There Will Be Blood
This post was submitted by Kareem, a single guy in DC.
Proper Etiquette for the Gay Greeting: shake hands or wave or bow or curtsy or HICKEY.
I suppose I should preface with the fact that I don’t usually go to Town Discotheque. While I don’t really have a problem with the crowd or the music (I don’t prescribe to house thump-thump music or sweaty pectoral muscles blocking my vision), I can see the appeal. There have been a couple rare occasions where I have gone to the enormous club and had a fun time, which usually involved whiskey, a crowd of giddy straight girlfriends, and Seizure. Overall though, my experience with this staple DC gay venue has been marred by various negative incidents, from a nasty encounter with the Secret Service (I’ll save that for later post) and another where I was immediately ditched, sober and alone, upon entry. Town and I have never really gotten along, and I’m OK with that.
But at one in the morning last weekend, I was summoned by an old friend from college to return to this local homo-mecca. Hesitant at first and with images of my past jaunts to the joint swirling around my bourbon-coated consciousness, I headed out to meet my friend and hopefully take a step in reconciling my hesitancy towards the club. I should have known what was to come when I decided to hail a taxi. I never take taxis, due to my insistence that, for me, bipedalism beats quadro-wheelism any day. Walking is a good digestive aid and provides ample time to appreciate one’s surroundings. This sentiment reinforces the fact that I am graying and will soon be senior citizen in my mid-twenties. But I digress. Something convinced me that night that I needed my own carriage to take me out and after marveling at the Land-Rover-turned-taxi with a built in computer on the dashboard, I stumbled into Town. After paying the entrance fee, I made my way to my friend, interrupting her violent booty-shaking to grab a drink and re-enter the hurricane of dancing beaus swirling around the dance floor. As bodies gyrated around me, I tried hard to make myself look like I knew what I was doing. As I watched everyone else move naturally to the beat, I tried to fit in and prayed for the DJ to go against the grain and slip in a Ponytail track, but to no avail.
A couple drinks in, I had mastered the hip grind and had something going on with my feet. Don’t ask me what, but it was working. As my friend twirled and rocked herself on stage, another clubgoer approached me from the sweaty mob. Squinting due to my horrible nearsightedness and Town’s insistence, by way of dim lighting, that gay men are human bats, blind creatures completely reliant on our gay sonar, I could barely make out that he was fairly attractive, smiling, and interested in dancing with me. “Interesting,” was my initial reaction, as my concentration left my confused feet, “but I’ll go with it.” We stepped into line with each other and I tried to introduce myself, despite Town’s efforts to drown out all formal verbal communication via bass. After a considerable amount of tango, sweaty and exhausted, we grabbed a drink and returned to the dance floor. The more we danced, the more it seemed this individual wanted to kiss me. I’m usually not a proponent of public displays of affection, but the several drinks I had consumed and my newly acquired dance high convinced me otherwise. We moved closer to one another. Here it comes. I closed my eyes.
He’s sucking on my neck.
My eyes jolted open and I looked feverishly around. Reminiscent of when I caught a leech on my leg during a tubing trip in high school, I started to panic. My apparent shock didn’t affect this homo-site, though. He continued his ferocious attack on my neck. Horrified and wondering if I had somehow found my way into an episode of True Blood or that chauvinistic teen fantasy trilogy that everyone and their grandmother is reading, I hastily looked around for a wooden stake, or if anything, the closest exit. He was still sucking on my neck.
Almost instantly, my anthropology-major instincts kicked in and I started to theorize about what drew this certain gentleman to the part of my body used to breath and swallow, as well as prop up the skull that encases my then-startled brain. What part of human culture makes this area a popular destination spot? I would think proximity to the mouth, but as I felt the grip of my antagonist tightening, I quickly ruled out the concept. Clearly he wasn’t interested in anything north of my adam’s apple. Shaking these thoughts away, I maneuvered my flailing hands to his shoulders and forcibly pushed him away. He stayed in his entranced state, head bowed, I suppose hoping that his prey would return. Looking left and right, I spotted an escape route under a pair of tanned biceps and through a field of Hollister tank tops, to the exit. “It was nice to meet you!” I stammered and bolted, out the door and into the cold, slightly humid summer early morning.
Again, I caved into transportation and hopped on a bus home. Taking sanctuary in the back of the bus, with a homeless women wailing in the front seat, I watched in horror at my reflection in the window as my dance partner’s “hello” transformed from a smile and into a big, black and blue hickey. As we sped through the darkness, I watched as a night of innocent dancing turned into a massive, sinful bruise reflecting all over the passing U St. corridor. After mulling over what my life had come to, reminding myself that I am no longer in junior high, and swearing off Town for its excessively addictive hedonism, I got to thinking. Has the institution of proper etiquette died? Has the hook-up, or in my case, neck bombardment, replaced what was once a proper introduction and first date? Am I the only person who thinks he can meet another guy or go on a first date and not necessarily lock lips (or in my case, carotid arteries)? I realize Town isn’t the best place to look for one’s future love interest, but is it unreasonable to think that one would be be able to find another interested individual without playing tonsil hockey before exchanging names? Do I need to start carrying a wreath of onions when I go out on the weekends? Do straight people or gay women find themselves with this problem, or is the equation “man + man” in contemporary society more prone to the sum of “no + manners?”
Is the gentleman’s gentleman dead?
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