Are gay bars dying? If you go out to gay bars enough you’ll inevitably hear someone talk about the death of gay bars. They’ll claim no one is going out anymore due to all the hookup apps and all the bachelorette parties are turing customers away. Their long diatribe will always conclude with the same point that gay bars used to be so much more fun. Most of the time I just nod in passive aggressive silence but in my head I’ve already started a list of why everything they’re saying is wrong. My first and obvious response is to point out is that if someone is complaining that gay nightlife isn’t as fun as it used to be it’s probably because they’ve changed not the the bars. Bars can be very fun but there’s an expiration date of how fun they can be especially if that’s all you do every weekend. When you’re young bars are fun and exciting. As we get older they lose their luster as we realize the whole scene is a bit repetitive. Many of us simply age out of that phase of our lives. It’s like going back to visit your old high school or college after you’ve graduated. Nothing feels as fun as you remember because you’re no longer in that phase of life. Going out every weekend is mostly a young man’s game which is as it should be.
It’s easy to use outside factors as a scape goat. Bachelorette parties are often cited as a point of contention and while I agree that these ladies are the worst I’d hardly blame them for a downturn in gay nightlife. Rather than blame the ladies with penis crowns maybe we should be asking the question, “Could it be that the bars just suck?” Regardless of all the excuses it’s the bars responsibility to bring in customers and stay relevant. Whenever I’m listening to someone complain that gay bars used to be more fun I’m always struck by the fact that the bar in question probably looks exactly the same as it did 20 years ago on opening day. How many of us have gone to a dumpy gay bar that hasn’t been updated or remodeled since the early 90’s? We’ve gotten so used to it that we often overlook the fact that most gay bars are ugly as shit inside. Just because a gay bar was a hit once doesn’t mean that it deserves to be successful forever. This is a problem for all over the country but I can’t speak for other cities so I’ll use Dallas bars as an example. A few months ago the gay bar The Brick closed its doors. It wasn’t a sign of the times even though locals might try and use gay apps as an excuse. The reality is that the bar had a shitty location without enough parking. Other bars have their own problems. While I’m told the old TMC was great the current incarnation is dark, dreary, and depressing. Thank god those pole dancers bring a crowd because otherwise who would want to hang out there? It’s one of those bars that you have to explain to out of town friends before you enter. Woody’s is better with it’s outside patio but as the gay sports bar there seems to be an overall lack of sports and over abundance of loud dance music. In contrast Cedar Springs Tap House sits at the end of the street as one of the newer editions to Dallas’ gayborhood. Along with having good food they also have an atmosphere that’s genuinely pleasant and inviting. Granted it isn’t perfect with problems such as slow service but overall it’s a space that you actually want to spend time in. Tap House is a great place to bring out of town friends because it doesn’t require explanation or apologies for the decor.
There is also the widely believed myth that apps like Growlr and Grinder are killing gay nightlife. Sorry but that’s total bullshit. It’s 2016 and any damage online dating did occurred a long time ago. I remember going out to my first gay bar back in college and hearing that Gay.com and Manhunt were ruining gay nightlife. It was a legitimate complaint back in 2001 when the technology was new. After almost 2 decades it’s time to stop blaming apps and websites for the lack of customers. Mobile meeting is a valid part of our culture. Again I ask myself, I wonder if the bars just suck?
Don’t get me wrong there are a bunch of good gay bars all across the country like Dallas’ The Round Up with it’s classic Texas atmosphere but there are also many old dogs in need of new tricks. To answer my original question, no gay bars are not dying. Some of them just need to evolve and change. Look at the innovative straight bars in Dallas like High and Tight and The Truck Yard for inspiration. Both have found huge success by thinking outside the box and offering customers a little bit of a different experience. I saw a Facebook quote from M. Brodeur that put it best, “90% of gay bars sound like a spin class and are about as sexually charged as a Sears. So maybe step up your homosexuality a touch and your ‘night life’ won’t be so easy to ruin.”
Cheers to one of the best season of Drag Race ever!
27. Adore quitting
26. Alaska’s kitten heel
25. Herstory of The World
24. Alyssa’s face mask
23. Katya reading Roxxxy
22. Alyssa vs Tatiana lip sync
21. Katya’s commercial
20. Elimination by lipstick
19. Roxxy’s redemption
18. Phi Phi’s Future of Drag Look
17. Tatianna as T-Boz
16. Alaska as Mae West
15. Katya’s pant suit
14. Detox’s latex look
13. Alyssa as Annie Oakley
12. Detox’s Future of Drag look
11. Alaska’s Future of Drag look
9. Tatianna’s spoken word
8. Alyssa’s camera dress
7. Katya’s latex look
6. Alyssa-isms: Beast and Rigamorris
4. I’ll Give You $10,000
3. The mirror revenge reveal
2. Alaska’s finale speech
1. The return of Lil Poundcake
Gifs via Fuckyeardragrace on Tumblr
I’ve found love for Trixie Mattel and Katya from their YouTube show UNHhhh. This is one of the funniest episodes. Enjoy.
What’s your opinion on cuddling with a trick?
I posed this question to a group of my married friends and most agreed that while it can be nice on rare occasion for the most part they’re not into it. As a married man myself my opinion fell in line with theirs. (I’m using married as short hand to refer to anyone in a relationship) The question came to mind because it seems like ‘looking for a cuddle buddy’ is becoming more and more common in profiles these days. I felt out of the loop because that is the last thing I’m looking for on Growlr. Cuddling has always felt much more intimate than sex. Sex is about hormonal urges while cuddling involves emotions and tenderness. I want to cuddle with Russ because I love him and it makes me feel wonderful. An attempt at that closeness would feel very awkward with a stranger. I started to wonder if the disconnect was between married and single men. I came up with a theory that although exceptions can always be found, it seems like single guys are looking for intimacy as much as sex while married guys just seek out a more unemotional physical connection. Several married friends even said they never cuddle because they don’t want to give the other guy the wrong impression and lead them to think there could be something more. I agreed with the sentiment and even considered adding “please no single guys” to my profile as a way of clarifying expectations but I decided I would probably get too much hate for it regardless of my honest intent.
The theory made sense on paper but I wanted to get more input from my single friends. I asked around and as the first couple responses from single guys came in the answers surprised me. The single guys were echoing the same sentiments as the married men. Cuddling is nice on a rare occasion but for the most part once the sex is over it’s time to go. My theory was starting to fall apart. Then I got a response from Felipe a wonderful guy in Florida. His first reaction was to ask me to clarify the word trick. It was a good question because while I meant the word as short hand for a hook up I realized that it does bring with it the connotation of a late night meaningless encounter. He along with several other single guys pointed out that the question was not that black and white. My theory was a little too simple for a situation filled with nuance. Using the word trick implied meaningless sex and therefore the responses of no cuddling from the single guys made sense. However a few guys took it a step further and pointed out that it all depended on the type of connection there is with the other person as it’s all very situational. For example if you spend most of the night chatting and getting to know each other at bar which then leads to sex, cuddling is much more likely to happen because you’ve invested a little more time in it. Whereas if your only interaction consists of sharing stats and pictures then cuddling feels weird and out of place. It wasn’t so much that cuddling was based on relationship status it was actually based on the type of s you were looking for.
After talking to several guys I came to a conclusion. My original theory that it’s mainly the single guys who want cuddling was true but it didn’t tell the whole story. Married guys tend not to want cuddling because the only sex they are usually looking for is of the hot and heavy unemotional variety because they get their intimacy needs met at home with their partner. Single guys on the other hand don’t look for just one kinds of sexual encounter. They too can look for an unemotional session where no cuddling is allowed but they are also just as open to meeting someone to develop something more where cuddling is approved. The problem is that we’re all mixed in together and our intentions and expectations aren’t always clear to the other person. A single guy hooking up with a married guy can be a recipe for miscommunication unless both men are honest and upfront. Going forward when I see a profile that says “looking for a cuddle buddy” I’ll still assume the person is single but I’ll also take it as a sign that we’re probably not a good match for something casual regardless of relationship status. Yes single guys can have unemotional fun but I tend to play the odds and why lead someone on unintentionally. Just like being fem when the other guy only wants butch, everyone isn’t always a good match for everyone. With no fault on either of us it just means deep down we’re probably looking for different things. The trick is to be clear about it. Next time you’re discussing positions, inches, and safety maybe it’s a good idea to also include a question about cuddling. Are you cuddle4cuddle?
Thank you to Felipe, James, Norbert, Eder, Justin, Jeff, Henry, and Fred for giving your input.