Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Queer Thing Happened on the Bus...

When you regularly commute using the same bus line you get to know the other regulars.  It's not like you're making new life long best friends (well maybe others do, I don't) but you get to know the faces.  Occasionally there is some light conversation, usually just about how much the bus service sucks.  We exchange a few horror stories of how late a bus we waited for was and then we go on our way.  That's the way I prefer it anyway.

So there is this guy on my morning route - to protect his identity we'll call him "Johnny" - who usually walks over to strike up a conversation.  Like I mentioned before, bus stop conversations are rarely serious.  At this point all we've ever chatted about was what we do for a living and how much the bus service sucks.  This time we ended up sitting together so we had to talk some more.  He asked what I liked to do on weekends, if I go to clubs and bars.  I replied that I don't.  So we're driving along and I'm making increasingly strained polite conversation and wondering just how rude it would be if I put my earphones in and turned my iPod back on during a lull in the conversation.  Suddenly he points out a building in Lynwood street and asks if I knew that the old ABSA bank building was now a place called Sauna Boyz where you can go for saunas and massages or just lounge in a jacuzzi.  I did not.  Now dear reader, you may be a lot more astute than I so at this early point in the story you can probably tell exactly where this is going.  I assure you however that at this point I was completely oblivious!

So then he keeps telling me about all these clubs that he (and a friend) went to.  He told me about his friend from a small town who really wanted to go check out this club in Joberg called The Factory where - you guessed it! - people could jacuzzi or sauna.  In fact, he just kept going on an on about all these clubs where you can jacuzzi or sauna, although he preferred to hang out at the bar in a towel and just check out the people.  Yes I know that it should have been super obvious to me at this point but I swear I was just honestly puzzled about his obsession with going out to bathe in clubs!  My honest-to-blog thought at this point was "Does he not have a bath at home or something?"  He just went on and on about all these places and how they usually have one day per week where you can bring a friend along and then you only pay cover charge for one person. 

Eventually though when he was telling me about this club in Menlyn called Camp David (where blah blah jacuzzi, sauna etc) the penny finally dropped and I thought to myself, "Hold on, Camp David?  That sounds kinda like a gay club..."

So what I should have said was "Hold on, are these gay clubs?  Because if so you may have the wrong idea about me."  What said instead (right after he explained how you have to take off all your clothes and put on just a towel upon entering) was, "So where do you put your wallet then?"  In my defense I didn't just want to assume anything so I resolved to just google those places later rather to make sure of my facts.

Long story short, yes they were.  Actually no, they weren't JUST gay clubs.  They were gay sex clubs.

So now I'm in a bit of an awkward situation.  Thinking back, the fact that I was so clueless may have given the impression that I was totally open to going on a date to one of these clubs!  So what is the most tactful way to handle this?  I really don't want to be a a-hole here, he seems nice enough but that doesn't change the fact that I am also very much not gay.  I know what if feels like to put yourself out there and get shot down, I know it's not fun so I'd like to be kind at least.  What's the best way to communicate that?  Do I now just straight up tell the guy I looked up the places he mentioned and tell him he's barking up the wrong tree?  OR do I just try to steer our next conversation to how much I'm into females with all the subtlety I can muster and hope he gets the hint?  Straightforward or subtle?  Which is best?  I have very little experience of either sex hitting on me so I' a tad out of my depth.  How do you make the best of an awkward misunderstanding without escalating it to Three's Company style hijinx?    

Truth be told I'm not angry, creeped out or disgusted.  I'm just really, really puzzled!  What did I do to give him the wrong impression?  Do I come across as gay*?  More importantly, do I come across as bath house gay?  And should I ask?  This is the kind of situation I'd really like to avoid in future!

*I swear, I didn't once mention being a Lady Gaga fan!


TimmyMac said...

So many comments, so little time . . .

Was your ticket one way or round trip?

Did you get your ticket punched?

Johnny sounds like a real dick . . . Was his real name Richard?

I warned you about that Chinese tattoo on your arm . . .

Ali said...

Ahahaha, I love that wondering where to put your wallet was your first question. And a perfectly sensible question it is, too!

Eugene said...

I'm wondering whether not shaving and dressing slightly shabby when I'm headed for the inner city (to discourage beggars from hassling me) has inadvertently turned me into a "bear"...

GumbyTheCat said...

HAHAHAHAHA. Funny story.

Reminds me of Catcher in the Rye when Holden Caulfield points out the motive behind someone "innocently" asking "Do you know where the Catholic church in this town is, by any chance?"

Seriously though, just tell him the truth and say you're sorry if you gave him the wrong impression. A little bit uncomfortable once is better than a lot uncomfortable for weeks.