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 Gingerbeer.co.uk.