Response Post: How Do You Feel About Bars?

The following is a guest post by MxtrMeike13 in response to a question of the week about bars.  MxtrMeike13 blogs at Genderweird.

Being an insanely huge introvert, I never liked the idea of going to bars.  Well, that and living under a self-imposed rock whereby alcohol was the devil, but that’s beside the point.  I’m almost twenty-five years old, have become the best of chums with porters and stouts, and am more than open to catching a nice drink with good friends.

But bars.  Bars still cross some kind of a line for me.  When I can sit down at a booth I know it’s going to be a good night.  The worst that’s ever happened is a drunken guy stumbling to sit next to me and a girlfriend of mine, and with all the air of someone on the hunt apologized profusely for not having our Facebook information and just not “knowing”.  Knowing what, he couldn’t say, but “I just don’t know, man!” was the gist of the conversation.  And that’s fine with me, because to be honest I feel the same way going into bars.  I don’t know how to walk the walk, I don’t know how to talk loud enough; put plainly, I just don’t know how to socialize in bars.

That’s the introvert in me.  The asexual in me has a similar—yet more nuanced—excuse for avoiding seedy booze houses.  Chief among those reasons is the dancing.  I hate dancing.  I’ve never been good at it, and being mentally separated from my body from ages twelve to twenty-two left me horribly unequipped to move my body seductively, let alone to the beat of the music.  Growing up I didn’t feel comfortable dancing the “girly” way, but now that I’ve been medically transitioning for almost two years I don’t feel comfortable dancing in a “manly” way, either, because it’s just all sexual.

My attempts to shatter this myth have gone horribly awry.  One eventful Sunday culminated in two different young women hitting on me; the first one made ignorant remarks about my gender identity and asexual orientation, while the other proceeded to hunt me down on the dance floor.  I was leaning against the bar—much more within my comfort zone—and she comes and shatters it by getting in my bubble, grabbing my proverbial (and non-existent) family jewels, and falling wetly on my neck.

I’ve basically written off bars since this event.  But specifically I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with, of all things, gay bars.  Any LGBTQIA friendly bars, at least where I’m currently living, are pretty crappy.  Again I say: seedy booze houses.  In respecting myself and my asexual identity, I’ve promised myself to avoid these unless I feel up to fending off unwanted drama and sexual attention.  Ain’t nobody, not even this twinkish demisexual, got time for that.

About Siggy

Siggy is an ace activist based in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and has a Ph.D. in physics. He has another blog where he also talks about math, philosophy, godlessness, and social criticism. His other hobbies include board games and origami.
This entry was posted in Guest post, personal experience and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Response Post: How Do You Feel About Bars?

  1. Siggy says:

    What do you see as the difference between gay bars and non-gay bars? For a male-presenting person in a straight bar, they would be targeted by women, and in a gay bar they would be targeted by men. I think the men would be more aggressive, since they’re socialized to initiate more.

    My own annoyance with gay bars is that fewer of them have decent beer than the straight bars.

    • Cleander says:

      (First, a caveat: my experience is extremely limited as I’ve been to only one gay bar, that catered to like, rowdy asian gay [male] college students (and was really more club than bar), so I’m mostly going off secondhand impressions. Also, being pretty obviously female-looking, my experience is going to be way different).

      My impression of gay bars is that they’re mostly very centered around hookups – as opposed to say, being focused on serving craft brews or work colleague happy hours or anything like that. (Which, I guess makes some sense – there’s not as much point in having “gay” or “straight” atmospheres if no one is planning on hooking up). But because of that, they tend to be much more sexualized environments. I don’t know that they’d be that different if you compare bars of similar types only though.

      Also, being in a queer club/bar did nothing to stop me getting sort of aggressively hit on, it was just like…a goalless being hit on? Like, flirtyness and a little grabbiness sometimes, but not like an actual interest in going home or anything (I think). I don’t know exactly what was going on there, whether that was a bisexuality thing or just a gay men think it’s ok for them to be touchy thing. (Also, they were pretty drunk and not being the most eloquent).

      (Meanwhile, my lesbian friends were super bummed because despite it being a “queer API” event it was really just a gay men’s night with a few non-gay women).

      (Also I realized I have absolutely no idea what lesbian bars are like…)

  2. Seth says:

    As I read this, it occurs to me that the main reason why I don’t have a problem with going to bars is that when I do, it’s almost always for the purpose of seeing either a drag show or a cheap concert. The focus is then on the entertainment, and socialization isn’t expected – at least, not to the usual degree. The one time I do remember going to a bar for some other reason was last New Year’s Eve, and not surprisingly, that was also the one time I got the experience of someone hitting on me and dragging me onto the dance floor.

  3. Mxtrmeike13 says:

    See, here’s the problem; this would happen even if I were there for a drag show. If not by some random stranger, then by a friend in the show who used me as a prop. Blargh.

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