I think it was around 1992 when I decided I wanted to work in a gay bar to be around my community where I didn’t feel like an outsider and I didn’t feel like I needed to be on-guard about my sexuality. As some of you know, my first experience as a bartender was in a bear bar in Philadelphia. We never had the issue of women being present. It wasn’t until I started bartending at the afterhours dance club, Pure, that I started to encounter a lot of female patrons. I am not sure my sexually influenced bartending style would be appropriate with this market. So, what did I do? I decided that these women chose to come to a gay club, so they were going to get what they came for. I continued with my sexual innuendo and my filthy comments about sex. To my surprise this didn’t scare off the women. They ate it up. Not only did they eat it up, they wanted their picture taken with me. What were they going to caption it, “The whorish bartender at Pure who made us laugh all night.” So, I humored the ladies and stepped out from behind the bar to allow the pictures. In that time, other bartenders had to pick-up the slack I left by now cranking out drinks. I found out over time, that these weren’t the faghags I had grown to love. They were bachelorette parties who chose gay bars as a ‘safe’ space to ensure they didn’t ‘fuck up’.
Gay bars make a natural choice for bachelorette parties. Women get to get liquored up, dance like crazy, enjoy the eye candy and not worry about making bad decisions. Their husbands get to send them off for their little party without fear. Win win. However, for some gay men, it’s less fabulous and more insensitive flaunting . These are women showing off their impending marriage, a privilege denied to gay couples. With that in mind, a few gay bars are putting an end to the bridal blowouts. In Chicago, for example, the bar Cocktail has a sign on the front door reading “Bachelorette Parties are Not Allowed.” If that wasn’t clear enough, the owner Geno Zaharakis goes on to write: “Until same-sex marriage is legal everywhere and same-sex couples are allowed the rights as every heterosexual couple worldwide, we simply do not think it’s fair or just for a female bride-to-be to celebrate her upcoming nuptials here at Cocktail. We are entitled to an opinion, this is ours.” Now I never thought of it this way. Sure, they annoyed the shit out of me over time. They can’t hold their liquor and are extremely obnoxious. Let’s face it, we go out to meet other men. When these huge bachelorette parties invade our watering holes, we feel like we are in a ‘straight’ bar and put on-guard again.
I moved to Washington DC in early 2004, It was so common at the first nightclub I tended at that the management decided to have a ‘No high heels’ policy. This proved to be a great solution to the impending problem. But the drag queens felt slighted. In time, that policy was disposed of and the bachelorette parties resumed. I ended up leaving that club to work at the brand new nightclub, Town. It was HUGE! And we know I can be a bit of a size queen. The opening night was a nightmare. We had a drag show early and you guessed it, four different bachelorette parties were first in line to get in. At one point there were more women than men in the space. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind the women so much if they were a little less obnoxious. It isn’t a gender thing either. It took me time and experience to figure out what it truly is that annoys me about the bachelorette parties. It is a balls to the wall celebration. This annoys me about holidays as well. Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day brings out the same things that annoy most of us bartenders. People get obnoxious, lose all inhibitions and manners, pound liquor like there is no tomorrow. This goes for men and women. I say all that to say that because of the bachelorette’s celebration, they go nuts. It is the last time she will have her ‘freedom’, so to speak. Ladies, let’s face the statistics. Odds are you will be having more bachelorette parties, so calm down when you go out.
I asked other guys how they feel about the bachelorettes in the bars. Most said they just leave. Some enjoyed watching the train wreck. The drag queens enjoyed the packed house with attention solely on their show. I am not sure what the happy medium is. I am sure we can all coexist. After all, the ladies are choosing to spend money in our community. Sure, they have their selfish reasons, but don’t we all?
Tags: Bachelorette Parties