The Friendly Tavern
I wanted to show some South Philly bar life to dude I work with. He drove me home from my shitty warehouse job. Moving heating and air conditioning units is thirsty wor. This job was turning my alkie-ometer to "raging". I thought I'd add flavor to his life and we stopped in to the Friendly Lounge, its going to be on some list in Esquire this month.
I think the list was of the top dive bars in the country or something. My usual local bar may just qualify, but we weren't heading there this week. The last time we went there on a Friday everyone in the place was staring at us and they stopped betting on the horses as soon as we came in. Thats 10-15 dudes who now have a probelm with us because they can't bet because my boss looks like a cop. I treat this guy like "a dude from work" but in realuty he thinks he's my boss. It's kinda funny, actually. I'd rather have my boss chauffeur me to happy hour that take two busses and a train, so I would pretend from time to time that the boss was a pal, in order to start drinking faster. Luckily for me, ths guy was in the hospitality business in the eighties and had the mind set where "we are just buddies, and we bust each others stones all the time" so me being honest with him about his suspected sexual deviancies and lack of morals was seen in this light by him.
A styling sixtiyish fellow was behind the stick andit was in the paper recently
was chatting about the places history with us talking about the recent and upcoming press about the place and seemed to be very interested in my friend. Was my joking about deviancies going to blossom right here on Washington Avenue in the heart of the Cambodian business block? Looking carefully around I noticed only dudes,
which is not uncommon at six on a Friday, but on third and fourth glance the owner seemed very well kept, as if he exfoliated,and he did say the only "special" in the place was him (I'm a frugal drunk).
"Youre looking at the special, sweetie'" he lisped provacatively.
His eyes had that "lively" look. He and my, I guess, date couldn't stop bantering about Southern Florida baseball players, and locations of rest stops in the Keys. Apparently theres a Hemingway themed rest stop that is known for it's "bears", whatever they are. I'm going to have to ask my go to guy for gayness, butchinbed. He will help me get to the bottom of things. He's an authority on these things.
Other men would have been jealous I guess, I was relieved to not have to pretend to be somebodies buddy for two beers until I could slip away to my local bar. I lokked around the bar some more and listed all of the tell tale clues that told me that I was in "one of those kind" of bars.
All male clientel.
The name of the bar is Friendly which is a similar word to happy, and happy is a synonym for the English term for a cigarette.
There was also bundle of sticks in a picture frame with a heart in the background above the bar in a spotlight.
I'm glad i made it clear which side of the boat i was onwhen the talk was of Florida, and the Manatee River. The bartender said the sailors used to have sex with them and mentioned "...anything thats soft and warm I guess",
"..after all that time at sea and all"
I could hear the Village People in the background on the jukebox singing songs about the seamen in the navy, in the navy.
Thats when I came out on the I'd bang a Manatee side of the equation with the proviso that it was a cute manatee and theat we were in a commited and loving relationship. After all I continued, I dated one for a while when I was a school teacher but it was just drunken sex for the sake of drunken sex and was empty and unfulfilling. The bar sat in stunned silence, then as one, the crowd squealed "EEEEEEEEW, sex with a girrrrrl...."
So we left.
And now I gotta work with a dude who thinks I took him into a gay bar and that's funnier than an afterschool special about Chlamydia for some reason.