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I was in school at the University of South Florida in Tampa. It was 1992 and Jim, a friend from high school, was down visiting me. In the northern end of Tampa, there is this old cigar-making historic district called Ybor (pronounced E-boar) City. It's very Cuban in it's ethnicity and is actually very pretty. There are a lot of clubs in this area and Jim, being a club aficionado, was looking forward to checking this place out. Keep in mind that I didn't know for sure that Jim was gay at this point; however, I did have my suspicions.

[sketch]
Artist's Conception of Bar Scene

Smack in the middle of the club district is a huuuuge gay club and I thought I'd play a little joke on Jim and bring him into it.  We walk inside as "It's Raining Men" blares away and the leather-clad stud at the door stamps our hands.  Jim takes a look around, says nothing, and heads for the bar.

After a couple of drinks and watching a bunch of shirtless, buff, sweaty guys dance together, Jim looks at me and says: "What would you say if I told you I was gay?" I think to myself for a moment and respond: "That would mean that I'm the only straight guy in this whole building!" 

I had to take a leak, so I head for the mens room. On my way there, I see a couple of guys who worked in the mall where I was employed (in the other music store).  I knew they were gay and suspected that they thought the same of me and my friend, Mark.  Mark and I were (still are) both short, thin, and hung out together often.  I tried to walk by unnoticed but they caught me. 

"Helllllooo! How are you!  Imagine seeing you here!" I knew it was over, the only thing I could do was to play along with it. Mark was intensely homophobic and hated it when people kidded us about being a couple. He had recently moved to Orlando and I thought I'd have a little fun at his expense.

"So," one of them cooed, "Are you still seeing Mark?" The window was open, if I was going to jump, I had to do it then. "No, that bitch moved to Orlando and I haven't heard from her since. I'm here with another friend.  Jim!" I fluttered at Jim who came over and introduced himself.

This was all pretty funny, especially when I told Mark about it. It did come back to haunt me, though. You see, I was dating this girl about a year later when we go by the other music store. Standing outside is a (female) friend of my girlfriend who just got a job there. The usual introductions occur, and we walk on. Later, my girlfriend talks to the girl. "I don't know how to tell you this," she says to my girlfriend, "but your boyfriend is gay. He was going out with this guy named Mark and they had a really nasty breakup about a year ago." You can probably imagine the earful I got about that!

 
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