Samantha Jones (aka Kim Cattrall from Sex and The City’, once infamously said, ‘Gay men know what’s important- Clothes, Compliments and Cocks’. At the time when she said that even though I laughed, I didn’t really understand what she meant- reason being, at that time in London I had no gay or straight male friends to speak of.
Fast forward almost eight or nine years and I completely know where she was coming from. When I left London, I remember one thing I told a very close friend was that, I wanted to have mainly male friends in Berlin- something I never quite managed to ‘achieve’ in London. Well, the good news is that now I live in Berlin not only are most of my friends men, but I now have a guy I introduce as my, ‘Berlin Best Friend’- aka BBF. He is gay and for argument sake I am going to call him, ‘Linguini’ (from Ratatouille). And not only that, most of my good friends in Berlin happen to be gay. Why? Well, on the flippant side, maybe it’s because like my BBF, they can churn out fabulous dinner parties using simple but effective decoration skills-
On a side note, why is it that it’s only my gay friends who invite me to dinner parties? And speaking of food, why is it that (without me asking), it’s my Dark Angel (Gay) who turned up to my birthday party with a chocolate cake he had baked himself or who recently came to my flat with cup cakes he had made- I was soooo touched by this.
Moving on, my BBF (Berlin Best Friend) has a ton of straight friends but the few times I have dragged him to token ‘straight parties’ in Berlin, he has often left stating- ‘Gay parties are more fun than Straight parties’. When he first made this comment I was outraged and of course stuck up for ‘The Straights’, however on closer reflection- I realised he does have a point. Somewhat.
If I look back and think of my best club nights in Berlin, most of them have either been ‘Gay’ nights like Homopathik, where I was introduced to an amazing DJ called Daniel Wang– who played an amazing set of disco/soul/just bloody great tunes. Or clubs like Berghein which has the best sound system I have ever heard and the best eclectic mix of people I have ever seen. As most people know Berghein has its fair share of gay people. So why is this? If someone has the answer, please let me know.
Better yet, why is it that with most of the ‘Mostly Straight’ club nights I have been to, if I want to see a crowd that is around my age and ‘cool’- I have to head to techno/electro nights (which I love, but that’s not the point). And the moment I go to a Hip Hop night/R&B/Soul or Dub Step night my vision is attacked with a bunch of Zygotes/Foetuses or Grandpa’s with dreads? But then when I go to nights like Mobel Olfe’s gay party night on Thursday- it’s filled with men in their late 20s, 30s etc- who for the most part look ‘cool’ and dance away to eclectic tracks ranging from, En Vogue’s ‘Free Your Mind’ (YAY!!!), Arrested Development’s ‘Tennessee’ (WoooHOoooo!!) and ‘Green Onions’ (I almost fainted with euphoria when I heard this). P.s if anyone knows The Straight equivalent of such a bar in Berlin- PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
And now let’s move on to fashion, I hate to say this but most (not all, M.O.S.T) straight men in Berlin can’t dress for shit, I mean toffee. Coming from London which has its decent share of straight, stylish men I was confounded when I would see really hot, straight guys in Berlin and upon eying them up and down, I would almost pass out when I saw what was dressing their feet. On the otherhand, as cliché as it sounds, the gay men I have seen in Berlin (for the most part), look like they care what they look like. And I don’t mean that they are decked out in the latest collection by Comme Des Garcons- but from the way they put the simplest of pieces together- you can tell they have made some effort to look good and show a modicum of their personality.
Finally I come to flattery and compliments. Now I have had my fair share of compliments from Straight Men in Berlin, but on the whole I would say the Gay Men here seem to have more of the Nigerian culture of saying the things that make a woman feel like a WO!!man. And it’s deeply appreciated!! The night I had on Thursday is the perfect example; to put the night into context, let me show you a picture of what I was wearing-
I like to think I looked half-decent that night. Not Halle Berry-esque, but sure as hell, Not Whoopi Goldberg-esque either. Bygones. So fast-foward to me being at Mobel Olfe’s, ‘Gay Thursday Party’, and I was receiving a ton of compliments from gay men which of course put me on a natural high. In some ways, I particularly appreciate compliments from them because quite simply- they are not paying them to get me into bed. Ok. Now. In comes a straight guy, which my BBF after my moanings that I would be going home soon (because Straight Girl cannot survive my great music alone) announces to me loudly, ‘Biki, a Straight Guy is here!!’…
So I begin talking to the Straight Guy and after a while, he looks at me and begins to pull on my belt and dress asking me, ‘What is this?’ in a way that was blatantly meant to make me feel NOT fabulous. But the funny thing is as he was doing this, a Gay guy butts in and goes to me, ‘You look beautiful, bla bla bla’- which made the Straight Guy’s ‘teasing’ obsolete. When the Gay Guy left the Straight Guy proceeded to carry on, on his ‘Let’s put her down’ path and I cut him off saying, ‘Look, I know I look good tonight, my belt and dress are vintage and they are fabulous. So whatever you are trying to do here isn’t working’.
At that point, he changed his tune began to say how ‘cool’ I was, how I smelt nice…’- but you know what? Although he turned out to be a harmless guy, I respect a man- as a man-who upon finding a woman attractive just says so- without having to resort to primary school tactics of pulling my hair and chasing me round the playground to show he likes me.
As for making straight male friends, that deserves a blog post of its own but I will touch on this briefly by stating that I have met roughly about the same amount of Straight and Gay guys at exhibitions, dinner parties and clubs, and on the occasions I have approached each sector in a purely friendly manner- it has been the Gay guy who I have actually managed to become friends with.
Maybe it’s because these straight guys had girlfriends, maybe they did not find me interesting and saw no need to further communication. Maybe this, Maybe that. I just find it interesting that more often than not, it is the gay men that I have managed to build relationships with.
Is this because as Harry (Billy Crystal) once infamously told Sally (Meg Ryan)- Men and Women can’t be friends? Is it because if you don’t befriend men during your educational years or via a job that Sex gets in the way making such a friendship not possible? I don’t know but I’ll mull it over on my way to Berghein tonight…