Episode V: San Francisco Treats
// JJ Brewis

A bridge made of gold. The world’s gayest gays. Streetcars that TV’s Bob Saget may have touched. To be honest, San Francisco was never a city I had big dreams of visiting, but when I heard that round tickets from Bellingham were barely over a hundred dollars, it seemed like a logical choice for a getaway. Shannon and I packed our bags, and hit the road with no real plans other than to relax and enjoy ourselves.

It was a fantastic week, filled with mostly wholesome activities like the Walt Disney Museum, shopping on Haight Street, and eating at novelty restaurants. On our last night out, though, Shannon and I decided we were going to go big before we went home.

Our first stop was at the Nob Hill Adult Theatre near our hostel, which we were informed was the only male full-frontal strip joint on the West Coast. We weren't quite sure what we were walking into, which ended up being like a scene straight out of Tarantino's lost gay porn flick. Expecting a regular strip bar filled with bachelorette parties and drink specials, we realized our prior conceptions had been way off base.

Thank God we had brought our own alcohol in. The moment we walked inside, we saw an empty stage with full movie-theatre-style seating, leaving us very confused. Scanning to the back of the theatre, we spotted one sole male patron in his seat, jerking off the buff male dancer giving him a lap dance. We took a seat with our oversized cheap American coolers, and managed to enjoy the show, mostly for the last dancer of the night, Rocky Martin, who Shannon asked to give me a lap dance, which only prompted him to flop his penis in both of our faces while we laughed half-uncomfortably, managing to enjoy it for what it was. Feeling we had seen the best the city had to offer, I figured our evening was finished. With a friend like Shannon, I should have known better.

We got in a cab, and Shannon shouted "To the Castro!" and off we went. We had spent the earlier part of our week perusing this neighbourhood, famous for its pioneering of gay rights, and now populated by many dildo stores, hilarious gay-themed restaurants, and the odd touching piece of history such as the Harvey Milk Plaza – but this night was for something altogether different, and we pulled over at the first gay bar we found.

We rolled into the bar, and upon entry it was as though everyone in our near vicinity smelled the estrogen, and turned to stare at us. Looking around at the leather and all-black tight denims I wondered if we had accidentally just crashed a gay couple's bachelor party, complete with nearly nude go-go boys and Kylie Minogue soundtrack.

Shannon ordered us drinks, which we probably didn't really need by this point, and I went to the washroom. When I got back, Shannon was chatting with a tall husky “bear” type named Justin, who then proceeded to explain to us that we were at an all-male club that women were not particularly welcome at. We finished our drinks and then began a guided pub-crawl of the Castro in which free drinks were plenty and my brain decided to take a night off. Justin had friends in high places, which in the San Francisco nightlife means he is a bartender who knew lots of people in his profession. Liquor is a currency that seems to outweigh gold in certain places.

From a patchwork of Shannon's version of the events, I know that Justin was sober and ended up driving us up to his house on the hills after visiting half a dozen hotspots. Apparently I passed out on his living room floor, and while he was out of the room, she told me to go crawl into his bed. I woke up at 7am, which was probably only a few hours after falling asleep. Looking over at the naked man beside me, I barely remembered where I was, never mind what actually happened.

Suddenly all of the booze caught up to me and I ran off to the washroom just in time to vomit the half the contents of my insides out into the toilet, quite vocally and with much groaning. Sadly, I, too, was naked, and suddenly, it started coming out the other end and his likely expensive bathroom rug was now the victim of a massive shit smear which I then had to try to cover up by "washing it out" in the shower. Humiliation had owed me one for a while, and this was probably as bad as it was going to get.

I went back to bed and he was awake, likely due to the loud bathroom visit I'd just had adjacent to his bedroom. We ended up getting ready as he had an appointment, and he returned from the bathroom saying, "What happened to my bathmat?"

I didn't really have the heart to tell him the truth: that I'd let out the biggest shit of my life all over the white mat and then proceeded to discard the evidence in his immaculate bathtub.

"I got sick," I told him, throwing on the biggest pair of puppy dog eyes I could muster. Not telling the truth and not lying are met by a happy medium. "Oh, you poor thing," he said, believing my story, assuming that I'd barfed all over the thing. "That was so nice of you to clean up after yourself. That's more than most people would do."

It was our last day in San Francisco, and for those of you who have seen Sex and the City, you know that the day meant spilling the entire story over brunch with Shannon, as we laughed all the way back to Oakland airport, new shopping finds in tow. It was time to go home, and as excited as I was about my new Marc Jacobs jacket, this story was by far my favourite souvenir.

//JJ Brewis, columnist
//Graphics by Lydia Fu

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