Friday, October 14, 2022

Gay Bar

walking alone along the road, i decided, on the spur of the moment, to go into a gay bar. that’s no big deal; i’ve walked into countless places like this in my life, probably thousands of times, in cities all over the world. but not for many years.

it’s not that there are any rules about going into a place like this at sixty-two years old; there are often old blokes in these establishments. or that i am alone. that means nothing to me; it’s how i often roll. it’s just that gay bars are no longer in my life. i don’t go into them generally, don’t have a reason to.

i hadn’t made a conscious decision beforehand. i was simply walking back to my room after eating an early, and excellent vegan dinner, whilst visiting sydney, and i saw a bar that i was surprised is still operating, that i’ve been in many times before, so i looked in from the sidewalk for a moment before entering.

maybe it was the big haired drag queen doing a show to a gay party anthem, or seeing a ‘happy hour – cheap jugs’ sign, or the friendly bouncer giving me a smile and nod, or the shoulder to shoulder crowd of men of all ages moving to the music, or that it felt appealing to be in an all men queer space again, or seeing an older face that i was sure i knew from somewhere, or the empty stool by the wall that looked like a good place to sit and watch it all, or seeing two young guys, arm in arm, seeming totally in love, taking me back decades to my first boyfriend and i out partying in bars, or that i actually felt like a few beers, or that i wasn’t ready to go back to my room, or just feeling like it was the best thing to do at that time.

while these are all possibilities of why i entered, i don’t know for sure, but i went into the bar and am now sitting on a stool at a table watching the show (and making these notes), with a full jug of beer in front of me and an old smiling friend i recognize and haven’t seen for twenty years making his way towards me and it feels like it’s going to be a fabulous night.

Stephen House has won many awards and nominations as a poet, playwright and actor, including two Awgie Awards from The Australian Writer’s Guild, Rhonda Jancovic Poetry Award for Social Justice, and The Goolwa Poetry Cup, and nominations including, a Greenroom Best Actor Award, Tom Collins Poetry Prize, Patrick White Playwright Award and Queensland Premier’s Drama Award. He’s received several international literature residencies from The Australia Council for the Arts and an Asialink India residency. His chapbooks “real and unreal” and “The Ajoona Guest House” are published by ICOE Press. His next book drops soon. He performs his acclaimed monologues widely.