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I met this guy yesterday. A female friend told me he thought I was cute. I concurred. At his house, I sized him up and threw out signals, to little response. Courting rituals as usual? Or the premature fizzle of too little chemistry? Ugh. “Gay dating” is such a pejorative term when sex is always the initial deal-breaker, and this was the first time I’d really jumped into meeting men again. The last three Valentine’s in this town have left me burned, and I don’t plan to be the lonely one this time around. Three new Sunday-night gay-themed parties have just opened up in various boîtes around Brooklyn, my borough, and I have to get cracking.
I head down the street to Classic Sundays, at the 667 GALLERY AND LOUNGE (667 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 201-369-9298) in Fort Greene, a new party for black men and women ($5 cover). Inside, about 15 guys—mostly in their thirties—are moving to Roy Ayers’s “Running Away,” a refreshing change of pace from most Manhattan sausage markets, where the asses are often as tightly wound as the attitudes. At the bar, I peruse the specials—mostly vodka variations with Godiva chocolate liqueur. I down a shot of Ebony Mmmint, a mix of vodka, crème de menthe, and Godiva. The super-minty concoction is slightly creamy and sweet with a nice strong bite at the end. “I made it up!” exclaims Chanel, the pretty little caramel thing at the bar. I follow with a Dean Martini, a blithely citrusy offering of Ketel One and Stoli Oranj ($7). A new Colonel Abrams track comes on, and I don’t want to leave, but I’m already really buzzed, so I take off for parts north.
The Williamsburg Homosexual Learning Center at LEVEL X (107 North Six Street, Brooklyn, 718-302-3313) is one of those irony-drenched concepts that were the rage in better days, updated to match the retro-’80s electro mood now de rigueur for Bloomberg-era fags. Despite the banging rupture of the techno-basslines from the DJ, I notice that hardly anyone is into the educational options here except for a decidedly un-homosexual group of Dominican kids on a double date. The WHLC has aspirations to match the notoriety of Mother, but I’m told Sunday night in Billburg finds everyone at THE ABBEY (536 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-599-4400), a cozy dive a couple of blocks away. The bartender makes me a sweetish drink in lieu of specials—Southern Comfort, ginger ale, with pineapple and orange juice ($5)—a nice send-off as I dash down the street.
The dim little tavern is warm and bustling with guys and some girls cavorting to Debbie Harry’s “French Kissin’ in the USA.” The environs are comfortably retro without the pretense. I grab a Red Stripe ($3.50!) and start dancing to “Be Near Me” by ABC. The guys here are of the stylish, bedraggled art-chic variety, very Stash from Slaves of New York, smiling and dancing amicably with elegantly vamped-out fag hags in stilettos. I bemoan the frustration of hammering out the concept of dating with a random guy wearing wrestling boots and a dangling diamond earring. I don’t score with him either. I’m not trying to, I guess. I still keep thinking about the guy from the night before. But did I mess that all up? I put my sordid self onto the G train as it inches along back home.
Sometime close to 4 a.m., my cell phone announces a voice mail from earlier. It’s the guy inviting me out to go hang with him and his friends. Mounting fears of rejection assuaged, and yeah, it’s just courting as usual. I think too much about these things.