In the early days of Mimosa Sunday, Gentle Reader, before we gathered a larger following, we’d sometimes go on excursions and field trips, rather than staying strictly at the Mix. On one such occasion, there were only the three of us – Auntie R., myself, and young Mr. Hasbrook*. We were three gay men of an age range that spanned from Maiden and Mother to – well, the other one.
Picture us on tall stools, against red walls and corrugated tin. After a pitcher or two of Mimosa, Auntie asked if we wanted to take in a show. Mr. Hasbrook and I readily agreed.
It was in the winter, long after Pride was over, and long before next year’s Pride would begin. As we piled into the car, overcome by a spirit of camaraderie and kinship, we cranked the radio to maximum volume, and played everything from vintage Judy Garland to the very latest Lady Gaga‡, singing at the top of our lungs, spanning generations of gay men who have come before and who have yet to come†. We cruised through the dark city streets, in the less savory parts of town, spreading light and life wherever we went. Like Nyancat, we left a rainbow trail in our wake.
Now, the show that we were wending our way to was at the Airport Tavern, which is in a seedier part of town – South Tacoma Way. A curious place for a gay bar, but they’ve stayed in business for years, catering to the older gay crowd.
Young Mr. Hasbrook had never been to the Airport before, and the older gents lapped him up like candy. I even got compared to a young Robert Redford, myself, and Auntie entertained a caller or two. Being the youngest men by far in the bar does have its advantages.
The Airport is also home to weekly drag shows. A curious thing about Auntie, no matter what community you’re a part of, he knows the principal players in it. Chances are, if he doesn’t know someone, they’re not worth knowing. It therefore came as no surprise that not only was he a member of the Imperial Sovereign Court of Tacoma, the local drag group, but he was also close friends with all the performers.
As we watched the exquisite performances and enjoyed the attention from the older gentlemen, all was right in the world. To the standard eye, the evening was campy, over the top, and more than a little queeny, but to me? For once, I felt comfortable in public, as though I belonged, and safe – nothing I said or did would single me out as a target for violence. Nothing could hurt me there.
As I demurely slid a tip to Auntie Viv and accepted a jello-shot from a man who looked like my father, I basked in the comfort and community that is so rare for my kind. While I’m never entirely at ease in the broad heterosexual world, I wouldn’t trade these blinding, bonding moments for a general sense of security. As we turned up the Madonna and headed home, I breathed a happy sigh of satisfaction, and hugged my companions. Together, we’re a force to be reckoned with.
*Mr. Hasbrook’s identity has since changed – or my awareness of it has – but at the time, this was the correct form of address.
†Oh, get your mind out of the gutter.
‡It was a few years ago, after all.