The Floor Show

In the early days of Mimosa Sunday, Gentle Reader, before we gathered a larger following, we’d sometimes go on excursions and field trips, rather than staying strictly at the Mix. On one such occasion, there were only the three of us – Auntie R., myself, and young Mr. Hasbrook*. We were three gay men of an age range that spanned from Maiden and Mother to – well, the other one.


Picture us on tall stools, against red walls and corrugated tin. After a pitcher or two of Mimosa, Auntie asked if we wanted to take in a show. Mr. Hasbrook and I readily agreed.

It was in the winter, long after Pride was over, and long before next year’s Pride would begin. As we piled into the car, overcome by a spirit of camaraderie and kinship, we cranked the radio to maximum volume, and played everything from vintage Judy Garland to the very latest Lady Gaga‡, singing at the top of our lungs, spanning generations of gay men who have come before and who have yet to come†. We cruised through the dark city streets, in the less savory parts of town, spreading light and life wherever we went. Like Nyancat, we left a rainbow trail in our wake.

Like this.

Just like this.

Now, the show that we were wending our way to was at the Airport Tavern, which is in a seedier part of town – South Tacoma Way. A curious place for a gay bar, but they’ve stayed in business for years, catering to the older gay crowd.

For Years

For Years

Young Mr. Hasbrook had never been to the Airport before, and the older gents lapped him up like candy. I even got compared to a young Robert Redford, myself, and Auntie entertained a caller or two. Being the youngest men by far in the bar does have its advantages.

The Airport is also home to weekly drag shows. A curious thing about Auntie, no matter what community you’re a part of, he knows the principal players in it. Chances are, if he doesn’t know someone, they’re not worth knowing. It therefore came as no surprise that not only was he a member of the Imperial Sovereign Court of Tacoma, the local drag group, but he was also close friends with all the performers.

Vivian LeCher, ladies and gents. Used without permission, but Auntie Viv is usually good about things like that.

Vivian LeCher, ladies and gents. Used without permission, but Auntie Viv is usually good about things like that.

As we watched the exquisite performances and enjoyed the attention from the older gentlemen, all was right in the world. To the standard eye, the evening was campy, over the top, and more than a little queeny, but to me? For once, I felt comfortable in public, as though I belonged, and safe – nothing I said or did would single me out as a target for violence. Nothing could hurt me there.

As I demurely slid a tip to Auntie Viv and accepted a jello-shot from a man who looked like my father, I basked in the comfort and community that is so rare for my kind. While I’m never entirely at ease in the broad heterosexual world, I wouldn’t trade these blinding, bonding moments for a general sense of security. As we turned up the Madonna and headed home, I breathed a happy sigh of satisfaction, and hugged my companions. Together, we’re a force to be reckoned with.


*Mr. Hasbrook’s identity has since changed – or my awareness of it has – but at the time, this was the correct form of address.

†Oh, get your mind out of the gutter.

‡It was a few years ago, after all.

About Ty DeLyte

Madame DeLyte has suffered a grave disappointment - YET AGAIN - and still believes that freedom, beauty, and truth are what's valuable, rather than vulgar cash. He'd add love to that list - but, well, what can he say about love?
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4 Responses to The Floor Show

  1. ekgo says:

    The first drag show I ever attended was in Tuscon, AZ. It was at a divey little bar and was a burlesque show intended to show a new line of high-end lingerie but it was all done in drag for charity. Like, we had to pay $10 at the door (I didn’t; I was underage. I was allowed in because it was daytime and kids were allowed in bars during daylight hours back then)(Maybe they still are, I don’t know) and the cover charge went to whatever charity the lingerie place was supporting.
    I was mortified and embarassed by the whole thing because while it started out respectably enough, they all stripped down to corsets and fishnets or skimpy negligees or what have you. THEY WERE SHOWING UNDERWEAR IN PUBLIC and it made my cheeks burn. I was a very prude child. Now I’m just a mildly prude adult. Most of the time. Just not about underwear in public because that’s become so common.

    • OH! Oh, my stars! Hi, Erica! I’ve missed you, sweetie-darling. Your comment is *very* welcome – I mean, they always are, but it’s particularly welcome today because the Bad Brain has been in charge today, and it’s been ghastly. The high points – in this order – have been Talking to Boy, An Unexpected Comment From A Friend, Not Being In Public, and Wine (the last two are connected). More on boy later – I mean, I’m posting about him, soon. And I’ll probably talk to the Lawsbians about him so you won’t have to wait to hear about him. Alors!

      I don’t think you can take children into bars at all, anymore. I have a distinct memory of Maman and her friend Kathy leaving all the children in the car while we were lost in an old-timey western town and they asked for directions in a saloon, and that was in the nineties. But they may have just left us in the car because they were lost and asking directions and suddenly on the set of Bonanza.

      I was a prude child! And I’m, honestly, a prude adult. I fight it as much as I can (I mean, I’m sex-positive – for *other people*) but I very much am a prude. In some respects. I mean, if I can be a prude about myself and a libertine about everyone else in the world, that’s what I am. Although seeing people in underwear or naked on stage (Or in a coffee-booth, which I think you don’t have where you’re at) makes me want to offer the performer a sweater.

      Anyway – I’m glad you’re back! I missed you! How are all the things? Are you well? How’s your garden? And Gabe? And your basement?

      • ekgo says:

        Oh, my sweet friend, I came here (my sister’s house to watch her kids while she’s in Vegas for her birthday because she and her husband haven’t had a vacation in five years) with one goal. Well, two…the first being: Don’t let the kids die on my watch. The second: Read this blog and leave long-winded comments because I am getting too far behind and I see things are happening in real time and so I have to catch up to find out all the intresting news!
        And then I went to sleep after reading…what, three posts? Because I have Old Lady Syndrome.
        And then #2, I read Facebook this morning before I came here so sort of pre-jumped into the It’s A MAAAAN! (like the crazy women yell in cartoons) conversation.
        But! I can’t wait to hear more about it!!! And I am sorry you’re having what Gabe calls “Stupid Dog Brain” 😦 I know it is really hard to reset but I am relieved to hear so many things have stepped in to help (we love you, wine)
        Oh! OH! Yes! Self-prude/Others-libertine! I was very much exactly that. I’ve sort of shifted over to more of a Appropriate To The Occasion prudeness. So underwear-modeling in a bar would not longer shock and appal me but underwear-modeling at a nice restaurant would cause me concern. Unless everyone in the nice restaurant were modeling their underwear because it was a special underwear-modeling event.

        And no, we don’t have coffee booths to the best of my knowledge. And I wouldn’t know because I don’t drink coffee so it’s like I’m doubly behind.

        • I’m pretty sure that Situational Prudery (Prudence? I’m pretty sure prudence is an entirely different beast) is totally a condition. I’m not going to say that makes us *survivors*, but…

          The coffee booths are… fancy cafes, except they’re not cafes at all: they’re little shacks in parking lots and beside roadways that dispense fancy coffee to people on the go. Those exist outside Western Washington, but typically only in larger cities (whereas we have them in the middle of nowhere). The *really* unique thing about these businesses is that about 80% of them feature “Bikini Baristas” who are usually wearing lingerie, not bikinis, because exploitation of women and coffee go together like chicken and waffles – it’s unexpected, but it works. (Personally, given that these businesses are often locally owned, BY women, I like to think that they’re turning that exploitation around to make a buck, thus making it empowering, maybe? But I’m not a woman, so I can’t really say with any certainty.)

          I am excited about the Fella. I’ve only known him a couple of weeks, we had a successful date and he pointed out that he totally fulfilled one of the items on my stupid list, and then while we were talking last night – I was going to be cagey and not mention the Headmeat Situation, and claim that I was tired or something – he was gentle and supportive. Also, he is adorable. So I’m not going to say much (except that today’s post is totally all about him) so as not to jinx anything. 😀

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