This just in from the Department of Awkward!
Ok, maybe it was a few weeks back…
It was the Second Last Hurrah before my diet began*. I was on my way to a solo movie and Chipotle date to carpet bomb my remaining cravings into submission. The First Last Hurrah had been some Pallet Jacks with the Silver Fox at the Big Legrowlski. They were nice and tasty, but three got the better of my judgment and after watching a couple episodes of Lucifer on Netflix, the devil got the best of me and I went to check out the new location of Portland’s oldest gay strip club.
Did ya follow that?
Silverado got booted off of Vaseline Alley – aka: Stark Street – quite a few years ago and made an inexplicable move from NW Portland to SW Portland. We’re talking a move of about 10 blocks, but suddenly their only gay bar neighbor was Casey’s, one of three tied for the worst gay bar in Portland**.
It seemed like a bad move.
But, they made a go of it. Even after their adjacent lousy gay bar neighbor went tits up. That persistent success is saying something, considering I usually wanted to wear a HazMat suit when I went there, yet here were these brave (read: desperate) young, gay men stripping.
Then, last year, they lost their lease. I can’t imagine – based on the above description of Cootieville – that the landlord thought they’d be able to get more for the property. But, that’s Portland real estate.
I figured I owed the new digs – three blocks from my place – a peek. Ironically, 20-ish years ago, this building was the first incarnation of Casey’s. I’ll let you all hashtag that ironic occurrence on your own.
So, the new space had a pedigree…I’m just not saying it was a good one.
The First Last Hurrah
Like I said, boredom and a few beers got the better of my judgment, so I took a lil stroll to check out the new place. It was clean. For another refreshing change of pace, it has bathrooms a respectable woman would at least hover in. They might even sit…
I didn’t recognize the bartender and wondered if some/all of the staff had been left behind in the old place. After ordering a beer, I took in the other half-dozen late night patrons, all gathered around the bar.
I took my beer and surveyed the rest of the ground floor. Big kitchen – that’s an upgrade. Some weird private tables tucked into structural grottos. They aren’t private as in private dances, as far as I could tell, they were actual 4-tops.
Besides, the only other thing upstairs was a karaoke set up. I flashed a quick look at those bellied up to the bar to make sure none of them had any aspirations. I think if I wanted bad entertainment, I could have stayed home, right?
I decided to check out the lower level, but only because it was 9:30-ish and the shows didn’t start until 10. It was small and had a low ceiling and a tiny stage. Definitely different than the old joint, where there was a huge stage that usually had two guys dancing and climbing around the large structural support pole. It was an atypical pole dancing set up. Guys usually did a mid-dance workout on it.
There’d be no workouts on this little stage.
There was a second bar downstairs, though. Someone knows their audience.
I’d taken a couple of sips of my beer and decided it was not the IPA that I’d asked for – at best it was a mass market lager. I went back upstairs and asked the bartender to redraw it for me. Hoping he just pulled the wrong beer.
My neighbor at the bar decided to get chatty while the underwear clad bartender demonstrated his displeasure at my request with his pace.
My new friend asked where I lived and – I don’t know why – I suggestively whispered that I lived right around the corner. Then I asked where he lived as the bartender placed my new beer in front of me.
Oh, I live out in southeast. I was just over here for dinner with friends.
“Don’t drink to much!”, I offered cheerfully before grabbing my drink and spinning away from the bar.
I half-suspected that the bartender had served me a spitter, he looked pretty smug when he put it in front of me. I tipped him anyway, but I wasn’t about to sip it in front if him.
I ended up at the lottery machines by the door, having likely alienated the “crowd” and the staff. I didn’t have a ton of cash on me or in reality, but I figured I could lose $20 while I drank my beer with my back to the bar.
I won $50.
I’ll play this down to $50 and call it a night.
At $52 and change, I won a little under $100. I was slightly annoyed because my beer still tasted like shit.
Fine. I’ll play it down to $100, then.
Overall, I like problems like this…and then the lottery went down. Machine by machine…they were just powering down, heading right toward me.
I scrabbled to quit my game and cash out. Unfortunately, the blackout hit my machine before I could…fortunately, it auto-printed a cash out ticket.
I went to the bar and sat down with my beer.
How is it?
I was surprised the bartender cared, but he’d been nearby dropping off a cocktail for a new arrival a couple barstools away. I just wrinkled my nose and shook my head.
Well, what do you want me to do about it?!?
I was surprised by the escalation in his voice. I waved my cash out ticket at him and asked if his side of the lottery was working. He said no, so I pushed my beer across the bar, said, “Tell someone, that’s what I want you to do about it because I think your lines are crossed”, and left.
Sheesh. If he’s gonna be a snowflake…
The Second Last Hurrah
Of course this would happen to me. I’m all greased up and ready to start a diet the following day and the universe conspires to make me go back to a bar to pick up a lottery win. I debated waiting, but it was over $100 and, frankly, it would come in handy.
Because this is an old school Portland dive, they open early. I think it’s 9 AM, if you can believe that! 11 AM, at the latest. I booted around the house until noon, knowing that if I went, I’d probably have a beer…assuming they had bottles, that is.
But I really didn’t want a beer.
I kind of started obsessing about drinking a beer.
But I really didn’t want a beer!
I think it was a distraction technique, but I figured if I was on my way somewhere when I stopped in for my money, I couldn’t hang around.
Since I was picking up cash, I decided to be on my way to a movie. Great. Now I had a plan. The movie was at 4:15, so I’d leave at 3:45, cash in my ticket and be at the theater by 4:05.
What could possibly go wrong?!?
Well, plenty…this is my life, here.
I started thinking about popcorn. The voice in my head was whispering that I had extra money, go mad!
No, my last meal should be something halfway good. If I was going to limp into a diet, movie theater popcorn wasn’t going to be the last thing I ate.
I’m not even sure where the voice in my head came up with that idea.
I was writing, so I didn’t want to tank my momentum by going out for lunch. I decided to make a post movie stop at Chipotle on my way home.
That’s a fair compromise.
I’m starving when I get to Silverado. I walk in and am greeted with an overly chipper
Well, hello there, Handsome!
Great. It’s the bartender that always hits on me.
I’d first met him at another bar, when we were both on the drinking side. He was with friends and he’d left them to come sit by me. Well, on me, actually. On a barstool.
How we didn’t end up on the floor, I dunno.
He ends up giving me his number and going back to his friends. Over the next few days, we text, but can’t schedule a meet up.
He’s the busy one. When I point that out and thank him for the attention, he throws
It’ll be easier next week, there’s just so much to do before the wedding.
Knowing nothing of a wedding, I ask who’s getting married.
Me, silly! Didn’t I tell you?
“Must’ve slipped your mind. But I’m glad it came out, I’m not what’s missing in your relationship.”
Now, you’d think that would send a pretty clear message. For whatever reason, I don’t see him for over a year after this. The next time I walk into his bar, though, he scampers out from behind the bar and gives me a big hug.
He’s wearing a jock strap.
For the love of…I’m only a man!
You never call! Where have you been?!? We need to get together!
I have a couple beers and then leave, thinking nothing of it, really. Bartenders hitting on me has lost its luster.
You left without saying goodbye!
I usually pay cash in bars. I didn’t reintroduce myself and only remembered his name when another patron used it to get his attention.
He remembered my name from two years ago and hadn’t purged me from his contacts list?!?
Alright, I can indulge this attention. When he asked why we never got together originally, I reminded him that he’d gotten married and said…something vague about being sorry it didn’t work out.
Oh, we’re still married! We’re just open. It’s no big deal.
How do you remember my name but not that I’m not willing to be someone’s side piece? I remind him.
You’re gonna pass this up just because I’m married?
He asked playfully, but as I was replying I get this…nope, never mind, it’s too graphic a pic to post.
I replied that I was, indeed, able to resist and bid him farewell.
But, phew. The only thing this kid has going against him is that he’s married.
The mere memory deserves another phew!
Nowadays when I see him, he greets me and calls me Handsome, but doesn’t overtly hit on me any more.
Anyway, he’s getting my cash for me and I’m waiting at the bar when someone beside me says
Well, look what the cat dragged in!
Sitting right next to me is The Stripper. I think I only missed the fact that it was him because he was sitting like a customer at the bar, wearing clothes and everything!
I swore that I wrote about him in one of my Dating Into Oblivion posts, but can’t find it now.
Here’s the shorthand:
I may be over bartender’s hitting on me at this point in my life. Believe it or not, though, I still fell for the same trick last year when a stripper grabbed my phone and texted himself, then saved the number.
That’s my real name. Gotta go dance, but you better call me!
He’d been chatting with me for about an hour, refusing both my offer of a drink and deflecting the attention of other guys. He had introduced himself as Jett and was surprisingly articulate. This, partnered with not accepting my offer to buy him an overpriced stripper’s drink – which is usually just something like cranberry juice and soda for $8 – made me think maybe.
Maybe he actually liked me.
Maybe he wasn’t just trying to lure me down for $20 lap dances on his slow nights…
He was, I guess. He never committed to my offers to get together. To his credit, he never asked me to come see him, either. Nonetheless, after a couple of weeks, I stopped replying.
I slow blinked and muttered something under my breath and then turned to say hi.
I could feel my cheeks flushing red.
Are you sticking around? I’ve got a double today, starting in about 15 minutes!
“Nope. Just stopped in on my way to a movie to cash that in”, I say, nodding at The Bartender.
You should let me show you around before you go!
He’s super friendly, which I want to think is just him being nice. The Bartender comes back and starts counting my winnings to me and I can feel pressure building up behind my eyes.
“I was down there last night. Small.”
Yeah, I bet you can touch the ceiling! It’s small, but I like it.
And I swear to god, with those last words, he looked right at my crotch.
I feel like I’m thirty seconds from completely unspooling between these two sexy, frustrating men. I make my goodbyes, barely even able to imagine touching the ceiling downstairs while Jett touches the floor.
Pushing my way into the waning daylight, I hit the bricks thinking, “Fuck it, I’m getting popcorn!”
Seriously, only I could get stuck between two feuding flirts and come away feeling like I’d done something wrong.
But movie theater popcorn and Chipotle made me feel much better about it.
* It didn’t
** All polling data is based on my own experiences and extremely subjective. That doesn’t make it inaccurate…