Well, I don’t know how it happened, but I managed to get very, very behind on blogging. So here begins the blog-plosion as I try to get back on track.
I decided to head into downtown and work on my dissertation in a café on one of the islands, but I had the craziest time finding an empty space at one of the Vélib stations. In the end, I had to park the bike at the Institut du Monde Arabe and walk all the way over to Notre-Dame from there. Anyway, I sat down in this café just next to the cathedral, which my Dad and I had visited back when he was in town for Christmas. The place was pleasant enough and I managed to spend a good 2 hours without being bothered (mind you, I made a point of coming between the lunch and dinner hours), but my cappuccino cost me €6.20, so maybe next time I’ll have a coffee in my neighborhood and forgo the ambience. Besides, the place was packed with tourists.
Fast-forward to tonight: I was at Le Rex for a night featuring Berlin-based minimal DJs on the Workshop label, including Move D live (OK, but a bit flat), and Lowtec and Even Tuell doing a back-to-back set (spotty performance, especially with regards to mixing/beatmatching). So I’ve got two amusing stories from tonight, both involving guys, gayness and intimacy (seriously, am I just a magnet for these things?):
Shortly after a few friends joined me on the dancefloor at around 3h30, I notice two relatively cute guys making out near me. Although people will describe the Rex’s crowd as mixed (sexually), in truth it’s still majority-heterosexual, even if gay-friendly, so same-sex necking is still something of a rare sight. Anyway, they both started making significant eye contact with me (which is generally quite sexually-charged in France), and one of them started dancing close to me, making even more conspicuous eye contact, and even managing to adjust his dancing style so that his hand would brush against my crotch from time to time. “Neat!” I thought, “Cute guys are hitting on me!” Even if it came to nothing, it’s always nice to see that someone finds you desirable. But then, one of my friends tapped my shoulder to talk to me and the other guy had disappeared. A few minutes later, he was hitting on some other guy; then, another guy; then another. As it turned out, it was just this one guy who was throwing himself at every male who returned his gaze. So I have sort of mixed feelings about the whole episode: on the one hand, it’s not much of an ego stroke to be hit on by some desperate horndog with no apparent standards, but on the other hand it’s reassuring that this guy could make advances on everything with a penis at this generally-hetero club and not get into trouble.
Right, so speaking of this generally-hetero thing, maybe “vaguely hetero” is a better term. Consider my second anecdote:
It’s nearly the end of the night (5h30) and I head up to the bar to buy a final round of drinks for me and my friends. My bank card doesn’t seem to work at the bar, so I end up having to use my last bit of cash to buy the drinks. This, as it turns out, would be my saving grace. A guy appears at the bar next to me, looking a bit dandy-ish with a white shirt and a white scarf tied around his neck (indoors, at 5h30 in the morning).
He taps my shoulder and says, “Tu me trouves bogosse?” “Bogosse” can mean “pretty boy” in a pejorative sense, but it’s also used in French banlieusard jargon to mean “hottie.” Either way, he was asking if I found him good-looking.
He was a bit too precious for my tastes, but he was certainly a pretty boy, so I said, “Yeah, sure.”
“So, buy me a drink.”
“If you think I’m hot, why don’t you buy me a drink.”
“Yeah, well look; I just spent my last dime on drinks for my friends, so you’re outta luck.”
“But wait, I must turn you on at least on a technical basis.”
“Uh, OK, I’m game. What do you mean?”
“I’m a faux-mo [he actually uses this term in the original French conversation. –lmgm]. You see, I’m hetero, but maybe I’m convertible.”
“Oh, I see where this is going.”
“So maybe I just need a drink, you know. I’ve already got the mannerisms…” and at this he makes a stylized clawing motion with one hand, as if he were doing an impression of Eartha Kitt.
“Um, yeah, I’m sorry but my drinks are ready and I’ve got to find my friends. Happy hunting.”
So there you go. The amusing thing about this episode was that this guy was engaging in the kind of economic trade of veiled sexual promises that is the (negative) stereotype of heterosexual courtship; i.e., complaints about “golddigging” and manipulation. But what’s also interesting is that, while this heterosexual narrative depends on the supposition that women don’t “naturally” want sex with men and require gifts/drinks/etc to be enticed, this guy was playing on a similar supposition regarding straight men and gay sex.