It was my penance, really, to take D. back to Vlada and ply him with vodka after my bout of insecurity. Though a Russian proverb claims, “Love and Jealousy are sisters,” I think Jealousy’s more like Love’s roommate’s annoying lap dog. Unfortunately, that dog finally bit me in the ass the night a gay friend of D.’s took him to Vlada, the coolest of Hell’s Kitchen’s new gay nightspots, a vodka bar with a crowd as warm and handsome as its decor is photogenic. I’m a girl, D. is straight; I kind of thought we were casual. Why had D.’s visit given me such a shiver?
A thin line of ice runs the length of Vlada’s glass-top bar. Big glass jugs full of vodka infusions ($8) line the back of one wall; pineapples or apples or ginger root lazily steep. I got D. a plum, myself a ginger, and D. wrote, “Alexis is cool,” on my arm with a pen. I left D. to watch Edie, the night’s drag performer, and I wandered to the bar’s front courtyard. A patron there told me the bar’s owner (Vlada herself) had wanted to make “a beautiful place for her gays.” Make it lovely, she did.