You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. ~ W. Churchill Winston Churchill probably meant this quote about fighting wars and arguing with British aristocrats, but I think if he were alive today, he also would have used it about douchebags on party buses.
The party bus was for my lovely college friend Kristen and her friend Robbie. It was to be a mini-college reunion, and I had a great idea of taking the bus to Amy's apartment in St. Louis Park so that I could go to work the next day without any problems. I wore my awesome brown pseudo-velvet blazer and a Texas Longhorns cap so I wouldn't get my hair wet with from the light drizzle.
Unfortunately for my dumb ass, I got off on the wrong bus stop and waited for an extra hour before realizing I had a ways to go. The only blessing of this is that a boy drove by who I randomly knew from my two seconds as a film major. "You going to MOA?" he asked. I shook my head, but thought it was really sweet of him to offer a ride. He was with his girlfriend, but he always awkwardly flirted with me. Then I thought about him being really good at kissing. I mean, what?
I further proved my idiocy when I couldn't figure out how to use my bus transfer ticket and everyody gave me death stares. Maybe I should have eaten more than just a crappy chicken salad from the gas station. Regardless! The party bus would be FUN! I felt stupid on my later transfer as well, when I put in two expired transfer tickets before finding the right one. Public transportation is hard, you guys.
It was fun, although I didn't get there until 9:45, right when it was leaving. The girls were happy to see me but made fun of my Longhorns hat. "Why are you wearing that?" they asked. "You've never even been to Texas". "Because I am being a DUDELY DUDE," I explained, pointing to random guys on our bus who were wearing caps. Laura was sure to tie my shoes to make sure I wouldn't biff it. I quickly realized that the bus was very segregated. Me and my college girls were up front, and then all of Robbie's pals were in the back. Since we were going to be together all night, I decided to MINGLE. And I worked that bus that I was a new CEO at the boardroom meeting, getting to know all the subordinates. My favorites of the pretty girls were Betsy and Veronica, the latter of whom I planned on making out with if the night went my way.
Our first bar was Billy's on Grand, where I complained to the college girls that our bus was too segregated. "Because those girls are BITCHES," Laura explained to me. "They hate us. The apartment earlier was even worse." "High school is over," Hailie went on. "We're 24, 25 now. It should end." "I wonder if they were popular in high school," I pondered. "Like maybe that never goes away. You think you're always The Queen Bee." I mingled with the new girls for a bit anyway, as one of them bought me a tequila shot. "If I get naked, it's your fault," I told her.
When we got back on the bus, a girl named Megan told me that she thought her ex-boyfriend (across from us) might be gay. He started dancing with no rhythm at all. "If he dances like that, he's straight," I assured her. "No rhythm." Like TWO SECONDS later, the guy sits by me. "I hear you said I have no rhythm," he said, and that's when I got it, that these girls really were stuck in high school, Mean Girls behavior. What would have happened if I had told Megan I thought her ex-boyfriend WAS gay?
As the bus got back in motion and we headed toward Minneapolis, the tequila (and the vodka I had earlier imbibed) was running through my veins, and I decided to pole dance. The college girls cheered, and most of the guys thought it was funny. No harm, no foul.
Then the incident happened.
"Hey," a guy with a cagefighter shirt and baseball cap from the back of the bus piped up. "No one wants to see that shit. I don't want to see dudes dancing. Save that for the Fag Bus."
I stared at him. "Come here," I said with a smile. He refused. "COME HERE," I said. "I want you to say that to my face."
"I DON'T WANT TO SEE DUDES DANCING," he yelled. He wasn't budging.
"No, say the fag part to my face," I demanded. He wouldn't. I sat back down and chugged whatever vodka I had left remaining.
"Jakey, let it go," Laura said. "It's not even worth it."
"No, I have to say SOMETHING when the bus stops," I said. "It's gonna be really short, and I'm gonna be nice." I had a little speech prepared, and it was to be 15 seconds.
Maybe I should have let it go. But I realized that I was 24 years old (and people are guessing my age accurately now. The night before, at Lush Bar, a guy who was trying to be a psychic was like "You're 24, right? But maybe not. You're really small." Then it turned out he used to date the St. Olaf Gay who made me cry at that wedding. Tangent!). I wasn't bullied or harrassed the way a lot of gay kids were, but I've taken my fair share of being called a faggot. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. 24-year-old Jakey was going to do this for 14-year-old Jakey who was never confident enough to stick up for himself when the high-schoolers would say it as he walked by. He was going to do this for 19-year-old Jakey, who went to college in a small town and, in a strange reversal of how things should go, got harrassed about five times as much THERE as he did in middle and high school. This was for 22-year-old Jakey, who, when working at the North Minneapolis Walgreens when these guys would come in and be like "Hey, faggot, where's the candy at?" smiled at them and said "Aisle Five" while completely no-selling their slurs. I was going to be calm and direct and get it over with. I convinced the guys sitting by me to stand behind me while I told the guy off, because there was a slight chance of fisticuffs.
What I should have realized was that you can't reason with idiots. "Can I just say two things and then we'll go our own ways?" I started. Calm voice. Level. "Number One: I do not want to have sex with you. Number Two: It is 2011 and----" It was going to end with you don't get to call me a fag anymore. But then he piped up.
"You better not want to have sex with me," he said. "Or I'll kick your ass."
Then I popped off, my voice getting higher and screechier as I went.
"WOW, REALLY???" I yelled. "I WEIGH 120 POUNDS, DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU'RE GONNA BE FUCKING TOUGH IF YOU KICK MY ASS? GO AHEAD. DO IT. RIGHT HERE. HUH, GO 'HEAD. I SPENT ALL MY LIFE BEING CALLED A FAGGOT AND NOW IT IS 2011 AND YOU. DON'T. GET. TO. CALL. ME. THAT. YOU DON'T EVEN FUCKING KNOW ME. YOU'RE PATHETIC!"
And I stormed off that party bus, with the girls behind me. I should have felt good about myself, yet I didn't. Yelling wouldn't solve anything. The guy was drunk. Would he even remember it? Everyone else on that bus had joined this century and knew you couldn't call me a fag. I just got really sad, and couldn't enjoy my time at whatever bar we were at. The Ugly Mug. I used the girls' bathroom. It really was like college.
I should have gone home, but I took the bus five blocks to The Saloon. I needed Gay World after all. I went to Danny, my favorite bartender, who makes drinks strong and is really dreamy. I spent a good half hour talking to a guy who was 46, and we discussed youth being wasted on the young. "You're still young," he said. "You're what, 24-25?" Why was everyone guessing my real age?? I so need to buy new Bare Minerals. We walked to the dance room, and I put my Texas Longhorns hat away and went on the whorebox, where I promptly made out with a muscular Russian dude.
Then, shortly after 2 A.M., when drinks stopped being served but you could still dance and whore on the whorebox, my shoelace became untied, and as I got off the whorebox, I fucking BIFFED it.
I have fallen down drunk just a few times. Like last month, when I went face-first into the Foozball table. Or the time at Stout when I biffed it on the way to the pizza parlor, and I was with all boys so nobody helped me up. Or the other time at Stout when, IMMEDIATELY ENTERING a basement party, I stumbled down the stairs. Or last year, when I biffed it on the ice *outside* of the Saloon and cut my chin open. It may be signs of a drinking problem. It may also be signs that I really need to start wearing slip-ons.
I didn't know how bad the fall was. I just heard the reaction, put my hand to my face, and saw the blood. I am a child when it comes to blood. I hate it. I think of death and slasher movies. I realized I was Drew Barrymore in "Whip It!" when her face is smashed open and she asks Eve "is it bad?" and Eve hilariously tries to convince her it's not.
Would this have happened at a "straight" club, I probably would have been shown the door, shuffled into a cab and sent to Hennepin County Medical Center. But this is a gay club, and if you have blonde hair, you will be looked out for.
I never knew his name. He looked to be about 20, with jet black hair and a slight build. He had beautiful olive skin and delicate features. "Come here," he said, and he sat me down at the bar. "I'm a nursing student." He got ice from the bartender. "Ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod," I remember crying. "Shhhh. You're okay. Let me see it." He sat there for a good ten minutes pushing the napkins against my face. "You don't have to do this," I assured him. "Shhhh. Stop talking." The gays leaving the bar walked by and grimaced. An hour ago, I was triumphant, in the glow of my Kurt Hummel moment. Now I was back on the D-list, and permanently there. It doesn't get worse than being "that guy who fell down and bled all over The Saloon". Nurse Student Boy kissed my cheek when the swelling went down.
Nurse Student Boy and I got a cab together. He lived in uptown, and I decided I would pay his cabfare. It was the least he could do. On the way there he started rubbing my arm. Then I realized he probably wanted to play board games with me. Seriously, dude? My face was broken. I was flattered, but also realized that your average man, gay or straight, just wants to have sex all. the. time. Potentially broken nose and swollen lips? No problem!
We dropped off Nurse Student Boy. I don't know if I will ever see him again. He will always have a special place in my heart. Then the cab inferred that he didn't think I was going to pay, and we sat in icy silence for the rest of the ride home. I gave a shitty tip.
I totally left the Texas Longhorns hat at the bar.
The next morning, I showed up to work with a Toy Story band-aid and my lips totally swollen. I am clearly the face of Nordstrom. It was a Saturday, meaning all the boys looked like models. "MY FACE!" I cried to Sina. "MY BEAUTIFUL FACE!" I told some customers I had a nose job, others I got in a fight, and one that I fell down while reading The Bible (my manager overheard that one and I got scolded. The Mall of America is *not* the comedy club). They let me leave early, and my mother took me to the emergency room. They're not sure if it's broken yet because they have to wait for the swelling to go down, but my mouth and teeth are fine and I didn't break any bones. Then they gave me a tetanus shot and I asked for a sucker. "We have freezie pops," the nurse offered. "YAYYY" I cried, and I WAS SO HAPPY TO GET MY FREEZIE POP. My mother rolled her eyes. "Are you eight?" she asked. Then I realized I have injured myself far more in my twenties than in my childhood.
I'm kind of a mess.