January 20th, 1981
Second day of Scarsdale, sobriety, and getting my life in order. Reagan was inaugurated today. The hostages were released from Iran. I eat my brussel sprouts and cry through the news. I ignore the homesickness for Washington that has nagged me for the past few days and wait for my life to take hold here. I spec’d type for the Garfinckel’s Spring catalogue tonight. My first project with the new job. Oh, please god, please let me just love and adore this job. I need to so badly. I will. My determination to lose weight and get my life back in an upswing is enormous. I’m hyper with sobriety. After finishing the work, I straightened the apartment and took a shower and dressed. Andy called and we talked for awhile. I feel ambivalent about going out. I still talked for awhile. I feel ambivalent about going out. I still have the remains of fever blisters on my lips and I just don’t feel like I look good. I paint, which is a practice I’ve nearly stopped. I iron a shirt and dress three times. Fussing in the mirror. Staring at my middle and wondering if I’ve lost any weight yet. I need to go out. I need to be in a bar and have disco music and people around me. I go to Ty’s. Jack, a trick from years ago is there. I love running into Washingtonians and playing the par of New Yorker. I stand at the bar and drink club soda and lime. This bar is not hot tonight. The men are not good looking and they do not look like Villagers. I leave and walk to Boots, amazed at home different bar hopping feels with a clear head. Boots is at least crowded and there are several pretty men. I stand at the bar and half-assed cruise a couple of men. Tricking feels remote. I’m glad just to be out. There is no sexual or emotional urgency. I went to the bathroom and while I was waiting in line, out of nowhere, a fat man in a tie and overcoat plunged headlong across the floor and fell, hard, face down in the men’s room. It was an awful picture, lying face down in the piss covered floor, with one hand in the repulsive toilet which he grabbed as he fell. He just laid there. He did not move. I was closest to him and I just watched. Someone from behind me went in and tried to help the man, who still continued to just lay there on the foul floor. Is he drunk? Is he hurt? Why doesn’t he get up? Finally, two men managed to get him on his feet. His nose and mouth were bleeding. He stood impassively and made no effort to wipe the blood from his face. Kendall, the bartender, came rushing back with a wad of napkins from the bar and with great tenderness put his arm around the guy’s shoulders and wiped his face. Kendall spoke to him as if he were a child. The man just stood there and allowed Kendall to minister to him, he made no effort to help himself. He just stood there dumbly. When I left a few minutes earlier, I saw Kendall walking the man down the street toward the subway. Still with his arm around his shoulder. Big, brawny bear Kendall. I am moved by this show of compassion. You are a good man, Kendall.
On my way back to the apartment, I had run out of money, I passed and was cruised by this most gorgeous number on the corner from my apartment. Oh, doesn’t this always happen. My ambivalence is complete and I can’t decide if I should calmly call it a night or get more money and return to the bar. I got more money. The gorgeous number from the street has vanished (I thought maybe he was headed for Boots). I take my place back at the bar and sip my club soda. A guy moves next to me to order a drink from the bar. We smile. He reached over and fixed my shirt collar, which was askew. He is friendly and starts talking. Bar talk, but I know he is interested in me. I am friendly but aloof and continue to cruise the bar as we talk. Suddenly, I realize that he is attractive to me. He is totally masculine. He talks about skiing and his motorcycle and there is something utterly unaffected and completely male about this guy. He feels like a straight guy. This excites me (oh, Aunt Doris, you know how I love my straight men). We talk for a long time. He is not pretty– his face is strong though, and unselfconscious. I think I may like him. But I don’t know. “If you don’t know for sure, then you don’t,” I tell myself. Still, I can’t make up my mind. Finally, I tell him I have a very early day tomorrow and really have to go. “That’s too bad,” he says. “You look like you’d be a fun guy.” “I hope I see you again,” I said. “Maybe I’ll see you out.” “If you give me your phone number, I’ll give you a call.“ Touche. The aggressor. I get a piece of paper from the bartender and give him my telephone number. Now I am interested. He has a high school jock quality about him. A rare delicacy in the world of Christopher Street. He said he would call and I left feeling mildly let-down. On the street I wonder if I should go in and ask him over. No, home beckons. At home I stare at myself in the mirror. The fever blisters that were not visible in the dark bar look horrible to me in the bright light and I am glad I didn’t bring him home. From now on, honey, you’ve got to feel good about yourself.