In her bi-weekly column for Document, McKenzie Wark writes on the interpenetration of queer and straight spaces
X: Hey, get me a mate and come kiki with me in that hidey-hole behind the coat check.
M: Do you want a shot with it?
X: I don’t drink anymore.
M: Me neither. It’s ironic. The clubs make their money off alcohol, but the real heads are either sober or do other drugs.
M: Here you go.
X: Not with Jenny tonight?
M: She’s at a baby shower out on Long Island this weekend.
X: Where all the straight people are.
M: I dunno. We went to Long Island Pride last year. There’s queers out there—
X: —and a lot of straight people. I got knocked over like a bowling pin by some dude barreling through the dance floor, trailing his lady-friend by the hand.
M: Yeah, I saw that. Just barged up the front and stood there, stock-still. That girl was wrapped around him, as if for protection.
X: From us.
M: Anyway, where’s your boyfriend? Everything okay?
X: You mean Michael?
M: Honey, you’re never with them long enough for me to remember names.
X: Fair. Anyway, we broke up. I had to move out.
M: I’m sorry, babe.
X: It’s fine. Turns out, whatever it was, it wasn’t love.
M: So where are you staying?
X: Do you know that girl Hole?
M: Wait, her name is Hole? H-O-L-E, Hole?
X: Yeah, that one.
M: I don’t know her, but I can guess her personality.
X: She’s sweet, actually. She’s letting me stay. It’s fine, except on plug’n’play nights.
M: What’s a plug’n’play night?
X: She’ll get, like, three dudes off Grindr, get high, and get plugged. Which—fine—whatever works, honey. But then there’s these dudes in the apartment, and it smells like cum and unwashed socks.
M: It doesn’t sound particularly safe.
X: She likes me about, just in case. But it’s a studio, so I end up in the bathroom. At least I’m catching up on reading your column.
M: Well, here’s cheers to Hole, and whatever gets her through the night!
X: Cheers! Here’s to dolls like us.
M: I’m not really one of the dolls.
X: How so?
M: Not high-femme. Never done sex work. And since I transitioned, very little interest in men.
X: Fair. You lesbian t-girls are all kind of straight. Well, you a bit less so, I guess.
M: I tried and failed to be a gay man—three times.
X: Well, that explains a lot.
M: Meaning what?
X: You’re comfortable around faggotry, but not really of it.
M: Nowadays, there’s straight gays, straight queers, straight lesbians—but still no straight faggots. It’s not even a word they’re allowed to say.
X: I’m not sure you’re allowed to say it either, hun.
X: Wait for me here for a bit, I’ll go pee.
“It’s more about allowing your body to be intimate with the whole situation, with the beat, the light, the other dancers. Opening your body to all that.”
M: You took your time.
X: Ran into some dolls I know. Bumps and kiki in a stall. Then security was banging on the door with his flashlight, and made us get out. Was a real asshole about it.
M: That one has the off-duty cop look.
X: It’s part of how this party stays open.
M: I hate how there’s no place for us that’s just for us.
X: We don’t have any money. Well, except for you. You have money.
M: Relatively speaking.
X: There are plenty of rich, white gays, but rich, white transsexuals are not so common.
M: At least this party more or less runs on gay rules.
X: What do you mean?
M: Well, that couple that knocked you over, that’s not common here. The straight people here act like gay people. They’re not fazed by the cruising, the public sex, the—
M: Thank you, yes. And on the dance floor, they’re the kind of straight people who become queers when they dance.
X: Dancing makes you queer?
M: Only if you let the music fuck you.
X: So if you let the music fuck you, then you’re queer?
M: But only on the dance floor. You can be straight in the sack and queer in the music.
X: So you have to bottom for the DJ?
M: Not exactly. It’s more about allowing your body to be intimate with the whole situation, with the beat, the light, the other dancers. Opening your body to all that.
X: So we’re all dance-floor queers here tonight.
M: This morning. It’s why I don’t come ’til morning.
X: It was a straighter crowd earlier. Straight men who don’t dance.
M: Straight, white, American men seem to have the hardest time with letting the beat fuck them. It’s like they unconsciously get it—that it kinda queers the body.
X: They just stand there and shuffle, and do that little fist-punch thing—like they’re trying to punch down the music.
M: It’s like they suspect dancing will compromise their straightness. In a way, maybe they’re right.
X: The best straight guys are a lil’ bit gay. I’ll bet you were, before you came out.
M: Well, I always loved to dance. It’s where I found my body.
X: So your theory is that straight people can become queer on the dance floor, if they let the beat fuck them. But can queer people become straight?
M: All the time. The baby shower Jenny is at is for a cis lesbian couple.
X: I think it’s great. Queers being couples, having kids in the suburbs and all that. But then what about the rest of us, who don’t want that?
M: I think what’s happening is that there are queer people getting access to living like straight people. But at the same time, there are straight people figuring out they can live like gay people.
X: They just show up in our spaces and take them over.
M: I’m not talking about the bachelorette, hen night groups barging into gay clubs shouting, WOOOO! I mean people like a lot of the crowd here. Who sort of get it.
X: Until they have kids.
M: Until they have kids. But, you know, kids grow up, and you can come back. Come back to the party.
X: You did.
M: And here we are—cheers.