young, gay and living in a big, liberal city. I would imagine the bar experience in the post-internet and especially post-app era is very different.

by Anonymousreply 4208/05/2020

Wow, you sound pretty fucking stupid, OP.

by Anonymousreply 4308/05/2020

WeHo Micky's was my first one. Was pretty cool and it had some promo event with some porn stars later in the evening.

by Anonymousreply 4408/05/2020

One of my clearest memories on my first few visits to a gay bar as ‘fresh meat’ in 1989 was a craggy old guy sitting on a bar stool who stopped me as I walked by. It wasn’t rude or a pick up. He as an eldergay just told me that I was too young to be there and cautioned me about different aspects of the scene. Of course I dismissed most of what he said at the time, but I later realised it was all solid advice.

by Anonymousreply 4508/05/2020

I think my first gay bar happen to be The Queen Mary in Studio city (location?) Late 80's

by Anonymousreply 4608/05/2020

That I was only a 10 to straight women.

by Anonymousreply 4708/05/2020

By the 80s, the L&F apparently no longer had that restrictive door policy, because they let me in.

Great bar. So many good times. Had a restaurant, too, and the patio out back. Sunday Tea - in the late afternoon as it was in those days - was the best.

Geez, what memories. I could go on and on. But I won't.

by Anonymousreply 4808/05/2020

The Cue Club in Norfolk, VA was my first gay bar. What surprised me were the drag shows. I never thought so many gay guys would enjoy seeing such shows.

In all honesty, those 80s drag queens were pretty cool. Back then, it all seemed to be in good fun, without the over-the-top fabulousness you see in today's drag shows at today's bars, which can be pretty annoying. (Particularly in New York.)

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by Anonymousreply 4908/05/2020

How much I didn't like drinking alcohol. The first time I went to a gay bar, the Georgetown Grill in 1973, I got so drunk, I ended up going home with someone and woke up from a blackout with him sucking my cock and my dorm mate who'd brought me to the bar sitting there in the guy's living room, watching us and jerking off.

Eventually, I tried mixing vodka with EVERYTHING, and it was all just swill. I hated beer, and gay bar wine was rotgut. For a few years, I would just order a coke, or club soda with lime. Then in 1976, I discovered gin.

by Anonymousreply 5008/05/2020

[quote] Then in 1976, I discovered gin

My soulmate!

As to the question, I was surprised that so many gay bars couldn't make a decent gin & tonic. One place used diet tonic (ugh), most used bar guns, which for some reason, always seen to dispense flat tonic. After awhile I gave up and just ordered Tanqueray on the rocks with a lime, which nobody can fuck up.

Now that I'm an old coot, I don't go to bars much, even before the pandemic, but, at least in NY, I'm constantly disappointed that gay bars will have 250 different kinds of vodka and the same 4 tired old gins (Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, and Hendrick's). The gin revolution seems to have completely skipped gay bars.

by Anonymousreply 5108/05/2020

Actually, R51 and R50 are reminding me - the absolute shittiness of the drinks. Urinal-cake colored cosmopolitans and cocktails that tasted like cough suppressants.

by Anonymousreply 5208/05/2020

R51 You're both my soulmates!

[quote] so many gay bars couldn't make a decent gin & tonic

I'd change that to just "so many bars," period. And God Forbid you should ever try ordering a gimlet; they look at you like you came from another dimension!

by Anonymousreply 5308/05/2020

[quote]What surprised you when you first started going to gay bars?

Men dancing with men. It was 1973. I was blown away.

by Anonymousreply 5408/05/2020

After a few times, I realize that I've been to a marvelous party. After a few years, I realized all those marvelous parties really weren't so marvelous. I realized that I was lucky if one out of a hundred people I spoke with really had something interesting to say, and that we were all standing around in silent judgment of everybody, including those in the little inner circles we slowly created, that is if we were lucky enough (or unlucky as it often turned out) to create one. I realized that groups of friends in these scenes really are rarely nothing more than temporary distractions from their own individual demons, and eventually, the truth comes out about each and every one of them.

The real guys who had some sort of ethical sense of life left when they found a significant other, and rarely returned. Those who remained were party boys who refused to give up the party, hangers on desperate to get out of their parent's basement (usually couch hopping for years before they run out of couches outside those left out on the street), and dirty old men who were still claiming as their big bellies took over the tables that they were getting laid regularly. My eye rolls became more frequent to the point where I was afraid I would be able to see out of my ears. Certain friends and I would look at each other during circumstances like this, roll our eyes, and laugh out loud as soon as they stepped away. I still go to bars, but the desire to have a big circle of friends has greatly diminished.

by Anonymousreply 5508/05/2020

The number of middle aged men who couldn't hide their wedding ring marks

by Anonymousreply 5608/05/2020

I loved the hunbub ( I discovered I was an extrovert)

by Anonymousreply 5708/05/2020

How easy it was to get all the sex I had time for.

by Anonymousreply 5808/05/2020

You catch more flies with honey. That I was considered handsome but haughty and everything improved when I smiled and was pleasant and social.

by Anonymousreply 5908/05/2020

I came out while living in NYC at the height of the stand-and-pose era of gay bars like “G Bar.”

My first impression was why are gay men such absolute assholes. When I came out, I was hoping there would be a gay community waiting to accept me. The problem was I thought the gay community’s as found in such bars as G.

It literally broke my spirit that I was in this weird no-man’s land of not being part of either the straight or gay communities.

A long while later, on a visit to Chicago, I was taken aback that other gays were so friendly to me at gay bars. It wasn’t until then that I realized the problem was NYC gay bars.

by Anonymousreply 6008/05/2020

R60 I felt the same chill about Chelsea bars, but my first visits to the West Village bars were quite different.

by Anonymousreply 6108/05/2020

The smells and the heat.

Stale beer and alcohol, sweat and BO, cigarette smoke, hodgepodge of colognes in an infernal club.

by Anonymousreply 6208/05/2020

My first gay bars were dance clubs. This was the early 90s and the crowds were mixed so I didn't notice much difference between the gay clubs and straight clubs. The gay clubs played much better music, of course.

A year or two later I went to the gay bars to meet men and was surprised at all the silence and the staring and how intimidated I was to initiate a conversation with a stranger unless I was very drunk.

by Anonymousreply 6308/05/2020

R34. that song was playing all the time at Sidetrack in Chicago too.

by Anonymousreply 6408/05/2020

How popular I was. (Fresh meat.)

Borrowing from R28, how "desperate and pathetic most everyone there seemed."

Unlike R28, I kept going back to dance and bask in the attention.

by Anonymousreply 6508/05/2020

I thought I'd get jumped on and fisted. I paced around the block in fear and excitement before entering. It was Uncle Charlie's.

by Anonymousreply 6608/05/2020

Straight bartenders. I naively thought everyone working at a gay bar would be gay. I was similarly shocked to learn about gay-for-pay porn stars.

by Anonymousreply 6708/05/2020

R66, where you promptly got jumped on and fisted

by Anonymousreply 6808/05/2020

I thought bars were solely about sex. I now know that while there is an undercurrent of sex, it’s really about just talking to other people without “gay” being an issue

by Anonymousreply 6908/05/2020

[quote]Actually, [R51] and [R50] are reminding me - the absolute shittiness of the drinks. Urinal-cake colored cosmopolitans and cocktails that tasted like cough suppressants.

"That'll be $15, and don't forget the tip! (20% is standard)"

by Anonymousreply 7008/05/2020

That no one stood for the National Anthem.

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by Anonymousreply 7108/05/2020

This is totally naive, but I had no idea that I would be sexually attractive to someone. As above, the "fresh meat" aspect had a lot to do with it. When I was 18 you were allowed into bars and to drink so there were older guys who would proposition me, though it never freaked me out. I actually remember liking the conversational aspect. Only later did I become more self-confident and go out for hookups. My very first time someone slipped their name and phone number into my jacket pocket. I still remember his name. The second time I went home with a slightly older guy and it was really great.

by Anonymousreply 7208/05/2020

r13=Jake from State Farm

by Anonymousreply 7308/05/2020

[quote]TBH, drunk me would’ve graded a snatch or two. From a few feet away of course.

Most men won't get that close to me.

by Anonymousreply 7408/05/2020

The lack of women?

by Anonymousreply 7508/05/2020

The intense racism is near the top of the list.

I'm a middle aged pasty white guy and not much of a woke SJW type, but seriously, when I first went out, I thought - and had been told by others - that gay bars were utopia. But at least in the rust belt towns I was in, I was shocked when I saw how black patrons were treated, and how some bar owners made them sit in the less pleasant sections of the bar. No shit.

In general, I was just disappointed at how negative bars were. I went out those first few years out of necessity but stopped in my mid-20's, mostly because the sadness, desperation and intense need, coupled with negativity, self loathing and meanness/racism, just gave me a fucking HEADACHE after 30 minutes or so.

There are more pleasant places I've been since, and ones that mix people from all walks of life beautifully, and I've had a joyous time in those places, and in some of the dance clubs I've been in, where you can express joy with the music. But as far as most bars.....I was surprised at how dour they were.

by Anonymousreply 7608/05/2020

ABBA. The gays LOVE Abba? Huh?

by Anonymousreply 7708/05/2020

The fresh meat thing. It was freaky and kept me away from gay bars for a while. Men seemed so predatory.

by Anonymousreply 7808/05/2020

The number of fights in the parking lot, no not straight people attacking gays even though there was a straight bar right next door, but gay men attacking other gay men. No it wasn't like two gays fighting on TV with pawing and slapping, there were fists, blood and knocked out teeth, some people just can't handle their alcohol.

by Anonymousreply 7908/05/2020

R79 Or their cheating boyfriends.

by Anonymousreply 8008/05/2020

R79 I never remember seeing a ton of fights between gay men, but the dykes were ALWAYS fighting, always.

by Anonymousreply 8108/05/2020

I’ve never seen a fight at a gay bar and I’ve been going to them for 30 years.

by Anonymousreply 8208/05/2020

Yeah - as someone posted above - gay bars either didn't have windows or all were darkened almost completely black. It was a safety issue.

I remember thinking - most of these guys look like regular men. No one would ever know - if the world knew how many gay men there were around them, they would have a heart attack. I think that's still true in some areas of the US.

The 80's was such an amazing time - a lot of people dressed up to go out and the music was a great mix of dance and 'new wave' and disco classics.

And the bars were PACKED many nights of the week -not just weekends. There were also a lot of depressing news with AIDS. Such a weird time to come out.

by Anonymousreply 8308/05/2020

[quote]it wasn’t like two gays fighting on TV with pawing and slapping

Can you link to any of these televised gay fights? What are you talking about?

by Anonymousreply 8408/05/2020

Great thread. Most has already been said.

The "fresh meat" thing. For me at least, the exciting part was that someone found me attractive, like someone said upthread. It's very easy to give in to that constantly when you're young.

The amount of regular guys who you would never think are gay. Straight bartenders. Both already said.

R76, say more sis. I'm curious....

by Anonymousreply 8508/05/2020

That you could spend a lot of time and effort and still not connect with anybody.

by Anonymousreply 8608/05/2020

Some bar a couple of blocks up from the FBI building in DC. What surprised me was the naked dancer on the stage treating me so kindly (we all know why), I shocked his balls because the hand he guided to them was holding a cold drink a moment before, lol.

by Anonymousreply 8708/05/2020

I was 14 the first time I went to a gay bar. It was a seedy little dyke bar called "little dudes" .I was 14 but I was 6 ft and had a mustache so I easily passed for 18 . It was 1974. I remember my aunt was taking me somewhere and we passed it and she remarked that was a gay bar. I immediately memorized how to get there ,and when I was spending the summer with my grandma I snuck off one night and walked about 4 miles to get there. I walked in and the doorman asked me for id,and I admitted I didnt have one but asssured him I was legal .He was sceptical but let me in. I went up to the bar and ordered a beer and sat there just watching . It was probably 50/50 mix of men and women ,and I was mezmerized . A really cute guy started chatting me up ,bought me a few beers then asked me if i wanted to go to his place across the street . He had a hairy chest and a big curved dick ,and we fucked all night long. The next morning I went back to my grannies and the cops and my parents were there cause they thought Id been kidnapped or something ! But I was hooked from that point on . I went there as much as I could. Those lovely old dykes took me under their wings and coddled me. I guess I brought out the mother in them. I hooked up with that guy again several times until the dyke that owned the bar told me to stay away from him as he was real trouble. Right when I turned 15 my brothers girlfriend took me to a gay disco,and I truly was home ! I loved the clothes and the music and the perfectly coiffed and impeccably dressed men .Lo those 40+ years ago.

by Anonymousreply 8808/05/2020

It was so trashy!

by Anonymousreply 8908/05/2020

r87=The Senatrice

by Anonymousreply 9008/05/2020

[Quote] [R66], where you promptly got jumped on and fisted

No, you silly goose. I was the silly goose for thinking that. Everyone ignored me, which has been 99% of my social interaction in gay bars ever since.

by Anonymousreply 9108/05/2020

I was surprised to see some married men I knew. One worked in our advertising agency, he was handsome, swarthy and well-built. I asked him if he wanted to dance, trying to break him out of his embarrassment of being recognized. I figured I could be a friend. No reply. He never spoke to me in the office again.

Another guy was standing at the back, dark part of the bar. We worked out at the same gym. He liked to wear spandex tights in the 80s while lifting weights. The size and shape of his cock was undeniable, and you could faintly see his big bush in some of them. His nipples were always outside the width of his string tank. He turned away when he saw me at the bar, so I knew not to approach him. He stayed a distance away from me at the gym from that point on. His wife would come in and he would verbally degrade her. I was so angry about how he treated her, and how he wasn't being honest with her.

If you're going out to a gay bar locally as a married man, chances are someone there is going to recognize you. Who did these men think we were?

by Anonymousreply 9208/05/2020

R82 Agree. The only fights I every saw were in lesbian bars and they were nasty. Recall a cue ball smashing a hole in the wall inches above my head.

by Anonymousreply 9308/05/2020

The only time I ever saw a fight almost break out at a gay bar was when a straight guy got into it with someone. Unfortunately he was a friend of a friend in the group I was out with that night and we all got booted from the bar.

by Anonymousreply 9408/05/2020

R85 Not sure what else to say but happy to answer a question. I will say that I'm talking about my experiences in the "rust belt" especially in PA/NY state (not NYC) so the location and the economy there at the time (late 80s/early 90s) could have been a contributing factor......

I guess for a group that I thought was breaking down norms, we collectively seemed to mimic the misery of the straight folks around us......

And as for the racism - sometimes it seemed to be obvious, other times more subtle but it was there. Pittsburgh had a bar with three or four tiers and the black patrons were always sort of relegated to a corner. Same when I went into a bar in Cleveland called Keys. Black men on one side, white on the other. I caused audible gasps when I walked over to the "black side" to say hello to an adorable guy. Audible. In 1992. That, I couldn't wrap my brain around.

I didn't have the vocabulary to say much at the time. I was afraid of my own shadows, and the bars were owned by mobsters and other types you just didn't want to fuck around with. No one to challenge or complain to, as it were.

by Anonymousreply 9508/05/2020

1270 in Boston, 1989. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Especially loved going when the Red Sox were playing and you could go out to the rooftop bar and drink as the cheers from Fenway washed over. Scared to death of walking past the Ramrod to get there, and of course, was a regular there in the 90s. Good times.

by Anonymousreply 9608/05/2020

r96 - that's so common. I remember being very intimidated by certain gay bars - usually leather / other - because they seemed so mysterious and God knows what happened there.

Later you realize it's just a bunch of queens in leather with some kink and they're the least scary people on Earth. But when you're young, it's very hard to process that.

Very relatable.

by Anonymousreply 9708/05/2020

The bar closing desperation.

by Anonymousreply 9808/05/2020

The surprise anal.

by Anonymousreply 9908/05/2020

In the city I grew up in, gay bars are even more unremittingly awful than they are elsewhere.

I remember a lot of femmey twinks with bad breath and cheap hair dye, fat, desperate-looking guys over 30, lots of Kylie Minogue, no-one I actually wanted to hook up with, and an overpowering feeling of self-hatred.

You need to experience the gay scene in one of the planet's megacities: London, New York, Paris, Rio.

by Anonymousreply 10008/05/2020

R100 - that's true. It's another level in big mega cities - but it's hard to not have that if you move.

Nowadays, even in the megacities, the options are far fewer than in the past. Sad.

There were so many more gay bars and clubs in all areas of countries (I'm thinking particularly the US). They're all gone now.

by Anonymousreply 10108/05/2020

Remixes of popular songs were a real surprise. The first music I looked for when I downloaded Napster was all those remixes I'd been hearing but could never find on an album or single at a record store.

by Anonymousreply 10208/06/2020

Escape, London, 2002. It was a warm summer night. The place was wall-to-wall with men. The smell of cologne, sweat and tobacco was thick in the air. I had one drink after another and one cigarette after another. The disco lights flashed around the room hazy with smoke. Hours of dancing, laughing and flirting. Everyone seemed to be having a marvelous time. I had my first kiss ever. It was in the corner with a handsome Spanish guy. What a strange and pleasant sensation it was to feel someone else’s warm wet tongue in my mouth. That night was lightning in a bottle that I tried to recapture for years.

by Anonymousreply 10308/06/2020

R97 Truer words were never spoken.

I went a few times to a leather bar that was deliberately staged to be very intimidating. I was in jeans, no leather, and several of the older guys had on their gear.

Maybe the third time I went, they had a radio playing (the DJ upstairs started after 11).

And Then It Happened: Cher's new single "Believe" came on.

And I watched as these stone face butch men......all became Solid Gold Dancers. Everyone singing and sashaying and turning into M A R Y! right in front of my eyes. The masks were dropped. I LOL'ed.

by Anonymousreply 10408/06/2020

Porn on the TV.

by Anonymousreply 10508/06/2020

Ha! R104, that reminds me of a charity event I went to at the Hollywood Athletic Club back in the late 90s. There was a converted dance floor in what used to be a pool, and when the music switched from Goth standards to Cher singing "Believe" I hit the floor dancing and all the straights bailed out like that pool scene in [italic]Caddyshack[/italic]!

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by Anonymousreply 10608/06/2020

I stepped out of the closet and into a big pile of shit. I moved to Boston from a small town in the Midwest. During one of my first visits to the 1270 in Boston I saw a bartender drink a beer. Another bartender came in and just to chat I said, "That's cool they let you drink a beer while you work." She turned out to be a co-owner and the bartender got fired. Not learning to shut the fuck up, I apologized to the bartender. He and his friends stole my wallet and called my parents to out me in a horrific way, then broke into my neighbor's apartment thinking it was mine and stole the elderly neighbor's address book. I can only imagine the phone calls her friends and relatives received :^)

I finally threatened to let the Somerville police know who broke into the apartment and the harassment stopped.

by Anonymousreply 10708/06/2020

Where lesbians go drama follows.

by Anonymousreply 10808/06/2020

I remember going at 18, I was toned and had a great bubble butt. I told my family I was going to the gym for a late night workout, so unfortunately I was in gym attire, but it may have worked in my favor because it was fitted. I was nervous but really wanted to experience it. Anyway drove to the bar, walked in (no one ID'ed me!), and waded through a fairly packed crowd of gay men to get to the bar.

What stood out to me was just walking through the crowd from one side to another, I was felt up and down and ALL AROUND. There were no boundaries! I didn't care, I actually found it quite funny, but I do remember thinking, "Is this what women deal with when they're at bars? WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? You can get guys to buy you drinks!"

In any case, it was an introduction to the gay world that turned my 20's into a slut-filled decade that was so immense it brought down civilizations with its decadence.

by Anonymousreply 10908/06/2020

I co-sign R97. Leather bars terrified me at first. I thought I would get raped. Years later I became a regular at one!

by Anonymousreply 11008/06/2020

That gay men don't want gay male friends. Their friends are lesbian and straight female fag hags. They only want men for sex, or fake 'friends' they can go out with to see and be seen- so they don't look like lonely, desperate homos.

If you don't like yourself, why would you like others like yourself?

by Anonymousreply 11108/06/2020

Having only been a few isolated times to a few small town gay bars I wanted better and dived into leather and sex bars in a big city. Any small misgivings I may have had faded fast. The surprise is that the men were all sorts but the great majority were at ease with themselves and it was that confidence that was appealing, the ease of conversation, the ease of sex (or not), the variety of people I would meet in a night or in an hour even. Sex was plentiful and easy enough that very few people were pesky about pursuing me when I had gone from polite to firm to emphatic in expressing a lack of interest (some of these caught on, not too quickly, but afterwards we became friends or good acquaintances of a sort.) I quickly learned how to say no and even quicker how to say yes. I learned a lot fast.

The second surprise was when a few years later I would occasionally end up at some dance club. I hated them: the crappy pop music, the preening cliques of look-alike dress-alike friends who barely had one brain between them, the sad drunks, the druggie cliques, the bitchy freaks, the perfection of the ¨I am so fucking bored I could just die¨ look from men who had no obvious reason to affect such hauteur. drunk fags pushing their drunk hags into a taxi so they could try to get some dick, finally, maybe, the dancing which only rarely looked sexy and even less like anyone was enjoying himself or his company. I was always a bar man, not a dance club man. Big events, big DJs, annoying live acts, themed nights I hated big clubs that were at best tangentially about sloppy sex and always favored the bars with their cozier, anything can happen atmosphere.

Big city gay bars that put sex at the forefront or that did not bother to hide the possibility were so much more confortable because they acknowledged that right at the threshold, and then beyond that it was up to you if you wanted to act on the possibility. I suppose it may be similar to the way some nudists say that nudism is for them the great equalizer, a relaxing force.

by Anonymousreply 11208/06/2020

I was surprised at how much more fun and interesting gay bars were. This was back in the days before gay bars had windows.

by Anonymousreply 11308/06/2020

What surprised me was the utter brashness of the guys who tried to pick me up. I worked there as a bar back and I don't think I went through too many shifts without someone hitting on me. I was only 18 at the time, maybe that explains it. I turned down the vast majority of them but not all. There was one guy I flipped over, a New Orleans police officer who wore dark glasses and had a 70s San Francisco gay mustache. He was one of the cops who patrolled the French Quarter on a horse. He was the one who found me a place to live when he found out I was living in my car.

Another thing was the crappy music. Extremely crappy shitty music.

Oh, and how bad drag queens looked up close under fluorescent lights.

Flashlight night was fun, though. The bar was dark, the staff and most of the customers wore only underwear. I had to outdo them all so I started wearing only a jock strap and climbed onto the bar and did a bit of dancing.

For a southern town, New Orleans was really willing to put it all out there.

by Anonymousreply 11408/06/2020

How many of us went on to then work in gay bars? At 21 I did a summer in the 80s as a cocktail waiter at the Gypsy II in Las Vegas. My brother’s lover was the manager and I started as a bar back and by the end of the summer I was the top earning waiter. Of course I figured out early on the shorter the shorts, the higher the tip, and if you recall the 80s, those shorts were quite skimpy already. My biggest surprise working there was all the bartenders were in AA, just like on Cheers.

by Anonymousreply 11508/06/2020

R112

Are you a writer? By profession?

There is something very appealing about the way you discuss impression and experience.

I suppose that on an anonymous board, even if you were a writer, you couldn't point me to more. But I wanted to say that I appreciated your offering.

by Anonymousreply 11608/07/2020

foreskins

by Anonymousreply 11708/07/2020

[quote]R116 Are you a writer? By profession? There is something very appealing about the way you discuss impression and experience.

Flagrant pickup line!!

by Anonymousreply 11808/07/2020

My first gay bar was, "Incognito", in Pasadena, CA (1986). Up to that point, I thought gay bars were either leather, or drag. "Incognito" was a dark, yet quiet and chill. The next I went, I noticed that a couple of guys kissed the bartender, kiss a slow tongue kiss, and up to that point, I thought that was the most erotic thing, I'd ever seen.

by Anonymousreply 11908/07/2020

R116: In a sense, but a different sort of writing.

R118: Ha! Would it work? Maybe in tandem with a big dick and a coarse suggestion.

by Anonymousreply 12008/08/2020

[quote] For a southern town, New Orleans was really willing to put it all out there.

New Orleans is part of the South by location only; it's its own unique culture.

by Anonymousreply 12108/08/2020

[quote] For a southern town, New Orleans was really willing to put it all out there.

New Orleans is part of the South by location only; it's its own unique culture.

by Anonymousreply 12208/08/2020

Very true, r122. New Orleans is also one of the three cities in the south I find to be interesting and have character and charm. The other two are Charleston, South Carolina and my hometown of Savannah, Georgia.

by Anonymousreply 12308/08/2020

Oh, grope rooms. I was fairly shocked when I discovered grope rooms and their purpose.

by Anonymousreply 12408/08/2020

The strength of the drinks.

by Anonymousreply 12508/08/2020

New Orleans is a mere shadow of what it used to be. Live sex shows (behind a sheet but still very erotic) people fucking in doorways ,sucking dicks right in the middle of Lafittes ,waking up in the gutter at dawn with your pants missing,now THAT was fun !

by Anonymousreply 12608/08/2020

r126=the late Barbara Bush

by Anonymousreply 12708/08/2020

Agree R126. Love NOLA! Until the 80s, I worked in gay bars almost as long as I’ve been going to bars. Started cleaning the gay bar in a university town while in collage, graduated to bartender, Sunday brunch cook. As the bar had a combo DJ booth/service bar, graduated to DJ. When I finished college, there were no great job prospect in the town (you either worked for state government or the university), so stayed on at the bar. Rode the crest of the disco wave through the 70s - 80s, moving between three different cities. At one stop was managing and DJ for the bar. My last stop was as a DJ only. Retired from the bars around 1981. By then I had started a career in financial technology.

by Anonymousreply 12808/08/2020

Lost the purpose of this thread in replaying old history. What surprised me was the support in the bars during my time working in them. This was pre community centers, support groups, organizations. Bars were all we had. For the most part we loved and supported each other. They provided me lucrative employment, and gave me skills I used in my final career.

by Anonymousreply 12908/08/2020

I found that gay bars, in NYC at least, treated Asians and Blacks like shit, often not allowing them in.

Bars didn’t want to become “minority” bars.

I believe Splash got into trouble doing that shit.

by Anonymousreply 13008/08/2020

r128, what is financial technology?

by Anonymousreply 13108/08/2020

I remember thinking, "Why are there so many straight women here?"

by Anonymousreply 13208/08/2020

I was surprised at how much like junior high school it seemed to me. Insecure little gossipy bitches. And how cliquey they were. I was terribly disappointed. I later learned all gay bars are like this. Bars aren’t like the real world.

by Anonymousreply 13308/08/2020

The thing that shocked me was there were actually attractive gay guys. On TV / in movies in the 90's all gay men were fucking UGLY and power-femme. It was much nicer in real life.

by Anonymousreply 13408/08/2020

I was surprised by how loud and relatively dark they were. It didn't seem conducive to getting to know someone.

by Anonymousreply 13508/09/2020

Eyeroll at R135 - you can't be fucking serious.

by Anonymousreply 13608/09/2020

How much I secretly enjoy being chatted up and lusted after despite my protestations to the contrary! I loved and still do male attention!

In Liverpool is my gay scene and I genuinely had not appreciated just how many bars there were relative to the size of the city. I only knew The Lisbon was gay , I relied on older community members to introduce me to the rest of the gay scene. The Masquerade, Pacos ,Escape, Poste House, The Curzon, Garlands etc

by Anonymousreply 13708/11/2020

[quote]What surprised you when you first started going to gay bars?

Not knowing that they would be all but extinct within a decade.

by Anonymousreply 13808/11/2020

That lesbians enjoyed playing piano so much!

by Anonymousreply 13908/11/2020

I was also shocked to see spirits being consumed out in the open, and commoners addressing their social betters without any shame or deference. There may have also been dancing, but I can’t be sure because I left in such haste. Shocking.

by Anonymousreply 14008/11/2020

My current husband took me to my first gay bar almost 20 years ago. The Colosseum in Sayreville, New Jersey. I was a bit nervous, but also excited to finally be going to a gay club. My initial impression, never having been around a crowd of gay men before, was how everyone kissed each other hello. That threw me off the first few times. Like I'd to go say hello to someone and it's like oh right kiss on the cheek i guess were doing that.

by Anonymousreply 14108/11/2020

What’s surprised me was the fact that we actually got in - 1978, Orange Country, CA. My friends and I were all around 14 years old when an older friend (he was17 years old, lol) told us about a gay bar that was walking distance from our neighborhood it was called “Rumor Hazzit”, a play on a Donna Summer song. So the next Saturday night we all walked there and we made a pledge that if we all didn’t get in that we would all leave together. Luckily we all lied about our ages and all of us got in and had a blast, We felt a kind of liberation and kinship that we had not felt in our junior high school (obviously). This was the height of the disco era, and so although we all knew how to disco dance we had never danced with a same-sex partners before that night . So being at this dance club and being able to dance with another guy was in of itself completely thrilling, love it. It became our life. However, looking back, we were never treated like “fresh meat” because I think we were TOO much fresh meat, we were so young, 12 to 14, that 99% of the men at the bars just stayed away from us. But we didn’t care, we were there just to celebrate and dance our gay asses off.

That was the start of it, we then discovered other bars in OC (DOC West became our favorite) and then we headed to the big leagues i.g. Los Angeles’ bars and danced clubs, but by then we all have fake IDs and we’re a bit older and savvier.

by Anonymousreply 14208/11/2020

[quote] My current husband took me to my first gay bar almost 20 years ago.

Sounds like you have a slew of husbands lined up.

by Anonymousreply 14308/12/2020

Dorothy was certainly surprised....

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 14408/12/2020

Zima with grenadine

by Anonymousreply 14508/12/2020

We were taken to the Annex in Chicago by our first boyfriend, a blond 25 year old GQ gorgeous ex-air force. We were shocked at all the attentia we were getting from hot numbers. And all the free boozette! We had previously always believed that the only reason someone became a homosexual was because he was too ugly to get a fish.

by Anonymousreply 14608/12/2020

I remember The Blue Oyster

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 14708/26/2020

Never been to one, never will.

by Anonymousreply 14808/26/2020

R148. Mike Pence arrives.

by Anonymousreply 14908/26/2020

It was super cliquey and I hate it. But once they found out I was a top and loked rimming after my first few hookups, I was in...still don't like bars though except for cruising.

by Anonymousreply 15008/26/2020

[quote]Never been to one, never will.

Hold tight to your principles...

by Anonymousreply 15108/26/2020

That smell.

by Anonymousreply 15208/26/2020

[quote]As to the question, I was surprised that so many gay bars couldn't make a decent gin & tonic. One place used diet tonic (ugh), most used bar guns, which for some reason, always seen to dispense flat tonic. After awhile I gave up and just ordered Tanqueray on the rocks with a lime, which nobody can fuck up.

I had what I suppose was the advantage of detesting tonic water, so I never drank anything but gin on the rocks with lime. I started with Tanqueray, which is what was available in most gay bars in New York. Someone turned me on to Bombay and Boodles that same year, and Bombay on the rocks with lime became my drink wherever I could get it.

I became too much of a nasty bitch on gin—partly fueled by the awfulness of living in Seattle, I must say—and I gave it up permanently in favor of wine for what turned out to be the last three years of my drinking. If I were to have a slip, I've often said Bombay Sapphire, which came out after I quit drinking, would be my elixir of choice.

Mmmm...gin.

by Anonymousreply 15308/26/2020

Lots of you were shocked that gay neighborhood bars were as boring as straight neighborhood bars? Bars that are filled with regular looking people? Too funny!

You thought all the men would like like models or hot athletes? LOOOL

by Anonymousreply 15408/26/2020

Why r148?

by Anonymousreply 15508/26/2020

I'd love to go back 20 years and into a gay club. They just don't seem to be very fun anymore - and it is more than just me being 20 years older.

by Anonymousreply 15608/26/2020
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