I’m Probably Not Trying to Pick You Up
We take for granted being able to go out for a beer or two at our local haunt and just have casual chit chat with a fellow patron or two without the gossip mill beginning to churn or sly looks being directed at us. Well, straight people probably take that more for granted than gay people. Because, apparently, we gay men have eschewed the queer bar scene and have set our sites on the ‘straight’ pubs and bars to find our next sexual conquest.
First of all, it is human nature to check out other people. If you are single (and sometimes if you’re not), you go out for a little libation and some social lubricant and sometimes the inner lothario rears its flirty little head. Happens to everyone, but that doesn’t usually get met with hushed whispers and smirking innuendo—unless you happen to be the only gay guy in the joint.
I struck up a conversation with a fellow across the table from me.
Not long ago I was out at a local bar I have been dropping into for years. The atmosphere and ethos of this place encourage community and casual conversation with your neighbour. That’s one of the things I love about it. It has great staff, a great owner, a great attitude and for the most part, great patrons. Hence, I find myself able to relax, talk, listen to music or just watch life walk by on the streets. It’s a nice little oasis in the concrete desert.
This particular night, the bar was bustling and the large ‘community table’ was filled with all sorts of folks drinking, talking and carrying on. I struck up a conversation with a fellow across the table from me. He was a nice looking guy in his early 30s who had just moved to Toronto from Ireland. We got talking about his experiences relocating to another country, what he did for a living, the local and global political scene, the Irish Prime Minister’s recent verbal dismembering of a random Tea Party idiot (we both loved that one!) and just life in general.
I could hear her telling him that I was gay. She then asked if he was gay.
During the course of our chat, a woman sitting beside him who is also somewhat of a regular to this establishment began to lean over and whisper in his ear. As she talked and smiled she kept looking at me. Then my new Irish friend would look at me. My Spidey Senses began to tingle just a bit. What was the big secret? Why was she whispering and looking at me? Why did I feel like I was in an episode of Gossip Girl?
Then it was all revealed. I could hear her telling him that I was gay. She then asked if he was gay to which he replied that he was, indeed, not. She made some other muffled comments and then I could hear her ask if he was planning to go home with me. He said he was not. I sat there during this tête-à-tête trying not to look too peeved. Shortly after she extricated herself from his ear, he finished his drink, shook my hand, smiled and bid his farewells.
Why do people assume because I’m a gay man I’m trying to pick them up?
I couldn’t help think that had she not planted some idea in his head that I was trying to pick him up, he would have stuck around. We were having a great time talking and at no point did sex or relationships or anything of that nature enter our conversation. I can’t be sure if she was doing it out of malice or was possibly trying to help ‘seal the deal’. However, the result was his leaving and me feeling somewhat insulted and objectified.
It was disappointing on a lot of levels that this happened, not the least of which is this antiquated idea that a gay man can’t talk with a (presumably) straight man without there being a hidden agenda. Why do people assume because I’m a gay man I’m trying to pick them up? Maybe I’m naïve, but I thought we got past that. I am perfectly capable of having a conversation with a straight man—and even a gay one—without trying to get in their pants. Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m some sort of sexual predator always hunting for my next conquest. Sometimes I just like to sit and have a friendly conversation over a beer. Is that so wrong?
photo credit: Don Fulano
Tags: Andrew Vail
, gay men
, Gossip Girl
, Irish Prime Minister
, Pick up
, Spidey Senses
, Tea Party