By Monica Alonzo
By Stephen Lemons
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Dulce Paloma Baltazar Pedraza
By Ray Stern
By Pete Kotz
By Monica Alonzo
By New Times
"So what kind of boys do you like?" interjects Jett.
"Tall, dark, handsome ones. You know, upper 20s, successful, cute, good-looking."
"Do you consider yourself a top or a bottom?"
"I consider myself versatile, but more of a top," he says. "I know some guys out here spread for everyone, but I don't. That's a big deal to me. But everything else is fine."
"And why Amsterdam?"
"I'd say it's the best gay bar in Phoenix. I like the atmosphere, the music, the crowd. But one thing I don't like about it is that there's no dance floor. It'd be really awesome with a dance floor. They say that's in the works, so we'll see."
We figure it's time to check out those getting their nails painted, so we swing back to just inside the back door where there are a trio of manicurists on duty, tending to digits. Leslie, a pixie-ish gal with short brown-blond hair, is having her hands massaged in prep for polishing when we approach. Her manicurist tells us the process should last about 15 minutes.
"I'm here with a bachelorette party, man," explains Leslie, who's an electrical engineer for a microchip company. "My friend's getting married. She's back on the patio."
"Is she drunk yet?"
"Not yet, surprisingly," says Leslie, who's from Chandler and looks to be in her early 20s. "This place is great! Every bar should be like this."
"What kind of martini do you have?"
"It's caramel-apple with nuts," she says. "Kind of like a milk shake with alcohol."
"How long did you have to wait, and how much does this sort of thing usually cost, outside of a Monday night at Amsterdam?"
"I waited, like, 45 minutes to an hour, but it's a good deal," she says. "Normally, I'd say it costs me around $20 for a manicure. Here it's just $5, plus whatever you want to tip."
I'm getting a little lightheaded from the fumes, which normally I might like if I weren't on duty. So we ease past the manicure tables, and head to the bar for another round. There, we saddle up next to a good-looking African-American man in a red polo sweatshirt named Clif Dowdell, who tells us that he's a waiter at Oregano's on Camelback. He's sipping on a strawberry-peach concoction as we conversate.
"So, Clif, ever make a love connection here?" I ask, a tad hopefully.
"You know, I just go out to have fun. I'm not shopping around for the hookup."
"Did you just come from work?"
"No, actually I just came from the rehearsal for a beauty pageant I'm going to be in at BS West, the gay club in Scottsdale. It's called Filthy Gorgeous, and it's very kitschy, and a little naughty. I'll be playing Miss Milky Way, a.k.a. The Black Hole."
"Funny stuff," I chuckle. "Can't wait to see you in the swimsuit competition. So what's your talent?"
"I sing," he tells us. "And I'll be doing an illusion of Tina Turner, a proud, post-Ike Tina."
"Yeah, that way you won't have to dodge any boot heels," I crack, thinking of a scene from the Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It?, the one where Laurence Fishburne nearly goes to town on Tina with some shoe leather. "Are you a performer at heart?"
"Yes, and since I'm not involved in any of the local theater, this is my outlet. It's all about the two T's, the tape and the tuck. You use some tape up top to get a little something there. It's the tuck downstairs which is the challenge."
"Yowza! Talk about suffering for your art," I spout.
I'm beginning to wonder where Jett's gotten to when I see her near the back door, yelling, "Yo, Kreme, get over here."
Seems Jett's hunted down the chick who's getting hitched, Vao Lee, Leslie's friend. Miss Lee's a cute lass who met her groom Mark at their workplace, Motorola. She says they're getting married within the week.
"What do you guys do for Motorola?" I ask.
"We're both engineers, but we work in different departments," she says. "At the time, we were working together, and we kind of asked each other out as friends. Then he asked me out on a date. That's how it all began."
"And now you're going to go forth and make little engineer babies," I suggest.
"Maybe, maybe," she says, laughing. "In like two years or so."
"Hey, stop trying to get the lady pregnant," joshes Jett. "Keep that cream to yourself, Kreme."
"Don't worry," I say. "With my luck, it'll probably turn to cheese before anyone else comes in contact with it."