Saturday, August 20, 2011


Copyright 2011

Émile the doorman.
"I only have sex on my bear-skin rug." 
After taking time off to work on my app for Queer Montreal, it's good to get back to my sex blog. 
   I recently joined a Facebook group that celebrates the best cocksucker bar there every was: K.O.X.
   It's hard to believe I was 30 when I first started going. I'd been going to gay bars for so long before that. Where I spent the longest periods before K.O.X. was at Le Jardin and Au Garage. Finally, at 30, I wanted to be with real men (the thought of leather vests and hairy chests....). 
   Last night I was reminded of my first time there, as Jimmy and I drove in from Nuns' Island where we live now. Back when I was 30, I was staying with my parents in their town house on on the same island (where I once snuck a guy in through the underground parking to do him in the basement :-). I took daddy's Buick and drove the Bonaventure and the V-M tunnel, almost as nervous as the first time I went to a gay bar! I mean, these men were older, meaner, dirtier. They were going to snear at me, with my student looks. But man I was excited. Sexually, I mean. I never stopped going after that until it closed.
   The following narrative is my little portrait of the place.

MY FAVOURITE BAR IS HIDDEN in big, old garage down a seedy side street in the village. Michael calls it P.E.N.I.S.S.E.S, as a synonym for the made-up acronym the owners gave it to rhyme with “cocks.” But because the real name is owned by lawyers, I’ll call it La Queue Dorée (The Golden Cock), which, I think, is an appropriate name for the bar in which so many of the stories that happened to Michael and me take place.
La Queue Dorée is a clubhouse for boys—like Tubby and Iggy’s tree house in the Little Lulu comic strip (Iggy is the small, mean-looking one with the brush cut—he’d fit perfectly into Village life, Tubby’s probably a bear, and remember Annie? The tough little tomboy?) But on the door of their tree house, Iggy and Tubby had written  NO GIRLS ALLOWED. La Queue Dorée is like that: a private boys’ club that women cannot enter but once a year on “Ladie’s [sic] Night,” when both dykes and fag-hags line up around the block as early as ten in the evening (which is very early for Montreal). The boys love Ladie’s Night. That’s when they have a whole new audience to show off their sexy bodies to.
You enter La Queue Dorée through an unmarked door, pass through a hall lined with murals of leather men oozing sperm from oversized, veiny erections, and check your coat (unless you’re wearing leather, of course) opposite a five-foot neon sculpture of an uncircumcised, dripping penis. Like the skull and crossbones on a tree-house door, these icons of leatherdom are meant to discourage squeamish queens and uptight SAGs (straight-acting gays).

After that, the space opens up to the long main bar on one side and on the other two pool tables separated by a smaller bar. Battered black oil drums stacked up haphazardly between these two areas serve as dividers and surfaces to set your beer upon. They wobble when you lean against them, so plenty of beer gets spilled (well, especially when I lean on them), and the bottles make a big bang when they fall over on a drum.
A small area behind the washrooms comprises a third bar, a couple of pinball machines, and a ’forties-styled phone booth that you can sit in and close the door. Once, when Michael was making a call in it, a guy stood in front of him and showed him his erection. “And I was on the phone to my sister,” Michael wailed.
I like to perch on the railing outside the washrooms. Both have doors at either end, so I get to see the whole crowd as it eventually files by. That’s how I run into old friends and make new ones. And as it’s up a few steps, it gives me a good view over the crowd.
Leather bars are not supposed to have a dance floor: it’s not macho to dance. But in a city where walking and talking is performance art, the owners grudgingly hid a dance floor in a far corner behind some more oil drums. Its view is further hidden from a pool table by a trophy case for various leather and biker clubs. But every kind of person dances on this dance floor, and only the most self-conscious stand back. Some of the weirdest dancing goes on there, not to mention the most erotic, and everybody says it’s the best music in the city. Between the dance floor and a wall are two rows of restaurant booths where joints are rolled and smoked, and where cocks are groped and jerked off.

The decor is all boy/man queer fantasy: A real motorcycle is mounted at eye level, its lights flashing on and off; on a wall hangs a metal Black Cat cigarette sign that says, THEY TASTE BETTER; a couple of chairs that came out of a war-time fighter plane get moved around from one crowd-watching vantage point to another, as does a shoe-shine seat mounted high up on a platform where a white guy named Buckwheat blacks your boots. There’s even a wood stove with a railing around it—on cold winter afternoons I like to teeter on it to warm my bum. It’s especially practical on long-underwear night.
Overhead hang fishnets concealing the DJ’s tree house way up high; a spot-lit Quebec flag is blown to attention by a fan; and neon penis-and-testicle sculptures dangle here and there (at first glance they look like those forms made of thick coat-hanger wire your grandmother used for drying wool socks).
Coloured lights ripped off from service vehicles flash on and off at various times to announce specials: fire-truck red for beer, cop-car blue for soft drinks and liquor, and snowplow yellow for schnapps.
Everywhere is theatre. The crowd is a cross-section of all gay cultures, from bikers and labourers to preppies and guppies; students and artists to lawyers and accountants; Quebec country boys and European sophisticates; fervent nationalists and unilingual English Canadians; drunks and tea-totallers, druggies and midnight tokers. It’s mixed, it’s weird, it’s Montreal. Tourists love it—they can’t comprehend it.
It’s the home of Monsieur Cuir contests, or “Monsieur Queer,” as we anglos pronounce it. The warmer months have (short) underwear night; twice a year there’s uniform night; and of course there’s Halloween. Everybody gets dressed up for any theme that’s going on, or for any excuse to take it off.

It must be the only bar of its size to be packed for twelve solid hours each Sunday, from three o’clock in the afternoon to three the next morning. You can arrive there at eight or nine in the evening and run into a friend who’d been there since four in the afternoon. He might still be there at eleven, still on his feet—but barely. “I can’t believe how late it is already,” slurred Michael one Sunday. “I got here at four, and I only meant to stay a couple of hours.” Then he disappeared into the throng. I saw him much later, still partying strong.
Sunday nights are just too much fun. You can even meet someone at five o’clock, go home with him, snooze after, get a bite to eat, and be back by nine or ten to pick up someone else. It’s the night the students go: While tattooed bears in chaps shoot pool with cigarettes stuck in their mouths, titillated preppies huddle together near the dance floor like a flock of nervous sheep.
You get free tickets for draft beer if you arrive before four PM. When, on the way there, I hear the bells of Saint-Pierre-Apôtre church announcing its four-o’clock mass, I know I have to hurry. And then, coming in from daylight, it’s so dark inside that I often stumble into the invisible black barrels (more banging and spilled beer!).
Though many guys laugh at me when I say the place is romantic, I can’t help feeling it is. Not Venice or Valentine’s Day kind of romantic, but the kind that so many gay men constantly crave: attraction, lust, something that feels like love, seduction (and being seduced), going to his house, sex, sleeping and cuddling, conversation over breakfast, and maybe an intention to see each other again. A whole love affair that takes place over one night—no boring part, no fighting, none of the stuff that fucks up “relationships.”
Now that’s romance.

From "East of the Big Q," a collection of short stories about queer Montreal, by Raymond John Woolfrey. Copyright 2001-2011