The Differences Between Gay Clubs and Straight Clubs
by Brandon Tietz
Ah, yes, the club scene. The place in which adults go to play and rub their body parts all over some stranger they’ve just met. It’s interesting the places you’ll end up in on a Friday night when you have a diverse group of friends and acquaintances. I’ve had my fair share of both the gay and straight clubs alike, so for this installment of Straight Eye, let’s talk about the differences between them. There are many, but for the sake of word count, I’ve whittled them down to five.
1. Women: At a straight club the vagina holds more power than the golden ring in a Tolkien novel. Dude-bros are hunting this thing, buying drinks for it and laying down their best flirt to claim it. Without women, a straight club won’t make money. At a gay club though? They’re the non-essential ingredient. The power shifts away and they’re little more than set decoration and an almost-last-resort dance partner. Sorry ladies, but your vagina has no power here. That’ll be a $10 cover.
2. Bottle service: There’s a power hierarchy at a straight club amongst its patrons. At the bottom is the poor bastard who has to fight the crowd all night to get served a drink. At the top is bottle service. It’s the ritual in which you pay a 1,000 percent markup on generic booze so that you may sit in a leather booth and a lingerie-clad beauty pours your drinks for you. This also comes with the fringe benefit of being – how shall I say this – more approachable to the opposite sex. Hey, I get it. We all want to feel like Drake once in a while. At a gay club though? No bottle service. No special treatment. You want a drink? You can walk your ass over and order it just like everyone else. Equality, people. It’s important.
3. Music: One time I hit up three clubs in Kansas City in a single evening, and I heard “Turn Down for What” at all three. Then I heard it again in the Uber I took home. No person should have to hear that song four times in one night, but that’s kind of where we’re at musically-speaking in the straight club culture. Straight clubs all pretty much stick to the same playlist, whereas the gay clubs give no shits. They’ll play ’80s. They’ll play EDM. They’ll play Daft Punk followed by Madonna followed by an ABBA remix followed by some track you’ve never heard before. It’s not my opinion that gay clubs have a better and more diverse taste in music; it’s a fact. Shame on you if you think “Turn Down for What” is good. You’re part of the problem.
4. Flirting & interaction: A small part of me dies a little when I witness how my straight male brethren attempt to capture the female of their choice. I’ve literally witnessed dudes say, “Hey, you wanna shot?” before they introduced themselves. That’s really how all fairy tale relationships start, right? So now that we’ve pounded back a few Lindsay Lohans and Last Night’s Mistakes, let’s move this party to the dance floor in which the male bends the female over in front of him and proceeds to do their best impression of a paint shaker. This, I’ve noticed, has more or less become the standard: getting the girl drunk enough to be into you. SMH. Here’s the huge difference you’ll notice in gay bars. It’s still a bunch of super-charged dudes trying to score, but there’s less trickery involved. Less “hey, let me get you drunk so you’ll fool around with me tonight.” The decision to make out on the dance floor or get super hands-y in the corner is less alcohol-fueled and driven more by consent. Rarely will you look at two gay guys and think, “Hey, that dude is taking advantage of that other dude. We need to step in and help.” Same gender usually equates to same power.
5. Demographic: There’s a calling out for diversity in this country, and yet, if you’re into country music and girls that wear cowboy boots, there’s a certain place for you. If you’re into the hip-hop scene, there’s a certain place for you. If you’re into Asian girls or young professionals or girls that are adorned with tattoos, there are very specific places to go to find them. In the straight culture of nightlife, we’ve segregated ourselves. In the gay scene, the options are so limited there’s not much choice. Every gay bar is a melting pot. Step into any one of these and you’re going to see old gays, young gays, bear gays and little Prada model gays. They don’t identify by culture, race or religion, but rather by sexual orientation. I suppose that’s the common ground. Whether you’re in a gay or straight club, you’re encountering a demographic that gravitates toward those who are most like them.