Thursday, June 30, 2011

My First Gay Bar

Andrew Sullivan has started a fascinating series on first visits to gay bars.  He was inspired by this Slate article on the decline of the gay bar.  It got me thinking about my first gay bar and what a night that was.  It was, of all places, The Heretic in Atlanta.  I was active duty military, stationed in rural Alabama and incredibly naive and inexperienced. I was also incredibly paranoid of getting caught in a gay bar, especially the Heretic, which had such a reputation that even I had heard of it. I went with my very first boyfriend who I had just met, and a couple of his friends. As we were walking in, I was too preocupied with scanning the parking lot for undercover Military Police (I told you I was paranoid) to notice the guy checking IDs until I was up. I fumbled with my wallet and out flopped my military ID. I scrambled to hide it and find my drivers license and the guy said "Don't worry honey, that's not the first one of those I've seen tonight." His joke eased my paranoia. That night was the first time I ever danced with a man. It was overwhelming to see a room full of men dancing with men. If there's anything more liberating than that, I haven't experienced it yet.