Typical bass thumping late night at the bar and that’s when I notice the two of them in the corner. Here in the middle of testosterone alley, near a dance floor of grinding gays listening to the latest BritBrit remix, are two young college-age girls. They are clearly not having a good time. In the fog machine humidity of the bar, I go over and introduce myself. Just speaking to them makes their eyes light up. They are Jen and Micha, both communications majors at State.
“So, why are you two here in the Garage on a Saturday night? Clearly you understand this is a gay bar, right?”
“Well, we were hoping we could make some gay friends. We’re in San Francisco right? We thought it would be good for us to, ya know, be someone’s fag hag.”
My initial reaction was “oh my gosh, these young girls are cute,” mixed with “what-the-fuck?” They think they’re being progressive by befriending a gay man, but they’re actually being completely offensive. Can you imagine someone going up to a black person and being like, “You’re black?! Ugh, I really need a black friend. Can we play basketball and eat soul food together?”
Let me preface this with saying that the relationship between a gay man and a straight woman is a truly magical and special dynamic. The relationships I have with my girlfriends are incredibly rich, nuanced and incomparable to anything else. That’s why when this beautiful young girl refers to herself as a potential fag hag. I want to shake her and say, “You are not a hag! You are a powerful goddess who gets laid way more than I do. Don’t ever use that term again!” But, restraint is the better part of valor.
“This probably isn’t the way, ladies. You see, the Garage is the gay man’s hunting ground. And by gay, I mean buttsex and beards and cock. So, this isn’t the place where someone is going to say ‘Look at that pretty girl in the corner there,’ like something out of West Side Story. This is just not the place for you.”
“Here,” I said, grabbing a napkin and scribbling some websites,”are a few local service organizations that are always hungry for volunteers. The way to meet a real gay man, and perhaps meet some part of the real San Francisco, gay men or bisexual women or transgender boys, is by organically going out in the community and doing stuff. They, I mean we, are everywhere, darlings. But, coming into our testosterone moshpit is not the way. Totes?”
They took the napkin and quietly left the bar.
The bartender scooted over to me.
“What did you say to them that finally got them on the clue bus?”
“I was nice to them,” I said, dropping a couple of fivers in the tip jar, leaving and finding my way home through the foggy city.