The KFAG soundtrack started pounding from nearly a block away. I was just tired of Sunday afternoon television. I thought maybe getting out among my kind might help shake off the sense of isolation I’d been feeling lately.
I entered the bar, watching a few guys in the corner cheering the football game on the small TVs, the bar lined by guys that nursed scotches and rye. I walked to the bar and ordered a beer, scanning through the dimly lit space for a spot to stand. I turned to move to my selected perch when a large man ran straight into me.
The beer erupted back at me, splashing into my beard and spilling down inside my shirt. I looked up ready to tear into the man that had collided with me. He was 6’2″ or 6’3″, with a chest that fit the scale of the rest of him. He wore a pink nylon shirt with “GRRRL!” in shiny black letters. The giant’s hands were at his mouth, and he looked absolutely petrified.
After we both collected our thoughts, the giant spoke in a soft warm voice, “I am so so so sorry, sweetheart. Oh my gosh. You are soaked. Oh gosh, oh gosh.”
He then turned to the bartender and in an entirely other authoritative football coach voice barked, “Jim – get him a new beer and put it on my tab.”
The giant turned to me, returning to the soft voice, “Why don’t you come back to the back of the bar, we’re selling GRRRL! shirts. You’ll look really cute in one, and I’ll give you another as a gift and get you out of that wet shirt.”
He could read the hesitation on my face. “It’s okay, let me make this right.” I picked up my new beer and followed the Giant to the back of the bar. There, in all its glittery glory was the “GRRRL!” booth. I smiled; it looked like an explosive gay Hello Kitty! bomb had detonated. It had all the pink accessories, including the shiny shirts, and all that was missing were the red bows in everybody’s hair. There was no way anyone in the bar was NOT going to see the group of guys.
I pulled off my soaking wet shirt. The giant chucked me a small pink GRRRL! towel, followed by a pink shirt. I stood there for a moment, letting myself dry off.
“I’m Fritz,” the giant introduced himself. “GRRRL! is teaching gay men self defense to battle all the attacks and crap we’ve had in our neighborhood. We figured we all want to be seen when we’re out in the neighborhood. We’re all on the rugby squad and just started this recently, but it’s really taken off. Do you rugby?”
“You’d be a great wing,” said a short, muscular ginger bearded man, slyly running his hand down the hair trail on my stomach. Fritz batted his hand away.
“I’d put your shirt on if I were you, love, the boys can be a bit…friendly. They’re nice, but that one,” he said pointing to the ginger, “hasn’t had her shots updated.” I slipped on the shirt. It was surprisingly comfortable and fit like a glove. Fritz introduced me around to the guys in the booth. I took a sip of beer and before I knew it, I was laughing along with the rest of the GRRRLs in the back of the bar.
This post is an excerpt from my book “Brief Moments: a collection of short stories” available on Amazon.com in paperback & Kindle eBook.