I just went to Café Adonis. I've wanted to go there for years. So cheesy. So gay male. The kind of place that plays madonna and I Will Survive exclusively on the jukebox or whatever. Like the Castro, it's in the swank part of town. Which means ancien. Old wood beam ceilings. Stone walls. Archways. Old. There was a candle burning on every table. And an ash tray with the official adonis book of matches. I swaggered in, having already finished off more than half a bottle of wine. I ordered two Hoegartens, mostly by pionting at the tap, my French already departed under the influence of alchohol. I needed a place to sit and drink until I sobored up enough to bike home. The bartender, in her low cut black dress, gestured towards an empty table. She didn't want a non-francophone at the bar. Nicole and I shrugged and walked over to the table. She brought us our beers. We toasted each other. Nicole gave me a dour look. It might have been then that I noticed that there were exactly three people in the building counting Cola, me and the bartender.
We collected a copy of every gay publican, but not a gay map, which is what In hoped to find, especially given the 17 or so rainbow flag stickers dotting the doors and windows. We drank our beers after discussing life, madonna and everything. I got up to powder my nose. Then Nicole did. When she left, I became maudlin, which is often the case after I've been drinking. I perused the rack of free postcards, thinking who I might want to send one to. My mom, of course, but c'est impossible. Well, maybe I could send it c/o Gate of Heaven Cemetary . . .. That's when I noticed the cigarettes on the table. I lit one to change my train of thought.
Nicole returned and flipped open her cigarette case, exactly like a socialite from the last century, if only her case didn't have Donkey Kong on it. She confessed to attempting to ensnare me into smoking, rejoycing in her sucessful plot. It was then that two lesbians came into the bar. One of them started pounding on the bar. The bartender didn't stir. She was passed out on top of the CD player, left skipping tracks to The Best of Madonna. Finally, the punding elsbian went around the bar and woke the bartender up and the had a long embrace. The bartender lit a cigarette and teetered over to a homeless-looking man who had wandered in and ordered him out. The she went to the door to smoke and came by my table and complained about the smell of our cigarettes, pausing only to take a drag off hers, as if she had studied the art of sultry smoking from black and white films starring Gretta Garbo and all the stars from previous generations. I apologized in French and she patted my shoulder and smiled. I asked for the bill.
When we finally left, she was outside, consoling the woman who woke her, who was crying in the doorway of a closed business next door. The butch woman who came in earlier was left minding the car. "Merci, avoir" I said to her as we passed this private scene of misery, drunkeness, drama and grief. She smiled and waved.
No part of this story is made up. I think I love this place. I want to go back.