The Nights of Tel Aviv (Bring Wisdom)

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My first night out in Tel Aviv was on a Monday.

I googled what kind of fun was happening in the city reputed as the “Gay capital of the Middle East”. There was a girls night in a bar called AlphaBet, just a couple of blocks away from the Café Sheleg (‘snow’ in Hebrew) where I was hanging out.

I decided to give it a try, although I know too well my propension to freak out in girls-only environments. I don’t like the lesbian world. Women are hard on each other, because they don’t feel good with themselves most of the time. There is often anger, frustration and things to prove in the air. Once, a friend of mine told me “You are the only happy lesbian that I know” – and yet, most of my life shit has had to do with my orientation.

I thought I’d stay at AlphaBet for a drink or two and then move on to the male bars which are – in my case – guaranteed awesome party. But when I entered the AlphaBet, I got hit by an unusual good vibe. The atmosphere was cool and relaxed. I gave a look around. 9 girls out of 10 were beautiful and friendly-looking. It felt too good to be true, but there I was, I had found the spot of earth where all the pretty and nice lesbians were hiding. They’re all at the AlphaBet in Tel Aviv.

The bartender started chatting me up very soon. It was her second shift so she was under pressure. She translated the cocktail menu for me. She had a super warm and positive energy. I was already liking her. She kept laughing and I wanted to laugh with her. She asked me if I had randomly or purposely landed in Lesbian Paradise. I am used to that. I confirmed that I didn’t get lost in the L-World to encourage her to hit on me.

I had an unexpectedly AWESOME night. I would have never bet one second on having such a good time in a lez party on a Monday with a cocktail menu written in Hebrew so I had no clue of what I was drinking (that must have added to the fun). The best part of the night is that I didn’t talk, flirt or danced with anyone. I just sat at the bar or danced alone on the dance floor and I watched the happy girls. I love happy people. It really moved me and impacted me to see queer girls who were feeling good in their own skin. It shouldn’t be extraordinary, but it is, at least it’s been so far in my world. I just hanged out there like a lonely idiot to record all those beautiful faces in my memory.

There was a very young couple making out close to me, they were 17 at the most. I haven’t seen that young girls in lez nights in other countries, where the crowd is usually mid-20s to mid-40s. These two couldn’t let go of each other, they were so cuuuuuute, I wanted to step forward at them as their Queer Godmother to keep them forever protected so they wouldn’t get hurt by the idiot bullies on the outside world. I may need them more than they need me, though. They looked perfectly fine and they will continue to be. They belong to a new generation where hopefully who you fuck with starts being less of a collective deal. I watched them for a while, and when alcohol kicked in, I got overwhelmed by the unjust feeling that I am owed 15 years of my love life. I wish I could have gone to gay bars when I was 17 and find normal to make out with my girlfriend in a public place. I don’t know. This whole love/sex thing has been more arm-wrestling than fulfilling since my teenage. When I had my first girl attraction, I lived it like a malediction instead of jumping for joy. Some of it is due to the same-sex factor, some of it is due to the girl-off-the-beaten-path factor, and some of it is my personal ghost. I start gently taming it, though.

I stayed till the end. Cool Bartender had finished her shift and had long been gone after wrapping her arm around me. I left the place but I immediately got back in to do something that I don’t easily do when I have a crush on someone that I could potentially really like. I gave it a chance. I asked another bartender – who also thought that I had landed by accident in the lez jungle – to give my card to the girl. It was my corporate business card, not the writer one. That night, I took the conscious decision to reverse the course of my destiny and to give a chance to awesomeness in relationships. There are great people out there in the broadness of our planet.

I was super proud of myself for a change.

The day after, on Tuesday, it was Drag Queen night at Evita, one of the most famous gay bars of Tel Aviv. When I enter a male gay bar anywhere in the world – and I’ve seen MANY – I get this exact same feeling of home, safety and family. I know I am going to be instantly accepted. It never fails. Gay boys love me, and it is passionately mutual. It is an entire part of my sexual identity, because I have been assertive about it for longer. I have a magnificent “collection” of gay husbands whom I love in an irrational manner. This type of love is blurry. There is some kind of sexual attraction to it. It is hard to describe, because it is fascinatingly proteiform, as anything relating to human desire. (The trend calls that “sexual fluidity”, but I prefer not qualifying it. Makes me feel stronger about it.)

So, I entered the Evita as a conquerred land. It took less than a minute to have a guy all over me. He was the waiter of the place, Calvin Klein model looking. Ridiculously well-built. The drag show was the cheapest I have ever seen. There were two worn out drags with VERY big feet. The most worn out of the two asked if there were any foreigners in the audience. I was the first to raise my hand, I thought I’d have my minute of glory from my eternal fans. But cheap drag with big feet (and ugly shoes) told me: “Argh, you’re a girl, not interesting.” These two scarecrows lost my attention for the rest of the night. I only laughed when the timing of their jokes about Eurovision was really off.

Thank God, another show was going on behind the counter. The jaw-dropping waiter was shamelessly hitting on me all night. He claimed to be straight. Every time he was passing by me, he was whispering dirty stuff in my ear, but as I was difficult to convince, he started licking the bar, the beer pump and every piece of furniture he was approaching to “turn me on”. But I was just dying laughing. He tried everything to take me home. Well. I started considering it, because he made me a very interesting proposal. I have a fantasy to f**k a boy like a boy – to be a gay boy just for a moment – and he was into that. So I could have quenched my curiosity that night. I never even thought I’d be given that opportunity so easily. That would be a very interesting research on human desire and a very funny story to write.

But there I was again, as a good story maker. I pondered for a moment. Something was holding me back. The guy was pushy and over the top, and I was trying to sense where my own desire was. Just writing a good story? I don’t want to be the girl with good stories any more. I am known for that in my circle, this is even why I launched a blog. I want to have a funny and adventurous life, but I want the good stories to be off my heart and knickers. I am claiming the right to be “normal”, plain, serene, even sometimes boring, at the emotional level. I deserve it. Yeah!

The Bar Licker gave me half an hour to make up my mind as the bar was closing. Fuck your perfect abs, dude. I’d rather sleep again with a guy with more belly but more heart. Not interested. I walked back home when everyone left, and I went to bed alone and happy. I had acted on reversing the course of my destiny again.

I was super proud of myself for a change.

The day after, Wednesday, was another girls night at a bar called Shpagat. It means ‘split’ in Hebrew. I drunk Arak and grapefruit alone at the bar. There was no magic this time. I wasn’t impressed. I was feeling average and tired after the emotions of the last two nights. I shook up my habits and went to bed by 11pm.

I was super proud of myself for a change.

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Vintage, Seals & Trannies

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After the aqua emotions of the night, I woke up the next morning ready to devour San Francisco. I helped β³ cleaning the bamboo pots around the indoor pool before breakfast. I was happy to help, but I become a real biatch when I am in hypoglycemia. I had to make tremendous effort to remain polite while I was carrying very heavy stuff on an empty stomach. Thank God, I soon stuffed carbs down my throat and we hit the road to reach the heart of the city.

From the bridge which name I forget, I was thinking of Jack Kerouac and wish I had read more of ‘On the Road’ to have a quote in mind. He is describing my experience of that morning better than I ever could:

“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.”

There I was finally, treading upon the Holy Land. We went to Haight first, Hippy Kingdom – although everything about San Fran is hippyish, queer and yet slightly bourgeois at the same time. It is almost unconventional not to be queer and/or hippyish, so conformism is different, but it does exist. “You are not weird? Go away!” style. Vintage shops endlessly. β³ was effortlessly wearing an outstanding long gothic fur and leather coat. Of course. For the first time of my life, I was feeling plain. 

After wandering the colourful streets, we drove to Baker Beach, which has the best possible view on the Golden Gate. The bridge seems so close that you could almost touch it reaching out your hand. The beach was desert. β³ told me it is nudist in the summer. Of course. I soaked my feet for the second time in the Pacific. All of a sudden at my greatest surprise, I saw 2 seal lovers a few metres away from me, kissing and diving in the waves. That’s how cold the water is in SF. There are more seals than people on the beach in October. I followed the 2 seal lovers with my eyes for a moment, they were really behaving like a couple. I wanted to dive and pet them, or put some random object on their nose. Then, I saw another one and another one. Seals everywhere!

We walked the Golden Gate from one end to the other. It takes half an hour. The night was falling when we started. In the Bay, closer to the shore than I thought, the mystical Alcatraz island was standing out in the dusk. It captivated my imagination for a moment. The bridge and the city gradually got illuminated by the time we reached Marin County on the other side. I was intrigued by the suicide phones saying “Don’t jump, there is hope!” every few meters.

We had a booking at the AsiaSF Club for dinner. It is a trans club where all the dancing Ladies are male-born Asians. We got seated at the bar and β³ told me: “I came here once with one of my customers on a leash” (as part of his Dominatrix job, I’m reminding). What do you reply to that? The show was hilariously cheap, which made it amazingly cult. Poor scenarios, poor costumes (school girl, female cop, all the outdated bedroom classics), but there was so much heart in it that I found myself loving it. Especially the tiny Superwoman in her 50s and her super heroin mimetic gestures. Rock on! You got it, ladies. We got kicked out of our seats promptly after dessert for second service. So we went to the club downstairs and performed an impromptu contemporary dance/contact improv duet on the dance floor. Nobody paid attention. San Francisco. 

We then wandered in the Castro – the gay neighbourhood – although San Francisco itself is the gay neighbourhood of California. β³ wanted to hook me up in lesbian bars. Haha. Classic. We went to The Café, which is supposingly the lesbian friendly bar of the Castro. Huge joke. We were about 5 physically challenged girls and 200 cute boys and there were body built male dancers shaking their lovely booty on pool tables. I was like: “So that’s the lez scene of the  queer capital of the world?” I wasn’t even surprised. Always the same story, although it has been evolving quickly in the last few years. But the gay scene is for men. Oh My God girls! Let’s make it happen!

Needless to say we didn’t hang out too long. We walked the streets of the Castro instead, to smell the warm air charged with testosterone and male-for-male desire – I love it anyway. We stopped at a sex shop for β³ to get his work supplies. A cute gay boy on the street proposed to marry me just like that. I didn’t tell him that he wasn’t as original as he thought.

We stayed up till late in the night. Queerness, I love you.