Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Wednesday, March 9

Uncynical Wednesdays:
Atlanta Edition

I went to Atlanta this weekend, my first time back since the early eighties. My dad, sister and I drove from Iowa to Miami about once a year back then, and we stopped in Atlanta once. We ate at a revolving restaurant at the top of the Peachtree Plaza Westin. So I’ve seen Atlanta before, but from very high up and from very long ago. I was looking forward to seeing it again.

Once clinic finished on Friday afternoon, I started the drive. It was a nostalgic drive; I-75 through Georgia brings back those childhood road trips. I listened to Gold by Ryan Adams again and again as I drove along the darkend highway, and he makes all these musical references to seventies style music, which furthered the aura of the memories. I also listened to Liz Phair by Liz Phair, and The Big Express by XTC. It was a good road trip.

When I got there, I met Toph and we went to Hoedowns, a country gay bar. Now, I grew up visiting Key West guest houses, cleaning up after coffee socials for ‘Coming Out Support Groups,’ and chatting politely with drag queens at Sunday picnics. I have been around the city block with such things. I have even seen gay line dancing before, but this was different.

I think when I had seen it before, the boys were doing it as a lark. But these boys believed in what they were doing. They were not beautiful and svelte models playing shitkickers. They did not look like they were dressing down and in costume.

They looked like, frankly, country folk who got dressed up to go out. Some were in t-shirts with un-ironic logos, but mostly they were dressed nicely: Jeans with big buckles and plaids with shiny-snap buttons. Cowboy boots were de rigueur. Many were portly. Their hair didn’t have product, or at least looked natural. The scents were subtle, understated, and I doubt name brand.

But here’s what struck me. These men were happy. They had carved out this niche of a place for who they were: Gay cowboys. Not in some hypersexualized hypermasculine ideal—boys were getting twirled and do-se-do’ed—but a successful hybrid of gay and southern cultures.

I was rather delighted for them. I watched them do the Barnstormer and the Two-Step. The caller reminded people ‘if you are free stylin’ get to the corner and out of the way’ and ‘if you’re holding a drink on the dance floor, hand it off to a friend not on the dance floor.’

Later on that night, at some mid-town bar I can’t remember the name of, I met Harriet Tubman’s great-great-grandson who was so nice and likable that I wanted to like him for himself rather than being Harriet Tubman’s descendant, but honestly, I couldn’t really get past being a bit star-struck.

How can you possibly get past Harriet Tubman?

Somewhere else, a tall blonde girl was promoting Southern Comfort and offered me a t-shirt if I bought a shot.

I don’t really remember what happened to that shirt.

I went to sleep around 3 am.

Tomorrow: The rest of the trip.


Blogger Branshine writes:

Based on your story and my experiences, I am willing to bet that these liquor companies really only own about 6 or so of these "free" T shirts, you buy the shot, take it, start feeling pretty good, then they sneak the T Shirt way from to give away to another sucker!

I enjoyed your blog!


Blogger hot babe writes:

I know I'd have been star struck. Living history. Reminds me of when I met a guy who's grandfather caught for Satchel Paige. I couldn't stop asking questions. I bet he hated me.


Blogger Erik writes:

Someone asked me who Harriet Tubman is.

This is who she is


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

WOW! What a great time! Glad for you!


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