Gay Sex and the Philly City: Don’t Take Me to a Gay Bar on a Date

Our weekly column on dating and sex in the very interesting world of gay Philly.

Via Shutterstock.

Via Shutterstock.

Nothing says “boner killer” like going to U Bar on a first date.

I’ve been asked to go on first dates at gay bars in Philly more times than I’d care to admit. Usually, my gut reaction is utter disgust: There are like 2,519 other places in this city where you can wine and dine me (and I’ve suggested half of them in text messages), yet you insist that Venture Inn is the perfect spot to kindle romantic feelings. Are you out of your goddamned mind?

Then I go. Usually because I’m scared I’m going to end up as that bitter, single old queen in the corner of Knock, drinking a whiskey. And usually, every single occasion ends in disaster. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with these establishments, but they aren’t the best places to get to know someone, and it sure as hell isn’t cute that you’re grabbing a guy’s ass at Tavern who just sang an off-key rendition of “Defying Gravity” from Wicked when you should have been grabbing mine. That’s not a date.

I should have learned the first time: My date was 30 minutes late to Venture Inn. He arrived with a group of his friends, already lit (didn’t know this was turning into an episode of The Bachelor). I should have just left, but I stayed, drank just about whatever I could get my freaking hands on, and listened to his tipsy stories. Suddenly the bartender started yelling (I mean, straight-up shrieking) because he caught a patron doing drugs in the bathroom. I promptly exited. Never talked to that one again.

Then there was the one I really liked who wanted to go to Knock for date one and Venture for date two. I was not pleased during round two at Venture and openly vocalized that this wasn’t the place to get to know me. There was some random drag performer (Cindy something? I don’t remember her name: It could have been Cindy Lou Who of Dr. Suess fame for all I know).  I, again, drank whatever was in reach, started mouthing off to another guy who was trying to flirt with my date, and called things off pretty quickly. That was the end of that.

However, my B.S. cup had runneth over when a guy insisted on going to Tavern instead of my suggestion of getting a glass of wine at Tria and actually do what you are supposed to do on a date: talk, get to know each other. That was quickly dismissed, and after about 10 minutes at Tavern, I left. I deserved a lot better, something that only recently I’ve fully embraced.

But here’s the thing: These guys didn’t want to sit one-on-one with me at a quiet, distraction-free zone because they didn’t know how to. Actually looking me in the eye over a glass of Cabernet and telling me something about themselves would mean breaking through whatever shell or facade they had created to protect themselves and their hearts from possibly getting bruised.

I feel that. It’s hard, but the fact is that we’re not going to learn to love both others and ourselves unless we take some chances. I’m looking for people who are willing to take those bets, not take the easy way out by taking me to a place where an amateur strip contest may spontaneously erupt on the dancefloor.

Or perhaps if I’m asked to meet someone at Woody’s “to get to know them,” my answer can be a little different nowadays: Hell freaking no.

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