My friend Samantha Greer didn’t want to go to the Eagle in New York City. To be honest, I didn’t even think they’d let her in.
We had booked this New York trip to coincide with the Black Party — she wouldn’t be attending that — but visiting the Eagle was also on my itinerary for a very specific reason.
I was searching for a guy: he was in his mid-40s, 6’3”, Mediterranean and dominant. If there was any place that he’d be at, it’d be the Eagle.
Sam and I entered through the plastic door curtains leading into the bar and were greeted by a bouncer on the other end. “Do you know where you are?” he asked Sam. She looked over at me.
“Yes, it’s fine,” I said. “She knows, don’t worry.”
She really had no idea. I was being selfish — I really wasn’t sure if Sam would be comfortable in one of New York’s most famous leather bars, but I really wanted to go , and I really wanted to spend time with her as well. If she was uncomfortable or ready to leave at any minute, we’d go.
The coat check was enclosed in a chain link fence like we were out in a shipyard. We checked our jackets and grabbed a drink at the back bar. The space felt gritty — the air was heavy with the scent of leather and sweat, accentuated by chain-link fence dividers, exposed bricks and mesh-camo fabric draped from the ceiling. The lighting painted everything in a red, hazy glow. Men roamed about in jockstraps — some stocky, some ripped — and one guy just lazily sitting back on a riser with his leg up. Other guys were in full leather gear — with a casual glance around, I noticed a peaked officer’s cap, some vests, harnesses, suspenders, armbands and chaps. There were tight Superdry tees, fitted baseball caps (forwards and backwards) and even some dressy button-down shirts. These were the players, the new generation of kink, evolved and inclusive. This is the sort of scene that New York is famous for.
“There aren’t any women here,” Sam said. “I feel like everybody is staring at me.” I have heard guys say that women shouldn’t be allowed in an environment like this, but I got a blowjob by this one guy in front of some women during the IML weekend, and they all seemed okay with women being in attendance. Granted, my gay life started in the 2000s, so there is a lot of gay history I didn’t live through. I’ve always liked the idea of gay bars with men and women, gay or straight, but just because I want that doesn’t mean everyone else would.? As I looked around, there was no doubt that there were people staring at her, but the bouncer seemed cool with her and the bartender really warmed up to her. “There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of attention,” I assured her.
While I was assuaging her fears, a boy got up on the pool table and began dancing. He was thrusting his hips — and he was very good at thrusting — but he never quite caught the beat of the music. Like with most pretty people, his lack of rhythm didn’t matter — he was cute and looked innocent, and that was enough. He probably wasn’t innocent, not at the Eagle, but I indulged in the fantasy anyway.
There was a daddy in a cowboy hat and jockstrap on the bar, just across from the dancing boy. He started dancing with as much finesse, placing one foot forward and letting the other follow. He might’ve been rhythmically challenged, but he looked like he had stepped right out of a Tom of Finland sketch — big, boulder-like muscles and body hair in all the right places. The daddy then got on all fours and crawled across the bar. When he got to the end, one of the patrons sidled in behind him. “Oh my God,” Sam said. “Is he getting fingered?” I couldn’t tell from where I was standing, but it seemed plausible and, frankly, kind of hot.
“People are giving him money and fingering him. Why would anybody do that? I’ve never seen a guy get fingered before.”
“Seems like he likes it.”
“Who would let somebody finger them at the bar?”
I didn’t bother telling her that I’d been fingered at bars before. “The scene is about exploring sexual desire without fear or shame,” I said. “I don’t think anybody here is afraid of what they want.”
She finished her beer and turned to the bartender. “Give me something strong,” she said.
A half hour later and she was completely trashed. Whenever I went to the bathroom, I’d come back to see she had new friends surrounding her. One of them told her that she was beautiful and wanted to hang out with her outside of the Eagle. He later tried to kiss me. Another thought that we were a married couple and wanted to have a threesome with us. Then there was this other guy with a tongue ring who was showing her how he could work his tongue. In typical bar-talk fashion, we didn’t understand why, or how, we were being given his lingual demonstration , but he seemed nice enough. His friend, though, was rather concerned by Sam’s presence.
“A woman shouldn’t be here,” he told her . . .