I’m not sure what it’s like for a straight couple but as a gay male couple, a night out on the town is often a strange affair.
There is generally some incident or another that makes the evening a little more intense than it should. Take our recent trip to Birmingham for Halloween.
We decided to go for a night out to The Nightingale Club. This is a large place in the middle of Birmingham’s Gay Village – their website advertised a ‘full club transformation’ which sounded perfect for Gay Christmas (as the film Mean Girls calls Halloween).
I have a pretty extensive Epic Quest (posh, less miserable bucket list), and on there were two references to Halloween, one to go as a Gladiator killed in battle. The other for us both to go as Puck and Oberon from Midsummer Night’s Dream – so more or less, the King and the Prince of the Fairies – I know right.
This last year we’ve been training really hard for several muddy obstacle courses including the Bear Grylls Survival Race, which means we are in decent shape – a must if you’re going to dress in very little and go out in public.
We’ve been working on our costumes for a couple of weeks. It turned out that we had to make them ourselves because as much as it’s easy to go as a ‘slutty doctor’ or ‘slutty devil’, a ‘slutty Shakespeare Character’ isn’t a costume you find in many fancy dress shops.
Alex ordered leaves, glitter and face paint with gay abandon, so to speak, and about two weeks before Halloween we started the big sew (basically sewing dozens of leaves onto to a skin-tight lycra t-shirt that we’d cut the arms off of – it’s not madness, so shush.)
In the very fancy Park Regis, we put a dust sheet down and changed the bedding for some old stuff from home – can you imagine the bill if we covered their expensive sheets in green face paint?
Anyway, getting back to the night out. All dressed up, we stood outside waiting for the taxi to the club. We got a lot of ‘aren’t you cold’ – which of course without countless shots of gin we would have been.
We went to a bar first, but it was overly busy, so we didn’t stay long and moved straight on to the nightclub.
It is sad that nights out are not first thing in the morning when I’m still full of energy and not bloated, but this is just the way of things. And putting on my best smile we walked into the club.
They had indeed gone all out, and some of the costumes people had put together were impressive.
We left the noise of the dance music downstairs and found more of a show bar on the above floor. Upstairs was much more fun, and there was a lot more room to show off our costumes.
The first thing that happened was that guys started touching us. Well more just feeling us up as they walked past. Can you imagine if a straight guy in a bar put his hands on a woman’s todoings? Yet it’s okay for gay men to do it to another gay man and brush it off with a smile.
Going to the bar, random guys touched our arse and grabbed around the front – not conversation, no buying dinner, nothing, just a quick grope. Not acceptable but common, so common in fact that we both just smiled it off.
Guys then spoke to one of us ignoring the other – rude and odd given that we were dressed the same and stood side by side. This often happens when we’re out without costumes, though it’s usually when one of us goes off to the loo, someone will leap in on the other one.
This night took a turn for the cringey when the compere decided to point out our ‘amazing’ costumes to everyone on this floor. As we’re never ones to shy from the limelight, we made our way onto the stage.
Thankfully, the compere was one of the nice kind, not the bitchy queen types, so he was super nice to us and said that because we looked so pretty, we should have a bottle of wine. Win!
The not so fun bit came next, a woman, perhaps in her 30s latched onto Alex. This is quite common when we’re on a night out. When we dance together, often women will dance with us, often ignoring the fact that we’re a couple and just dance in-between us. Its happened again and again in the past that a stranger has forced their way between us and become upset when we’ve been too focused on each other. I remember once being told ‘You can pay attention to him every day, pay attention to me now.’ The thing is that Alex and I might pay attention to each other every day, but actually dancing together isn’t quite so common. The staff tend to get upset when we dance randomly in Asda.
The woman this particular evening though didn’t give up, she was ‘sexy dancing’ with Alex. Now Alex loves a good sexy dance, but when she became a little handsy, Alex looked uncomfortable, and it was time for me to dance between them. But she kept on and came on to Alex, inviting him home. We pointed out we were gay and married. Red rag to a bull this it seems, and she started yelling that she’d pay us, both of us if we slept with her.
Odd, I know. Not quite sure how we got away from that situation (ran I think), but we found ourselves in a seating area. We are both very chatty so when we sat down awe both spoke to the person at the side of us. The guy next to me had been left by a friend – common when single guys go out together – one will pull, the other one left to it (kinda rude tbh).
When we decided to go back and dance, I invited him to come with us. Again, something that’s common (so you’d think I’d learn); giving attention to some people is basically a come on.
This meant that when we started dancing, the guy I said should come and dance, started his sexy dancing with us. It’s just so awkward. Again, more running off. Why is it that it’s so difficult to just have a laugh and a dance with a stranger without them presuming you want an orgy with them?
We dodged the young lads (18-22) who were bouncing about high on goodness knows what (G apparently, though I don’t actually know what that is). We have to dodge them because my beard is cat-nip for young gays, and they come at me, mouths open and tongue probing – it’s kind of madness.
We found our own space on the stage to dance for a while – I’m not sure why anyone would dance on the dancefloor when there is a stage/pole available. Tired, sweaty and ready for food we headed off.
Two minutes from the club and a car full of 4 men drove slowly by and started hurling homophobic abuse at us. This is 2016, the UK’s second city and the middle of a gay area and people think it’s acceptable to drive around shouting abuse.
Now you can take the Welshman out of Wales, but you can’t take Wales out of the Welshman and as fiery as ever Alex ran off down the street yelling at the men to get out of the car and repeat their abuse to his face. Thankfully, they didn’t – 2 against four is not the way you want to end a night.
And off we went, we got food and decided to walk home. What’s a 35-minute walk at 3am dressed in basically pants?
Other than lots of comments about how cold we must be, the walk home was uneventful. We thought the fun of the night was over until we arrived back at the hotel. There is a side entrance to the hotel that has lifts that go up to all the floors – we were on floor 9. Much to our annoyance, this side entrance was locked, and we had to go through the main doors.
This way in and the lift takes you up to the 4th floor, at which point you have to walk through a restaurant and conference space before you reach the lifts to the rest of the floors.
It’s after 3am at this point. Our face paint was now far from magical and looked more like that of a depressed and crying clown. The top half of our costumes was more just a belt around our waists, and that left us just in our pants.
Half-naked, the lift doors opened onto floor 4, and we walked into a huge party. It turns out the hotel was hosting some kind of movie awards. This meant that there were hundreds of black tie and ball gown wearing patrons staring at us as we walked our way through the throng to get to the lifts.
The only thing to do in circumstances like this is to wear your biggest smile. And that’s what we did as we made our way to our room.
Life is no fun if it’s not an adventure and our nights out always seem to be in one sense or another.
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