to work on Christmas Eve EVE?" wailed my husband.
not having conniptions call it December 23. But yeah, I have
We had planned to
I know, dorky. But we
like it. It was playing at a revival theater here in
Los Angeles. Somehow the husband believed I would take the
night off from the every-Friday-night DJ gig at the
leather-bear-no-dancing bar I worked at.
But I didn't even try to make it happen. I like
money. And I loved the idea of working at a gay bar so
close to Christmas.
Some of My Best Friends Are...
heard of it? It's this amazing 1971 exploitation
movie about pinkie-ring gays in a bar on Christmas
Eve, a situation best summed up in the words of one of
the movie's homo-hating straights: "Where else
does a fag have to go?" It stars people like
Rue McClanahan, Fannie Flagg, Gary Sandy, and Gil
Gerard. In other words, old people you've never heard
of. Except for Rue McClanahan. Somehow even the young
gays are into
The Golden Girls.
Anyway, every guy in
this movie has a scarf knotted around his neck and is
calling another man "Mary." Oh, and
Warhol superstar Candy Darling is in it too. She gets beaten
up -- the film's idea of getting off easy.
The Boys in the Band,
but way less
mouthy, more resigned, depressive, and
guess I asked for loneliness when I chose this
wayward lifestyle. And to think they call it
Like I said, amazing.
So obviously I
was really into the idea of being up in my DJ booth for an
all-seeing view of what would happen in a gay bar on an
actual almost Christmas Eve. There was going to be
tragedy all around, dark souls brooding, each solitary
invert making The Night his lover. I had to witness
that. I took my bag of CDs and headed in the direction of
decorated the place with multicolored blinking Christmas
tree lights. Even the chain-link thing where guys get
themselves cuffed and flogged. The bartenders were
changing shifts, the going-home ones putting shirts
back on, the coming-in ones taking them off. It's
that kind of place. I started my set with a cover of
Elton John's "Step Into
Christmas" by noisy U.K. guitar band the Wedding
Present. Then I played another five hours of rock
'n' roll. And people drank. And small groups
of gays came in and greeted other small groups of gays. And
then they'd leave, their laughter ringing out,
mocking my needs. I ordered a medium-size pizza, ate
the whole thing between CD changes, and spent some
time fantasizing that this bar would be perfect if only it
served root beer floats, because they go great with
pizza. And then, around midnight, the
smaller-than-average crowd cleared out. I spent the next two
hours playing music for me, the bartenders, and two
guys who were getting to know each other a whole lot
better in one of the darker corners of the already
dark bar. When last call was called, no one took the
bartender up on it. The two make-out guys had taken
their show to an off-site romance spot.
The entire night,
not one man sat alone drinking himself into a stupor.
No one collapsed in a heap, bawling, "Bonjour,
tristesse!" No one howled in anguish over the
cruel trick nature had played on him. No brave drag
queens joked their way through the pain. So, yeah, totally
dull. I never get what I want for Christmas.
The next day, the
husband and I watched
while he made mashed potatoes for a dozen dinner
guests and I wrapped our annual turkey in bacon. (Seriously.
No basting. It's awesome.) "I'm
sorry the gays disappointed you," he said.
"Maybe they all stayed home to binge on crystal