Once upon a time, I had a home of my own, and a wide social circle, and I never had any reason to go to a bar alone. These days, however, I pinball around the world looking after other people’s pets, which sometimes lands me in places where I don’t know anybody, and there’s only so much internet even I can take when that happens. I may live on a shoestring, but I still like a drink.
I choose my drinking venues carefully and consider my placement in them. I’ll usually sit up at the bar, so that I can observe the banter between the bartender and regulars, which might enable me to meet people without ending up trapped in a corner if any of said people turn out to be dodgy. And hopefully, should anything get uncomfortable, the bartender might have my back. These are things you have to think about if you are perceived as female and you want to go to an unfamiliar bar by yourself.
Over the course of my drinking life I have observed a million solitary men drinking at bars, seemingly content with gazing into the middle distance in between sips, but I still haven’t worked out how they do it without being completely bored. I prefer to read a zine or write a letter, rather than a) staring at bottles, which is dull, or b) staring at people, which feels creepy plus it increases the risks of catching the eye of somebody I’d be better off not talking to. The zine or letter thing is a gamble: people might use it as a conversation opener, or they might see it as a cue not to talk to you at all. I enjoy meeting people, and if I wasn’t looking for some human interaction I’d just stay in, but by god it’s a minefield.
I have met many great people while drinking alone in bars. Sometimes we’ve been best friends for a night, sometimes we’ve kept in touch and seen each other regularly, sometimes we’ve just had a pleasant conversation that lasted for the duration of a glass of wine. All of these are reasons why I still do it. However, I have also had many uncomfortable experiences, a selection of which I shall now share with you. I have decided to restrict my list to those encountered over the past year, and to further restrict that list only to uncomfortable experiences in New Zealand and the Netherlands, and I shall list them in order of least to most awful.
The Woman Who Thought I Was Too Foreign To Understand Poetry
I met this woman after a poetry reading. We enthused to each other about how good it was, then she kind of fished around a bit to find out where I was from (instead of just, you know, asking me straight out). She then declared, “Of course, you probably wouldn’t have understood most of it.” I think I was too floored to comment for a moment, because it seemed like such a weird thing to say. The performance had been in English, my native language, with a handful of Maori words, most of which I knew. This was my fifth visit to New Zealand, and I felt reasonably familiar with the general subject matter; maybe I might miss a couple of historical or place references, but that wasn’t going to eclipse my overall grasp of the piece. Also, I knew the poet in question, and perhaps he would have advised me not to bother coming had he expected my comprehension to be so poor. And furthermore, I probably wouldn’t have been enthusing about the performance just a minute ago to this same woman if I hadn’t understood most of it. I could be wrong, but I felt like a white New Zealander (such as, seemingly, herself, as well as most of the audience) wasn’t going to have that much of a head start on me here. And now here I am, months on, still indignantly expounding my qualifications for understanding something that I don’t understand why I would not be expected to understand.
Difficulty Rating: 1. It was stupid, but it’s not like I often encounter discrimination as a white native English speaker. It didn’t take place against a backdrop of societal prejudice against folks of my ethnicity or linguistic background. So.
The Antisemite Who I Mistook For A Zionist
A new friend I’d met at the bar was asking me about my travels, and another dude interjected with, “Have you ever been to the state of Israel?” I said no, and he had no further questions for me. Due to the very specific phrasing of his question, I presumed that he might be a Zionist with strong patriotic feelings about Israel. I couldn’t have been more wrong. After my friend returned from a trip with the apparent Zionist to buy some drugs, I asked how it went. “Fine, fine,” he said, “but you don’t want to hang out with that guy.” I had already gotten that feeling, but I wanted to know exactly why. It turned out that he’d started ranting about Jewish conspiracies the second they got in the car.
Difficulty Rating: 1. We barely interacted at all, and I never saw him again, hooray. However, I tend to listen to my instinct and ask questions later, and my alarm bells went off as soon as I encountered this dude. I feel that he was the dodgiest out of all the folks described here, and I was glad that he hardly spoke to me, even before I learned of his odious views.
The White Dude Who Demanded I Justify Asian Feminists’ Existence
I’d met this dude once or twice before; he had a really amazing voice that made him sound like he was perpetually doing the voiceover for a Hollywood trailer. On this particular night, he asked what I was reading, and I explained that it was Mellow Yellow, a (seriously excellent) zine by Asian feminists in New Zealand. He took the zine from me and flicked through it looking for reasons to disparage it, while asking me why they were “so worried about being Asian” and “So if I go to Asia, can I write a zine about being white?” “You can write whatever you like,” I said, “but it is not a parallel experience.” This is how I ended up delivering an impromptu lecture on white privilege in Malaysia, after which he looked at his shoes for a minute and then announced that he was going outside for a smoke. I concealed a tiny smirk of victory, and then the bartender informed me that this white dude was known to exclusively date Asian women.
Difficulty Rating: 2. It was tedious and enraging and I also felt that I needed to keep the peace somewhat because it was a small town and I was going to run into him again; but I concentrated on responding to his statements one by one, and felt like I said what I needed to.
The Gay Man Who Hated Dykes And Jews
This gentleman was quite friendly. We were sitting in an old-school, gay-ish pub with few other customers around, and he advised me on Amsterdam nightlife. He had a particular loathing for a lesbian venue where, he said, the patrons were like “apes,” behaving like men while not welcoming men such as himself. “I hate dykes,” he concluded, rather forcefully, before issuing the caveat that his use of the term did not refer to lesbians as a whole. He also hated camp gay men, which he explained via a story about one camp gay man many years ago saying something mean. And somehow – I remember absolutely nothing that could have reasonably led us to this topic – he told me that he also hated Jews, because of Israel. I challenged these statements, and he listened to me, but I didn’t stick around for more. His discussions of the ethnic diversity of Amsterdam put me on edge, because although he seemed mostly to be proud of it, it seemed plausible that at any moment some xenophobia might step in too.
Difficulty Rating: 3. Although I called out the flaws in his thinking, I probably put up with it for longer than I would have if he was straight, due to an enduring search for solidarity among queers which ensures that I will eternally be disappointed. On the plus side, he bought me a drink.
The Gender Police
I returned to the old-school gay-ish pub where I had met the man who hated dykes and Jews, reasoning that maybe I might at least get some more friendly conversation. Instead, I navigated the crowds to take the only spare seat at the bar, next to a woman who turned to me and demanded, “You are a woman or a man?” This doesn’t happen much at all, but since I really don’t feel strongly or enthusiastically about identifying as female, I took the opportunity to respond, “Yes,” which I guess didn’t go down so well. She fixed me with a gaze, and then began to joke loudly in Dutch with the people on the other side of me. I don’t tend to assume that discussions in languages I can’t speak are All About Me, but in this case I was uncomfortably not sure. Since I was unable to identify another part of the pub that I could relocate to, I decided to just drink fast and get going. At one point, I realised that the unnerving gender-policing woman was staring at me again while impersonating my posture and waiting for me to react in some way. Perhaps she was really drunk. Perhaps the whole thing could even have been some really inappropriate method of flirting, which was something I only thought of the following day. Perhaps she just wanted me to laugh and engage in banter, but who the hell knew. I headed home.
Difficulty Rating: 4. Pretty horrible. I didn’t feel physically unsafe, but I felt completely unwelcome, and wasn’t sure whether the other people around me were also hostile. I decided never to go back.
The Woman Who Insisted I Had An Eating Disorder
I took my place at the bar next to a woman who turned and said hello to me and promptly revealed herself to be very drunk. After a couple of pleasantries, she got down to business: “You look sick,” she said. I did not really know what she was referring to. “I’m fine,” I said cautiously. “I used to be like you,” she said. “I had an eating disorder, and I cut myself.” She showed me scars on her arms. “But now I’m doing better.” “I’m glad,” I said. However, she was convinced that she could tell by looking at me that I was in the same place she had been. Here’s the thing: I’m thin, have been all my life. Back in my school days, a couple of people had asked me if I was anorexic, as if that would be a really funny joke, but nobody had made such a comment in about twenty years, plus this encounter was in a whole new category. She wasn’t making an obnoxious joke and it seemed that she was still attempting to heal from what she had been through. I wanted to tread carefully with that, but also, being told I looked “horrible” by someone who was allegedly concerned about my well-being wasn’t my idea of a pleasant night out. She apologised, but a minute later turned to her friend and started lamenting my presence, so I removed myself to the other end of the bar. To my surprise, I was shaking a little; sometimes with drunk people, you just don’t know where it’s going to go and whether they’re going to kick off, plus the bar hazards I was prepared for did not extend to an intensely personal ‘false consciousness’ accusation. The bartender asked me if I was okay and told me about the time a customer took a bewilderingly strong exception to his piercing, which was not the same thing but I appreciated the solidarity nonetheless.
Difficulty Rating: 5. I felt disrespected on two counts – negative comments about my appearance, and refusal to believe me when I said that my health was fine. However, I was conflicted about how best to respond, because she did not appear to be in a good headspace and I didn’t want to make it worse. I remain uncomfortable about the whole thing, found it more challenging than the politically motivated disagreements I’ve had, and was relieved that I didn’t see her again.
While none of these experiences felt great, they provided me with some kind of insight, whether it was about the assumptions people might make about me, or the assumptions I might make about them; or they challenged me to improve my debate skills (in situations where I felt safe); or they gave me a glimpse into where the other person was coming from. My conclusion is that many people are awful, and also they have a never-ending ability to manifest their awfulness in new and unexpected ways. But most of them probably aren’t a hundred percent awful and will have some redeeming features, plus maybe you just caught them on a bad night. (Possible future feature that I don’t feel desperately in a hurry to write: Detailed Apologies To Strangers I Have Been Awful To While A Drunken Mess.) When you open the door to the bar, you have no way of knowing where it’s going to take you. And somehow – maybe it’s stubborn faith in humanity or maybe it’s just that I like alcohol – I’m still willing to give the whole thing a shot.
Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” column exists for individual queer ladies to tell their own personal stories and share compelling experiences. These personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.
Nine is a writer, editor, DJ and international pet sitter, half-based in Malaysia, half-based on the road. Follow them on twitter here.
I can empathize some regarding the woman who was insistent about claiming you had an eating disorder. It reminds me of the time a gyno asked me if I had an eating disorder and made it clear that she did not believe me when I told her no. (I am a few pounds underweight.) It was such an aggravating experience, but yours sounds extra challenging given the woman’s issues in her past.
I hope you meet awesome people the next time you drink!
Damn, that sounds super frustrating. But thanks, I hope you meet awesome people too!
The white girls in Williamsburg/Brooklyn bars that insist on *accidentally* spilling their IPA beers on me and say “sorry, don’t get angry,” my patience is running low.
People think I’m joking around when I say this happens but when they witness it for themselves they’re like “omg!” It’s usually straight bars and the girls remind me of extras off “Girls.” I consider myself to be friendly especially after a couple of whiskey and beer combo drinks, anyway when it happens I usually give a “oh my the puppy peed on the carpet again!” look, no condemnation just annoyance.
I’ve talked to problematic people in bars myself but I just end up sighing, you know? It just strange, sexy, fun all the feels as a QWOC showing in spaces and see how people react to you in those spaces.
At the gay bar: Cis gay white men saying, “hey girl pop that booteeeey for me!” *smacks my butt*
Reaction: Aren’t cis gay white men precious!?!?!?!*vom*
At a mostly white lesbian bar: “…..” or “I you’re totally different from them!”
Reaction: “….” or “I’m too black for this.”
At a mostly black/latino queer women’s party: “You sound funny!”
Reaction: *blank stare* or *sigh*
At a straight bar: “You don’t look gay.” or “Really, lesbian? OMG HOMOSEXUAL!”
Reaction: “I’m too gay (and black depending on the person) for this.”
At the Cubbyhole in NYC: Hearing and participating in random conversations because I’m drunk and the place is as big as a Doc Marten’s show box
Reaction: “This is interesting!”
At a (diverse) queer dance party: “Yaaaayy!!!!”
Usually I’m buzzed and craving for some cheese fries. Happy drinking (in moderation and responsibly of course!)
lol I like that the Cubbyhole has it’s own category. I’ve only been a handful of times (I really hate cramped bars like that, regardless the cool people cramping it) and by far the most memorable experience was on a date. I was on a first date with a Filipino girl who was cute and nice enough but weirdly kept trying to one-up me on “who’s more butch in this dynamic” (we had both dressed “dapper femme” that night) and I really don’t give a shit about that dichotomy. Anyway, we somehow ended up in a conversation with a cis white gay man who decided to ditch his friends and take us to a 3am brunch in Chelsea. I think at this point I found the whole situation so hilariously strange I just kept going along to see where it ended. Well it ended with him continuously whispering to her that she should take me home, that we have to get laid that night and finally I had had enough after I had tried to say politely that wasn’t going to happen, that’s not how I do first dates, it was like 5am I had had shit to do that day, etc. etc. etc. So suffice to say I never saw her, or him, again… and I think that was the last time I was at the Cubbyhole. Ah, well.
Wow some super obnoxious interactions there but I like the queer dance party happy ending!
sometimes i go to a bar alone – to relax without being at my house, procrastinating, taking a break, to read a book while having a beer, etc. – and quite a few times i’ve found that i had really unpleasant experiences because of the unwanted attention of others which is so frustrating. usually if i’m at a bar by myself i’m just trying to have some alone time, but i have had some cool conversations, but also some uncomfortable ones as well.
sometimes people will try and start conversations with me about my tattoos. so this one older guy was asking about them, why i got them at all, reasons why people get them, what my idea of feminism was, if i had a gf or a bf, how someone can be queer, and kept saying pretty racist things the whole time. he was so uncomfortably friendly and persistent. he gave me his number even though i said i was never going to ever use it.
one time while my friend was super upset about a breakup and was SOBBING at the bar, tears quietly rolling down her face and these dudes got all up in our business and wouldn’t stop trying to hit on us until we were shouting at them to fucking leave us alone.
i work in a bar on the weekends and have witnessed countless girls subjected to drunk asshole dudes that just won’t quit. i usually try to intercept in some way because i can recognize that “oh fuck make this person stop talking to me” look but sometimes they just don’t get it or don’t care.
Ugh the story of your friend is especially sad and also jaw-dropping.
All of my tattoos get questions when they’re visible – none of them have straightforward explanations and people always want to know what they’re about. This is understandable but it should be also understandable that I don’t want to share really personal stories with folks I don’t know.
I did have a surprisingly nice interaction – in one of the bars featured in this article – that started badly. The bar was nearly empty and this really annoying, abrasive dude came over and started chatting me up. He was there with two others – I don’t think they were really all that thrilled about being in his company either – and I overheard one of them make a disparaging remark about one of my tattoos, but when he subsequently introduced himself to me he complimented me on it, so I said “Really? Because that’s not what you said earlier.” He was embarrassed and gave me a sincere, no-bullshit apology, and we proceeded to have a really interesting and pleasant conversation about film-making and travel. I would have happily talked to him for longer, but I left after one drink because the abrasive dude was still around and I didn’t have the energy to handle him.
(It is actually depressing how many times I’ve had to just leave a public place – bar or otherwise – rather than deal with a specific person.)
Good on you! I’ve had a vaguely similar experience – was at a particular bar to watch a particular niche sport, and a guy came up behind me and said “This sport’s gay!”, to which I replied “Yes, I like it too. Oh, and I’m gay”. Cue a lot of back-pedalling from him, and a decent discussion. People aren’t always arseholes when they appear so on first encounter, thankfully!
interesting post! I am intensely awkward, shy and self-conscious in public situations so I’ve never gone to a bar myself. I also have this problem where if someone asks me an inappropriate question (too personal), I don’t know how to respond because I’m really bad at not telling the truth. I either give the truthful answer because I can’t think of anything else to say, or I go mute… cause I can’t think of anything to say lol. I’m a real charmer.
I’m really into “sorry, I’d rather not talk about that”, “I don’t feel comfortable discussing that with strangers”, etc. I like to be honest whenever it seems like I can do that without exacerbating things. But when I don’t actually care about engaging with the person at all, I have no problem with lying – though I guess it’s a skill.
Yeah I don’t know, it’s like my brain short circuits haha. The one instance I’m thinking of in particular was when my friends and I were at a bar down the road from where we were set up (we were in a traveling circus at the time) and talking amongst ourselves, when a guy came over and hovered way too close and started asking if we were from the circus, what’s it like, etc etc. Then he asks, “so how much do you get paid?” and I was just like, “?! uh…” cause who asks that?! but at the same time, why shouldn’t I answer that, who cares? but I know that’s culturally inappropriate so I shouldn’t answer it! that’s where my brain goes. in the mean time, my friend looks at him and says, “well that’s really none of your business is it?” and immediately I was like, well shit that was simple.
Ha, I love those eureka moments.
Brilliant piece. I do have an odd question, though: How does one get to become an international pet sitter?
I kinda fell into it! I got made redundant a few years ago, became a struggling freelancer, left my home and discovered it was cheaper to just keep travelling. Pet sitting was a delightful discovery along the way. I’ve actually gotten most of my assignments via couchsurfing.org’s house sitting group. I tried a specialised house/pet sitting site for a year, with a sign-up fee, but it wasn’t really worth it. And I’ve gotten a few more through word of mouth.
I am so fascinated by this. I know someone who’s quite the traveler and does blogging/ebooks/etc. but I just don’t see how it’s cheaper to buy airfare all the time!! I wish I lived like that, I miss traveling a lot.
I’m pretty good at finding cheap ways of getting around. That said, it’s been tougher this year because some of the cheapest airline routes I was using have been discontinued. Plus my income remains low, so I’m mostly staying in Malaysia these days (which suits me just fine, hey).
I always have to deal with the self-proclaimed “straight acting” white guy. He thinks he can be racist, pick on feminine gay men and misogynistic but it’s okay because he doesn’t want to sleep with me,he’s also oppressed and because “super gay guys give “the normal ones” a bad name.
Then there is the ladies that think they have to “talk black” and dumb things down around me so that I can understand what’s going on.
Then we have the moc women and dudebros that don’t understand what “I’m not interested” means.
And lets not forget the various people in the community that I have to defend my sexuality to because I “look straight” and I don’t know “true oppression” because of that fact.
Basically, I stay home or with my group of friends most of the time.
Board games forever EXCEPT FOR MONOPOLY!!! That’s if you want to suspend really close friendships especially when one has been drinking and eating microwave cheese fries.
“THIS GAME IS CAPITALIST, ANARCHY FOREVER!!” *flips table scrambling all the pieces everywhere*
Shadow puppets are fun too, actually queer shadow puppets are really fun you’d be amazing how I’m able to create a MOC intersectional feminist taking down the Patriarchy ™ with my hands.
Yes to board games! No to Uno cards. I’ve lost many loved ones due to the draw 4 card.
Yes, the dreaded draw 4 card, it’s just so brutal.
“I THOUGHT YOU LOVED ME!”
I’m sorry, I had a moment there.
*war flash backs to the time my mom hit me with consecutive skip turn, skip turn, draw 2, draw 4, skip turn and a reverse*
In 25 years when she’s in a nursing home, I hope she reflects back on that day.
So glad to know my experiences with Monopoly are widespread. Somewhere, the person who invented free parking and the person who invented alternative rules about free parking are cackling madly together.
Minus the second point, I think we might have a supernatural connection!
Or maybe just our respective bars have a supernatural connection.
I don’t know.
I think instead of telling people to go fuck themselves, I’m just gonna walk around with a pack of draw 4 cards and dispense them as needed.
Also, drinking alone at a bar can be fun/adventurous. When I first moved to LA I used to go to the Palms (RIP) alone because I saw it on the L Word once and figured that’s what you did. It was frequently empty, but I would meet really cool older lesbians who would tell me great gay “back in the day” stories.
“Draw 4 card for you” should become the opposite of “four for you”.
I think Ill carry around some red skip turn cards just in case.
“Did it hurt when you fe…”
*hands skip turn card*
“Now turn and walk away.”
basically i am just going “ZOMG NINE!” right now. carry on.
One of my least favorite bar things (at least out of the things I experience personally) is when straight cis dudes insist I’m only telling them I’m queer because I don’t have the guts to say I’m not into them. I’ve gotten everything from yelled at “HOW CAN YOU BE *GAY*?” to total meltdowns about how girls always lie about being queer because they don’t want to hurt ‘guys like me.’ One dude did this while I was on a date. With a girl. A not straight at all looking girl. Boggles my mind.
Out of all of it though, the worst has to be unwanted touching. I don’t know if it’s the culture of the city I live in, but people grab in bars out here.
cis straight dudes interrupting queer lady dates is the WORST
Damn, just can’t win huh?
And the unwanted touching thing … I remember when I was about nineteen, noticing that men in bars (particularly in Belfast, where I’m from) had this habit of putting their hands on women’s waists. Like, some dude wants to get past you at the bar, or is walking up the stairs behind you, and you feel his hands on your waist and you don’t even know him. What the fuck. And of course they’d be astonished to discover I had a problem with it. It hasn’t happened to me in a long long time but I am still feeling the disbelief acutely.
Once when I was headed home from a gay bar a creepy dude cornered me while I was waiting for the train to tell me all about the hordes of naked women who chill at his house. And then he tried to invite himself over to my house. He was like, “I can sleep on the couch….”
Oh, I got that shit all the time. Dudes inviting me back to their hotel to “hang out”.
*the gay man who thinks it’s okay that he’s a giant misogynist asshole cause he doesn’t want to sleep with me
*the straight man who doesn’t realize he is a misogynistic asshole and cannot take a hint / a flat out “go away” / will not fuck off.
Those are the people that a Kindergartner would call “poopy heads”. I however, have a much more adult name for them.
i’ve found it really hard to read/write anything at bars because they are always so dark! also, the thought of you being able to read zines while out makes me wish for more zines in my life. ZINES!
just wanted to add that you sound like a great and patient human for being able to respond to problematic people at bars like that. i love answering “yes” to a-or-b questions. great fun.
“My conclusion is that many people are awful, and also they have a never-ending ability to manifest their awfulness in new and unexpected ways. But most of them probably aren’t a hundred percent awful and will have some redeeming features, plus maybe you just caught them on a bad night.”
–> agree 100%
Aw thanks! Yeah I am not always patient but I probably do a cost-benefit analysis – I may be willing to engage if the person doesn’t seem like 100% asshole.
I wanna hook you up with some zines! Am I right in thinking you’re in Singapore?
the number of people I’ve met who hate dykes and jews and want to discuss it with me. -_- I feel your pain.
I was at my FAVORITE local bar and happened to encounter the town drunk. He’s this gruff older man that looks and sounds like a salt and pepper Yosemite Sam…no shit. He’s always been nice to me but this night he feeling particularly brave/feisty. He walked up to me, looked me up and down, and finally stopped on my face where he focused on the areas of my head that were pierced…then he saw that my ears were gauged. His response? “You must be stuck on f*ckin’ stupid to have all that sh*t stickin out ya face. It’s like you defaced a beautiful face.” I proceeded to show him what stuck on stupid was because I was possibly already drunk at this time and I have no filter. Et, tu Jose Cuervo? I got really upset to which he replied, “Don’t try to tell me I’m crazy because I like to eat my corn flakes with beer..I LIKE THE TASTE.” I was done at that point, I couldn’t stop laughing and walked away.
EVEN THOUGH I LAUGHED I WAS STILL OFFENDED..he broke my bitch wall down with the corn flakes.
OMG, the cornflakes!
I have a particular loathing (though don’t we all?) for dudes who inform women on how they’re not maximising their beauty potential. But, pathetic confession, I have now been hiding tattoos from my father for over a decade. So a few years ago we were coming home from the pub, and my father and brother (who actually knows about my tattoos and oughta know better) were having a completely fucked conversation about how tattoos on women are unfeminine and wrong, and I felt I couldn’t get involved. Instead I went home and scrawled drunken teen-angsty rants in my journal. GAAAAAHHHH.
this article is so goddamn great
i spend a lot of my life talking to problematic people, mostly because i am, in most situations, more curious than i am disgusted, and i’ve been lucky and privileged enough (so far) to have not become completely jaded. your rationale is well put, your tips are really awesome, and you have elucidated your experiences in a way that is educational and fun to read
i sound like a professor but BASICALLY i really enjoyed this and learned from it and nodded the whole time and i wish i could be your conversational wingperson in these bars
Yeah, despite the people and those girls spilling their IPA beers on me there were moments that I have done awful nearly unforgivable things like fart in a semi-crowed elevator.
My soul is still wrought with guilt.
Aw, thank you! I think it’s easier the less personal it feels. Like, if it’s someone asking me really basic shit about being queer, or subjecting me to the same obnoxious questions that everyone from Northern Ireland gets when we’re out of the country (like, don’t even start me) I’m likely to switch off and look for an escape route a lot quicker.
Misogynist gay men are too damn common.
I get asked stupid questions in straight and gay bars alike when one of my friends drunkenly reveals that I’m bisexual or when it emerges in conversation.
In gay bars, people usually just make offensive biphobic jokes or will straight-out say they don’t believe me because I ‘look like a straight girl’.
In straight bars, all the guys will suddenly get super creepy and intense and start asking the inevitable “are you sure?” “do you prefer guys?” “would you have a threesome with me?” “how do you have sex with a girl?” questions.
I usually only go to gay bars so it’s disappointing that, even in what should be a queer-friendly space, I have to put up with biphobia.
OH GOD ME TOO. I came out in like 1997 and it is really fucking tedious that this is still a thing.
I can totally relate to all of these scenarios
I enjoyed reading this, you are pretty brave to allow yourself the range of human weirdness to come up so close at palm length. I like that you are willing to reach out to risk possibly receiving worthwhile human contact in bars, I just wish that you had a safe person around, or like Cara said a wingperson who could bail you out should you want it. I guess that you feel a lot more vulnerable and privileged, than the fly on the wall. Makes me think of the Portlandia episode where Nina (Fred Armisen) and Lance (Carrie Brownstein) create their safe word, “cacao”. Or a wingperson.
I will say that Dutch people tend to be very blunt and ask other people questions without thinking about the “appropriateness” of them. Still sucks you had to go through that, though, love…
I think we have all accidentally made eye contact with a really enthusiastic person who needs to tell you everything about something.
theres no way you can get out of it, if someone has a better strategy than constantly looking at the heaters/fan then tell me!