“So kiss me on the mouth and set me free, but please don’t bite”
– Troye Sivan –
If you’ve never been to a gay bar, you should; it’s a magical place (supposedly) full of bliss and acceptance. Especially if you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s one of few places where you (again, supposedly) can feel like you belong, especially if you live in a place filled with people who believe in heteronormativity. Regardless of your sexual orientation, gay bars can be fun. I mean, if you’re not really looking to mingle with anyone (which I think you should), it’s always fun to watch the kweens wholeheartedly lip-sync to some Britney tunes while twerking their non-existent booties like their rent is due in an hour.
Being a super thirsty eighteen years old gay boy, I had always wanted to explore all aspects of the gay life. Los Angeles (West Hollywood in particular) has such a vibrant gay scene filled with extravagant gay bars with various themes. Are you looking to meet muscled, modelesque gay guys who look like characters from a CW show? Go to The Abbey. Wanna dance your night away yeehaw-ing to some Dolly Parton songs? Go to Flaming Saddles. WeHo. has. it. all. For me at the time, however, there’s one problem. You have to be over 21 years old to (legally) get in most bars. It’s ridiculous how you can drive and bear arms when you’re 18 but you can’t drink alcohol. Welcome to America.
Friday night, however, was an exception. After a quick Google search, I found out that Rage hosted Asian Nights every Friday and the party was open for everyone over 18 years old because nobody liked old and wrinkly Gaysians (lol, just kidding). Unfortunately for gay Asian guys including myself, we are all stereotyped as compact-sized twinky power bottoms, so it makes sense that they wanted to attract younger crowds to the event. But since I couldn’t (legally) get into other gay bars in town, I didn’t have any other options. So on one lonely Friday night, I decided to list the reasons why I should or should not go to Rage:
- What if I run into my friends there? What would be the appropriate response to the typical nosey questions Indonesians usually ask? Questions like: “Who are you here with?“, “Wait, you’re gay?“, “Why are you here by yourself?“, “Where are your friends?“, “Aah… so you must be seeing someone. When are you gonna introduce me to her… oops, I mean him?“
- How do I say no to guys who I’m not really into? More importantly, how do I approach guys who I am into? This so nerve-wracking!
- I’m not gonna lie, I am low-key scared I’m gonna get kidnapped and gang-raped… But that’s just a silly thought, right? Right??
- What outfit should I wear? What combination of shirt and pants would scream “I’m not cheap and desperate but I’m also horny as fuck“?
I decided to wear a black V-neck t-shirt with a pair of skinny jeans and drove my ass to Rage. After paying the $10 parking fee (LA parking situation is the worst), I reluctantly dragged myself to the intersection of Santa Monica and San Vicente Boulevard, which is arguably the gayest area in Los Angeles.
To say that I was overwhelmed at that moment is an understatement. HOLY. SHIT. I had never seen that many gay guys in one area since all my encounters with the gays prior to this moment had been through Grindr. It was like being in an all-you-can-eat buffet; they have meats in various sizes that are ready to be consumed in one place.
They charged $10 cover fee since the event was opened for rowdy gays over 18 years old because you know, they needed to make money from these young, dumb, and broke kids. I remember entering the bar and noticed that many guys were staring at me. I thought, “Is this what it feels like being a celebrity? God, I hope I don’t have a huge booger hanging out of my nose!” I’m guessing that the combination of being the fresh meat in the bar and looking like an innocent, super young-looking gaysian amplified the intensity of lustful stares I received.
I didn’t know what gays usually did in a gay bar, and I assumed that they only spent their night trying to get laid by grinding their junk to the nearest available booties in their sight. So I awkwardly walked to the dancefloor and started bopping my head to the random top 40 tunes the DJ played that night. As I was processing what’s happening around me, this tipsy-looking, relatively attractive Caucasian guy walked up to me.
“Hey, you’re very cute”, he whispered in my left ear to make sure his compliment did not fade into the background of the loud music.
“Um… thanks?”, I awkwardly replied.
Without any cue, he moved his body closer to mine and started planting his lips on mine. Whoaaa….. If it was my present self at that moment, I would have told him to calm the fuck down and leave me alone.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, the makeout sesh was pretty good (he tasted like Jack Daniels but hey, I was horny so I couldn’t care less what went down his throat a minute ago). We were making out for a solid 5 minutes before he pushed me to the wall behind me to continue devouring my lips as his hands were all over my body like a borderline aggressive TSA agent trying to find a sharp object (pun intended). I didn’t even know how many people were watching us nor did I care; I was teleported into gay heaven.
“Hey, I’m so sorry but I need to leave, my friends are waiting for me. Text me?” He abruptly broke off our make-out session. He then left me alone on the dance floor, making me felt like a kid who’s lost in a grocery store without his mother.
I thought, “What the fuck just happened?!” I was so overwhelmed with emotions and Idk… I didn’t want everyone to think I was a sexual predator who was desperate for penis after my failed attempt at scoring my previous prey. I know what you might be thinking. “Who gives a shit, you know no one there!” But I was still in the glass closet at the time, and when you were constantly hiding secrets from everyone, you instantly worried about everyone’s opinion of you. So I decided to leave the bar empty-handed after only spending 30 minutes there.
I did wish that someone could have shown me the ropes. Being a closeted gay guy at the time, going into a gay bar (alone) for the first time was an exhilarating yet traumatic experience. But for the first time in my life, I felt like I found a safe place for me to just be me (I know, it sounds cheesy af). I mean, where else would you be able to make out with your same-sex partner, practically looking like you’re in a soft porno, and receive cheerful looks from everyone around you like they are saying, “congratulations bitch, you’ve made it“.
Happy Pride Month everyone!