This post inaugurates a series that CQA is calling “Gay ____,” an exploration of CQA members’ gay summer experiences outside of the gates of 116th and Broadway. If you’re interested in blogging with CQA, please email CQA president Sean Manning Udell (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll set you up on the blog!
Greetings from Fort Lauderdale, FL! Though I am off to Hong Kong in just three days (get excited for my experiences in Gaysia!), I have had two-and-a-half weeks of downtime in my South Floridian hometown. Life couldn’t be more fabulous. Admittedly, most of my time has been consumed by extensive and unremarkable hours laying out in the sun, reading for fun (*gasp!*), and eating fresh fish done every kind of way — the oil hasn’t made its way into the Gulf Stream, yet. Never-the-less, I’ve managed to enjoy several experiences in Fort Liquor-dale’s gay scene. Continue reading for an account of my first night back in Lawdy…
The fun started when I got a message from Ben (Yale College ’11 – yay IvyQ!) saying that he was in Fort Lick-my-face for the weekend. Woohoo! I was so excited to show Ben a wonderful time, as this might be his only experience in gay Lawdy. After picking him up at his suburban hotel, we drove towards downtown excitedly chatting about the pending IvyQ vote, George Chancey’s upcoming book, and the historic gay enclave in Greenwich Village. I don’t think that we could have had a nerdier gay conversation.
Our banter continued as we entered our first destination, Matty’s Bar in Wilton Manors — for all intents and purposes, Wilton Manors is a gay city whose borders are enveloped by Fort Lauderdale. As soon as I entered Matty’s, however, my stomach started feeling upset. Damn those raw oysters that I had eaten at dinner. Despite the warning signs of food poisoning, I decided to attempt a drink anyway; the bubbly of a G&T would help soothe my stomach, right? (Wrong.) After ordering the concoction and handing over my drivers’ license, the middle-aged bartender decided to flirt using my ID. Every time I grabbed at my identification, he would playfully jerk his arm back, causing me to grasp at thin air. After about four rounds of this game, I was forced to pull out the sass and just glare at him. A couple of further attempts to tease me were finally followed by his relinquishing of the license. Typical Fort Geezer-dale.
As the foul food continued to make a mess of my stomach, I attempted to engage Ben in more conversation about historic gay New York. Random men in the bar would punctuate this discussion with humorous attempts to pull us into conversation. The best was when two heavy-set, balding men approached us, one of them pointing at me exclaiming, “Do you know who you look like?”
I smiled. “No,” I responded. “Who?”
“Jesse Tyler Ferguson!”
“Excuse me? In what way?” (Ferguson and I look nothing alike. For proof, compare the above photo of yours truly to the video of Ferguson in three posts prior to this posting.)
“Um. Well, you both have beards.”
This short exchange encapsulates the extent of our interaction with other gay Fort Lauderdalians that night.
After an hour of this, I suggested that we move onto downtown Fort Lauderdale, where the club Living Room was having its weekly gay night. I don’t know what I was thinking; the contaminated Cajun food was only continuing to wreck havoc on my stomach. By the time we arrived at this next destination, I was ready to hurl. Luckily, a public restroom was only steps away…
At this point, I’ll spare you from the details. Somehow I managed to get Ben back to his hotel, and then I slept for 36 hours straight. No joke; that was one bad oyster. Sorry, Ben, but I’ll make it up to you next time!