I realize that this probably makes me a freakish mutant unworthy of writing a column, but until very recently, I had never been to a gay bar or club. Actually, that’s still true, but last week, I did experience the next best thing: a gay night at a regular club, complete with rapping drag queens and about 400 guys with great hair. Although, I did wonder whether the rightful attendees felt I was taking up precious space with my boobs, heels and two X chromosomes, I found it to be the holy grail of straight-girl dance outings.
I had always thought that going to a gay bar as a straight girl would leave one with the same empty feeling experienced when window shopping at Jimmy Choo as a broke college student. It’s fun to look, but at the end of the day, you go home feeling excluded from a magical, more fabulous world.
This is simply not true. For one, Dane Cook was right, and sometimes, girls just wanna dance. We don’t necessarily want to be pummeled with denim penises in a sea of ill-fitting striped shirts. We tire of having to scream, “Political science and CLEG - that’s Communications, Law, Economics and Government!” over the pulsating music into the ears of random guys who think that making a little conversation while grinding is the best way to get us into bed.
Sometimes, we just want to go out and pretend that we are Julia Stiles in “Save the Last Dance,” in that yes, even though we are a little bit awkward and/or white, we still like to get down. Which is why gay bars are perfect - there’s minimal judgment, minimal groping and maximum good vibrations.
Music selection is one of the primary reasons to go. Going clubbing a few times my freshman year in D.C. had pretty much killed my desire to ever go again, but during my time abroad in Europe, it was reborn like a shimmying, shaking phoenix from the ashes. D.C. club-music options leave something to be desired - either repetitive hip-hop (I love that Usher song, too, but not 12 times a night), ‘80s nights for people who barely remember the ‘80s or obscure techno/trance complete with cologne-doused middle-aged Turkish guys. Conversely, European clubs - and many gay bars - are filled with sillier, happier, more danceable things that force you to have a good time, no matter how rhythmically challenged you are.
Add to the already blissful atmosphere the fact that gay men are amazing at compliments and you have yourself a self-esteem sundae at the bargain price of a $5 cover charge. A straight man will tell you that you “look hot,” or at the very most, that they like the way your butt looks in those jeans. A gay man will tell you that you look “very Gwyneth Paltrow” and that your top really brings out your highlights. And that’s exactly what you thought, too, when you tried it on at H&M.
If you happen to have a dance-friendly significant other, taking him to a gay bar is a fantastic idea. First of all, unless your man has a Springer-worthy secret, there’s no potential for shoulder surfing. It’s likely that there will only be about five other straight girls there, in which case it’s also likely that, as far as attractiveness goes, you will be in the top two or three. Essentially, you’re left with a straight girl’s clubbing fantasyland: fun music and well-dressed, well-behaved guys.
So, the next time this town’s underwhelming club scene leaves you wanting to stay in and drink in the dorms, consider the better, gayer alternative. You won’t miss having cocks to block and bad music to embarrass yourself to.
Olga Khazan is a senior in the School of Public Affairs and a social commentary columnist for The Eagle.