June 2021


Gay Berlin


Thursday evening’s entertainment nightcap was a trip to Tom’s—the nearest bar to my place that seemed worth visiting. It opened at 10p, and I didn’t bother leaving my place until 11:30. Surprisingly, the area was quiet. Not much was going on at all, and I didn’t see anybody going into the bar.

So I wandered around. The only bar in the area that seemed to be attracting customers was the 24 hour rent bar.

I wandered more.

At midnight I saw people going into Tom’s, so I decided to go in. It wasn’t that busy—probably about 30 people spread out across what one could loosely describe as four rooms—featuring porn in every room. The biggest screen seemed to be running porn of rough-looking guys masturbating. Somehow, without the accompanying audio, they looked bored and unthreatening as they worked at… what porn stars work at when alone.

Eventually the downstairs darkroom doors opened and the upstairs emptied out.

It reminded me of my night at Rude Boyz in London last summer when their dance floor emptied as soon as the “Amsterdam Style Cruising” opened for business.

However at Tom’s there were several people who I actually found attractive (although none were as attractive and enticing as my hair stylist).

I wandered downstairs and walked around the darkroom—which wasn’t the darkest dark room. I could hear and see evidence that naughtiness was happening.

Fate’s Fickle Finger

So, Saturday night I was reading Siegessäule—“queer in Berlin”—where I discovered, much to my glee, that there was a Techno Trance night at the Fate Club, which, in the advert, had the startling simple address: “S-Bhf Humboldthain.”

I knew that this meant that I should take the S-Bahn out to Humboldthain, and there I would get off the train and …. It’s that last part I was a bit nervous about. U- and S-Bahn stations can serve large expanses of land, and just knowing the station name was probably not enough. So I consulted two people with web access—I won’t go into the details here but the English speaker gave me enough information to identify the corner it was on, and the German speaker said it was “under” the station.

And by George, it was right there: Under the entrance to the S-Bahn station.

The German speaker pointed out that all drinks were free before midnight, so I hopped out there and got my free gin-tonic and… uh… the club had, when I arrived, two people there. At the peak moment with good music, there were less than 20 people in the club, and the bathroom was barely less disgusting than the toilet at Bullwinkle’s in Bloomington.

Now, this is a question I cannot answer: I know that 11:30 is a bit early for clubbing in most places, but is it reasonable for a club to have a crowd of 20 at 1? A few Germans apparently didn’t think so and left before 1, and their departure prompted me to consider leaving—so I did.

The Fickle Finger was cruel for the Fate Club.

So I went back to Tom’s, where, unlike last night, the crowd was larger and less attractive. I was there until 3:30, when I emerged to discover that it had started to rain.

Berlin was not looking so hot after Friday night.


SO 36

Saturday night I engaged a different strategy. I watched an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (borrowed from a colleague: how the hell had I overlooked this TV show before?). By the time it was over, it was 11:30, and time to get dressed and head out.

I got to SO 36 past midnight and it was packed.

And fun.

Now I’m terrible at musical lyrics, but at the gay clubs I’ve visited in the United States, I’ve been able to understand (if not comprehend) 100% of the lyrics. Elsewhere in the world, I’ve understood at least two-thirds of the lyrics—in Rotterdam (fun), Erfurt (not), and London (depending)—as I’ve danced the night away. English is the dominate language of pop-music in the Western world (I imagine this is annoying to Jacques Chirac, although English doesn’t dominate the Russian world, something I never addressed, but there are stories from Kyiv).

This track record was destroyed at SO 36: I could only understand 40-50% of the lyrics. Everything else was in languages I didn’t understand (and not German). Given the club’s target audience, I suspect I was passively learning Turkish.

The music was enchanting and the crowd had its attractive members. There were several middle eastern men who—wow—were cute. I’ve never really been around men with their looks before—and geesh—what a mistake! Talk about cute—and many of them have funky hair that caused me to twist my neck constantly. About the only thing that these men weren’t was tall, although there were a few nice exceptions.

That said, I was still a good boy.

Oh yes, and… I went to the club wearing one of my Cyberdog Clubbing T-Shirts—and much to my surprise, I spotted another guy wearing the exact same T-Shirt.

And I’m willing to go back to SO 36: It is currently my number one gay dance club in the world.

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