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Friday, January 16, 2009

Gay bars in Bisbee

The nice thing about working in Bisbee is relaxing in town for a few hours. I drove toward Old Bisbee, ordered a cheese pizza at Pizza Roma's and waited for Kevin to join me at the Grand Hotel Saloon.

The place this time was busy. A classmate of mine, JoAnne, was there with her husband. Linda was bartending. I recognized a few other regulars who were at the Saloon last Monday.

Kevin came in with his best pal Tommy and soon Tommy's wife Dianne followed. We had a nice time, she and I, talking about our husbands and their quirky ways. Her Italian-Long Island accent was noticable, and after a few more beers she got funny. The best part of the night, outside of chatting with Dianna, was listening to both Kevin and Tommy talk with their Boston and New York accents. The more they drank, the more the "R" disappeared in their speech.

"So Connie, is this your new hang-out?" asked Tommy.
"It could be!"
To which he said I would love having a house in Bisbee. "You'd really fit in here."

We met Trudy, a British-Columbian who was down in Arizona for the month. She came down to visit Bisbee and decided to spend the weekend.

The boys wanted to walk down to St Elmo's. That bar is Tommy's favorite. Perhaps he felt uncomfortable at the Grand because he told me that the Grand was the new "Gay Bar." Oh really? Sure, there were a few gays at the front of the counter, but with as many gays as there are in Bisbee, it would seem natural to have gays in bars, too.

"See that guy over there?" said Tommy, pointing to a short older man in a Panama hat. "He's gay."

We walked down to St Elmo's Bar on Brewery Gulch, leaving a crowded Grand Saloon behind. The town was quiet for a Friday night. There was hardly anyone at St Elmo's beside an out-going and dramatic man named D who told Dianna that Tommy was "hot." I don't think he realized that Dianna and Tommy were a couple, but it was quite clear that D thought Tommy had a nice package.

And the funny thing was that D was serious. He wasn't coming on to Tommy; he was sincere in his feelings.

Dianna and I ended up talking to D for quite a while, just getting to know D. He told us his story of how he moved from Portland, OR to come to this area with his mother, so she could be closer to her daughter in nearby Sierra Vista. When his partner of 12 years was killed six years ago, D sold everything and moved his mother and himself to this place. He quit a $175,000 interior-design job for a job as a florist in town making 10% of what he used to make.

Even Kevin liked D. D made no qualms about his gayness and his honesty was what I liked so much about him.

It was obvious that D was still missing his partner. Perhaps his Rum-and-Cokes were getting to him, but I saw a sad side to this man. "They can put a man on the moon but they can't put a man on top of me!" he said rather coyly. "Honey, most of the gays you see here in town are Gays-for-Pay" (a term I honestly had never heard before), and he hasn't seen a man in years he was truly attracted to. When Dianna pointed to another man she used to know and asked him if he was attracted, D simply replied "Girl, look at his face! He looks like a pizza! And that butt looks like a girls'." I thought the guy was rather unattractive myself, with his tight jeans, bony ass, and hair and face that looked like it came from Steve Tyler.

I had stopped drinking shortly after 6pm. It was now past 10pm and Tommy and Dianna wanted us to stop at their place for a while. They have a nice loft home in a steep side canyon, a small house they bought for $5000 over 30 years ago. Tommy totally rebuilt the inside into a beautiful home. The house has more room than it appears from the outside.

Their daughter and her boyfriend were over as we came by. I know the daughter from subbing at the highschool. She's a quiet young woman who resembles her mom.

I was now getting tired and needed to get on the road before I got too tired to drive. The boys were several percentage points beyond "extreme DUI."

Despite all the festivities in the bars, the town itself was very quiet. I really could live in Bisbee and fall in love with the place. Sure, it's got its share of drug users, criminals, snotty tourists and rich socialites but those kinds of people are found in any decent town.

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