So much Pride, so little time.
Fantastic! Do you live on Capitol Hill?
Actually, I live in Belltown—I moved here from New York City about six months ago. But I work inside [at Evo/Social]. Tonight is Trivia Night, and I’m the host.
What’s an example of a trivia question you might ask?
Okay, “In what movie did Glenn Close appear—uncredited—dressed as a man?”
Hmmm….that’s a tough one. Enlighten me.
The movie Hook. She played a pirate.
Given that it’s a gay/gay-friendly establishment, do you have many LGBT-themed questions or categories?
The Glenn Close question is pretty gay, don’t you think? But, mostly, it’s just general pop culture, current events, “name that tune,” that sort of thing.
You came here from NYC — do you feel like the gay scene in Seattle is very different?
Yes. It’s much smaller, for one. And it’s a lot nerdier, which I absolutely love. For instance, I have a Triforce tattoo, and here, most guys seem to know exactly what it is. In New York, they were, like, “Nice triangles.”
Moving to a new city can be scary. What has the transition been like?
It’s been great. My first week here, I went to a party and met some cool people, and, almost instantly, I had this really great set of friends.
There’s this stupid concept you’ll hear about, called “The Seattle Freeze.” The idea is that people are nice when you first meet them, but they don’t follow up on it. Have you encountered that?
Not at all. I think it’s easier to meet people here than in most places. In New York, I had 90 entries in my phone, “Brown haired guy in bar,” who I never heard from again. Here, they actually call you. Also, people socialize at home more than in New York, which gives more of a sense of connection. There are people in NYC I’ve known well and for years, but I’ve never seen the inside of their apartments.
Is there anything that you really miss about New York?
Good Chinese food. And the fact that there are so few restaurants that deliver.
Hells yes! In New York, if you want, say, a falafel, a hooker and a pint of ice cream at four in the morning, you don’t even need more than one phone number.
So true. In New York, you don’t even realize how much you rely on delivery, until you live somewhere without it.
Anything you wish you had known about Seattle before you moved here?
It’s so green and lush and beautiful. If I’d known that, I would’ve moved here sooner. Also, the weather is beautiful most of time.
This what I call “Amnesia Season”— when Seattleites forget how bleak it is the rest of the year. We re-sign leases, take new jobs…
That’s what everyone says, but I moved here in winter, and it didn’t bother me that much. Even on days like today, when it’s overcast… I like this kind of weather.
This bar used to be in another location. Has it changed very much, since the move?
Not in any of the important ways. They kept the same bar staff, and you still see a lot of the same regulars from years past. Also, they made a replica of the old patio, only now it’s indoors.
Which must make it harder to smoke…
True. But it’s warmer in the winter, and you don’t get wet.
Are you a Seattle native?
No, but I’ve lived here since I was a freshman at U.W., so … almost a native!
Do you think the gay scene on Capitol Hill has changed very much over the years?
It’s changed a lot. For one thing, the “gay bars” are less gay now. You see plenty of straight people out at the bars now, which wasn’t always the case.
How do you feel about that?
I’m all for it. If we want equal rights, we can’t complain about straight people in gay bars. We have to be willing to be more inclusive and integrated. These days, you see lots of presumably-straight women, especially, who come here. And I can see why—they don’t get hit on, the drinks are good, it’s a comfortable environment… Even at The Eagle, you occasionally find women who come in just to hang out.
Do you live in this neighborhood?
No, I live in Ravenna. But I love art-house films, so I go to The Egyptian and the Harvard Exit theaters pretty often, and I like to come here afterwards.
Are there any other gay bars on the Hill that you especially like?
Most of them aren’t really my scene at this stage in my life. I occasionally go to The Cuff, but not often. The crowd at places like Neighbours our R Place tends to be very young—20s and 30s—and very loud. And a lot of them are all about dancing and/or hooking up. I have a long-term partner, so that’s not what I’m looking for. Also, I’m not a drinker. I just come to relax and socialize.
Does your partner ever come out to the bar with you?
We’re in a long-distance relationship—he lives in Texas—so, not very often.
Is that difficult, being in a long-distance relationship?
Not really. I’m retired, so I’m free to travel, and I spend a lot of time in Texas. He has a business and four dogs in Houston, so it’s harder for him to just pick up and go.
I notice that you’re a cigar man. Is there anywhere on the Hill you’d recommend for the cigar aficionados?
There’s obviously nowhere you can smoke indoors anymore. But for buying cigars, I like to go to Capitol Hill Tobacco, right across the street. They carry my cigar, Monte Cristo White Label, just for me. If you want any particular brand, they’re glad to order it for you.
It seems like everyone who walks past waves and shouts, “Bud!” You’re like Norm from Cheers, if it had been a gay bar.
Like I said, I’ve been coming here for a long time!
|JEN, 45, & CLEA, 42|
Do you guys live on the Hill?
Jen: Yes. I’ve lived here on and off for 25 years.
Clea: I’ve lived here for 14 years.
Jen: And then we moved in together, a few blocks from here, about 10 years ago. But we’re not the stereotypical “U-Haul lesbians”—we waited two years before we moved in together.
Why did you wait so long?
C: I went to live in New Zealand for a while, right after we started dating…
J: …and we weren’t ready to move in together on the second date. Maybe the third, but not the second.
What attracted you to this neighborhood?
C: It has strong “family values”…
J: …just not the traditional kind. We have a lot of “family” here, but in the sense of “family that you choose.” It’s stating the obvious, but Capitol Hill is a lot more accepting of same-sex couples.
C: And, more importantly, you can walk to a lot of bars.
J: Yes! They talk about the “walkability” score of this neighborhood. I think of it as the “drinkability” score. You can have an adult beverage and not have to worry about driving.
Do you have any favorite haunts on the Hill?
J: We like Smith. It’s near the house.
C: And the bar at Olympic Pizza. We don’t like to stray too far from home.
What do you do for a living?
C: I’m a physical therapist.
J: I used to be a coffee roaster, but now I do x-rays.
Where are you guys from originally?
J: I’m from Arizona.
C: And I’m from Kansas.
Is it different to live as an “out” lesbian here, versus where you’re from?
C: Yes. It’s so, so much better that being a lesbian in Kansas. For instance, in Kansas, there are a few lesbian bars, but the windows are always blacked out, like it’s some dark secret. I remember coming here for the first time and going to the Wild Rose; there are those big windows, and people were standing around outside, hanging out, being open about who they are. It was such a relief to see that.
J: I left Arizona when I was too young to get into bars, so I can’t compare it on that level. But here, I feel very safe. I can walk down the street with my arm around Clea, and not worry about it. That’s not the case everywhere. But with one exception, I haven’t experienced any harassment on the Hill because I was a lesbian.
Other than the Wild Rose, are there any places or events that you think of as hubs of the local lesbian community?
C: I think Neighbours has an event called “Hot Flash,” for older lesbians.
J: Do they still do that?
C: I’m not sure. They did at one point.
J: As you can see, we don’t go out partying that often! We’re lesbians, so we can tell you a lot more about delivery food than we can about night clubs.
Oh, please! Tell us about that. All of us ex-New Yorkers are in despair over the lack of delivery options on the Hill…
C: We used to order Thai delivery from Samui, now The Patio. Not sure if they still deliver.
J: And Genghis Khan delivers Chinese, but they’re downtown. And Amante and Palermo also deliver, not just pizza, but the full menu.
C: Yes, if you want to know where to dance all night, ask a gay man. If you want a calzone delivered, ask a lesbian!
More CHS Crow:
- Kim, Brian & Zulu — ‘I’m pretty much a Seattle lifer’
- Chris, Juliette & Joseph — ‘I only drink Budweiser’
- Anil, Sheri & Linnea — ‘I like to keep a bit of mystery in the game’
Marguerite Kennedy is a freelance writer, semi-professional thumb wrestler, and recovering New Yorker who currently resides on Capitol Hill. She blogs at www.marguerite-aville.com, and does that other thing @tweetmarguerite.