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Sunday, 11 March 2012

My First Daunting Time to a Gay Bar Alone

Thought I should write about my first experience to a gay bar. Travelling alone definitely gives you the space for self-discovery, flexibility and independence. And one of the perks that comes with travelling in a big city, is anonymity. Last year, following my "wake-up" conversation with R, my head was bursting with thoughts and I decided to do some research before I went to bed. I noted down some bars that seemed ideal, and kept it in my pocket. The next day, with the information and map in my pocket, I would have the whole day to contemplate about it as I did other touristy stuff. For some reason, while walking in the park, visiting the museums and sights, I was constantly looking at my watch and am always aware of the time of the day. Then dinner came and after grabbing a quick meal, I begin my long walk towards the address. 

As I walk, I remember thinking to myself:
"It's ok, it's still quite a walk away, 25 blocks."
"Nevermind, there's still 10 blocks." 
"Ok, there's still 5 blocks and a left turn across 2 avenues."

With every step that I took, I felt even more nervous, depress, foolish and scared because I was about to do something I never thought I'd do in my life. I previously mentioned that I refuse to go anywhere near gay venues for fear of being associated and outed while my internalised homophobia was in full swing. This time, part of the thing that spurred me to go ahead was my prospective regret as I contemplated on both the feeling of going to bed that night feeling courageous, or for once again having chickened out. I knew immediately I would have regretted the latter. At that moment, I really wished I could skip having to go through those daunting hours and jump straight to my future self in bed when I finally know how things went. Feeling anxious, I finally convinced myself that for the next few moments, I am not me. I am nobody and I am anonymous.  

So I arrived. However it wasn't easy as I found myself walking the entire length of the street, back and forth for about 5 times before I actually picked up the courage to make a right turn and go in. My goal was to at least walk in, make a circle and walk out. It would be better than nothing. At a moment of spontaneity, I bit the bullet, showed my ID at the front and finally entered. Immediately, all eyes darted to the entrance as I entered. I felt so awkward, vulnerable and shy.

Then, I found myself thinking:
"Wow I'm in. I did it! Let's stay for a drink. After all, you've come this far already and you're finally in here." 

Remaining neutral, I went to the bar, ordered a drink and sat at a corner table. My eyes surveyed the scene as I try to let it all sink in. Being there alone, I couldn't help but feel awkwardly pathetic and lonely as seconds definitely felt like minutes. But I didn't care because the most important thing was that I'm now finally seeing the inside of a gay bar. After about 35 minutes, I finished my drink, took a deep breath and a good last look around and walked out. Back on the street, I couldn't stop smiling because I was very happy with myself for overcoming a lot of barriers. I knew there will be many more tougher things to come after this, but from closeted denial to gay bar in 48 hours, it was already a big enough step for me. 

Going to a gay bar alone for the very first time is no doubt anxiously daunting. But there's always a first time for everything and I'm glad I made myself go through it. I stayed for a drink even when I was supposed to make a circle and walk out. Therefore I gave myself a mental pat on the back for having been so courageous in overcoming my own expectations.

[This post shall be dedicated to future readers who might find themselves at similar crossroads of self-discovery. May this story help shed some light and inspire you to have courage.]


  1. I still have yet to take this step.
    I'm out for almost a year now. Sigh ...
    You have great blog, btw. It's very recognisable ;)

    1. Hi there, thank you. Recognisable? In what sense?
      My mailbox (sidebar) is always open should you want someone to talk to. Hope your journey is treating you better than mine's treating me. Have a nice weekend.

    2. I'd say you're pretty lucky that you've excepted who you are before to much time has passed. I'm 52 and could not accept being gay and thus lived in denial (literally) until I was 44. When I finally came out I met someone and got into a rather quick relationship. That relationship lasted several years before falling apart and now I find myself alone and invisible in the gay world. Looks seem to be the only thing that matters, and although I've always maintained myself though working out and eating right, I might as well be a fly on the wall online and in the clubs. I find it depressing to think it took me so long to except myself only to find that I'm now to old to find true love.

    3. Hi there anonymous, it's definitely not easy accepting yourself. Therefore I completely understand the journey of what you had to go through, except for the part of trying to break comfortably into the gay world because I haven't exactly done that as well.

      If it makes you feel better about talking or writing to someone, you can always write to me:! Take care.