my kind of bar

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Men and their things. Sometimes when I see a bunch of men standing close together, having a laugh, I imagine them naked, slapping each other’s backs, while their penises stay timidly asleep. It’s like the penis is the great asshole, ruining friendships and making things difficult. When it’s sleeping, men are laughing to each other’s crass jokes. That seems just about right.

I like men. And I also like bars. But not just any bar.

I like bars where I can be anonymous. I prefer when the décor is shabby, with ample supplies of cheap lighting. The clientele looks like they’ve been here so long they’re practically painted into the walls. I like men’s bars where all that stands for entertainment is a radio screaming out football results. The type with formica tables, two choices of beer, a phone that never stops ringing, garish fluorescent lighting, and lots of peanuts and pickles with the drinks. You can stay there till two in the morning to watch men stumble proudly out of their carved seats.

I like these bars because nobody will pretend to dance to music, nobody will push anyone else because there’s not enough standing room, nobody will tell you anything you don’t want to know, and nobody will wonder if you're fuckable because you tell the right joke/know the right person/wear the right clothes. They’ll just want to fuck you because you have a vagina and you’re not their wife. The bullshit is kept to a respectable minimum.

I’ve found just such a bar and it’s in the Marais, of all places. A little bar called Chez Raymond, where you can eat pickled celery, spicy carrots, with your beer and nobody will bother you. The phone rings constantly, the conversation is animated. The men are old. You’d seem anachronistic in normal everyday clothes. Here, one has to wear an old-fashioned suit, cream the hair back, and stand with the head further back than the belly.

I was too shy to go to the back room, where I imagine the gaming and betting goes on, but I caught a glimpse of it through the corridor. A nice heavy fug of cigarette smoke in a windowless white walled room. The gestures of slow lorises injected with coffee.

Later on in the night, I went to another kind of bar. This type of bar I’m definitely more familiar with. A rock’n’roll bar. Like all rock’n’roll bars, the space was too small, too smoky, there were butts and bodies pushed in every corner, and the bargirl was surly. I ran out of things to say and I didn’t feel like saying more. When I was in Toronto, this was practically the only kind of bar we went to. The only question left to ask is: why?

*to check out cute rock boys, idiot!*