I got ready for my night out. I came to Sydney with only two pars of pants, two pairs of shorts, sandals and four t-shirts; so I didn’t have much of an outfit. It was so cold that I went out and bought a sweater, a big blue one with the words Australia written across the front with a kangaroo below it. I knew I was going to look like the biggest tourist, but it was the first semi-decent sweater I could find that was cheap and near to my hostel.
I had a mohawk at this point, with spiral plugs in my ears. I knew
that I wouldn’t be looking in my best form. But it wasn’t about looking good, was it?
Asia was all about discovering myself. I had been dealing with anxiety and self-esteem issues before travelling to Southeast Asia. At one point in my life I was unable to leave my own house without feeling nauseous and nervous. I’ve had a few panic attacks back before I travelled, but Asia made me a different person. I smiled more, I didn’t care as much what people thought of me. My self-esteem was as high as it’s ever been and I was starting to finally feel comfortable with who I was. I had more confidence than ever before.
So with my giant blue sweater, my dirty pants, and my disgusting sandals, I walked to the club.
Oxford street was buzzing. It was a Sunday night, many people were walking around in groups. It was obviously the gay street. Boys walked by wearing designer clothes, gawking at my abhorrent attire. Drags queens strutted in their high-heels, chins held high, walking proud and with meaning. Muscle men walked around in singlets (wife-beaters) despite the cold temperatures.
I managed to find my way to a club named Stonewall. It looked busy from the outside, and there were a lot of men standing outside smoking. I took a deep breath, and stepped towards the front entrance.
“ID please,” the security guard said sternly.
“Oh here.” I rummaged through my pockets and pulled out my wallet. I flipped my wallet open and showed him my ID.
“From Canada?” Security asks.
“Yeah, here on my Work Holiday.” I say nervously, twiddling my fingers.
“Cool, have a good night.”
I take another deep breath before I step into the club.
The music was loud and people were everywhere. Men keep glancing over with shock or disgust, and I start to think that this is a bad idea. I head straight for the bar.
“What kind of beer do you have here?” I ask the bartender. He gives me a strange look.
“Well it depends what you are looking for,” He replies, sounding impatient.
“I’m not from here. Can you just give the the cheapest beer?” I say, trying to hurry up this interaction.
The bartender rolls his eyes, “A bottle? A schooner? Mate you’ll have to be more specific.”
A bottle and a what-what? I say in my head.
“A bottle of your cheapest beer,” I say unconfidently, wondering if he just insulted me with some weird Aussie lingo… Schooner? What the fuck is that?
The bartender nods and goes to grab me a bottle of beer. I honestly can’t remember what brand it was. He gives me my beer and I pay him and leave a tip: such a Canadian thing to do.
I sit down on one of the many stools around the bar. Although the music was loud, the ‘downstairs’ part of Stonewall is actually more like a normal bar, off to the side you have the pokies (slot machines) in a separate room, and then down the hall from there is a secluded bar where you can sit and enjoy a chat. Up the stairs is the second and third level, and that’s where you go to dance. I resorted to stay on the non-dancing level, although there was plenty of drunk dancing from other people anyway.
So alone I sat, sipping my beer, looking out to the crowd. People were dancing and shouting, but most of all they were observing. Everyone was checking everyone else out. No one was safe. The minute someone would walk by another person, they would quickly do a ‘face and ass’ check, which is quiet literally, checking out the face (and if it’s good looking) then check out the ass as they walk by. Nobody seemed to actually go up and talk to the people they seemed interested in, they just would hover their eyes over their body again and again and again. And once I noticed that behaviour, I also noticed that no one seemed to be dancing with anyone.
Yes, people were dancing with their friends. But no one seemed to be grinding with anyone, making out, or having any sort of affectionate contact. Everything was cut and dry. I was used to going to straight clubs in Canada where almost half the people were flirting with each other, making out, or grinding. It seemed odd to me that the men here were just undressing people with their eyes, and not attacking with their faces.
“You look sad,” someone said beside me. I jumped in my seat, and turned. A black man stood behind me.
“No I’m not sad, just deep in thought,” I say, trying to blow off the fact I just almost screamed from being startled.
“What are you thinking about?” He asks, his eyes fixated in mine.
“Umm nothing really important.” I say, noticing that he was a little on the short side, but had a fairly handsome face.
“I’m Ronnie,” He says, I shake his hand.
“I’m Cody, nice to meet you.”
We start talking, and I find out that Ronnie is from New York. He has been living in Sydney for a while, but was going back to NYC soon. I told him that it was my first night in Sydney, and he took it upon himself to bring me to all the best clubs, in one night.
First: Is stonewall, and although I actually made my OWN way to stonewall, he is the one who actually showed me around. He brought me upstairs and to the pokies, we drink, we laugh. We meet a guy named Mike who is some big TV Manager, and who obviously was undressing me with his eyes. He wanted to join us on this unofficial club tour, so we all band together and head to…
Second: Arq. One of the biggest gay clubs in Sydney. Massive glass revolving doors at the entrance to two dance floors, one is downstairs and one is upstairs. We choose to go upstairs, and after being hit in the face with the revolving door we make it to the dance floor. Mike says he needs to go to the bathroom, and I follow him.
Now, growing up I was only in the presence of one drug: weed. And besides salvia, the only other drug I had ever done or seen in my lifetime was weed. I wasn’t a drug fan, but if people wanted to do it and it didn’t affect me, then I didn’t really care.
Mike starts doing lines of cocaine off the bathroom counter with some weird chick he just met. Which surprised and fascinated me because I was never in the presence of such blatant drug use before.
After Arq we went to…
Third (and last): Beresford. Beresford is actually a ‘straight-club’, but Sundays are gay-days. Beresford actually makes more money on the gay night than it does for the rest of the week combined. That’s how powerful the gays are in Sydney.
It’s weird that Ronnie brought me to these three clubs (there are many many more gay clubs in Sydney) because these three will soon become my regular hangout spots.
Ronnie and I go upstairs in the Beresford to go dance. Once again, the dance floor is upstairs while the downstairs part of the club is more like a pub, a place to pre-drink before dancing your ass off.
We go to the dance floor and we start dancing. I was pretty drunk at this point, and so was he.
“I wanna show you something,” Ronnie says, “But you have to close your eyes.”
“What? Why?” I say, swaying slightly to the music, trying hard to focus on Ronnie with my blurry vision.
“Just trust me!” Ronnie yells, giving a mischievous smirk.
I close my eyes. The music pounds through my head and I have a hard time standing straight. I feel him grab my hand. He moves my hand a places it right on his boner.
My hand was touching Ronnie’s penis, and I didn’t like it.