Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cinco de Mayo





I live in Florida and have been to both Spain and Mexico many times. I was also in Spanish Honor Society in High School. Yep, you guessed it, I can barely speak it at all. I can however tell most cab drivers from Madrid to Mexico City, where I want to go; how much I am willing to pay to get there, and to get back. I can also order off the menu and make sure we all get to the hottest night clubs no matter how scary that part of town may be at night.

What does Cinco de Mayo mean to me? Well it used to mean Jim's annual condo party in Winter Park FL. Now I don't know how I ever met Jim since we never hung out other than at his yearly party. It was probably during a happy hour at the Cactus Club in Orlando. Cactus used to be the Silver Hammer. The Hammer was a sleazy beer dive complete with male porn torn out of magazines, glued to the bar, then covered over poorly with resin like Evita's dead body...To last forever. Now the Silver Hammer had had it's day. Monday nights back in college were fun and I freely admit it. New owners many changes: Cactus Club. They cleaned it up and put down some tile, added pearlized peach leather sofas and removed the disgusting stall in the mens room that had my favorite Latin phrase, "Similie, Simili, Quo-dat (sp?)" Oh, yeah, I don't speak Latin either, but luckily the author may have neglected to leave a signature, he was kind enough to leave a translation, "One seeks to finds one's equal." You see a lot of that among gay men. So many want to date themselves and many do. "Which one is Frank again?"

So let's say I met Jim at the very busy Friday night happy hour at Cactus Club. I would get off work at 6pm and go home and take off my casual Friday shorts or jeans and put on a blazer and tie, call Crazy Gary to give heads up, and head out for the most fun happy hour this town ever really had. The CD juke box had a lot of dead black women singing the great standards. I know it sounds odd, but the music and the crowd were fun. Crazy Gary and I were sure that our upgrade in attire and our penchant for the standards, elevated this newest happy hour to the sensational success it enjoyed for many years. It was here that Jim most likely saw me and thrust an invitation to his annual event. Now, I didn't know him too well and wasn't sure who his crowd was but my boys were always looking for a new experience. I'm two steps ahead. If I was going to go to a party where I might not know many people, then I would bring my own insulated entourage. I have lots of party rules. Remember that one, because it's a good one.

The best way for others to know who is with you when you get to a party? Make them all wear white; show up during the peak. Peak hours at parties can be hard to judge. But, it's very important because you must also leave before that peak is over. You really can't be taught these things, but think about what time your local club gets hopping on that same night and be at your party about 40 min prior to the bar happening hours. If you arrive and cannot find a parking spot, then you are right on time. Park. Pool together. Enter en mass. I told you I have a lot of party rules, but never forget how fun I am to party with.

I put all my boys in white and we would burst through the front door, throw some cold beers at someone and make our way out to the tiny pool out back. The pool is where I knew we could find the bar and the bartender. Besides a crowed condo in FL is going to be way too hot to deal with. Now it wasn't always an open bar at this event, that is why you show up with the beer. If alcohol is not being freely offered, you won't be a freeloader. Beer is not a big commitment if the crowd is dull, you just bolt and you're out nothing. It would be tacky to take your beer with you when you leave.

The crowd would part when we arrived. Why? Because when 8-10 good looking men arrive at your party all in white, that is just how it goes. I didn't make that rule; but I respected it. (No, I probably did make that rule too come to think of it.)


(pictured Gary R., Darren , Tony I, Don, Me and my pussy, Dreeny, Miss Jackson, Blaine)


We would make our rounds, discreetly have a piece of cheese, some small talk, cruise, and then off to the Parliament House. Yeah, it's still there and is still going strong. I am happy to have our PH, regardless of it's reputation. I know how lucky I am to have had such a big place to go and play 7 nights a week. Say what you will about it's history, at least it was a big club and had a bit of everything. Many towns would kill for that and we just took it for granted. New places came and went all the time but the PH never left us even though sometimes we all wished it would. I don't hang out there any more, but I would be most likely wrong if I said I was never going to end up there again some evening. Since the PH was also a motel, it could stay open even without a big night. They could outlast any new upstart when it came to bars or clubs.

What's this? A stir on the horizon?

"There's an old garage on Orange Ave. that used to be a Firestone Station? What does that have to do with me and my needs?"

(to be continued)...

3 comments:

  1. awwwwwwwwwww u lust for your continuing stories and sagas... thank you!!!!

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  2. I remember the dressed in white night/or was it nights out-- I mean, not that I actually was there-- but hearing about it in all of its fabulousity.

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