But dammit, that’s who I was.
My homie Vellie is celebrating his birthday all this week and I decided to hang out with him for a bit after work, and afterwards I went to a networking event at the Kimmel Center. I had one drink with him, thinking to myself ‘Yeah, I can do this. I’m a grown ass man. I’m gon’ have me a drink on a Monday night after work!’ with every intention of just having the one drink, doing some networking at the Kimmel Center, and then going home.
Let me explain the rationale for me going to this event before I proceed. As I’ve previously stated I spend a lot of time in bars. Through those experiences I’ve learned that most major cities are filled with three types of men; those who go to the bars, those who will never go to the bars, and those who will only go to bars in other cities. I figured that I may come across a crowd of men I haven’t been exposed to yet if I did something different, as this was an event hosted by the organization Our Night Out. Well, I’m sure it comes as no surprise when I tell you that it was all the same shit. Pockets of white men huddled together in groups of five and six. Some had a lone lesbian amongst them for diversity.
And then there were the brothas.
All five of them. Including myself
And I’m not counting any of the Snow Queens- the brothas that only like to go skiing down the mountains of Lily White Ness- because they can make their home anywhere (except a hood bar, of course). And I’ll party with anyone, but I really don’t like being one of the only chocolate chips in the cookie dough. Especially when they’re all giving that ‘Who let these motherfuckers in here?’ look.
As I stood drinking my 9 dollar vodka cranberry (if you’re counting, that’s drink # 2 ladies and gentlemen) I turned to face one of the other brothas in attendance last night (because you know I met all of them) and said ‘There really isn’t too much for us in the community is there?’
Unfazed, he simply nodded his head towards the sea of homogeneity and stated ‘This is the gay community’
So my effort to try something new was rewarded with the same knowledge I already had, but in a room full of different people. And since I wasn’t paying another 9 damn dollars for a drink, I left.
You’d think that I would have taken my dumb ass home…but noooooo. I texted Vellie to see where he was and rejoined him at another bar. We laughed, we drank and laughed some more and then made our way to another bar. The aforementioned leather bar with the hot black bartender.
Who’s a Snow Queen.
We also ran into a group of brothas we had been partying with earlier at the first bar, and one of them was completely fucked up. He started ramming on and on about how he was picky about his sex partners because he primarily wants a man who is tall, built, sexy, rich blah, blah, blah. So I said to him ‘If all you’re looking for is sex then why are you being so picky about who you sleep with? What you’re looking for isn’t real’
This brotha went off! Talking about how he didn’t want to be with anyone that was 300 lbs, while blatantly throwing himself at the bartender mind you, who clearly wasn’t interested in him. He rattled off comments about the rest of us having low self esteem and not being picky enough. I gave him the ‘He’s Drunk’ pass because I love me, and I know I’m fine. I also know what it’s like to chase after something that doesn’t exist AND I also know that just because a man is physically fit and hot doesn’t make him any better than the 300 lb dude. The drunk brotha’s vacant whining had become irritating, because he wasn’t doing anything but relaying a bunch of re-hashed fantasies a lot of men hold onto for the majority of their lives, rendering them destined to be alone because no one will ever be good enough.
“This is the gay community” one of the more sober brothas said.
In one night I heard the same phrase from two different brothas, at two different venues, in regards to our community and it bothered me from the time I got on the train until the time I woke up this morning. I went out on a Monday Night to have a few drinks with one of my best friends and came back with an education I will never forget. We all, as humans, share a lot of the same hang ups when it comes to inclusion, acceptance and love but we also hold on to a lot of baggage that prevent us for seeing the bigger picture in the way we obtain those things. Last night, I learned that sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to see something different, even if you already believed you knew all of the facts in the first place. It made me turn the mirror back on myself and question how am I making a difference in my community? Do I want to just accept the way things are or be a voice of change, because I’ve never been one to go with the grain.
In any case, I doubt I’ll be going out drinking on a Monday night again. It’s too far away from Friday to be feeling this hungover.