Here comes the gay again, falling on my head like a memory, falling on my head like another new queer bar promotion. Unfortunately, the head in question is currently occupied with the ongoing battle between nausea-inducing antibiotics and super-cute bacteria, so the idea of swishing around in public with a sarcasm cocktail, tipping theoretical hats and super-cute bartenders in the name of polite commerce, doesn't necessarily appeal. I'm swishing enough on the couch.
But this beat stops for nothing, and tonight I have no less than two lavender affairs on the docket, neither of which I can gracelessly bow out of. It's time to buck up and get fucked-up, slap my ass back to the pavement and stop writing about my sinus infection because there are people out there who don't give a shit. As an added bonus, I can't hear anything that anybody could possibly say tonight, so dialogue will switch to a high-volume monologue, with any luck, and I'll come off looking like a faggot on a bender (or a bartender). Things could be worse.
"You're just making yourself weaker, and your little body isn't getting any time to heal," my friend Jen anonymously assaults my apparent alcoholism.
"Huh? What?" I echo sweet nothings through the infected tubes of my inner ears.
Jen and a bunch of people, really convene presumably to hold me up through my first challenge: a post-mayoral, post-relevance speech about my impotence as it pertains to candidacy for local office. It's the second Young Democrats Speak Easy at Lava Lounge, and I'm obviously flattered by the invite, if flattened by the expectations. Normally at this sort of affair my spite would be focused toward the microphone, and then creep out into the surrounding din of liquor splashing against those well-liquored. You're stupid. No, you're stupid, etc.
But tonight, the spit(e) merely falls to floor, climbs up my leg, somehow manages a trip from my anus through my spinal cord, and then is reamplified out of a makeshift PA system just to repeat its clockwise journey through futility. I'm stupid. Yeah … I'm stupid.
"How would you propose to motivate the Democratic Party into action?" booms a cynic from the audience who probably hates me.
"Excuse me?" I again feign deafness, only this time to little effect. "I thought I already did."
Actually I do a pretty good job, which makes all of this no fun at all. No fun, that is, until an acquaintance walks over to my table thereafter and whispers, "Can I borrow you for a minute?"
Reflexively, I take to this sort of 1983 music video situation like a nose to a mirror and quickly follow his lead, back through the Lava bathroom corridor … and then past it.
"This is the Magma Room," he clues me in, leading my head to an encyclopedic observational flurry connecting two volcanic substances, because it's obvious and it makes me feel a bit scientific, and stuff.
There in the "Magma," a squished gathering of 20 or so watch from the small bar while somebody who's just turned 30 gets a full-on lap dance from a male go-go dancer, who, when he is not sucking the guy's crotch through the rear of his skivvies, is hanging upside down with a ribbon hanging out of his mouth, legs draped over his victim's shoulders. Hot. Like magma.
I excuse myself, mostly because I don't know why I'm here, and run back into the Lava for a promised farewell shot with a young Democrat who likes tequila.
"I'm keeping with the Mexican theme," she looks at me like she's really saying something.
"Huh? What?" I love young Democrats.
But it's the Log Cabin Republicans I would prefer to sleep with. I've just entered the much-anticipated, if controversial, reopening party for the New Southern Nights (mostly a seamless recasting of the old version), and I've already been magnetically drawn to the LCR president, the dreamy Patrick Howell. If I weren't already very happily involved, and he weren't so acutely conservative (minus those pesky anti-gay legislations), surely we'd be riding an elephantine donkey somewhere in the sexual politic. But for now it's just polite small talk that I can't even hear. It's better that way.
Over in what used to be the show bar now more of a couchy chair situation designed to raise the plucked brow I breeze by something of a political jab from Michael Wanzie about my column last week and his Sheehan situation, but (again) hear nothing. To save face, I run up to him, like a faggot on a bender, and try to make peace.
"You're not mad at me, are you?" I co-dependent some more.
"Oh, no," he brushes me off. "I looooved it."
Liarpants! Otherwise, all seems to be going fairly well for the new owners. The staff, pretentiously enough, is walking around with those Rhythm Nation walkie-talkie headpieces, wearing tasteful black, and the people in attendance appear to be enjoying themselves, all big, bawdy laughs and lean-ins peculiar to recent rises in tax brackets. My friend John Sullivan is attached to the whole affair in some consulting capacity and proceeds to pull me around for a minor tour, which makes me feel marginally important, but also a bit stifled. How can I make fun of anything here while being sweetly guided by a friend? This, I assume, is sabotage.
"It looks really great!" I fish for a free drink.
But then, for no apparent reason, I'm pushed into a conversation with the club's designer, which is funny because I don't hear every other word of it and can only muster nods of concern, and do none of the sort of note-taking I guess this event would beg of an actual journalist. Something, apparently, has gone awry with the parking; an outside parking company has descended into the area and is, without telling the bar ahead of time, charging $10 per car. Everybody, it seems, is very upset. And I don't care. I merely want to descend into the sort of low-rent bacchanalia that Southern is famous for, stubbing my nose on dirty corners of awful carpet. Alas, things have changed (including the carpet … it's uglier) and I'm out the door by 9.
"Where did you park?" one of the owners nervously bounds up to me on the way out. What's with me and parking? "I valet-ed," I snatch my keys and waddle toward my car, my head swimming back home to park itself on the couch for free.