During my six years of living in San Francisco, I visited just about every gay establishment in town. I'd hit the discos, the bars, the restaurants, the porn shops, the gift shops, the clothing stores, the record shops. I like to give my people all of my business.
Occasionally, I'd even get the notion to drop in at one of the local sex clubs.
Actually, replace get the notion to with 'be insanely driven to'. And replace drop in at with 'stay until closing at.'
Oh, and replace occasionally with 'three times a week.'
My favorite sex club in San Francisco (and the world, for that matter) is the legendary Blow Buddies. I won't go into any lengthy description of Blow Buddies, most gay men in America have been there or at least heard of it. The rest of you just.would.not.understand. Let's just say that even on a slow night, Blow Buddies provided a rich menu, a smorgasbord, an All-You-Can-Eat buffet of hot, willing, horny men. All I had to do was arrive, pull off my shirt, and begin sliding my metaphorical cafeteria tray past a seemingly endless selection of steamy dishes from around the world. (OK, let's end this horrible sex-as-food thing...HERE.)
I didn't have a car for the first few years that I was in SF. That's not so uncommon, San Francisco is one of the very few U.S. cities other than New York, where you can live pretty easily without a personal car. So, I was usually taking a cab when I would go to Blow Buddies.
I had a little problem . It might be hard to believe it, but yes, ME...Joe.My.God. himself, relentless outspoken activist and warrior for gay causes, was embarrassed to tell the cab drivers WHERE I was actually going. Ridiculous, but true.
I'd flag down a passing cab from outside the disco, or bar or party. I'd hop in, the driver would bark his 'Where to?', and I'd LIE.
'Oh, I'm going to the Shell Station on Harrison Street.'
Right, who the HELL takes a cab to a gas station? Sometimes if it was early enough, I'd give the name of a nearby bar. Once or twice, I even pretended I was looking for my car parked on the street near Blow Buddies.
I mentioned my discomfort about this to a couple of my friends. Of course, they used it against me, at every opportunity.
'Hey, Joe. This is Leif. We're going out tonight if you wanna join us. Meet us around 10pm, somewhere on Market Street, in the general vicinity of some, uh...bars.'
One night, I slipped up. I stumbled out of Daddy's on Castro Street and hailed a cab. The cab that pulled over was was an old beat up one from one of the smaller, grungier cab companies, of the many that service San Francisco.
The driver was a huge, hairy, tattooed Rob Zombie clone with a ZZ-Top styled beard that reached the bottom of the steering wheel. He had a pipe clenched between his teeth and huge skull ring on his thumb.
After about a block, he stared into the rear-view mirror and grunted back at me, 'So ya gonna tell me where you're goin?'
I snapped out of my beer haze a bit and sat up.
'Oh, right, sorry. Take me to 933 Harrison Street.'
Fuck and FUCK! I gave him the EXACT address for Blow Buddies. I sank back into the seat in shame and rolled the window down to cool my hot and flushed face.
We rode in silence for another block or two. The driver slowed on Market, preparing to turn. Suddenly, his head snapped up in recognition.
'You said 933 Harrison?'
We made our turn onto Octavia. The driver looked back at me again.
'You mean Blow Buddies,' he spat with derision.
'Yes,' I repeated, quieter.
At the next stoplight, the driver turned around and glared at me.
'Man, I fucking HATE that place!'
'You do?' I said, putting my hand on the door handle, just in case.
'Yeah, I fucking HATE Blow Buddies.'
'OK,' I said.
His shook his head in disgust.
'The guys in there, they NEVER wanna give me their loads!'