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.
Artist's Conception of
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
"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