Posts Tagged ‘Drugs’

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a story of what love hate (and drugs) can make you do.

It was a little past 4 in the morning at the Big Gay Party and we were closing up.
The DJ had played his last song and was unplugging a myriad of cables. The bartenders had cried “Last call!” and were mopping up the dregs on the bar top. The floor guys were doing the same thing they had all night; running from the kitchen with empty trays and returning with them brimming with bottles, glasses, lemon slices, straws, lime wedges, chewed up gum and other delicacies. The cloakroom girls were slowly drowning in the rising tide of guests in dire need of their coats, caps and handbags the size of a small car.

As I always do at that particular time of the night, I positioned myself slightly down the corridor that leads to the cloakroom. From there I could catch people drunkenly trying to get back to the bar and I had a decent view of any trouble that might arise.

Closing time is a tricky time. The potential for trouble naturally increases when the entire party crowds together in a narrow hallway. People are drunk and tired, but still hyped up from the mood and the music. They know they ought to head home, but at the same time the morning bars are tempting with their siren song of “Just one more. Postpone the inevitable loneliness and have just. one. mooooore!”
All the little insults, the shade thrown, the stinky eyes sent throughout the night coupled with alcohol, tight quarters and pushing and shoving, run the risk of turning a small misunderstanding into a fully fledged brawl in this pressure cooker environment.

As I stood there, keenly watching the crowd and trying desperately to forget my sore feet, one or two stragglers passed me from behind. The staff check every room carefully to see if anyone has stowed away and usually someone has. Most often in the bathrooms.
Suddenly I heard what could only be described as an anguished roar coming from behind me. I spun around just in time to see a girl rushing down the corridor at full speed. A small bull dyke coming straight at me, fast and with a burning hatred glowing in her eyes. All I had time to do, was to try and step aside, but I wasn’t quite quick enough.

She hit my left shoulder hard. I reacted instinctively, wanting to get her away from me. I wrapped my arm around her waist and pushed her backwards.
Now I am not really sure what happened. Maybe I used more force than I meant to. Maybe she was smaller than I thought. Maybe the adrenaline and pain kicked in and I lost control. Maybe I have latent mutant super strength. I don’t know. All I know is I ended up sending her flying across the floor. It looked like something out of an action movie and I was horrified that I might have hurt her, but at the same time proud that I did something that looked so cool.

We were instantly surrounded by bouncers and as they picked her up and asked her what the hell she did that for, she looked at me with those dazed, glazed, bad trip eyes and mumbled “Sorry, I thought you were my step-dad”.
After checking she was otherwise okay, all that was left to do, was to find her friends and have them take her home.

Poor girl!

And poor my shoulder when I woke up the next day! Ice packs are not just for athletes. Sometimes chubby lesbian bar-managers need them too.

The following party she showed up, even though she was obviously banned. She didn’t make a fuss and she told the bouncer she hadn’t come to party, she just wanted to speak to me if I had a moment to spare. Naturally I took the time. She was very apologetic and said the incident had opened her eyes. She would try to cut down on the partying. She was nice. She had even bought me a chocolate bar as an apology.

I like chocolate!

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There are so many words in the English language that cannot properly be translated into Danish. Mainly because English has so many more words, but also because some words have a very precise meaning or are only used in a very specific context and thus when translating, you run the risk of having to use a much broader and general term. This way you tend to lose some of the original finesse and meaning the word bears with it.

I deal with this on an almost daily basis, but what really throws me, is when it happens inversely. Every once in a while I will stumble upon a Danish word that cannot easily be translated to English. This especially happens when describing bodies of water. We have a lot of terms for those. This country doesn’t consist of 443 islands for nothing.

The reason behind all this rambling about words and translations is, that it happened today. I sat down to write an anthropological piece, because I know you guys like those, but I floundered when trying to translate the name of the LGBT subtype I wanted to portray. I thought long and hard, I Googled, I searched Urban Dictionary, but I came up empty-handed.

The word that gave me so much trouble was Kamplebbe. A literal translation would be Fight Dyke, the closest I could get to what she is like, is Bull Dyke, but she is oh so much more than just that. What is she? Well let’s once again (muff)dive into the mysterious world of The Gay Bar and learn about the strange creatures that frequent it.

The Kamplebbe is usually a short, broad (but not fat) butch. “How butch?” you might ask, my reply: “The butchiest!”. Let’s take a peek at her.

Fauxhawk on top. Always styled with enough hairgel to allow one to commit Seppuku with it. When she’s too lazy to shovel on the hairgel there is her extensive cap selection to chose from, all still with the stickers on, naturally. Sidenote: If you get in a fight with a Kamplebbe and you want to make sure she hits you first, just flip the cap from her head. Insta-fight!

T-shirts. Always T-shirts. They can be woman’s style or men’s oversize, but she never wears anything more feminine than that. Often they will have some kind of design, the more misogynistic or “gangsta” the better. We’re talking slogans with “bitches”, “hoes” or “pussy”, dollar-signs, silhouetted guns, gang signs or strippers. Real classy stuff! These things apparently make our Kamplebbe feel pretty badass. I know I’d feel real badass too if I had “Big Booty Bitches” plastered across my chest.

The Kamplebbe’s pants are always baggy, probably hang down below her ass. How else would the world know she wears boxer briefs? Sidenote: I wholly endorse wearing boxer briefs, they are so friggin’ comfortable compared to panties, and I can’t even think about thongs without shuddering. It’s the “everyone must know the brand and pattern of my underwear”-mindset I don’t understand.

Around her thigh and ass will at times hang the international sign for “I will punch you without a second thought”‘; The wallet Chain. Known to instantly boost your coolness-factor by at least 20%, this item is a must have for a Kamplebbe. I swear I’ve seen dykes carrying a credit card holder and still wear a wallet-chain, that’s commitment!

On her feet we find the obligatory sneakers. Preferably the clunky skater-type and the more tattered the better. As with the wallet-chain this sends a signal that the Kamplebbe is just badass. She is literally too cool  to care.

Her girlfriends are always incredibly femme. You know how the worst question you can ask a lesbian couple is “so, like, who’s the guy and who’s the girl?”. Well here the question is both valid and superfluous at the same time. Valid because they will actually take on these roles and will most likely give you a straight answer. Superfluous because you can tell from 100 meters (109.4 yards for the inventors of anal bleaching (we all look upon your in terror) and 0.54 international cable for the merry men of the sea) away exactly who’s the dude (hint: it’s the Kamplebbe).

Not only are her girlfriends femme, but they are a special brand of femme; the low self-esteem kind. The Kamplebbe treats them like crap and they put up with it because they sadly don’t think they deserve any better. Don’t think domestic abuse doesn’t happen simply because both partners are women (or men for that matter), it does. It is a big problem that it’s so invisible because the victims often feel they have nowhere to go, no one to turn to.

Sometimes being a sexual minority makes seeking help for things, medical, mental or other, very difficult. Simply because you are always afraid, that that your divergence will in some way be used against you or as a means of rejecting your experiences. A lot of people in that situation feel the only viable option, is drunkenly blurting out their burdens to their friendly neighbourhood gay bartender. It breaks my heart every time.

But back to the Kamplebbe. Now I know I have written on the subject of drugs in relation to the Powder Puffs, but I feel that if I do not mention it, it becomes a silent issue much like domestic abuse, the over-sexualization of young guys and the heterophobia that are all thriving in the community, simply because no one will address the issues.

Drug and alcohol abuse is not just common among the Kamplebbe-demographic, it’s the norm. I mostly bust them with coke, MDMA and speed (not counting the copious amount of cannabis I find), but heavy drinking is also a crowd pleaser. Simply put they’ll try anything that will enhance and prolong their nights out. And nights out are not kept strictly to the weekend either, any reason to party, they will use and abuse it.

Being a bartender I’m all for the party-crowd, but after a while you start to see these guys breaking down. The drugs and alcohol take over and they no longer party for fun, but because it’s a necessity. They fall apart and waste away in front of your eyes and there’s really not much you can do about it.

Now someone with a bit of knowledge about the LGBT community might rightfully state, that many of the above statements fit very well with the description of a standard butch. What then makes the Kamplebbe so unique? Well the name sort of explains it; Kamp means fight or battle and that is the final defining feature of the Kamplebbe. She is incredibly short-tempered and will never back down from a fight. Actually she will often be the instigator. She feels the most badass when she gets to intimidate or even hurt someone, both physically and psychologically. She gets off on it. It makes her feel large and in charge.

After reading this description of the fascinating Kamplebbe, you can imagine the trouble a couple of them can cause in a nice little gay bar such as mine. Luckily they mainly frequent the parties and there I have my bouncers to keep an eye on them. Still 90% of the ‘incidents’ we have at the parties involve one or more of them. We catch them with drugs, they start fights or just misbehave in some way and I’ll tell you one can get pretty fucking tired of chucking out the same cunts every month. I ban them for as long as I can, but they sneak in and when I catch them and chuck ’em out again, the trouble starts up anew.

There’s one silver lining though: I’d say you’ve never really lived until you’ve seen three barrel-chested bouncers struggling with a tiny little lesbian. Her face distorted in a scream of expletives that hold no truth or meaning to anyone but herself and her limbs flailing like a shipwrecked sailor’s when vainly attempting to attract the attention of a passing ship. It is indeed a show-stopping routine and even with a replay every month it never ceases to amaze and astound me.

Everything the Kamplebbe is and wants to be, is based on attitude and perceived image. This is my main issue with this sub-group. Why is it so important to look cool, that you would give up any individuality for it? Why act like someone else when you could simply be you? Aren’t the coolest people you know the ones who don’t try to be cool at all?

I guess I’m just not cool enough to understand.

As I have mentioned in earlier episodes, along with my position as manager of a gay bar, comes also the management of monthly gay parties that draw quite a decent crowd from around the country. At these events and at the bar we have very strict policies about narcotics and whenever we get the chance we enforce them as publicly as possible. Setting examples is proving very, very effective. So with all these strict rules how did it come to pass that I, last August, was to be found, at one of these parties, on duty and tripping balls? Well if you’ll allow me to tell you, please read on.

It was early August, the weather was about as warm as it gets here; a balmy 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit for the people who still find it relevant to discuss whether abortion should be legal. Yeah I went there, it’s 2013 you guys, come on! And 545,7 degrees Rankine for the engineers) and I was heading out of my front door. It was early afternoon and about that time when I get started on all the party-prep that can only be done on the actual day. I pointed my nose in the direction of the bar and was looking forward to a short walk along the river, where all the beautiful girls would be sunbathing in the grass wearing hardly anything. It was going to be a good day. As I was crossing the wooden bridge near my home my phone rang. It was Ray. He’d had last night’s shift at the bar and had heard some of the lesbians talking about someone bringing some coke to tonight’s party. We agreed we would keep an eye out and see what would happen.

A few hours later and the temperature had dropped a bit, but it was still much too hot for a bunch of Scandinavians. I was hot, sweaty and happy. Warm temperatures meant a rise in beer-sales, not a bad trade-off. It also meant that the smoker’s courtyard would be filled to the brim which makes patrolling for rule-breaking easier. When everyone is in one place and they can’t scamper off, it usually means we catch a lot more people and get to have a little chat about what one does and does not do at our parties.

Around 1 AM my walkie blew up like a 4th of July fireworks display (Bastille Day for the French, National Day of the People’s Republic of China for the Chinese). All I could hear was “Courtyard” so without knowing what was going on I rushed there. There was a struggle, the always calm and gentle Eugene was doing his best to hold on to a young woman I had never seen before. She was kicking and punching him to get loose. Ray appeared a moment after me and used his enormous frame to carve a passage through the mass of bodies. He grabbed the struggling woman by the shoulder and the weight of his hand made her calm down instantly. All Eugene could get out between gasps was “Kitchen…now…bring…her.”

The kitchen serves as a sort of backstage area, this is where we sort bottles and run dirty glasses through the dishwasher, but it’s also where we go to discuss things out of earshot of the guests. Now we marched in there all four and as Eugene slowly recovered he told us what had happened. The woman had apparently been trying to sell drugs in the packed courtyard. As she went around she eventually got to Eugene, she asked him If he would like to buy some coke, he responded by grabbing her and shouting for staff. Someone repeated it over the walkie and that was the story so far. We called the police and had one of our bouncers watch over her so she didn’t make a run for it.

So far so good right? I mean how unlucky have you got to be if you incidentally offer coke to the owner out of 400 guests? She was smart enough to shut up the minute we got her in the kitchen though so all that was left was to wait for the boys in blue. They would search her, book her and charge her if she had anything on her person and we would issue a lifetime ban from the parties and the bar and that would be the end of that. Right? Well…no, not quite.

The police showed up, two nice lads in uniforms and the gays got all excited. We hurried them into the kitchen to spare them from too many cat-calls and “You can cuff me anytime sugah”s. Once in there one of them checked the woman’s pockets while the other asked me some questions. Did we know her? Was she a regular? Had she come with anyone else? Had we checked her pockets before they arrived? Had she said anything? Just like when I ask girls out, the replies were all negative.

The other officer called his partner, he hadn’t been able to find anything in her pockets and they both had to be present for him to legally search her any further (I’m not talking cavity here, just your standard lifting up the shirt to expose your stomach and such). Suddenly the woman decided to speak. Well yell is more accurate. She had been totally cooperative with the officers until that point, but the words “search her further” made her lose her cool faster than a broken freezer in the middle of the desert.

“You ain’t touchin’ me you fuckin’ pigs!” (I didn’t say she was eloquent or even original). The officers tried calming her down, but she would have none of it. “Getcha hands off me you fuckin’ perverts!” The officers were now trying to restrain her; she managed to get an arm free the hand of which she promptly dug down between her boobs. “You wanna get the stuff, have it then!” And she pitched this little baggie right at me.

Now this wasn’t a Ziploc baggie, it wasn’t even one of those that work kinda like a Ziploc, except you have to press the little plastic things together yourself. No it was a very thin, very worn regular bag about the size of a deck of cards. It wasn’t full, but it was full enough that when it hit me square in the face, I got dusted. Now even for me, with all the crazy things that happen to me at work, getting drugs from a cleavage thrown in my face was pretty damn shocking. And what does one do when one is shocked boys and girls? One gasps!

I gasped…

I took a hit like I was a professional athlete! Tony Montana had nothing on me! I could have beat Sheen and Lohan easily! I was on top! I felt good! I felt like nothing or no one could touch me! I felt like shouting! I was the king! I was on top of the fucking WORLD MAN! YEAH!

The cops dragged the woman out in cuffs. They were real nice and told Ray to look after me, but that I would probably be fine. If I started getting dizzy or my mouth went dry I was to say something immediately, other than that there was only the option of riding out the high. Yeah, right on, I was up for that!

Ray wanted me to go to the hospital; I told him “fuck it, I’m good, I’m perfect, never been better!” Then he tried to make go sit down, but I was way too excited for that. He wanted to at least take my walkie and make me go off-duty. But nah man, I was ready to kick some rule-breaking ass! In the end he gave up, he resorted to checking up on me every five minutes and doing his best to keep me out of trouble. He was a pain in the ass. (And an awesome friend!)

In the end it wore off. I got really tired and cranky and mainly just sat in the backroom giving orders over the walkie. When we had finished up Ray insisted on taking me to the ER to have me checked out (suck my free healthcare!). Everything was fine and they said there was nothing to do but sleep the come-down off. When I woke up the next morning I felt like I’d been trampled by a drunkenship of cobblers wearing their own clogs. (Look it up, like a murder of crows it is really called a drunkenship of cobblers. How great is that?) I was completely wasted and just could not drag myself down there for the clean-up. Luckily I didn’t have to, Ray had called in some favors and told me to “stay the fuck away and have Neil (my roommate) make you some eggs and bacon or something”.

After that experience all I can say is hugs not drugs you guys. Drugs’re bad m’kay!

Allow me to tell you the Tale of my very first problem with a customer on drugs and how I benefitted. Are you sitting comfortably? Good! Then we can begin.

First we must travel a long way, not geographically mind you, but chronologically. We must allow ourselves to remember the summer of 2009. Let’s first see if we can build a sense of being there:

MJ died
Swine Flu
Kanye west says “Yo Taylor!”
Pink sang Funhouse

Do you feel 2009 come flooding back?

I don’t know what you guys were doing back then, but I had been working at the bar for 9 months (the length of a standard human pregnancy for the mommies or half the length of the average gestation period for the black rhinoceros for the zoologists). In about a month I would get promoted to shift manager. This was much faster than usual, and would cause some trouble among my colleagues. Why is this relevant? you may ask. Well, oh impatient one, it is important because what is about to unfold before your inner eye was the main reason I was promoted ahead of time.

Where were we? Oh yeah. We had just landed smack bang in the middle of summer 2009. Summer is a tricky time in a bar. It can be insanely busy or almost dead. Especially in a town like this that is not loaded with tourists. The regulars are away and we’re not really on the main street so you’d have to walk a little out of the way to randomly stumble upon us.

One fateful Wednesday night there had hardly been any guests and when the clock struck midnight we decided to close early. Think about it you guys. A bar closing early! That’s a sad night.

Five past midnight a guy walks in. Typical rich kid. You could practically smell the private school on him. Popped collar on his Fred Perry shirt, spiked up hair with so much gel that you could have done an Ajax impression on it (The Iliad you guys, look it up), completely new Sperry top-siders and a fancy watch, which just looked wrong on the skinny wrist of an 18 year old kid.

He’s the only guest and he goes straight for the bar while loudly proclaiming “Well this place is dead!” Yeah thanks bud, hadn’t noticed. Cough Douche cough. The only people in the entire bar are me, my shift manager Lance and Rich McDouche and he won’t even order anything. He just goes “Nah I’m good.” We can’t close as long as he’s there, such is our plight. So Lance busies himself in the back, and I stand behind the bar practicing the Greek alphabet in my head.

Rich McDouche decides he’s going to try and chat me up. “Okay” I think “he obviously doesn’t know this is a gay bar. It’s cool I’ll just tell him I steer the punt from the Cambridge end (bat for the other team for the allegiance pledgers, lidt til en side for the MIGHTY DANES! ahem) and he’ll come off it.

He didn’t. If anything it only made him more persistent. He tried lame pickup-line upon lame pickup-line and I could hear Lance cracking up in the backroom.

A little about Lance you say? Sure thing! Lance is the same age as me and has been at the bar a year longer than I have. He’s a fun guy, always up for causing a bit of havoc and he always has a vulgar joke ready for when he feels things get to serious. Lance is not a great bartender, but as a service worker and a shift manager he is amazing. He could hold a pleasant conversation with a mime, and he always puts the bartenders’ safety and happiness first. We’re lucky to have him at the bar, and I was especially lucky he was there on this particular night.

Anyways, after about ten minutes of Rich McDouche trying to pull, and failing miserably at it, he seems to undergo a sudden change. Whatever substance he had dropped, it decided to kick in right now. Electrical impulses fired through his brain, he licked his lips incessantly, and his gestures became more aggressive and seemed somehow stiff, his pupils dilated until his eyes were almost completely black. Just two black pools in his pale, sweaty face. So black I could see myself in them if he’d only sit still long enough.

His tactic changed along with his physical behavior. A moment ago he had been throwing compliments after me like they were beads at a Mardi Gras parade, now he was just being plain old mean. Calling me all sorts of nasty things, leaning over the bar to get in my face, and getting ever more aggressive. Lance reappeared from the backroom to see what the trouble was. He basically told Rich, that if he had a problem he was more than welcome to leave.

That sent Rich McDouche over the edge.

He jumped up on a barstool and went to clamber over the bar top. Luckily Lance was quick and set his palm against Rich’s face and just pushed back. He fell to the floor. Meanwhile, I was jamming the panic button so hard a little spring came flying out going “WHEEEEEE”, and Lance was yelling at Rich to “LEAVE NOW AND NEVER COME BACK!”

McDouche had other plans though. He started running around the bar and throwing anything he came near. He was yelling and screaming. In the beginning they were words, but quickly they just became sounds he was bellowing. Sometimes at us, sometimes at the inventory and at times simply at thin air. We could not get in contact with him at all.

We could wait for the police to arrive and let them handle it, but he was really fucking the place up bad. So instead of standing behind the bar, staring in terror, I decided to try something completely absurd.

I yelled out “LOOK AT THIS!” and I yanked my shirt up over my head

It got real quiet, real fast.

When I pulled my shirt back down and regained my view of the barroom Rich was standing, in the middle of a pile of tables, mouth agape, sweat stains on his shirt, a chair raised over his spike-haired head, and just staring at me. Lance’s mouth kept opening and closing like a trout on dry land.

CLANG

The chair dropped to the floor. Rich McDouche made a run for it.

Moments later the police pulled up and we quickly explained what had happened, and in which direction Rich had run. They sent a patrol after him which returned ten minutes later with a drenched McDouche. Apparently he had tried to escape by jumping in the river, but this being the middle of summer the currents were not especially strong so the two officers simply split up, one patrolling each bank, and waited for him to get cold and come ashore.

Rich was charged with destruction of property, disorderly conduct, and possession of class A narcotics. We never saw Rich McDouche again.

The evening wasn’t quite over yet though. After closing up, Lance did the responsible thing and sat me down to talk about what had happened and make sure I was okay. I was completely unfocussed throughout this conversation. I had spotted a couple of rubber swords that one of the bartenders who was in to live action role play had forgotten in the backroom.

Let the record show that we very quickly went from “let’s talk about our feelings” to “how about we instead use our adrenaline on a sword-fight around the entire bar?”. There was jumping over over-turned tables, balancing on armrests of sofas, ducking behind beer crates, taunts, spins, parries, lunges and a dive roll that nearly caused a trip to the ER. All the essentials of a truly epic sword-fight!

Running around the bar, fighting with rubber swords and just getting all that pent up crap out, is, to this day, one of my most treasured memories from working at the gay bar.

Oh and the promotion to shift manager that came a month later? Lance told the guy who used to be manager at the time how I handled the stress off the situation and how I flashed an 18 year old rich kid just to stop him from trashing the bar.

Promotion by boob-flash, crossed off of my bucket list!

In mid-January this year I was at the bar. It was before opening and I was busy taking everything off of the bar and the work surfaces to clean them properly. Those who have only been on the relaxing side of a bar can have no possible clue of just how sticky the working side gets. I take a lot of pride in keeping the bar clean, but even if a rag is always within grasp it is impossible to keep your bar spotless.

So every once in a while, everything gets soaped up and hosed down, all the glasses go for a ride in the dishwasher, and the booze bottles are wiped off. Some for dust, some for sticky fingerprints.

This is tedious work, I loathe cleaning, but the end result is well worth the tedium. And blasting Rammstein on the (pretty awesome) sound system helps a lot!

I had cleaned, scrubbed and polished everything to a shine and was placing the gear back in it’s assigned spots. (I get so frustrated when my bartenders don’t put things back where they belong. Sometimes I think they do it on purpose to watch me flap my hands and spin in circles because I can’t find the speed openers.)

After all the gear was in place, all that was left was to replace the rows of glasses. First the shot glasses because they’re the most annoying. Then the cocktail glasses in the fridge, then beer glasses, whiskey tumblers, pint glasses, and finally, the highball glasses. As I was setting up the highballs in neat rows, I noticed quite a few of them were discolored (they get that way because, by law, our dishwasher has to wash at 90 degrees Celsius (194 Fahrenheit for the free and the brave, 29.7 Newton for the apple enthusiasts)), and a lot where scratched, some even chipped. I stopped what I was doing and called one of the owners.

• Owen: “Hey Neo, What’s up?”
• Neomety: “Hey Owen. I think it might be time we got some new highball glasses.”
• Owen: “How many do we have left?”
• Neomety: “I dunno, ‘bout 120 I guess, but at least half of them are scratched or discolored.”
• Owen: “Is that all? They’re worn?”
• Neomety: “Yeah, but it doesn’t feel proper, serving drinks in chipped glasses.”
• Owen: “Listen Neo, I don’t care about proper. If they ain’t broken, I ain’t replacing ‘em!”
• Neomety: “But the customers…”
• Owen: “You make great drinks. The customers would drink ‘em outta pickle jars, so long as you made ‘em.”
• Neomety: “Thanks Owen, but I still think we owe them more than that.”
• Owen: “We don’t owe them shit! Now as I said, when the glasses break, I’ll buy new ones. Hell you can even pick them out yourself.”

And that was the end of that phone call.

Like I take pride in a clean bar, I also take pride in other things: Good service, high quality liquor, that my bartenders (and myself) display proper hygiene and behavior and that, when I serve a drink, it looks and tastes as good as possible with the materials I have to work with. These glasses were dropping my drinks by at least 10 points on the Neomety scale (no need for conversions, this scale is recognized internationally).

Little did I know, the annoyance over these eye sores, also known as highball glasses, were only the beginning of my night.

As I opened the bar and the guests appeared, the evening found it’s shade. Evenings come in many colors: Some are violet-grey like the clouds of an oncoming storm. Some are murky green like the river in the autumn. Some are that particular blue, which I have never seen anywhere but here in Denmark during those three amazing months of the summer, where the sun just dips below the horizon at sunset only to rise again a few hours later. When 18 straight hours of daylight turns the dusk into something quite unlike anything I could ever hope to describe in words. This blue that is so deep it holds your breath hostage, and all you can do, is just stare wide-eyed in to it, and feel so small and insignificant and like you’re the luckiest person alive because you get to witness this.

The color this particular evening chose was a far cry from that. It was orange. I can’t stand orange. It’s such an egotistical color! It’s as if it’s constantly yelling “Ooooh look at me, I’m orange! Aren’t I fun and pretty and interesting?” No orange, no you’re not! You’re the color of warning signs and carrots. Shut up! (Incidentally, I despise carrots as well).

Orange is a difficult color for an evening. It means you constantly have to be on your toes because it could very easily turn red. You can all guess, I’m sure, what a red evening is like!

The orange seeped into my consciousness and I was on edge. Constantly on the lookout for anything that might cause alarm. Around 9PM something did.

I spotted two guys entering the bathroom hand in hand. “Drugs or sex or both” my brain told me. Whichever it was not happening on my watch!

I finished the customers in line and excused myself from the bar. I went into the bathroom and there was only one closed stall. I knocked on the door and, very politely, said:

• Neomety: “Only one guest per stall gentlemen.”
• Guy#1: ”Go away!”
• Neomety: “Please come out of there.”
• Guy#2: “Oh fuck off will ya?”
• Neomety: Raising my voice “Please come out of the stall, NOW!”
• Guy#2: “FUCK OFF!”

I did, I fucked off. All the way out into the main bar room. And there I loudly proclaimed “Hey, who wants to see me kick out two guys having sex in the bathroom?” Fuck yeahs and Who is its rung out over the tables. “Come see, but be quiet.”

I turned around and walked through the bathroom door once more. Around 20 people followed me. All was silent, only the moans and grunts from the stall were heard. I relieved my pocket of a coin, and, like a surgeon with his scalpel, I performed an operation in which I am well-trained. With swift fingers and steady hands I worked for a few seconds and then: POP went the lock. The stall door swung open.

Inside were 2 half naked, panting and sweating gay guys of about 20 years of age. Their expressions quickly shifted from pleasure, to anger, to surprise and finally settled on bright, pink shame. A roar of laughter rose from the spectators as the two young boys fumbled with stuffing rapidly deflating erections into pants and zipping up flies. They fled the bar with shirts in hands, and as they ran through the crowd there were pats on the back and shouts of “Once more with feeling, boys!”

Even after this, the evening was still orange. And that meant I still had not avoided disaster. Though disaster might not be the correct term for what was about to unfold before my very eyes.

Two gentlemen, both around 35, were sitting at a nearby table. They both wore nice suits and dress shoes, indicating they had come to the bar directly from work. Suddenly their conversation turned loud:

• Suit#1: “Bullshit man!”
• Suit#2: “Nuh-uh!”
• Suit#1: “I don’t care what you say, you’re wrong!”
• Suit#2: “Oh yeah? Let’s have someone in here decide then!”
• Suit#1: “Fine, let’s do it!”

They walk to the bar and Suit#2 asks me: “Will you be our judge? This guy thinks he’s better than me!” I have no idea what I’m about to be the judge of, but years of bartending have taught me to say yes in these situations, because it usually pays, be it in tips or in laughter. I would learn, that in this case, it would be definitely not be the former. I agree to judge their impromptu competition.

And then it happens: The two men, in their mid-thirties, wearing suits, drop down and start twerking! Only at a gay bar. Come for the drinks, stay for the booty! (Which would totally be my slogan if I ran a pirate-themed bar)

After about 2 minutes of twerking like their lives depended on it, they get up and turn to me.

• Suit#1: “Well?”
• Neomety: “…..”
• Suit#2: “Come on, who was better?”
• Neomety: Tears in my eyes “BWAHAHAHAHAHA”
• Suit#1: “Well if you’re not going to give us a serious answer we’ll just go somewhere else!”

So they left. Heads held high as if this bar was beneath them. But not before screaming me out about how I was a bitch, a terrible bartender, fat, ugly and many other truths.

The evening wore on, I remained ready for any sign of trouble, but there was none to be had. I was exhausted when I locked up. Just needed to count the till and empty the dishwasher. Then it was beddy by-bye for little Neo.

That’s what I thought. But then I checked the bathroom. Some random was passed out on the floor of one of the stalls. He had made it that far, but in his rush to get there, he had left his aim behind. Vomit. Everywhere!

I chucked him out, swiftly yet violently, and then started cleaning. Now I’m used to this. Vomit is a common occurrence when you work with alcohol, so it only took me about 10 minutes to clean it up. Still, this whole evening had gotten to me. I was pissed!

I counted the till, locked up the money and went to empty the dishwasher. And what was staring me in the face? Those fucking highball glasses!

I snapped.

I grabbed my phone, called Ray and told him to come to the bar and bring his airsoft rifle. We were gonna do some target practice! Outside, in the courtyard, we lined up the glasses that were chipped, discolored or scratched 10 at a time in a pile of snow. We took turns and killed about 70 of these sons of bitches.

When I walked home that night, the evening slowly turned from orange and in to the white of the moonlight glinting in broken glass.

Aftermath: Owen was not happy! But he did still let me pick out the new glasses. Only fair since I paid for them.

The backroom of a gay bar somewhere in Scandinavia, November 2012

Four people sit around a scarred wooden table. Decades of beer dregs, hard liquor spills, sticky cordials run down the sides of bottles, soda foaming over the edge of glasses, has made the raw surface resistant to anything short of a stick of dynamite. Right now it’s taking a pounding. It is under vicious attack. It has been before, this table has seen more than you can imagine. It has lived through truly horrible experiences and it is still standing.

People have fought like mad dogs over his tabletop, they have shouted obscenities the like of which he would never have been able to think up in a lifetime. The most disgusting things have been thrown upon him, rotten fruit, oily, dirty tools, rags that have been used for god knows what. And worst of all, worse than all these terrors. Is something he desperately wants to forget. Something so debasing and humiliating, so utterly shameful even the other inhabitants of the backroom won’t speak of it for fear of Table breaking down.

He knows they whisper of it when they think he sleeps. The new coffee maker, who only arrived a week ago, already has that pitiful look in his glowing red eye. He knows, they all know. And Table knows too. Knows how they came in the backroom, their voices slurred by drink and lust, how they pulled each other close and suddenly clothes were flying through the air. A shirt landing on a case of empty beer bottles, a pair of pants on some old cardboard boxes waiting for the container. How one of them pushed the other down, down, down on his tabletop. The sweat on his back seeping down into the cracked wooden surface, the moans and grunts taking over the room. The thrusts that made Table’s legs nearly buckle, the final gasps of air before the finishing stab and the sweaty, grinning afterglow that seemed to envelop everything around.

He felt so dirty! They didn’t even wipe him down afterwards. They just left him there stewing in the warm backroom until their sin was part of him. And the shame when one of them, a week or so later, commented to the other with a grin, “I think we may have been a bit rough on it, seems more rickety”. If he could, he would have turned bright red. They put an extra screw in one of his legs and he was sturdy as ever, but on the inside he was still a rickety wreck. Broken and only holding on for dear life.

How could they?

But now Table was once more under attack. This time the culprit was a woman. He knew her well; she had worked at the bar for 4 years and had made her way through the ranks quickly. Table liked her, she always made sure he was clean and wiped up any spills thoroughly. She didn’t sit on his tabletop, the most she did was lean on him to rest her feet a bit. Table had been the work surface for many of her projects and he was glad to see many of them become successful. The woman had once yelled at someone for standing on him. He liked her! But this constant hammering she was putting him through. The tap tap tap of her pen against his grain as she argued aggressively with the owners of the bar. It was too much!

• Neomety: “But I really believe this could work. I think we could draw a lot of people!”
• Owen (Owner#1): “It’s out of the question Neo, we won’t discuss it anymore!”
• Neomety: “Owen, come on, have I ever failed you? Name a project of mine that wasn’t successful.”
• Eugene (Owner#2): “It’s not that we don’t trust you Neo, we’ve just been here a long time and we know what works and what doesn’t”
• Owen: That’s right! We have never been open on New Year’s Eve and we never will be. Our customers prefer being with their close friends at home, they won’t come to the bar.”
• Ray: “May I make a suggestion? What if we were willing to work for free if we don’t make any money?”
• Owen: “You would spend your New years in an empty bar, just the two of you?”
• Neomety: “If that’s what it takes, yes!”
• Eugene: “Well all right then. But if you don’t make any money you won’t be paid.”
• Owen: “And any decorations or champagne you will have to buy with your own money.”
• Ray and Neomety in unison: “DEAL!”

Finally the tapping stopped. The meeting over and everyone gone, Table could relax once more. Relax and try to forget.

Same gay bar, 31st of December 2012. 17:04 Standard European time

Table hears the door open, the woman turns off the alarm, the man is with her.

• Neomety: “Let’s get everything set up quickly, I wanna see the queen’s speech!”
• Ray: “It’s not for another hour, well make it.”
• Neomety: “Yeah but we gotta get the bigscreen set up and the champagne needs to cool and there’s the…”
• Ray: “Calm down, we’ll make it, just like we always do. Everything will be just like you planned it, now go count the till. Go on.”

The man starts dusting of the champagne glasses, examining them for spots or scratches. Table likes it when the humans are thorough, so many of them are sloppy and careless. This man may be all right.

Whoah! He’s grabbing Table, what’s he doing?!? Where’s he taking him? Is he going outside? Gravel under Table’s feet. He’s in the courtyard behind the bar. It’s so cold, is that SNOW? Dear god! The man has gone back inside. Has he been left to die out here? Oh, no here he comes, dragging a big steaming bucket and a rough sponge. A bath? Table hasn’t had a bath in years, and in this freezing weather?

He gets soaped up and scrubbed down and he is enjoying it immensely. So long since he had a bath! All that grime and dust and booze free from his pores, he feels like a new Table. A younger Table. The woman comes out in the courtyard. The man wipes the sweat from his brow.

• Ray: “Look what a bit of hard work will do, huh?”
• Neomety: “Like new! You know, I always liked this table, it seems so, I dunno, safe and sturdy.”
• Ray: “Let’s get it back inside before it starts to snow.”

Table is carried inside again, but he’s not put down in his usual spot in the backroom. They carry him past the shelves and through the door to the bar area. Table has never been out here. He is awe stricken. It’s beautiful, the wooden bartop seems to shimmer and the chairs are black and lacquered. Everywhere there are New Year’s decorations in gold and silver. It’s as if the whole place is a treasure chest filled with jewels and doubloons glinting in the sun. Table is in love, in love with this room, in love with the promise it whispers to him “This night will be unlike anything you have ever experienced”.

The woman starts setting the champagne glasses on Table. The man stops her.

• Ray: “Do a pyramid!”
• Neomety: “That is such a waste of champagne.”
• Ray: “Come on Neo, it’s New Year’s!”
• Neomety: “All right, but you get the bigscreen ready then.”

Table enjoys watching them work together, it’s like they read each other’s minds. The man hands the woman a dish towel seconds after she spots a smudge on a glass. The woman presses the right button on a remote before Table even realizes the man couldn’t find it. They work like two parts of a whole.

The woman silently hands the man a glass of champagne the moment the bell on the screen goes DING DING DING DING DING DING. They sit in silence. There are soldiers in dark blue uniforms on the screen, Table thinks they look silly with their big furry hats on. A woman sits behind a desk, she looks old and frail, but her gaze is strong, commanding even. She speaks, she speaks for a long time and about a number of different things, but mainly about how the people of her nation can better themselves. She ends her speech with the words: “Gud Bevare Danmark”.

The soldiers come back on screen and a song starts to play. The woman stands up looking somber and her eyes glaze over as she loses herself in the moment. The man stays seated and looks at the woman with a smile; he thinks she’s a little silly. She doesn’t even notice and as the song fades she turns back to the work still left to be done.

At eight o’clock the man unlocks the front door. Everything is ready and both the man and the woman have changed clothes. Both wear black dress pants, a black shirt tucked neatly in and buttoned all the way up and to top it off; butterflies! His is white, hers red. Table gazes at them tenderly. They have already given him so much!

Same gay bar, 31st of December 2012. 21:12 Standard European time

• Neomety: “Do you think Owen and Eugene were right?”
• Ray: “Don’t worry. Why do you always worry? You know we were right, people will come”
• Neomety: “I dunno R, I got a bad feeling”
• Ray: “You always do. Trust me, people will come”

The door opens. A guy Table has seen a few times comes in. Table knows that this kind of guy is called a bear. It’s something to do with his beard. The bear is loud! He is ecstatic and wants to dance with the woman. More people arrive; they actually flock to the bar. Table is having a grand old time. Some guy with a lisp keeps running his hand over the tabletop and saying “Mmmmm the tecthture ith amathing, feel thith Henry, the tecthure!”

The man turns the bigscreen on and there’s an old black and white movie on. It’s about some old lady, it’s her birthday, but all her friends are dead, so the waiter has to pretend he’s them. He keeps stumbling over a tigerpelt on the floor. Table doesn’t understand why everyone is laughing, that poor lady, her friends are all dead! Now the image changes. There’s a building on the screen, it’s big and it has a tower. Everyone rushes to Table, the man pours the champagne over the glass pyramid. They all grab a glass. They are all quiet, no one speaks or laughs, they all look at the screen with open, honest faces. Oh how young they all look! And then:

BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG

All hell breaks loose! Everyone is hugging and kissing and shouting “HAPPY NEW YEAR” across the bar. Some are even crying! The woman’s powerful voice is heard over the noise “I would like to say: thank you all for coming. The bar will be closed for about 10 minutes, so everyone grab a glass, drink up; the champagne is on the house! And happy New Year, SKÅÅÅÅÅL!!”

They all rush into the street to see the fireworks and Table has a moment to himself. He’s slightly tipsy, he’s never had champagne before and all that is spilled is more than enough to make the room spin a bit. What a lovely evening, he thinks; I hope I get to experience more of these.

Aaah The Powder Puff! How to properly describe him? So many words come to mind, not all pleasant.

First let’s do a physical description.

• He is between 18 and 22 years old. What happens when he turns 22 you ask? Well when the clock strikes midnight and it becomes his birthday he realizes what a Silly Sue he’s been and he vows to, once more, become a normal human being. (Still a gay one though)

• He is skinny, more skinny than is healthy. We are talking collarbones that will cut a bitch!

• His hair is short and very stylish. Whatever is the newest fashion in men’s hairstyling, that’ll be his do. And don’t you dare mess with it! He spent, like, an hour doing it, he swears!

• From hair to face. Being at an age where at spot here or there is natural is virtually ruining his life. But thank god (or whomever invented it) for concealer. This is the favorite weapon in his arsenal and he never leaves home without it. Same with lotion, preferably at least two different kinds that have VASTLY different qualities, that there is no way he could possibly make someone like you understand.

• These items, along with his eyeliner, mascara, pocket mirror and other necessities are kept in his Gucci/Versace/LV bag. Whichever one is more in at the moment.

• Everything he owns is from a fashionable brand. If he happens to be caught with something that is not fashionable at all, someone bought it for him. If it’s from a brand no one recognizes it is either the next big thing, or something he bought on holiday (a holiday somewhere hip, naturally).

• His “going out” outfit consists of a v-neck shirt. Though the v is deeper than the Mariana Trench. So deep in fact, that you might just see his navel. And his white pants are tight, so tight his testicles are screaming for “Mercy, meeeeeercyyyyy!”, but in the club no one can hear you scream over the THUNK THUNK THUNK THUNK of the sound system.

• Oh and a note about his pants. They are white, or at least light in color. Who does he think he is? I he trying to prove he is better than the rest of us? Just because HE can wear white and not get stains everywhere.Grumblemumbletwatmumblegrumble.

• Ahem…

• When taking pictures he will strike one of two poses. Either the infamous duckface *shudder* or he will stick his tongue out in an attempt to show off his tongue piercing and to proclaim to the world how “He don’t care, nuh-uh”.

Holy balls that list is long huh? Well we’re not nearly done with The Powder Puff. Oh no, we’re just getting to the good part. Oh shit! Hang on…..[INTERMISSION]…..Sorry, bloody nose, damn allergies. Okay, I’m back. Where were we? Oh yes we were getting to the good part, uhm the good part, yes. Okay I got something:

Fake Australian accent: “I’ve come out here to see if I can’t spot The Powder Puff in his natural environment. He’s a slippery bugger, but I hope we might catch one or if not, at least interact a bit with him.”

Okay, that’s not working for me. Steve Irwin is overdone (R.I.P.). I thought it would be funny. It wasn’t. How about we just go have a look around at one of the clubs The Puffs frequent? Sound good? Let’s go!

This is Beserk, it’s the newest club in town and everyone who wants to be someone comes here. The Powder Puffs are all about whats “hip” and “happening” and so they too come here. There’s a 50 meter line to get in. (54.7 yards for the U.S.A’ians and 43.7 Ells for the clothing merchants). Once you get to the door there’s a pricey cover and then you enter. From the moment you walk through the door, all speech is suspended. You may be heard if you shout, but it is not certain. But who speaks here anyways? You’re here to dance and be seen and drink WKD’s with pricetags clearly written by a mad man.

The Powder Puff’s main goal in life is to look hot. His aim is to attract a slightly older, yet still good-looking, guy to pay for his drinks and what else he might desire. This kind of guy used to be known as a daddy, but that is a no-no word now. Mainly because of all the pedophilia and incest stories that have hit the news in the last years.

Still a daddy is a daddy right? And once our Puff gets himself one, he will work on getting the next. He can always do better, be hotter, skinnier, more tan. And so he rolls through life as he rolls through daddies. Never satisfied, never good enough. His mind is empty except for one thing: “Is someone hotter or more popular than me, and if so how can I ruin them”.

The way he discards the people around him also translates to his BFF. His Faghag. Now Faghags have a bad rep, and this is the reason why. This sad excuse for a human being clings to her Puff as a baby to a teet. They are inseparable, at least for the two months they are friends, then as the trees drop their foliage. He will drop his Faghag. And the community will breathe a sigh of relief that they no longer have to hear her semi-homophobic, braindead, unoriginal and bitchy comments. But the peace is short, a new Hag will soon replace her and the spring will bring new leaves to the forest.

And here ends the light part of the study of The Powder Puffs. If you do not wish to read a rant, I urge you to stop here along with the image of our Puff. He is carefree and would NEVER read the next part. (Never mind the fact that he probably wouldn’t bother to read at all).

Now some of you may have figured out why these types of gay guys are called powder puffs. It’s all the make-up and the attempts to cover any real personality with an empty, yet hot, shell. But there is more to this name and it is even less fun than the above. You see, my friends, amongst these Puffs and the men that cater to their needs, in return for certain…services, there are, at times, a lot of drugs. Often it is the pill-shaped kind that lets you dance all night long, but cocaine is an old classic and will never die I am afraid. Poppers is another popular drug that supposedly makes you last for hours in bed. This is also a well established drug among the bears.

Through the years, I’m sad to say, I have seen more than enough young men go to rehab, and more than one OD/Drug induced suicide.

These young men that have scarcely left boyhood behind, enter into a lifestyle they either cannot or will not see the consequences of. And then one day they finally wake up in this tilted world they have created for themselves and they want to go home. Some make it, some get a little lost along the way, and some, some don’t even know where to start the journey.

That is the sad truth and you won’t find a lot of people in the community who will admit it, and even fewer who want to fight it. You know why? You know why people reject talking of this? Because “That’s the way it’s always been”.

Oh we are brave in the LGBT community. Brave I tell ya! We can march and dance and sing for our rights to marry, adopt, and be protected. We will face prosecution and the powers that be. We will look them in the eyes and scream “WE ARE HERE, YOU CANNOT DENY US!” But you know what we can’t, won’t, don’t dare to do?

Face our own history!

Where are the AIDS sufferers from the eighties now? Do we remember them? What about the ones killed or arrested in the riots of the sixties? Do we remember them? What about the nameless masses long before our time? Do we remember them?

We are nothing but weak, trembling cowards! And I say we. I too am weak, I am gutless, I am a sheep waiting for my shepherd. I have no answers, no great revelations or gospels. No speeches.

I am small and insignificant and no one at all.