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August 21, 2010 / thegrrlspot

Straight Woman’s Guide to the Gay Bar

So lately it seems like the cool thing to do is have your bachelorette party at the gay club.  No, I’m not kidding.  I’ve seen an increasingly high number of straight women wearing penis tiaras running around the gay clubs in both Alaska and Georgia.  They seem to be drawn to men in women’s clothing lip-syncing Donna Summer.  A strange and unusual phenomenon.

Lucky for these ladies, the gay community has always been a welcoming one.  We don’t mind that you have a GAZILLION bars in town where you are free to be yourselves, and yet you choose to come to the…one (two if we’re lucky!)…bars that we have.  Come on in, make yourselves at home, but there are some things I think we need to address first to better prepare you for your experience.

First, you gotta learn the lingo.  If you know the lingo, we’ll assume you’ve taken a vested interest in us and probably have close gay friends. We’ll keep this lesson to the basics and just cover the easy stuff.

Butch vs. Femme –

These are terms frequently used to describe lesbians.  It’s a sliding scale and most women will fall somewhere in between the two.  But I said we’d keep this simple, so here’s a few ways to figure out who is who based strictly on physical appearance:

Femmes wear makeup and carry purses. Butches often wear button down shirts and carry wallets…which may or may not be made out of duct tape.

Femmes probably can’t tell you how to change the oil in your car.  Butches probably have their tool belt in their car.

Femmes probably drive something nice and sweet like a Ford Focus.  A Butch’s dream car is her truck.  or a jeep….definitely a jeep.

Get the idea? ok. moving on.

Lipstick – a subgroup of femmes.  These are the SUPER femmes. Think dresses, lots of makeup, shoe shopping addiction, etc.

“Gold Star” – lesbian who has never slept with a man.  She gets a gold star.

Queen – Do not confuse this term with “drag queen.”  This just means a really high maintenance gay man.  He may refer to himself as a “bitch” and have a better manicure than you.

Twink – skinny and very young looking gay men. Think Justin Bieber.

Bear – MANLY gay man.  Hairy chest, leather chaps, and a Harley Davidson.  Grrr, baby.

Next, let’s talk about…WHAT TO WEAR!!!!  OMGGGGG

It doesn’t matter.  Sorry.  Not just because we’ll probably know you’re straight from the second you walk in the door,  but because you really can wear whatever you want!  You can come in your favorite comfy jeans or dress to the nines in your recently bought Banana Republic baby-doll dress.  Either way, only the drag queens will be looking at your shoes.  Whew! I bet you feel a lot better now that you don’t have to stress for HOURS over the proper outfit to wear to the gay bar!

So who should you go with? DO NOT, under any circumstances, go to the gay bar ONLY with your best gay guy friend.  He will magically disappear at some point in the night, last seen in tow of some hottie ken-doll type. He can’t help it. He forgot you were there.

There’s safety in numbers, so bring a couple friends.

Now let’s address how you should act when at the gay bar/club.  Obviously, many of you have come to see the drag show, so we’ll discuss that first.  I have seen many social faux pas committed by many a drunk straight girl during these diva displays.  Don’t worry.  I’m here to help you NOT invoke the wrath of a drag queen by keeping in mind a few simple rules.

Drag Show Etiquette

  1. She works hard for the money, so hard for it, Honey.  Tip the diva, damnit.
  2. Tip. Do not strip or grip…the drag queen that is.  She is NOT impressed by some drunk straight woman stealing her act, thinking she’s cute by dancing up on her. NEVER upstage a drag queen. She has heels and she knows how to use them.  A stiletto to the back of the head will put a damper on your evening.
  3. If you are referring to a drag queen in conversation, you WILL refer to her as a “she.”  After all, her legs probably look better in that dress than yours do.
  4. They love that you love them. Bask in the diva-ness and have a good time. Time-appropriate cheering and clapping is encouraged.

After the drag show is over, you’ll probably move on to the dance floor to shake your bon-bon to the phat beats the DJ is laying down. Gay bars are notorious for playing the BEST music in town.  If, on your way to the dance floor, you stop at the bar to get a drink or chat with folks…there’s a few things you should know.

  1. Acting dumb will not get anyone to buy you drinks.  This only works with straight men who think maybe you’re dumb enough to sleep with them if they buy you enough drinks. Lesbians aren’t impressed by stupidity and the gay men don’t like you anyway. If a lady should offer to buy you a drink, you can politely accept…but if she’s obviously trying to hit on you, let her know you’re straight.  She won’t be offended if you are up front with her.  We appreciate that.
  2. Feel free to tone down the amount of “OMG!”s, “TOTALLY!”s, and “SHUUUTT UPPPP”s you use in conversation.  The gay men have that covered for you. And it’s cuter when they do it.
  3. Don’t freak out if a lesbian talks to you.  Typically, you are pretty easy to spot…so she’s probably just being friendly.  You won’t be getting hit on the way you do at most bars – even if you are super hot.  We figure if you’re curious, you’ll come to us 😉

(And speaking of curious…do not try and make out with a lesbian who just told you she has a girlfriend.  It’s offensive and rude, screaming loudly how little respect you have for gay relationships.  Also, do not bring your boyfriend to the bar hoping to find a girl to make out with for his amusement. NOT CUTE.  Probably the fastest way to make enemies.)

It’s best to come to the gay bar without any assumptions.  Don’t ask silly questions like “Who’s the ‘boy’ in the relationship?” because…AMAZING… there isn’t one.  Butches don’t always date Femmes.  Gay men aren’t always effeminate. Not all lesbians look like tomboys.  Assume your assumptions are probably wrong.  If you can do that, you’ll have a great time!  There’s plenty of gay men to appreciate your sense of style (use the word ‘fabulous’ – they love that word!).  The drinks will be strong and music plays all night, so grab your soon-to-be-married girlfriend (platonic use of word) and come on down to the gay club to watch some dancing divas and learn the true meaning of a “two beer queer.”

We’ll be here waiting in our plaid shirts, ready to discuss our love of cats and softball 😉  (If that joke just went flying over your head, you probably have more research to do!)



Leave a Comment
  1. Sena Torlay / Aug 21 2010 7:07 pm

    This reminds me of the time I took my mom to a gay bar on her 55th birthday to see a drag show. After a couple of toddys she was stealing my singles and stuffing them into their brazeers! I was so embarassed! But they adored her!

    • thegrrlspot / Aug 22 2010 5:15 pm

      Hahaha! That’s great 🙂 I don’t think I’ll ever be taking my mom to a drag show…but I can definitely picture my grandmother doing exactly what your mom did!

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