Only YOU can prevent forest fires

This weekend I was at PT1109, and I guess it was time for my annual Spring nuclear meltdown. It’s my way of doing a thorough emotional Spring cleaning. I’m not proud of it, and I generally feel deep shame for about three-five days after it happens. I have had one every year in either April or May ever since I can remember. I’m normally very even-keeled (for a gay guy), but (over the course of a year) various tiny shreds of stress will pile up in a dry heap, and then someone will do or say something that causes a spark. And then… well…

I was going around the bartop, and I looked down to see three guys at the end of the circuit. I am familiar with the third person, having chatted with him numerous times. The other two (unbeknownst to me) were a couple. I thought one of these two was about to pull his penis out, since it looked like his button was unsnapped, looked like his hand was down the front of his pants, and it appeared he was pulling up, as if about to pull it right on out. This, of course, is against the rules. If I’d known then that this fairly innocuous situation was going to nosebomb out of control, I would have been curt in interrupting what I genuinely thought was about to be a “no no” moment and would have moved along.

However, in trying to keep from offending people, I made a game of it. “Oh! You’re tired of looking at mine, so now I finally get to see yours?” The guy with his hand in his pants just smiled, took his hand out, and made light of it. The man next to him, however, got his feathers ruffled up. I thought it’d be a nice gesture to flirt with him too, so as not to seem like a kill-joy.

“Hello, what’s your name?”

“I’m S____, and he’s my boyfriend.”

“I didn’t ask who he is, I asked who you are,” I said with a teasing tone. “What’s your name again?”

“S____.”

“Nice to meet you, S____.” (Insert hand shake) “And what’s your name?”

“M____.”

“Nice to meet you M____.” (Insert hand shake)

This is the moment where everything spiraled out of control. It has been made known to me (48 hours later) that “M” has evidently voiced a flattering appraisal of my appearance in the past, and that “S” is upset at me because of this. It should also be mentioned that the other three dancers that night not only flirted with “S” and “M,” but that they also hugged and squeezed on the couple as well (in addition to the third person who was sitting next to them). I do not know “S,” and I’d seen “M” only in passing for about a year. I’d never seen the two together that I can recall, didn’t know that they were a couple, and didn’t know that I was the only dancer not allowed to “flirt” with “S”‘s man. After I shook “M”‘s hand I stood up to leave when “S” made a disgusted face and gave me a “you’re dismissed” flick of the wrist. His utter disdain was the spark that lit me up.

“Do not dismiss me. Ever.”

“I just did.”

“You’re not in a position to dismiss me.”

From there it descended into a shouting match in front of the entire crowd. We exchanged angry threats and abusive names. I was going to walk away, but then “S” started yelling at the bartender about me. So I went back over. “No! We can have this conversation with me right here, bitch!”

“You were hitting on my boyfriend!”

“YOU’RE IN A FUCKING STRIP CLUB!” I roared so loudly that I could be heard clearly over the music. I was shaking with rage, and it was all I could do to pull my finger out of “S”‘s face. At that I stormed away.

It turns out that “S” is a friend of the owner of the bar. I really am completely non-plussed by this fact. There are other issues here that are more important: Aside from the various dysfunctions that have been accumulating in the background in this club, the couple in question were possibly already drunk when they came in, the bartenders gave them more alcohol (perhaps because they were scared to “cut off” friends of the owner?), and I got involved with them only because I thought “M” was about to commit a major faux pas. I am not going to apologize to anyone for anything. The only mistake I feel I made was allowing the dismissal from someone I don’t even know to burn me so badly.

It seems that “S” is a person of some importance in the local gay community. That, too, is irrelevant in my mind. I don’t recall ever seeing him before in the two years that I’ve danced at PT1109, didn’t know he had a problem with me, didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to interact with the person who happens to be his boyfriend, and didn’t know that “S” had any special privileges because of his connection to the owner. If people expect me to know this fucking bullshit, then they should let me in on these facts.

The bottom line is this: I don’t give a good goddamn if you’re Barack Obama himself. In the dark with a drink in your hand, if you’re crunk and hollaring in a bar, you’re just another inebriated asshole to me. I don’t care who you think you are – I am not the one to dismiss because you have the mistaken notion that I want anything but a dollar from your boyfriend.

In the meantime my pride is healing slowly. These yearly explosions embarrass me completely. They make me feel like I’m out of control of myself. And they make me feel stupid. I’m not sorry that I yelled at “S,” I’m sorry that someone of so little importance to me became far too important in such a short time. Although I am ashamed of the outburst, I don’t feel obliged to apologize for it. Maybe that seems complicated or ridiculous, but if anyone owes anyone anything, “S” owes me a dollar for shaking his hand without vomiting on him.

Author: Devon Hunter

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7 Comments

  1. Glad I was not there, I may have have had to get into it with them. Sometimes I just hate the community we live in. It does not matter who they were, that was no way to act. Most likely I would have pulled you away from them, because the type person they are not worth it. I am sorry that you had to go through that, but glad that you got your semi-annual period out. Rest and have a good week. Have fun for whatever you are going to San Diego for. I still love CA. Tom

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  2. It is obvious that you have analyzed this situation with the same insightful way that you approach everything else. I agree with your conclusion completely; it is not worth getting so upset by a total stranger who means nothing to you. I’m sure you have asked yourself the follow-up question, “Even if the stranger meant nothing to me, does the APPROVAL of strangers mean that much to me?” Only you can answer that question. From reading your posts, I do not think you need to be a better person. You may remember that I had to come and meet you because of the beautiful things that you write. I do not think that you need to be a better person, but perhaps you are still in the process of realizing how good you actually are. You will come to know this, and when you do, you will not feel the need to defend yourself, any more than you feel the need to defend the fact that the earth is a sphere against people who insist it is flat. You will calmly know the earth is not flat, and will wish them a good day, realizing that the truth of the matter does not depend upon your convincing THEM. Likewise, your own worth is unassailable, and when you fully grow into that knowledge, you will know that it does not depend upon the opinions of strangers to be true. You are almost there. You are almost at the point where you calmly know your worth. You will not feel, for much longer, that your worth is vulnerable to the whims of rude drunk people. You can see the absurdity of that thought, even now. Most people do not realize their worth until they are much older than you, if ever. Best wishes to you!

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  3. Hmmm..let’s think about this with logic..his boyfriend is turned on by you, you extend a polite courtesy to both guys, you’re suddenly the bad guy?!?!? It sounds like the idiot’s real issue was with his boyfriend being too fond of you. The insecurities of others is something else isn’t it?

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  4. Wow, Steve. That was an amazing comment. I couldn’t possibly have said it better.

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  5. wow… out of the ashes, a bird ascends… thank you, steve.

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  6. I have those “blow-ups” occasionally. I feel bad afterwards but you get to a point that you put up with so much bullshit that you can’t take anymore. Regardless, you had no way of knowing all the baggage those two guys were carrying when you were simply doing your job.

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  7. That message was channeled, just for you, Devon. It flowed. Remember how I once asked you if your messages flowed when you wrote them? And how many of your messages looked like they were from channeling? My post here is a sample of what I meant. When I am astounded by what my fingers type, it is channeling. As that message came through, I knew it was the right one for you. And I learned from it, too. 🙂

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