I went to a very large party today for the first time in I don’t know how long. There must have been almost 100 gay men there, nearly all of whom were upstanding professionals in their 40’s – 60’s. Essentially it looked like I was walking into a gay bar frequented by older gentlemen, and that the club just happened to be at someone’s house.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. As soon as I saw how busy it was I started to feel panicky. I’ve gotten so used to relating to people in a flirtatious or sexualized and nearly anonymous manner at the clubs where I work that I was nervous about seeing people in the daylight with all my clothes on. I don’t think I realized how much I’d disconnected from daytime living. The first place I went was to the kitchen for a glass of wine (which is odd, since I rarely drink).
I went there with a delightful friend, Dave Haywards of Touching Up Our Roots, Inc.: Georgia’s LGBT History Project, who is interested in helping me with finding performance opportunities for my artistic projects. We both agreed we’d leave out the exotic dancer part, since the wealthy gay guys at this party would be likely to discount me as an artist if they knew about it. Yeah, well, we thought that would work.
It didn’t take a full 30 minutes to remember why I avoid these types of scenarios anymore. Someone came up and interrupted my conversation with a guest, making it known that he recognized me from Swinging Richards. I then watched him go around the room whispering this to everyone, and saw each individual pair of eyes cut across to me in scandalized glee.
Well, I’m not ashamed, so I didn’t avoid the conversations that followed. However, there was a distinct and sudden change in the way I was being treated. For the first few minutes I was simply mingling shyly and having light conversation. A few men had begun flirting with me (as gay men normally do with each other), and I was engaging in some intelligent discussions for a brief time.
Gradually, I was becoming the focus of everyone’s attention. I drank my second glass of wine too fast and had to sit down. Within a few moments I was blocked into a corner by a wall of crotches and people were feeling on my head, hair, shoulders, and arms. I started to get nervous actually. I was buzzed, didn’t know a single person there (except Dave, who was mingling elsewhere), didn’t know really where I even was (since I don’t live in Atlanta), and have a couple stories in my past that I’ve not shared yet concerning sexual assault. No one wanted to talk to me anymore, they wanted only to hurl their fantasies at me from every direction at once. A few proceded to tell me how far they could stick various objects inside themselves or other people. One went into great detail about how he knew how to fist someone deep enough to cradle a person’s heart in his hand and feel it beating. (It brings tears to my eyes and bit of a gag reflex in my thoat just thinking about the relish with which he describes this – it’s fine if you’re into fisting, but I’m very squeamish about some stuff).
I’m sorry, I don’t normally vent or curse here, but this is fucking ridiculous. I went there to talk about art, which was going just fine at first, but then I was suddenly transformed from a person into a rubber doll. I don’t tolerate this well at all, so I have to say that I’m proud of how diplomatically I diverted all this. I’m not sure anyone even knew I was offended, let alone a tad scared. As it became clear that I wasn’t going to perform any freakish circus acts on the spot, some lost interest and wandered away. From there I was able to manage and redirect the remaining conversations before excusing myself.
The kicker is that only at the end did I finally get to speak with the person whom I was brought there to meet. He was very excited about my projects. Just as I opened the door to leave he blurted out, “I’m so glad you’re a real dancer. Now I can have some respect for you.”
Well, fuck you too…
This party brought to roaring life all the many reasons I write this blog. When you interact with adult entertainers outside of where we work, please try to avoid reducing us to a pile of mechanized anatomical parts. I know it might be hard to believe, but we really do have feelings… Promise… Not making it up.