Last weekend, I stayed at school for a weekend class called "Blue Collar Theology." Friday morning, I visited with my auntie and grandmom until it was time to go to class. From 1:30-7:00, we had class, which was really interesting. The visiting prof, Tex Sample, is a wonderful storyteller and I love his take on justice issues and the fact the he mentions heterosexism right along with racism, sexism and classism. At 7, we left the seminary for a field trip to a local honky tonk. Luckily, my friend Shelly was in the class so I had someone I know pretty well to go in with. Our assignment was to go in, in groups of no more than 3, and absorb the atmosphere, getting into conversations with folks in there. No easy job for someone whose usual approach to a bar is to take a notebook in and write to cover up my shyness. When we first arrived, we were about the only people there! Shelly and I positioned ourselves at the bar, with seats strategically left open on either side of us. Other seminarians joined us. We sat at the bar, talking and sipping drinks (the woman bartender, a nicely-built blonde with a friendly air, commented on my amaretto sour as "candy in a glass!" with a big grin). We waited and waited for folks to arrive, but not many did. Tex decided to move on to a wings place. We could stay or go with him. Shelly and I opted to stay, as did a number of others. I went over to the pool game a few of my classmates were engaged in, thinking they might be able to get into a conversation with the guys at the other table.
I ended up going over to one of them and saying, "Of all the things I suck at in pool, I suck the most at breaking." He then demonstrated the best way to do it. Not much conversation, but it was something & he was really nice. I finally noticed a small blond woman sitting alone at a table. She had a pink drink, so I went over and asked her what it was. She said she didn't know what it was called, but was happy to take me over to the bar for one of my own. While we waited, she offered me a taste of hers. Funny, when most people in church squawk over sharing the communion cup to the extent that we all end up with little shotglasses of juice rather than a common cup. It was pretty good, fruity and definitely fitting my criteria of "girly-fouffy." The bartender who'd been waiting on me said, "Are you leaving, baby?" I said I was just getting another drink and the other woman bartender told me it's called "The Shit" because when she made it up, someone tasting it said, "This is the shit!" I sat with my Shit a couple stools down from the girl I'd met. I introduced myself and asked if she was there with the band. "Yeah, I'm Heather. I'm here with the drummer." We chatted and she was highly offended that a couple of the guys in the bar were grabbing the waitress' ass and the waitress wasn't doing anything about it. I liked that about her. She asked if I was going to dance when the band started & I said, "Probably. I suck at dancing, but I like to, anyway." She said, "I suck, too, but I just say, 'Fuck 'em!' We should dance together!" A little later, she asked if I play pool. I said I do, but I suck at it. She exclaimed, "Me, too! We should play!" So, we did. Neither of us was very good, but it was fun. My classmates, failing to find anyone to talk to, hung out at a table. One of us had managed to get into a pool game with one of the guys, too, but overall, we didn't have much interaction success. We heard that some guys from the American Legion were coming later, but we had to be back in class by 8:30 the next morning, so we bailed about 10:30. Frankly, it didn't seem a whole lot different from any other bar I'd go to, but then much of my bar-going experience is from Nashville. I had fun talking to Heather and laughing over my pool-challengedness.
When I got back to my grands', my auntie helped me get a couple of the bookcases I'd bought at IKEA loaded in my car, then we all went to bed. Class lasted until 4 the next day, then I drove home. It was great to be here for the first time in 2 weeks! J had a dinner of good cheeses (Manchego, brie, extra-sharp cheddar), fruits (strawberries, Pink Lady apple slices and Pixie tangerines) and bread, plus some cabernet chocolate sauce for dipping waiting for me. She opened a bottle of Chandon and gave me a really pretty negligee she'd bought for me. We had a lovely night together, then slept in Sunday. We puttered about the house for much of the day. She made us filet mignon and bucati with spicy butter for lunch. Then, we checked out a couple of bars. I guess it was just my weekend for bars. First, we went to a sad little dive of a lesbian bar called The Paradise Inn in Cleveland. They had no Sunday liquor license (I don't drink beer) and not much was going on besides "America's Funniest Pets and People" on the t.v. The people were friendly, but it was just a little too rough for me. Reminded me of a place where my most-recent ex would be really comfortable. We ended up having dinner at a local bar called Dover Gardens, excellent double cheeseburgers made in the back by the bartender. I would definitely go back there. I think it's funny that I was so much more comfortable in that het bar than in the lesbian bar. We went to The Nickel, another lesbian bar just down the street, Thursday night and I was so much happier there. We chatted with the bartenders, played trivia, put lots of music on the jukebox, ate tacos and laughed riotously. Now, I just have to find a good gay bar in Dayton to take my class to when I teach queer theology!