Happy Things: A Night for Celebration

Photo by Ted Eytan (CC2.0)
Photo by Ted Eytan (CC2.0)

On June 29th, when the Supreme Court historically backed the legality and right of gay marriage (ie, MARRIAGE), the woman who broke my heart but was still my friend texted me and said: “get dressed, we’re going out to celebrate!” We were two bi-woman, happy to feel that our existence and our feelings were somehow being validated and legitimized.

Heart in my throat despite myself, I got dressed, and she picked me up at around 9pm. We got lost looking for the nearest gay bar in my neck of the woods, and ended up a gay Western-style saloon and dance hall, complete with giant neon cowboy boot in the roof, swinging barn doors at the entrance, and dance floor meant for square-dancing but currently graced by three butch couples and a pair of gay men doing something that might have been dancing but was really just standing in place and shifting their feet. There was even a mechanical bull to ride in the far corner. And karaoke, of course.

Giggling like idiots, and wondering how the hell this was the place we had ended up at, we scampered over to the bar and ordered the most ridiculously-named, brightly-colored drinks we could possibly find. Hers matched almost perfectly the bright turquoise-y color of her hair. Mine had everything in it but the kitchen sink, and therefore ended up almost muddy-brown instead. The first sip nearly knocked me off my feet.

In a show of irony, I was somehow the butch-ish one that evening: she was dressed in a slinky black skirt and sparking shirt, whereas I had been sick for days and hadn’t done laundry in weeks, and was therefore in tight jeans, a checked button-down shirt, and boots (yes, I was wearing boots). (She had, when picking me up, noticed my somewhat staid attire and said, “here, we need to gay you up a little bit” as she slipped a rainbow necklace over my head.) So it was no surprise when the bartender looked to me to pay, and also no surprise when we argued over who was going to pay for five minutes before she gave in (her argument was that she’d asked me out for the evening, my argument was I didn’t care).

Reluctant to dance to western music, we slowly gravitated toward the karaoke machine with our truly ridiculous drinks. And eventually, as I knew would happen, she ended up in front of the mic. She couldn’t resist. Shy and anxious and neurotic on most days, she was still a theatre major at one time, and a ballet dancer, and musician, and a poet and perversely craved the attention even as she feared it. She ended up in front of the mic, with Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” beginning to play.

Whereupon she immediately forgot all the lyrics and stumbled her way through the song with comical put-upon faces and gestures for the crowd to join in and cover her ass. I stood to the side, holding both her drink and mine, laughing my ass off, until tears squeezed from my eyes.

I responded to an attempt to get me up to the mic with an: “over my dead body, and possibly yours.”

Awhile later, we decided to abandon the bizarre little gay western dance hall and saloon, and drove further down the highway into downtown. Where the bohemian (read, artsy, collegiate, and hella-gay) part of town was so jam-packed with exuberant celebrating drunk people that it took us nearly an hour just to park the car. By that point, we were beginning to show our ages (me 30, her 45) and decided we were too tired to find another bar or club. So we eventually ended up at a really excellent Greek restaurant (open until 3am!) and ate appetizers and drank sweet tea and talked for almost three hours.

I enjoyed that far more than the western bar.

When we finally decided to call it a night, it was 2:30am. She dropped me off at home, I took a quick shower, and crawled into bed. Not 20 minutes later, we laughed at each other to find both of us awake and on Twitter, not quite ready yet to let the night slip away.

Silent Sister


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