After a steaming bowl of pho last Saturday night on Santa Monica Boulevard, my friend Richard and I walked over to The Abbey for a pre-Christmas drink-‘n-cruise, lured in by the massive festive tree in the courtyard speckled with clumps of cotton wool. For those unfamiliar with the establishment, The Abbey is not a traditional gay bar any more. It’s a tourist attraction that looks like a Mexi-Cali version of an Asian temple, in which straight people can feel comfortable because it isn’t really a meat market as much as it is a vast posing gallery. It used to be the most beautiful gay bar in the world, but it was taken over by the evidently straight hospitality group SBE, gutted and given a disgraceful remodeling for absolutely no good reason other than it seems to pack more suckers in there.
After asking for a dirty martini on the rocks from a bartender who was clearly on a testosterone-and-salad diet, and instead getting a tankard full of pure vodka with five enormous olives thrown on top, transforming it from a cocktail into a fetish, Richard and I went outside to the patio. Because we are both tall and have this Mr. Clean bald thing going on—I call us the Twin Towers—we stood behind the door that leads back into the club in order to be out of the way of the continual bumper-car stream flowing by.