"That you may ruminate"

…On Observations at a Bar/Club Place

Posted by Steve on August 23, 2008

Last night, I went out with some folks, first to a bar and then to a place that was a bit odd: tucked away beside the marina of a gated community, next to a yacht club (!?!), it was a combination bar and club, with a dance floor and a band that played a pretty tight cover of Sweet Child O’Mine. My goals were accomplished: I did not spend the night alone at home playing video games, and the night went as expected: I ended up alone at a packed Wa-Ho at 3 AM, where I further contributed to my obesity with a delicious double-waffle, a delicious double order of scattered & smothered, and a sausage melt that made me decide to stick with sausage-egg-and-cheese sandwiches henceforth.

At that second joint I soon after my arrival spotted two women near the font of the dance floor, making out. “I wonder,” I thought in a charitable moment, “if they’re really together. I hope so.” And wanting it to be so, I decided that it was so. “I’m glad they feel comfortable enough to be so open about it.” That lasted all of perhaps five seconds before I realized how ridiculously naive I was being. “Dipshit,” I thought to myself, “that’s a load of crap. It’s just two drunk straight sluts making out to get men’s attention.”

Some time later, after drinking Red Bull through a straw (the bartender gave me a straw, and with the resources already wasted it seemed pointless not to put it to its intended use) and politely but firmly telling the tequila-promotion women who were there that no, I did not want to be airbrushed with a temporary Jose Cuervo tattoo, I again noticed those two women, still together, and seemingly paying no attention to anyone else. “Huh. Maybe they really are with each other,” I thought, reconsidering. Perhaps I’d been too hasty. Perhaps these two women were special, different from the other pairs and trios I had seen kissing and rubbing each other for brief moments before throwing themselves back into kissing and rubbing upon men. Perhaps these really were the wholesome, heart-warming, life-affirming honesty of Jill Sobule’s “I Kissed A Girl” and not the exploitative, objectifying, collaborationist cultural appropriation of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl. (Let me add, as a side note, that Sobule’s song is by far the more likable, even setting aside the advantage its laudatory lyrical and thematic content gives it over the other’s loathsome lyrical and thematic content, given its catchy up-beat melody as opposed to the simple droning of Perry’s song.)

Shortly before last call, I was able to reach a conclusion about those two when they at last broke apart and each went their separate ways… with a man. About that time, though, one of the people I’d gone there with walked up, disappointed by being shot down by a woman he’d had his eye on all the night. “She’s with another girl,” he told me, pointing. “That big Latina over there. Her girlfriend.” And being who I am, now I can’t help but wonder if she really was a lesbian (or bisexual) and that really was her girlfriend… or if she was just making up an excuse to dismiss some jerk she wasn’t interested in. I know which one I’d prefer were fact, but I suspect it isn’t.

At this same place, I observed a brief incident of punches being thrown, men being restrained, and one or two people getting forcibly ejected. During this, one bystander decided to get involved by sucker-punching twice one of the main participants. When pressed as to why he did this, I’m informed (I did not actually witness this part) his answer was to the effect of, “I donno, I just felt like it.”

That’s something I can’t understand. I recall once speaking with someone who said he and his friends would routinely have fistfights over disagreements, with unspoken agreements regarding when the fight would stop, and what sort of blows weren’t allowed. Again, I can’t understand. In my mind, the goal of fighting someone is to incapacitate, cripple, or kill them. So the only reason to fight someone has to be a reason to deliberately incapacitate, cripple, or kill them. Which means when you fight someone, there’s no such thing as “dirty”, there’s only efficient and inefficient, effective and ineffective. “Dirty” – say, a blow to the crotch or an eye-gouging – can be very efficient and effective. As such, in my mind, it’s to be encouraged during a fight – but only because “I donno, I just felt like it” isn’t a reason for fighting. Real-life fights aren’t boxing or wrestling or MMA – sports with rules and competition, where safety is a concern and causing injury something to prevented. They’re purpose-driven efforts to deliberately destroy someone’s body, where the target’s safety is antithetical to the goal and causing injury is an objective. In a real fight, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s whether you win or die.

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