Tuesday, October 21, 2008

is multi-partisanship possible?

I'm so down on gays these days I'm considering advocating on behalf of the log cabin republicans. At least they publicly acknowledge they hate themselves!

Here's the skinny on DC: My friends take me out--we hit some fun clubs: Town, Nellie's, and then they suggest the country western bar for line dancing. I've been to country western bars from LA to Portland to Dallas and they've always been a hoot. It's down home good fun. Well, not Remingtons in Washington DC.

At Remingtons, they're doing a two-step round and round on the dance floor. Immediately upon my arrival to the dance floor, one of the dancers makes it his business to sidle up and insist I leave the floor immediately. I could "injure" him if I stayed. Are you kidding me? He doesn't even know if I can do the two-step. But I get it, I've felt this before. I do not belong.

I wasn't one of them.

Now I could've learned the two-step in a second. So I put up a stink, and the manager takes his side, telling me it's "etiquette" to stay off the dance floor if you're not a pro. He says I can go on the back of the dance floor when they do "stationary" dances. So I wait. And when the tush-push comes on, I go to the side of the floor, far from those who knew their thing, and I'm minding my own business. Dancing harmlessly with Bam.

We paid a $5 cover, um, to dance. I certainly didn't pay $5 to see a show (less to see show-offs) but these guys (probaby 7 of them) apparently thought I'd paid to see them star in some dinner theatre sideshow, because instead of enjoying their own dance--they all turned and jumped me!

I guess I was a threatening distraction to their talents (which says a lot about their talents), because they came at me with foaming mouths...and fists! Because I disobeyed the choreography? Yes, I guess it was a gay bar.

They tried, but couldn't get this ho down. Bam and my DC friends jumped in the middle. Fuck that shit, I dialed 911! The manager was unapologetic. Not only could he not control his chorus girls, he even refused to refund the cover we paid...to dance!

The riot police came and I helped them pick out all the boot scootn' bullies. But the Remington gang claimed I threw the first punch! And that my presence on the dance floor, might result in their "injury" --as if they were prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, with the delicate bird-thin bones. By the way, that's apparently a new excuse to use violence --- someone on the far margin of the dance floor might somehow injure you.

It was our word against theirs. The police left, and the ugly eels retreated back to the newly defended exclusive dark lair. I felt like a black man who was racially assaulted...by a black man. It just doesn't make sense. People who should back and bolster one another instead choose to seal themselves up into the tiny bubble of an even smaller world with no allowance for fluidity.

Inside these satellite communities, customs and culture turn to rules and walls which foster a (sometimes) violent disdain for anything foreign. People ossify rigid. Cookie cutter, like country-western choreography.

Club kids, Muscle Marys, Pines Boys, Fems, Leather, Country Western, Conservatives, Trannys, Monogamists, Lesbians ---- we're all gay, but to one another we're mostly unwelcome strangers.

We may come together to fight AIDS and the murder of Matthew Shepard, but the truth is we treat each other far worse than any disease or hate crime. And how are we going to grow as a community if we don't start including, accepting, and reaching across the aisle (as it were) in solidarity?

How fitting this shit should go down in our nation's capitol.

Now will someone (nice) please take me line dancing soon?! I don't want to ossify.


Patrick said...

I'll go with you!

Joe Moore said...

That's lame...about those pricks in the bar. I've only ever gone to the country bar in the valley in LA, and everytime I was there I had people coming up to me on the dance floor, not trying to kick me out, but offering to teach me the dances, or wanting to dance with me. One guy looked desparingly at my sandals, but then when he saw I could do the two step and turns in them, he thought it was cool. We ended up making out a little after.

To comment on your deeper topic, we do treat each other with more contempt when it comes to someone in the LGBT community who doesn't fit into our niche. It's horrible, and I've been saying for years that if we're going to be divided, we'll fall. Let's take a lesson from the original 13 colonies...they hated one another, but they finally realized they couldn't be free from England alone, that they had to be "united" in order to survive.

And so do we.

Eddie said...

Were these some of the DC Cowboys, I wonder?

The Blackout Blog said...

That's tragic! I dragged a bunch of my friends to Big Apple Ranch for my birthday over the summer (none of us has been before, and I wanted to do something totally different for my 25th). It was kind of a disaster b/c the line dance they were teaching was like eight 8-counts long, but people were largely nice to us.

I've always had love for the country western thing (3 cowboy hats 3 pairs of cowboy boots so far), but I've been hesitant b/c I'm black. I'd hate to think what would have happened if I would have wandered into that bar in DC.

Tony said...

Hey Jesse -

I guess those redneck prima donnas at Remingtons think they're in the Wild West.
It's like those old 1940's B Westerns where the hero goes into a saloon, orders a sarsaparilla instead of whiskey, and a huge brawl erupts.
So, what WERE you drinking?

Anonymous said...

I live in Houston and the one gay bar I can go and feel comfortable is a CW place. If I dare venure into some of the others, I suffer from the one condition gay find unforgivable --- age. Yep, I guess we are all supposed to disappear somewhere between age 30 and 40. Sad thing is, an aweful lot of us did.

Jesse, you would have no problem anywhere here as long as you hurry and visit before you live too long.

The Blackout Blog said...

Anon, you should come to NYC. Daddies come to our bars, and we show them love!

Margot Leadbetter said...

I don't think we all have to get along. I've been in fist fights in straight bars and in gay bars.

The gay fights are better. In the straight bars the girls yell encouragement but don't join in. In the gay bars the drag queens kick everyone's ass.

carmel said...


Hey Jesse,
my mother in law bought me this book and it really has helped me understand the whole world of line dancing etiquette - from what (not) to wear to basic moves. It doesn't delve into the gay bootscoot world (I think they are in denial) but I'm sure similar rules would apply...
I'm still to scared to go to a real line dancing club - your experience has only underscored my reservations - but in the meantime I'm practising the grapevine and tizzying up my clothes with a bedazzler waiting for the day the president of the line dancing association of the world grants me "pro" status....
hope it helps

Jesse Archer said...

Margot, I'm not fisting you no matter how much you beg ;)

Blackout--would you believe one of the country western nazis was black?

Carmel, thanks love for the suggested book. The GENIUS part of it is the price. .01 cent. I feel vindicted already...


Mark in DE said...

Unfortunately I am not surprised by this. DC is not known for its warm welcoming spirit. Trust me, I lived there for over 30 years.

But the deeper topic of not being tolerant or welcoming to those not in our own little subculture is an important one. Indeed, how will can we fight for equal rights if we're fighting with each other?

Mark :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a convenient recollection of what happened or rather what didn’t happen.

Let’s start with the basics. Remington’s is one of the friendliest gay bars in DC. Most of the people there will happily help teach anyone new to two-step or call out the steps to a line dance if someone jumps in. They also keep dance floor etiquette posted near the entry, on their website here: http://www.remingtonswdc.com/etiquette.html and most of the regulars will kindly offer words of advice to people who aren’t clear on what is going on. These rules are not only standard but they exist to keep people safe. If someone is spinning quickly and there is someone stationary, guess what is going to happen, yes, a collision and someone is going to get hurt.

Now let’s talk specifics. You conveniently forgot to mention that the DJ repeatedly called for you to get off of the dance floor as you weren’t following the dance floor etiquette. Now at the point that you chose to ignore the DJ and the rules, management should have escorted you off of the dance floor. Instead you decided to stay on the dance floor and try to show off. Doing cartwheels on the small dance floor in a country-western bar doesn’t exactly sound like trying to two-step. Three songs later, you were still on the dance floor when a dance called Caliente came on. Caliente is a fast paced traveling line dance, which means it is not only packed with many quick turns but the dancers move around the floor quite a bit. People started doing the dance and the people closest to you were forced to stop because you were in their way, which caused everyone on the floor to stop dancing. At this point the DJ yet again asked for you leave the dance floor. When you didn’t leave someone did get in your face and yelled at you to leave. I can’t speak to who hit who, all I saw was a group of the regulars trying to separate you and someone else.

Your reasoning and conclusions are completely specious. Remington’s is actually one of the few bars that I have been to in DC that is actually well integrated. Gay men, lesbian, trannies, straight people, young guys, old women and people of all different socio-economic backgrounds and races are all there and all welcome. The reason you weren’t welcomed was because of your behavior. You chose to ignore common courtesy, the posted rules and the instructions of the staff. Violence or the threat of violence is not the answer. Claiming bias based on your stupid actions is just absurd and had nothing to do with the fact that no one there knew you.

So to make this short and to the point. What you did was wrong and stupid. Management’s lack of action was also wrong. And someone inciting violence was also wrong. So step up and take responsibility for your actions and don’t hide behind politics that act to divide.

Jesse Archer said...

You said it perfectly: don’t hide behind politics that act to divide.

Regardless of my behavior--Violence divides. Dialogue does not. You could've spoken to me instead of tried to punch me.

What's your name? And will you please teach me the damn Caliente already?

Anonymous said...

Dialogue can be quite dividing. To take it to an extreme, I believe there is something even called "hate speech." Many of your own posts are incredibly divisive and try to create an “us and them” mentality.

Personally, I had nothing to do with you. I didn’t speak to you nor did I try to hit you. I also don’t condone violence.

Step Sheet for Caliente:

Slow video of Caliente:

There are some regional differences that you can see in the video. I am positive if you politely ask someone who knows the dance in a local bar they will help you learn it.

Jesse Archer said...

Dear Anonymous,

I have to disagree that I'm promoting an us vs them mentality. In this post in particular I talk about inclusion and wonder why we splinter off into such intolerant mini-cultures.

The fact is, I went to Remingtons to dance. I paid my entrance fee at the door and was not informed of any rules and then was treated with utter contempt from the moment I attempted to enter the dance floor.

Perhaps future altercations can be avoided with simple communication at the front door--if patrons are told before paying that they cannot enter the dance floor unless they know the moves.

In any case, I'm happy we're, um, dialoguing. And I thank you for the instructions and video. Looks like lots of fun, and they sure have an enviable size dance floor!