I have to admit. I just don’t get the bar thing.
When I was in San Diego for Breaking Stories, Breaking Waves, the LGBT Media Summit and National Convention, I did not join the better part of the participants (well, at least, the male participants) when they trekked up to Hillcrest, “the residential and commercial hub of San Diego’s gay and lesbian community.” I just didn’t think I would enjoy myself in a crowded and noisy bar.
Those who did go reported that they had had a great time. And were it not my wont to second guess myself, I might just have attributed that to different preferences. Given their experiences, I wondered if I would have had a good time had I joined them in Hillcrest.
I would learn not to second guess myself when, after the conference, a friend and I went to Palm Springs for a day. While there, we met some friends at a local watering hole. The environment didn’t seem conducive to conversation. Everyone was pressed closely together, a few people were dancing, but we practically had to shout to make ourselves understood to one another.
It did seem, however, that most of the people there were enjoying themselves. Myself, I would rather have found a less crowded and more quiet place where I could more easily communicate with my companions.
I used to enjoy going to The Abbey before it became so trendy. It was one of the few places in West Hollywood where you could sit down enjoy a cocktail (or a coffee and yummy pastry) and actually hear your friends speak.
I do wonder sometimes why so many gay guys seem to enjoy the bar scene. Yeah, I do appreciate the chance to check out the cute guys, knowing that at such establishments, it’s okay to look. It seems sometimes that with the music so loud and the difficulty in hearing your neighbor so great, that’s really all you can do.
To be sure, there have been times when I’ve had great times at bars. This seems to have happened when I have gone with friends on nights when the places haven’t been too crowded and the music was not so loud. There was space to move around and enough quiet to be able to listen.
All that said, I still don’t really get the bar thing. The places mostly seem to be crowded and loud. But, then again, people do enjoy such environments. I don’t know. I’m not one of them. If you have any insight on this, well, that’s the reason we have a comments section.
UPDATE: How Could I Forget?Just moments after posting this, I recalled that when I lived in DC, I used to love to go to JR’s for Monday Night Showtunes.
UP-UPDATE: In line with the previous update, when I realized I went to Showtunes night to spend time with guys who enjoyed one of the things I did, perhaps those who enjoy gay bars find something there that they have in common with the other folks there. Perhaps, it is just the occasion to be with other gay men. But, it seems (to me at least) that we have to something more in common than just being gay.
UP-UP-UPDATE: Of all life’s delicious ironies. A friend called me as I was about to prepare dinner and suggested we hang. When he joined me, he suggested we go into central West Hollywood for yogurt and to walk around. Perhaps because of this post, we ended up in the The Abbey. It wasn’t as crowded as it is on the weekends & the music wasn’t too loud, but on a couple of occasions, I did have to ask my friend to repeat himself so I could better understand what he was saying.
I did look around — and the people there, mostly those in groups of friends, seemed to be having a good time. Though I will say I preferred walking alone with my friend, the better to hear what he had to say and to feel more connected to another human being.