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March 21, 2005

As God is my witness, I will never wear leather pants again.

The horror of it all.

Those who know me as a traveler know I’m an inveterate overpacker – I pack like a princess on the Titanic. Well, if you’re going someplace fabulous, you need outfits and San Francisco is fab-u-lous. You need outfits for the theater, and outfits for knocking about in, and gaywear and . . . and . . . and . . .

I think I showed admirable restraint this trip. One rolling garment bag. But the leather pants got snuck in amidst the gaywear.

I did get two wearings out of them. I wore them to the ballet on Saturday night with a French-cuffed shirt. In my own fantasies they made me look vaguely louche, and it meant my friend Mark and I could go out afterwards without me having to change. I note though, that San Francisco men dress even less than New York men. On first impression, there’s much more of a butch fantasy going on in San Francisco, but as one friend said before to me, “Everyone’s a top in San Francisco, just like everyone’s a bottom in New York.” Lots of facial hair and flannel.

I went to Midnight Sun with Mark on Saturday night. As David put it afterwards, it’s an S&M bar: Stand and Model. The choice wasn’t Mark’s fault; the problem is I’m like Goldilocks about bars. This bar is toooooo empty. This one is toooooo full. This one is toooooo loud. This one doesn’t have nice chairs . . . And so on. But you know, even Goldilocks finally found a bed she liked.

I had Sunday evening to myself after the ballet so decided to go back, armed with a great deal of advice. Paul suggested The Stud on 9th and Harrison, but Peter said it would be jammed. Peter suggested Twin Peaks (The first gay bar in the Castro to have large plate glass windows) because people would be friendly; Mark dismissed it as “The Glass Casket” or “Tomb with a View”.

So armed with contradictory advice, I ventured forth. I tried to keep outfit angst to a minimum. I knew which sweater I was wearing; but should I wear the AbercroZombie cargo pants (in case I needed to blend in quickly with the million other gay men wearing them that evening) or wear the leather pants?

I opted for the latter. Much to my humiliation.

Things were fine most of the evening. I Goldilocksed my way down the Castro, looking for the bar that was juuuuuuust right. The Edge was mobbed and pointless. Harvey’s, which had looked so promising with a drag evening the night before (but alas, Mark loathes drag shows) was dead. So was Twin Peaks, so was Moby Dick’s. So Midnight Sun it was, which was neither too empty nor too full. The bartenders are quite friendly, and I think I almost spoke to two or three people there. It has enormous video monitors, and they tend to give the men there (who are probably more frightened than snobbish) an excuse to avoid other people.

I tried Badlands after. I actually did have a friendly conversation there, but the music was so loud there we conducted it at a scream and gave up after three minutes. At this point I was fine with ambling back to the hotel.

And this is when it happened.

As I got on the F Trolley up Market, I pulled out my fare and asked rhetorically, “It’s $1.25, right?”

Well, the African-American woman running the trolley took one look at me, sizing me up and said, “Yes, but for you in your leather pants, it’s $5.” And then she laughed with her two friends.

I had just been read left, right and center by a female trolley operator.

Shady black women: the one thing no queen, no matter how acid-tongued, has any defense against. Crushed, I slumped into my seat.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at March 21, 2005 11:53 PM

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And here I thought all this time that I do not own leather pants because I don't look good in them... now I realize that I don't own them because I can't afford to be over charged for public transportation.

Posted by: Steve at March 22, 2005 11:42 AM

Oh please Leigh, you are going to listen to people in San Francisco? I mean San Francisco. Anybody I have ever talked to who lived in San Francisco, hated San Francisco.

Posted by: Mary at March 22, 2005 1:11 PM

Dressed? Who's dressed in a gay bar in San Francisco?

Posted by: Dirty Martini at March 22, 2005 4:11 PM

Aw, c'mon, Dirty. Even you *start* dressed!

Posted by: Leigh Witchel at March 22, 2005 6:43 PM

I TOLD you to go to the Stud.

Now listen to your Mama.

Posted by: Paul at March 23, 2005 2:20 AM

As I recall,I have the destinct vision of Mz.Martini in a stunning polyester 70"s prom gown,riding the bus...THE BUS!! at 2 am to go to a mission gay bar.We all miss the fashion que in SF...Because there the fashion in SF is about piecings and grunge wear.SF has no right to make fun of your pants.That is the exclusive right of NY QUeenss.

Posted by: matthew at March 23, 2005 11:09 AM

i have to agree with mary...san fransisco, leigh.the whole state of ca is backwards. when is it gonna' fall into the ocean already? i have no time for any city where the trains stop at midnight and the clubs close at 2:00. i mean really, 2:00!....what, are we in junior high or something? even the oscars...how many "californian" designers were represented on the red carpet? enough said!

Posted by: debs at March 25, 2005 6:17 PM

Keep the leather pants--you are a studmuffin and a studmuffin MUST have leather pants!

Posted by: Connie Foster at September 17, 2005 3:00 AM

omg! i own lots and lots of leather clothes, and i look damn sexy in them too..more skirts and stuff!! i aint complainin! see ya

Posted by: Rikelle at October 16, 2006 3:28 PM

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