"Dude," says the kid with both his ears pierced, "it's so obvious you are gay. Why not just come out and say it, you fag? I won't judge you!"
I look at this guy who has turned up at Phoenix's notorious rip-off of the New York City Motherfucker Party, and realize it's amateur hour. They've let the kids in since the bar stopped serving booze.
"Come on, homo-boy," says Junior, with real peach fuzz over his upper lip and everything, "just admit you're queer for me."
I stare at the Ridgemont High Reject and wonder how this conversation even began at all. Then I remembered -- I'd gone to Hot Pink. The place to see and be seen in Phoenix.
I should have stayed at the Emerald Lounge.
"George," says my pal Brian, who works behind the bar at the Emerald most nights of the week, "you really WANNA go to Hot Pink?"
I look around the already half-empty club, and all I see is my reflection in everyone's drunken eyes. Or eye, in the case of the guy with the pirate patch passed out at the end of the bar.
"Yeah," I tell Brian, "nobody here is gonna remember I was standing in this spot, anyway."
Brian nods his head like he understands, which he does. We then quickly discuss the coyote situation, and how I heard on news radio they are running loose everywhere. And not only that, they are buying up real estate to house illegal immigrants.
Now, being from New York, I've seen some smart canines. Ones that can say "I love you," ones that can twirl on their tippy-toes, and even ones that help blind people bump into me. But filling out those mortgage papers and coming up with old tax returns? THAT is clever.
Anyway, I tell Brian I'm splitting, and say goodnight to Scene, who is working behind the bar as well. Then Greg, the guy who owns the place, and my bald friend Mike, who is too cool for words.
Then I'm off to the equivalent of a high school keg party.
When I first arrive at Hot Pink, I'm greeted by something I hadn't seen in months. Beautiful girls. Zillions of them. I mean, sure, I've seen some beauties at the Rogue, some babes at the Merc (who wouldn't give me the time of day), and the hotties at my gym. But this was different. Maybe because they were all making out with one another.
Anyway, I pay the door fee, get searched for what must be the rifle I'm hiding in my pants I shot JFK with, then make my way to the bar.
A very nice gentleman in a baseball cap gets me my drink, we make a little small talk, and I realize that even though I had walked through the doors of the club with my New York attitude, the vibe in this club was better. Well, in a way.
The vibe was more cozy, with much less posing, and a lot more emphasis on fun. In fact, I noticed some people who DIDN'T want to be seen.
"Don't tell anyone you saw me here," says one friend of mine I'd met at the Bikini Lounge.
"I was never here," says another fellow whose band I'd checked out in Tempe.
It was all good.
As I'm watching these two hot girls -- who can't be more than 27, total -- make out against a stripper's pole, I can't help but find myself with an erection. One so large that if I were to walk into one of the glass-covered walls in the place, I'd still break my nose.
These girls are wearing next to nothing, which is better than nothing, because it lets my mind wonder what's really there. I mean, trimmed, shaved, soft, or a she-male. There are plenty of them in New York. And I gotta tell you, there is nothing like that feeling of making out with a hot chick, then reaching between her legs to let your fingers do those tiny loop-de-loops, and finding a surprise.
It's almost better than those you used to find in Cracker Jacks, but are now more common in Trix, Cocoa Puffs, and Lucky Charms.
Anyway, I'm getting all hot and sweaty as I finally see one chick's nipple pop out of her loose blouse.
I look down at my women's stretch jeans, and they're stretching in the place where women don't. So I drop an ice cube from my drink down there and make my way to the restroom stall.
That's where I meet HIM.
"You can piss next to me," says the high-school-age kid, as we wait in line in the front of the club for the men's room.
I smile back and say nothing.
A minute or so later, two urinals open up, and peach fuzz takes one of them.
He whips out his wiener, starts to piss, and tells me there is a free urinal next to him.
"I'll wait for a stall," I tell the kid, and think no more of it.
But he certainly does.
"What's the matter, are you afraid to go next to me?" he says, loud enough so everyone in the restroom can hear.
"No," I mutter under my breath, "I'd just rather be alone."
"You're gay, dude," he yells, all happy like he's discovered a new continent or something. A regular Christopher Columbus.
I calmly tell him I'm not, but if I was, who cares?
"I'd care," says the kid in the button-down shirt with those stupid shells around his neck like all those frat boys wear. Frat girls, too.
"That's nice," I say, now really having to piss, having lost whatever erection I got from those hot chicks because of this moronic conversation. "And you do realize this is a gay bar?"
The kid stops pissing and just looks at me. Like a dumb dog you just punched in the nose for trying to bite your leg.
"Fuck you, man," Junior yells, "this ain't no fudge-packing plant."
This is the part where I really miss New York.
There, this conversation never would have happened. And if, for some reason, it did, this kid would have his ass kicked so hard he'd never be heard from again.
The kid finishes pissing, and while I'm still waiting for that stall, I hear all sorts of gastrointestinal noises reverberate through the room, as well as some lovely stenches. So I make my way out.
"You are so obviously gay," says the kid with the caterpillar on his upper lip. "Why not just admit it?"
I look at him and his two pierced ears and tell him he's the one who is gay.
"What are you talking about?" says Junior, now all offended like I've called him a bad name.
"Well," I explain, "you're the one with the two pierced ears. You're the one who is SO concerned about where I take out my penis. If I were Freud, I'd say you had penis envy."
"You are a fraud," yells the kid, "and for your information, two pierced ears means you're straight."
"Right," I say to him. "You just keep telling yourself that."
"He does have a butt plug," says some cute little thing with big boobies, who interrupts our conversation.
"And you are?" I ask.
She explains she is Junior's girlfriend, and they both rode over to Hot Pink in his dad's pickup truck.
"He's got a butt plug that vibrates and everything," she tells me.
"Do you like the way that feels?" I ask the kid with the two extra holes on his face.
"I use it on her!" he screams at me. "That's just like a fag to say something like that!"
I tell the kid to calm down, and that in my time in New York, two pierced ears meant you were gay, everyone had butt plugs for one reason or another, and who really cares, anyway.
"You know," says the girlfriend -- all dressed up in her best Bebe outfit I'm sure she picked out with her mom at a Scottsdale mall so she could find the right man, marry him, settle down, join a good church, and one day hope to have really nice Christmas lights adorn her roof -- "I like you."
And with that, she jams her tongue down my throat.
The fresh taste of Bubble Yum and grape lip gloss brings me back to the good old days. When I wasn't getting any, either.
"What'd you kiss that homo for?" asks El Stupido.
"To see," she says.
"To see what?" demands her boyfriend, the butt-plug owner.
"To see if he's really gay," she tells him as she applies more purple lip stuff to her face, then takes the piece of gum she's stuck under a bar table nearby, and puts it back in her mouth.
"Well," asks Chief Double-Ears, "is he?"
Being the man expert she was, probably all of 16 years old, what comes out of her mouth next not only shocks me, but pains me down to my soul.
"Yeah," she says nonchalantly. "He's totally gay!"
"I knew it!" screams Junior.
Confused, I ask her what made her come to that conclusion.
Was it the bleached-blond hair and women's stretch jeans?
The black utility vest with the U.S. pins on it like the Ramones wore?
My clear blue eyes, or my shirt I'm too sexy for?
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"You're gay because you never once stared at my boobs," the girl tells me.
Shocked, I try to respond, but my tongue fails me. When I finally do figure out what to say, the kids are long gone.
Shortly thereafter, so am I.