I went out tonight with a guy from my school who is English/Spanish and his housemate who is French/American. The housemate likes to hang out in the gay district, but appears to be straight. I know what you're thinking: How can you tell when you're in the gay district in Paris? This is a good question actually, because the men here generally dress well. The idea of a "metrosexual" would be, well, foreign. Drag queens might be a giveaway (saw one). Also, if the men are walking with their arms around each other, that's a good sign. Or you could look for the Rue des mauvais garçons. heh heh heh, that's an actual street name in the gay district (I've taken just enough french to be one of those very pretentious american travel writers who throws french expressions in the text without bothering to translate them, but not enough to have a conversation. But such writing annoys me even though I can now understand it. That's "Bad Boy Street" you'd be looking for. Which is funny.)
How do you recognize lesbians, then? Ha! Got me. I saw a couple of butch women in my last gay bar adventure, but since then when I've thought I've seen butch women, it's turned out to be fem men. Men a get a bit more wiggle room on the gender variance thing here at least as far as clothing and stuff goes. Women get less. Which probably works out to men also having as little as in the US, since clothing has so little crossover. Anyway.
So we wandered around a looong time and then finally went into a place which turned out to be a restaurant. It was full of people, but we were seated at the tiny bar, so no talking to strangers. Not that it matters because I can't speak French and they were almost all men and the people I was with were practically strangers, although het ones. There was also a drag queen at a different part of the bar, but I didn't attempt to strike up a conversation with her. (How do you say, "hi! I cross dress too!" in French?) There were some women there but who can tell if they're girly dykes or just fag hags? I wonder if there's a bar someplace that caters to Anglophone Lesbians?
I picked up a post card advertising Gay Kitsch Camp, "GayKitschCamp éclaire le Monde" (Gay Kitsch Camp lights up the World) it says over a picture of the sun with a picture superimposed over it of a male head wearing lipstick, makeup and a pink fluffy sun hat. Ah, yes, yes it does. It's not just a bookstore, it's a festival, a publisher and a library, but alas, it is all of those things in Lille. Where is Lille? Polly's got a piece in a concert coming up there.
I did, however, successfully discover information about the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival starting next week. I also found out, via friendster, of a punk rock show, on the same day the film festival starts. And IRCAM is giving a concert on the very same day, but maybe not at the very same time because no place on their website does it list a time for concerts.
Speaking of cross dressing, I've been getting some actual glares on the metro. Not just French people not smiling, but hostility. I've only gotten the look once, from a man, while I was staring wistfully at a dog. (You can take your dog on the metro. You can take your dog to bars/restaurants while you drink a meter of tequila (so, it's this meter long board with several shot glasses on it, each one full of tequila. The goal is to drink the whole thing without being hospitalized). I really miss my dog.) But, I've gotten women looking very disapprovingly at me. During my first week here, before I quit wearing my hat, I went to an internet cafe and the guy working there said "Bonjour Monsieur" in a friendly manner and then his whole expression changed to a much less friendly one "Bonjour Madam." So I don't know why people are glaring at me, but I have my suspicions. I'm not going to girl it up any further though. I mean, I already stopped wearing my hat. (Nobody here wears hats and anyway, the sun is already so low on the horizon that the wide brim doesn't keep it off my face. Cola is of the opinion that more sunlight on the face is good because of vitamin d, but we've got different solar needs. but i digress) Anyway, my suspicions could be completely wrong. I had several encounters with the Prefecture de Police that started with "Bonjour monmmmmmmmmmmadam" that were fine and if anybody wanted to make my life difficult, few would be better able to carry out that plan than the prefecture.
The guy from my school told me I'm a "messy" eater. I was standing on the street trying to eat a falafel with my hands, so it was a challenging situation. But what if I have bad table manners? Will I have to leave France?
I should not blog immediately upon returning from bars....