Wednesday, April 18, 2007

NYC: Seeing and Doing

I was looking over the list of things that I wanted to do while away, and you know, I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Thursday afternoon, after deplaning, cabbing to our lovely guesthouse, hieing ourselves to the well-oiled noodle-serving machine that is Republic, looking at dresses (more on that later), looking at skirts (more on that later), going back to the hotel to drop the (hint: filene's basement and forever21) bags, we hit ourselves with the dykey stick,* and strolled down Hudson St.

See, one of the plans involved going to a dyke bar called Henrietta Hudsons. See, last time, we got spooked by the thought of going to HH because of a description we read in some guidebook - we both envisioned L-Word lesbians. Fabulous and fashionable and Big City Queer. So we went to Rubyfruit instead, which, as Shelley put it a year and a half ago, "Are we in Dartmouth?" There was a lot of hockey hair and high-waisted pleated jeans.

We passed Rubyfruit. The same women were outside, smoking. We got to HH, paid our outrageous 10 American Dollar cover EACH, and walked into a fishbowl of a room. Bar along the right side, lined with women. DJ booth in the back corner spewing out pretty awful 80s music: "Forever Young" by Alhpaville was the first song I heard, and it was by request. A ring of women against the other walls. The record practically came to a screeching, scratching halt as everyone turned around to look at the New Girls in Town. They either thought we were not worth their time, or a couple. Judging from the sore lack of cuteness I saw, I choose to believe the latter. A lot of trashy cleavage and trainers with sweatshirts.

We bought a too expensive too strong drink and avoided the beer. Here is a reason to hate America: beer. I love me some neat whisk(e)y, and I have been known to imbibe the occasional gin and tonic, sure. But really. I do not love hard liquor, and I like mixed drinks even less. If I'm out, I want a guinness or a creemore or a fuck, 50, I don't care. Not a damn import that still tastes like piss. But I digress.

We sat in the corner and listened to the terrible music and watched the room. We mostly said "This drink is very strong." or "It's been a long day." or "We were intimidated by this place?" or "The Blonde *is* here with someone." See, The Blonde was a Bird of Paradise, by which I mean, she was Done Up. Bleach blond hair, 4" high heels that looked expensive even from across the room. Tanned legs that stretched for approximately one mile up to, well, my jesus. Honey, if your skirt is so short that you have to uncomfortably perch on the edge of your stool and self-consciously cover the pink with your sheepskin coat, then maybe you should think about a few more inches of skirt next time. Meretritious, Steve would say. I couldn't stop looking - my god, her legs! - but I sort of hated myself for looking each time.

Friday night, we went back to Rubyfruit, which was pretty fun, but again with the bad music. We made up a lot of stories about the people around us, and gamely danced for a few bad songs. It was not loads of fun. But neither of us is drinking as much these days as we were on our first trip. I think that made a big difference to the fun level.

That night, getting into our pyjamas, Shelley said, "You know, I think we've been going about this the wrong way. Do we go to dyke bars at home?"

"No," I said. "We don't like dyke bars at home."

"Then I don't know why we keep trying to like them here."

Truer words. Saturday, we kicked it into high gear Taylor-Butcher style. Before Rubyfruit, we'd been to a great bookstore - run by a volunteer feminist collective - called Bluestockings. Where we heard about the Anarchist Bookfair. I didn't get a picture of the fair itself, but here are all the zines I scored there.

At the fair, we heard about a workshop the next day about sexual healing for queers. The title was much less flippant than that. When we got there, in our rubber boots, the workshop we wanted was cancelled. We stayed for the end of "It's Everyone's Fault: Sexual Violence in Small Communities." It was good but sad. There was a genderqueer woman there who looked so much like Eric that I kept turning around to goggle at her. She kept looking quizzically back at me, not sure if I were being supportive, cruising her, or being snotty about what she was saying. I somehow thought that saying "Sorry I keep staring at you, but I miss my boyfriend" might be an awkward thing to say.

We walked 8 blocks and got soaked.

Friday night, mustabeen between dinner and Rubyfruit, we checked out the Knitting Factory to see what was happening there. If the Gossip were playing there the next night, maybe there was something equally cool that night. Nothin doin. There was something jammy in the basement and cover band awards in the main space. "Do you happen to have any tickets left for the Gossip?" Shelley asked. "Nah, everyone's gonna be here for the good show."

Turns out, too, that I'd read at the Knitting Factory. At an open mic after our PMR performance. Weird to find that out nearly 3 years later.

We didn't bother going back. It's not the kind of place where people stand outside trying to sell tickets. And TriBeCa feels a fuck of a long way away from the West Village.

It was nice to kind of relax about "having to do stuff" and try to just experience the city like I lived there. I spent a couple hours each day in a cafe called 'Snice, just down the street from our room. Don't let the name fool you. It was beautiful and wonderful. I love cafés. Those hours really energized me.

Shelley mostly napped while I was caféing. Those naps really energized her.
And sometimes she joined me. This is first breakfast on Sunday.

*Well, I kind of tapped myself and ended up one smidgen more dykey. "Should I wear the neck scarf?" It probably made me look more gay, but I'm not sure it made me look more like a dyke. Shelley just got dressed.

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