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Are dyke bars the new gay boy refuge? Adrian Gillan takes a night off from the lads as a guest of the girls. But is he welcome?

Blimey, so this is being in a minority! Where did all the women come from? OK guys, time to drink our own medicine - reminds you of those old Two Ronnies sketches where the women take over. Ah well, at least no queuing for the gents....Is there a gents?

It's Saturday night and - don't ask - I'm in a dyke bar, feeling horny. And, phwoar, some of these boyish girls almost do it for me! So why is that butch bird eying me up then? Probably because you're standing here pointing at everything with your jaw dropped. Actually, I'm not the only chap in here, quite a few of us have smuggled ourselves in as "guests" of our gay sisters - the start of a trend perhaps, some passive queer boy fight-back, reclaiming our space!
From the Candy Bar website
No lesbian lady friends to muscle you in? Better make some fast matie, or you won't stand a chance. You don't want to wrestle with the lass on the door now do you? Most bars allow guys in as guests. Very few have truly hard core exclusions. You might try Candy Bar in Soho and Brighton or the Oak Bar in Highbury, North London to name but two.

Does this make us queer boy hangers-on "fag hags" then? I think we'd have to be straight for that, and I doubt straight guys would be quite so welcome, what with the risked influx of lurid girl-on-girl action fantasist fellas lurking in the shadows, imposing themselves upon unwilling damsels.

So are us gay guys welcome? It certainly feels like it. The bar staff serve me. Some even smile - the usual thing. My 'host', a senior figure in the lesbian establishment, seems to know everyone and everyone seems chatty enough.

"I think I'm getting a bit old for this," says one lady. "Look at them all, there just babes. Some were practically born in these bars. They don't realise we've only had full-time spaces for the last five years. Before that we were lucky to get a one-off ladies night in a back-bar mid-week!"

But perhaps now the girl scene is starting to come of age, maybe the last thing they want is a bunch of girlie boys invading their much longed-for space, confusing things and hogging the pool table. Look what happened to Manchester. We could threaten this lesbian Nirvana like those naughty straights did ours!

"Don't be silly, of course you're welcome," says one younger lass. "Just because we've not always been catered for properly out on the wider scene, doesn't mean we all start discriminating ourselves. Anyway, it's not as if that many gay men want to come in here."

So what's it like, this girl bar lark? How does it mirror, or differ from, your male or mixed club scene? Well, it will blow away your old stereotypes for starters, and maybe even shape up a few new ones.

Hold the front page guys! Lesbians are not all radical activist avengers waving spanners. Quite the opposite, you'll find even more designer labels here than on the boys. It's no less consumerist and hedonist than the rest of the scene, and just as pitched at your younger punter. And visiting men might be surprised to find - shock horror - women actually cruise dark rooms and finger and tongue like the best of us, now they've got their own safe haven to get down and dirty.

And guess what guys? Women like their porn too! Yes, even if most of the material now available was made for those straight male three-in-a-bed pervs out there rather than real horny dirty dyke fodder. And you might just catch a dyke stripper - lucky you! Perhaps, being comparatively newer, there's a bit more of a buzz here with the ladies! Only emerging in the last few years, you get the sense that it doesn't quite take itself for granted yet. You'll see fewer lasses yawning here than boys across the road. And dyke dosh can only mean more bars I'd say.

Personally, I do still fancy a nice little mixed bar myself - all boys and girls together, the humour and the solidarity - rather than a cruisy all-male or women-only affair. But the general scene's male dominance was bound in the end to engender a place that girl's could call there own. Sharing girlie space certainly makes you rethink your perspective and a few gender assumptions. It's actually quite exciting to witness these neo-feminist freedom fighters self-determining their own lives against a backdrop of gay male domination, as women ever did against those nasty straight men.

Don't let me frighten you off though guys. Give it a go. No harm just the once. Makes a welcome change from the monotony of boy bar culture and forces you to rethink the dynamics of the wider gay scene. Just remember: keep your mouth shut and try not to point! And laugh at their jokes, or they'll beat you up! That's a joke.

For further information about the UK lesbian scene visit 4Dykes.com
or in London Gingerbeer.co.uk.

 

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