September 1, 2003
One Button Town
At work Friday,
I kept kvetching that I wanted to do something impetuous, impromptu….I
wanted to get out of town, but didn’t want to spend the money it
would take to go New Orleans for Southern
Decadence, or Chicago, or any other traditional gay Labor Day destinations.
So that was it. Within an hour and a half, I was showered, shaved, and wearing my new shirt (!!!) and my bling…..we set off on an adventure to the middle of Missouri.
Columbia sits smack-dab in the middle of the state. And smack dab in the middle of this college town (88,000 residents/24,000 students) is the gay bar.
And it pretty much is THE gay bar in town. There’s an alternative night at some other location, but SoCo is essentially it. And it’s in a strip mall next to a Mexican Restaurant and Nail Salon. Right off one of the main drags in town, SoCo seems to exists in perfect harmony with frozen yogurt store, a cell phone store and numerous other retail havens in a very ordinary business development district.
Ten years ago, Kelly and I made a road trip to Columbia when I bought my 1964 Ford Fairlane. And we went to the gay bar that was there at that time. Since closed, someone told me that it’s now one of those Nueva Latin/Chipotle/Fusion kinda places.
Anyway, as the only gay bar in town, there’s an extraordinary mix of men and women. Unlike St. Louis, where the bars seem very polarized and divided by gender, age, race, and a laundry list of special interests, SoCo is the meeting place for the menz and and the womyn. I bet it was a 50/50 split.A few random observations:
• There is a list of “Do Not Accept Checks From” posted
right over the cash bar.
I really had a great time. There were lots of things, that in retrospect
contributed to the fun: being from "out of town," knowing no
one, being removed from the local scandal and drama, but still doing my
best to stir it up....And it was not a planned sojourn. It was very refreshing to just get up and go.....no worries.....no cares.
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