The Temple News’ sex columnist and gay life columnist decided to come together this Valentine’s Day and venture throughout Philly’s bar scene in search of one prize they both had in common: men.
This Valentine’s Day, two columnists for The Temple News found some very special people to spend a snowy February night with: each other. Originally, we planned a sociological dating experiment on a couple of poor saps in the Philadelphia area, but we became distracted after our first pitcher of beer and found ourselves embodying the qualities of what Carrie Bradshaw would call “sexual anthropologists.”
The night began at McGillian’s, a lively albeit small Center City pub offering up these two columnists’ favorite combo: beer and discounts. At $5 a pitcher, the beer made tensions between the sexes immediately apparent. From our first post near the bar, we observed a group of three guys and three gals, who we assumed to be just a group of friends having a couple drinks before their night really started.
And then the chanting began.
The blond male at the table began shouting “Geri, Geri, Geri!” and soon got the entire crowd to join in — including Josh — beckoning the poor girl to chug the rest of the pitcher on their table. Geri, obviously horrified, just kind of shook her head and refused to look anyone in the eye, let alone even glance at the beer.
Tightening up and attempting to guard herself from the crowd’s jeering, Geri was leaning into the very guy who instigated the situation. We came to the conclusion that she was interested in the blond and didn’t want to embarrass herself — even though Roxy, her female comrade on the other side of the table, was more than happy to throw back the rest of the pitcher.
After Roxy took one for the team, we spotted Geri smiling at her blond male friend, hoping to move past the embarrassment of her shyness while simultaneously seeking the approval of the antagonist.
If you’re trying to impress someone amid catchy nineties tunes and a crowd of drunk 20-somethings, a public spectacle involving alcohol is perhaps not the best idea. Gold star for you, Geri.
After becoming very friendly with a pitcher of Walt Whit and a sing-a-long of The Cure, we journeyed to our next — and least favorite — bar, Fox & Hound, which had been recommended to Libby by at least four Temple students.
It was here where our classy, casually dressed selves were forced to wait almost 40 minutes for a waitress to aid us with more beer and attention. We found ourselves playing on our phones, responding to text messages and tweets, while our waitress tended to every other table in the bar. Josh glanced at the table to our right and gasped as he noticed two of his OKCupid “quick matches” sitting less than five feet away from us. While they may not have been matches for Josh, it seemed as though they found matches in each other.
After too much waiting, not enough (read no) drinking and witnessing a 28-year-old in a McLovin’ vest butcher Michael Buble’s Haven’t Met You Yet, we decided enough was enough. It was time to move to our final destination. To the sound of Lady Gaga, we grabbed our coats and swiftly exited the now-on-our-D-list bar.
The Q Lounge was the last and best bar on our anthropological quest. Not too crowded but definitely not empty, the glittering interior was filled with the perfect mix of ages, races and sexual orientations. Its home in the Gayborhood was the perfect place for us to kick back on leather seats with a cosmo or two.
As some friends crawled into the lounge to meet us, we joined the small portion of patrons who were getting down and dirty on the dance floor. Balancing cosmos, gays and “hip swangs” (thanks, Josh), our group finally loosened and soon forgot the disappointment of our previous attempt.
While dancing, we realized there was a level of ambiguity to the crowd. To Libby’s untrained eye, the transvestite in the corner with an older man was just an everyday Barbie look-alike, and Josh was beside himself when the cutest gay in the bar wanted his picture taken with the Pillow Talker herself. And then, there was the question of the four girls – neither a gay in tow, nor one of them setting off our collective gaydar.
Could it be that these attractive women came to a gay bar alone seeking solace from the straight male vultures who seem to permeate the Center City bar crowds? We think it’s more than likely and hope they had an amazing girl’s night out.
The night ended with our heads held high — despite the beer and cosmos — and without guys walking with us arm-in-arm. Despite the lack of flirting experiment, our observations and wickedly enjoyable night made us realize this: If you don’t have someone to exchange stuffed animals and chocolates with this Feb. 14, don’t fret. Valentines come and go, but the relationship a gay man has with his straight female friend is forever.
Josh Fernandez and Libby Peck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.