Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A NIGHT IN THE CLOSET

A couple of days ago I experienced something that not only shocked me, but upset me at the same a time, not because of what I witnessed, but the unexpected way in which I handled that specific situation.

On returning from Copenhagen, Dana informed me her that her friend was staging a little meal in which a few of their close friends would wine and dine in celebration of his 27th.

Although I was pretty fatigued and didn’t fancy a night of socialising with a dozen people I didn’t know, I thought I’d accompany my girlfriend and try to have a good time.

The birthday boy, Jack, is gay. A friend from their university days, Jack came out whilst studying, and has never encountered friction for that confession from the likes of Dana and Jen.

Personally, although I have never really met a gay guy, I considered myself to have no inhibitions on the matter and would have no problem treating him the same as I would anyone else.

His work colleague, however, was grotesquely camp. Singing boy band songs, clapping like a seal, calling people honey, etc, his vivid campness was enough to make him one of the most annoying people I’d met, and, to my dismay, I was forced to sit next to him for the entire meal.

Don’t get me wrong, he was probably a nice enough guy, and I have absolutely nothing against homosexuality, but I just find campness horrifyingly infuriating. Perhaps I’m wrong, but to me, it’s just a desperate cry out for attention, and I can’t stand it.

However, this didn’t really bother me too much. He may have stuck his fork in my food without permission and constantly brought up various cringe-worthy sexual innuendos, but I’m a tolerant man, so I just tried to be nice, pleasant and sociable and hope that I’d be departing soon.

Anyhow, this wasn’t my main beef. On leaving the restaurant, I agreed, mainly for the sake of Dana, to go for a quick drink before making tracks. Unfortunately for me, I failed to realise that this agreement would involve a venture into a gay club, effectively entitled G.A.Y.

Slightly unaware of what I was getting myself into, I said to myself, “It’s just a club, what harm can it do, I’ll only be there for an hour or two” and proceeded to enter the establishment. However, my confidence would soon be shattered when the reality of the gay scene set in…

Met with gay posters, exceedingly camp music, transvestites, men in tight vests and so on, I soon realised that adjusting to my new surroundings would be harder than I first thought. I immediately felt vastly uncomfortable, and although reminded that ‘there are a few girls here too’ ‘you just have to let you inhibitions go’ and ‘it’s just like a normal club but with gay people’, I simply couldn’t get used to the idea I was in a gay club. Even with my fuchsia shoes, which now DID feel pink, I felt so out of place it was unbelievable.

I swiftly found the first seat I could and quietly sat in the corner, somewhat frozen as I watched the place gets busier and busier. Gyrating asses, gay guys swinging their hips to Stayin’ Alive, blokes in blonde wigs rubbing other blokes’ chests, groups of vested boys in ultra tight jeans boys lurking around the bar – it was all a little too much for me, and I didn’t like it, not one bit.

Jen and Dana made fun of me a little, but to me this was a severely discomforting experience, and after about 15 minutes of willing each second away, I decided that I simply couldn’t stay there any longer and requested to leave. I took the keys off Jen, said my goodbyes, and made, what I then considered to be, a gauntlet run towards the exit.

Now, I know this all sounds like I’m a total git, a complete gay basher, or whatever, but that’s just the way it was. I have no problems in confessing that it was a horrible experience, and the mere thought of being back in that room scares the living daylights out of me.

What I do have a problem with, however, is the fact that I considered myself to be a nice person. I am not a racist, I am not discriminative against people, and I certainly never believed myself to be a hompophobe, but unfortunately, I guess I am.

The surprising thing is that I have no qualms regarding the practice of homosexuality. I don’t partake in it myself, but, as an atheist, I believe that you are what you are, and if you are gay then so be it. It’s not a choice or a slight on your social upbringing, but a mere fact that you were born different to the majority. This is my opinion, and I stick to it. I hate it when atheists quote the bible, speak ignorantly on the subject or simply attack this particular segment of society without any justified provocation, but that’s what they do, and unfairly so.

This still doesn’t deter from the fact that I reacted poorly and in a manner that was unjustified. Living in the Midlands, I was never brought up among homosexuals, and, Jack is probably the first one I’ve ever met. In Solihull, I don’t believe there are any gay bars or clubs, and if there were, I am sure they’d have bricks through the windows in seconds.

London is a cosmopolitan city with a wider slice of society represented and, more to the point, accepted. It’s the norm for there to be gay clubs and bars, but not from where I come from. Therefore, I felt totally out of place.

I’ve never been around gay people. I came from playing football, to drinking with the lads at uni, to playing poker at the casino. The gay scene is not something I’m aware of, and to find myself in such a starkly differing arena, was ultimately rather overwhelming. Simply sitting in a gay club was a complete culture shock.

The bottom line, however, is that whatever the reason is that I felt I had to leave, it is saddening that I did indeed do so, especially when I don’t consider my self to be a pregadiced person. But, having said that, that is probably what I am, as if wasn’t discriminative, then I would have treated the people within the establishment as I would any other normal human being and happily remained in the club. The fact that I didn’t is a slight on my character and suggests that I am not as secure as I first thought…

8 Comments:

At 1:08 PM, Blogger MGlum said...

Hi, exceptionally honest account. at first, yes, a bit homophobic, but by the end it was clear that few people would be able to take a look at their responses as intelligently as you did. i'm a straight woman, with a gay sister and gay mates, and i wouldnt relish spending a night out at a gay club in full swing - if nothing else, i can live without the too-happy house... similarly, i can't think of too many overtly sexual environments i'd be comfortable in - be they straight/gay whatever.... The Steaming Donk

 
At 7:09 PM, Blogger snoopy1239 said...

Hi mglum,

Thanks for your reply.

At first, I felt as though I was a bad person because of the way I'd reacted and that it was responses like mine that was the cause for so much homophobic hatred within society, but, in reflection, I think I was mostly uncomfortable with the overt campness rather than the sexuality of the people within the establishment.

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger Suffolk Punch Poker said...

Snoops, good post. But for gawds sake don't start your last paragraph with the words "The bottom line...." - made me choke on my cornflakes.

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger M3boy's Poker Blog said...

Nothing wrong with not wanting to be in a place like that.

 
At 3:52 PM, Blogger amatay said...

ahahahahahah, This entry made me crack up. Nice blog lol

 
At 5:54 PM, Blogger snoopy1239 said...

SuffolkPunch

You should be more surprised that you made it up for brekkie!!

Call yourself a poker journalist. Pah. ;-)

2pm earliest, surely!

 
At 2:22 AM, Blogger ShaaBoom said...

Hi Snoops,

Apparently Mark Hawkins fancies the pants off you... :-)

Shaa

 
At 6:27 PM, Blogger snoopy1239 said...

I thought I'd been seeing him on the circuit a bit more often recently.

However, please could you request that he attends the aforementioned establishment rather than stalking me at live updates.

 

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