My good friend Peter Muise just wrote about the possible haunting of Boston's premier (and only) drag bar, Jacques, at his New England Folklore blog.
Never one to overlook a productive way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon in New York, I naturally began the task of choosing a place to haunt after my untimely death. A gay bar fits all the criteria: a place of unspeakable heartache and pain, where it always seems to be late at night and any pale, wrinkled figure will prompt shrieking among the occupants.
My preference would be to haunt the Napoleon Club, where the love of my life once excused himself to use the men's room and then somehow vanished from the building without my seeing him. (At least my ghostly powers would enable me to discover whatever secret passageway he used.) Alas, the Napoleon Club met a fate worse than going straight: It was converted into condos. It would be a waste to haunt whichever philistines how occupy the space.
I could haunt the Eagle, but really the worst thing that happened to me there was being told the significance of each and every flag, pennant, and motorcycle-club patch on the walls. I've been told that my yawns can be pretty disturbing; still, I think I should aim higher than that.
Downstairs at the Paradise is another option, thanks to its brief experiment with "underwear parties" in the '90s. As I recall, the club waived the $10 cover charge for anyone willing to leave most of their clothes at the coat-check booth. This meant that the most exposed patrons in the place were also the cheapest patrons. Younger patrons (which included myself at the time) kept to the dance floor, fully clothed, while several older, flabby men in G-strings nursed their wine coolers at the bar. It was a surrealist enough scene for Twin Peaks (or maybe American Horror Story), but not traumatic enough for me to want to haunt the place.
There's the Ramrod, which now refuses to use its leather-bar name and goes by its dance-club incarnation, Machine. I did go to its infamous "back room" a few times, even complying with the shirts-off dress code. But the only action I experienced there was when a friend twisted one of my nipples, in kind of a pity grope. I heard that things got more intense after 1 a.m., but the subway stopped running at 12:30, so I never really found out. I guess I could haunt the MBTA general manager's office over that.
That leaves me with Club Cafe, also known among my friends as Club Snub. Indeed, I had many experiences of spotting someone I knew there only to have him look away and suddenly remember that he had something to do on the other side of the room. At least three times, I ran into guys at Club Cafe whom I had no idea were gay. These encounters were not the beginnings of beautiful friendships, as I never saw any of them again.
Club Cafe was also where someone I had dated a few times asked me to meet him one night, saying he had something very important to tell me. On my way to the bar, I played out various romantic scenes in my head, all ending with my joy that I would never again have to walk into Club Snub alone. After we got a table for two and a couple of Cosmopolitans, he told me the big news: He was pregnant.
Yep, it was all a practical joke. Now this is a scenario right out of Carrie, something a ghost can really work with. So if Club Cafe is still standing after I go, look for me there, dumping gallons of cranberry juice upon the head of anyone who breaks a poor guy's heart.
Photo by Elmer C. on Yelp.