Monday, April 09, 2007

The Name Game

This post originally appeared in the now defunct Gay Men Rule. I’ve reposted here – just so it didn’t get lost in my writings.

The last few days of email exchange between some friends have brought up some gay bar experiences from the far past.

I’ve been done living my life to 168 beats per minute for quite a while now. I can no longer stay out (or up) all night and make it to work the next morning looking no worse the wear. I probably couldn’t then either, but was naive enough to think I could. The true bonus of this life change is never having to listen to Dead of Alive again – let alone their extended dance mixes!

Anyhoo, during the email exchange, somehow a former ‘want’ of mine, Derek, came into the conversation. Morty could remember who he was – eventually. Jon could not. So Jon started running down the list of names of people from our past he thought it might be.

Naturally, these weren’t real names – because we never really conversed with people outside our group. For a long time the group was just Jon, Fat Girl and myself. Eventually FG dropped out and Morty joined in with his traveling pack of rotating hangers-on. And no Ditto and Becky, I’m not including you in that group.

Jon and I had names for many of the bar regulars. Made up names of course. Mr. Big Nose. Mr. Red Shirt. Mr. Blue Shirt who then later went by Mr. 38″ Waist (that one isn’t quite as funny as it once was. back then I had a 29″ waist). Like the New York Times, we seemed very respectful, in that we used the pre-fix of their “names” at all times. I don’t think you need a Ph.D. in nameology as to how these were picked. If you’re still stumped, contact me later and I’ll spell it out for you.

And who could ever forget Mr. & Mrs. Coat? Not unlike Jon and FG, Mr. Coat brought his hag to the Garage weekly. No matter the weather, they always seemed to wear big and heavy coats. And smoke. Then one weekend Mrs. Coat was gone – only to be replaced shortly thereafter by Mrs. Coat II. I’d say she was a ‘trophy hag’, but in reality she didn’t look all that different than Mrs. Coat I.

Then there was Mrs. Howell (though sometimes he was just “Lovey”). This poor faegella who wore maroon or pastel pantsuits my mother ditched back in 1964, and sunglasses Jackie O. made a career out of wearing. In winter, it was the full length mink, still with the Jackie O. shades even in a dark bar…at night. More likely the coat was rabbit, but I’m guessing he pretended it was mink.

I think my favourite (well…believe it or not, it could be Mr. 38″ Waist, just due to his handsome handsome face) was probably Mr. Pez. Eventually he went international and was finally dubbed: Monsieur Pez (and yes, the ‘ez‘ is pronounced ‘ay‘). Always in his pressed jeans and button down shirt – no matter what time of the year. Always dancing by his lonesome, in his inimitable way (well except by me) – never giving anyone the time of day or even a look. Too cute to approach and what I’m guessing, too lonely for words.

Why ‘Mr. Pez‘, you ask? At the time I was prone to carrying around a Pez dispenser. It was a good opening line. Find someone attractive. Whip it out. Pull back the head, extend the dispenser and address the intended victim date with an offer of, ‘Pez?’.

Just standing there with Jon and admiring Mr. Pez, I said off the cuff, “I’d give him all my Pez“.

Alas, it was not meant to be. He seemed too stand-off-ish and I was too shy. Now and again, I’d be drunk enough pseudo-bold and dance near him, but in actuality, never a word uttered.

Eventually, I’d go back and stand with Jon over in Obetz (our name for the corner of the bar where we’d stand) while we oh so silently mocked others, never once wondering what names others had invariably had to have come up for us.

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