I have two very attractive, flirtatious friends: one of them is a pretty straight girl, and the other is a hot gay guy. In my recent travails through the heart of the darkness of the bars in Downtown Oakland, I have noticed an intriguing phenomenon: one of these friends gets way more male attention than the other, but one of them gets more phone numbers.
Yup, that’s right: the pretty girl gets plenty of men fawning over her where everyone can see, but the gay guy is the one who’s getting digits and dick. Maybe this is more of a thing at the ratchet bars where I hang out, but empirical research reveals that men would rather be seen in public next to a pretty girl and in private prefer to have close interactions with fellow men. My pretty girl friend has no problem getting her drinks paid for at the bar. She has no problem being approached by men or being the center of attention with little effort. She has no problem swatting them off like flies when she gets followed around. But at the end of the night, when all is said and done, she often laments, “I’d totally go out with him, but he didn’t even ask me for my number!” This kind of lament coming after a month of hanging out with a guy at a bar.
Now, I know that the logical response to the above complaint is, “Why didn’t she ask him for his number?” Because, true, we do live in a society that is leaning closer and closer to a feminist revelation, but, trust me, as someone who gives out her number pretty indiscriminately, that’s not the problem. As a woman, I have asked guys for their number plenty of times. I have initiated text conversations. I have suggested hanging out. Only to get flaked on by men who came on so strongly that taking initiative seemed like a nonissue. A reciprocation of interest is always encouraged, but only recently did I realize: hitting on the pretty girl is sham. It’s a scam. It’s an excuse. It’s a lie.
Men hit on the pretty girl at the bar because it’s what they think they’re supposed to do. Sure, a pretty girl is pretty, but there seems to be an obligatory compulsion to talk to the pretty girl at the bar. As though all men know that they should be competing for her time and attention, yet somehow we have reached the point where few men actually want her time and attention. The burden of catering the whims of the highly coveted pretty girl is surely a daunting task, but no one is going to admit that they’re not man enough to carry that weight. Which is why it’s easy to hit on the pretty girl with no follow through; no one knows that you’re less of a man because you don’t want or can’t want the pretty girl. But you look the part regardless is you get her attention at the bar.
Which takes us back to my hot gay guy friend. He works the bar like a champ, and while he might not be a lady, where my girlfriend should be raking in digits, he’s the one getting all the incoming text messages. That’s the thing about the guys at these bars: they want to elevate their masculinity by competing with each other for the prettiest girl in the room, but at the end of the night, they’re texting my hot gay guy friend with the tight little ass when no one else is looking.
While I’m down for people doing whatever they want, this little bar flirtation scheme is a fascinating thing to watch unfold. Mostly because the overwhelming shame associated with expressing one’s sexuality in public is the cause of so much anxiety. But, of course, the appropriation of heterosexuality by men who are not straight is utterly undermining heterosexual dating rituals, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because heterosexual dating rituals as they exist today are pretty misogynistic. If anything, all you closet queer fuck boys should watch out for the tried and true straight guys because when they catch onto the fact that you’re fucking up their game, they’ll probably be pissed off. Just because from a mathematical perspective you fuck up their chances with the pretty girls and make them look bad.
For all you men of Oakland out there who recognize yourself in this post, don’t worry: the pretty girls and the gay guys have teamed up, and we’re trading notes. We don’t really care if you swing both ways, because the pretty girls are willing to drink those free drinks, and the gay boys are down to suck dick, although, that goes both ways, and none of us are judging you. We’re down for three ways if you’re down for three ways.