“What’s your name?” That’s the question that starts it all. It’s the shaking before take off, the fire approaching the sparkler or the first question before, “Can I buy you a drink?”
Going to bars in your 20s is fun, adventurous and (often) quite dizzy. Walking into a crowded bar on a Friday night sends you into a different dimension. You have creepy old dudes with beat-up cowboy or bucket hats winking at you from across the bar, that one drunk girl trying to find someone (well, anyone) to bring home, the group of men yelling at the flat screen TV showing a sports game and finally, the men that have too much testosterone and pride.
Before I continue, I should add that pride is, in fact, my main subject. I don’t particularly like labels, but to be clear, I’m gay. I’m 100 percent a lesbian. The fact that I’m not straight and go to regular bars full of straight men may be baffling to readers. It certainly baffles the men that approach and ask for my name.
I usually give them the benefit of the doubt and tell them my name. As soon as I hear that next question about buying me a drink, I know what he’s trying to do (Subtlety is never these men’s strong suits). To which I usually, politely say, “Sure, but just so you know, I like girls.” At this point, some guys would stay, make small talk and politely excuse themselves, but most men stay and try to turn me straight. Which is funny as hell because, yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds, but it gets annoying fast.
On a Friday night at a popular bar on Main Street of Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, I met an interesting guy. Let’s call him John. John turned out to be a really smart guy that loved music, and had a great personality– it was like John Krasinski stepped out of the office for a quick drink. For any straight girl, that’s a definite “I want to bring him home to my parents tomorrow” kind of win, but for me, I was like, Sweet. A cool guy friend. But then he had to go and ruin it.
After I gave him the “I like girls” talk, the first question out of his mouth was, “Oh man. What did the last guy you dated do to make you turn to girls?” If you’re making the “Oh no he didn’t!” face, then you’re in for a treat: that’s the most popular question I get asked from these guys (surprise). Biting back years of pent-up frustration, I explained to him that it wasn’t anyone’s fault, and that it just feels real and right when I’m with a girl as opposed to a dude. Sounds good, right? I’ve had lots of practice talking with guys, friends, coworkers, relatives– I even sat my dog down for a nice chat.
But most of the guys who hit me up at bars don’t take my answer seriously, and John was no exception. “Just give me one chance, and I’ll show you that I’m a good guy for you. I’ll make you dinner, and we’ll go see a movie and I’ll treat you better than any of the other dudes in your past,” he said. “You clearly have been with all of the wrong guys.” These were just some of the many corny lines that he tried between his chugs of Bud Light. I’ll admit I wasn’t listening much. Every time something like this happens (which is often), I end up playing the lyrics to “Macho Man” in my head instead of the words coming out of the guy’s mouth. Macho, macho man, I gotta be a macho man.
The guy had perseverance, I have to give him that. Or maybe it was just desperation. I was hoping the drunk girl bouncing from guy to guy would come over to my side of the bar so I could play cupid and hook her up with good ole’ John, but turns out, my cousin was meant to be my savior that night.
Noticing that I was getting uncomfortable and borderline pissed, she stepped in with a whole spiel, acting as if she was a teacher disciplining an annoying first grader that just did not get the concept “nah.” I used that opportunity to go to the other side of the bar and chat up people who had more to say then, “Baby, once you go John, you’ll never go back” (What? I warned you I wasn’t listening, so I improvised a bit).
Meanwhile, I’m working on another way to phrase “I like girls. Either deal or go away.” I came up with, “Listen, bro. Don’t bother pursing a girl that enjoys another girl’s lips. It’s not that the hipster mustache you have going on is gross, it’s just not something us lesbians are into.” It’s a work in progress, I’ll admit.