Alright, so I was working on this fabulous west end brunch piece to post but I am going to half to interrupt with breaking news from San Francisco.
I am writing to you from the trendy tie-dyed corner of Haight & Ashbury. The smell of pot is in the air and everyone is dressed like it is 1972. I love it. At first, once I hopped off the #43 bus I was worried I was not going be able to get any good shopping done. Every store I walked in to featured nothing but glass bongs, Golden Gate shot glasses and mixed orange and black apparel for whatever sports team plays here. The 69ers I think.
I began to regain faith in the neighbourhood, however, when I stopped in at the local bookstore. I could spend all day looking at books, especially when the boy at the front desk is gay and incredibly attractive. In classic Californian style, he was wearing black skinny jeans that caved in to gigantic brown Ugg boots. His green shirt was collared, and well, that was pretty much all I have to say about that.
Natch, I had to make a purchase just to give myself an excuse to talk to him in person. Unfortunately, the extent of my small talk surmounted to “yes I need a bag” and “no I do not receipt.” I left the bookstore with a copy of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest and stopped next in a vintage clothing store. Two racks in and I suddenly found myself in shopping heaven. Like Picasso, I am totally going through this blue phase right now. I found the perfect navy shirt that is loose enough to fall over my curves, but tight enough in the shoulders to not drown out my entire upper body. Pictures to follow.
Alright now we are up to speed on today, I can rewind and begin to tell you about day one in San Francisco, also known as yesterday. Before I can do that, however, I have to give you some background information on the reason I am here in the first place: to visit my best friend Harper. Harper was previously named Jacquie O. in this blog’s history; but I have decided that she is the perfect Harper Lee to my Truman Capote.
Best friends since Catholic High school, Harper knew I was flaming from the first day we met. She slept with all the hottest guys in my high school and I worshipped her for that. Finishing her Masters degree in Montreal, she moved out to the Vancouver three years ago to complete her PHD, and the two of us had a chance to start again where we left off. She has been living in San Francisco for the summer collecting information for her thesis, so I jumped at the chance to come and stay with her!
Harper and I kicked off my first day in town with a low-fat cappuccino and a bus ride to North Beach. The first place we stopped was City Lights Bookstore, which is pretty much a historical institution on the West Coast. Home to the Beats generation in the 1950’s, I walked around the hardwood floors and breathed in the type-faced pages of Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. Since I was pretty much on hallowed-ground, I made sure to wear my new pair of retro leather shoes to pay respect.
After we finished at City Lights, we hiked up to Coit Tower, took in the ocean view, and then grabbed couple of beers and trained back to Dolores Park. In the Mission District, Dolores Park climbs up a gigantic hill and features a breathtaking view of the skyline downtown. The sky was bright blue and the two of us made ourselves at home on a blanket. For the first time in a while, I felt my shoulders relax and felt as if I could sit on that grass for the rest of my life; or until the fog rolled in – which it did.
The sun gone, the wind biting, we hauled ass to the grocery store and picked up some organic vegetables and gluten-free pasta to cook dinner. I grabbed a bottle of Spanish protocolo for $7.99 ($15.95 in Vancouver) and we traveled back to the apartment to settle in. Over candlelight, the two of us listened to the Bird and the Bee and enthralled ourselves in heated debates over sex, politics and health. Only at our dinner table could you dip a piece of bread in olive oil and begin a conversation about rim jobs or fisting. Once all the wine was gone, we hopped in a cab and headed south-east to the Castro.
There we scoped out the scene and started are night off at QBar. The place was packed, the DJ was playing techno, and the two of us squeezed through the crowd of shirtless men to procure ourselves a drink. When the bartender informed me it was only $13 for two Coronas and a double shot of tequila I almost jumped over the bar and made love to him.
On the dance floor, the two of us got our Romy & Michelle on (although Harper was careful not to give herself whiplash again) and met a delightful British man named Charlie. The three of us danced our faces off and watched a provocative go-go show starring two men who literally jumped up on the stage and started taking all their clothes off. I attempted to practice proper gay bar etiquette and not stare; but it was almost impossible when their fringe performance turned in to a preview for the Folsom Street Fair. Eventually they got kicked off and Harper and I said goodbye to Charlie and relocated to Badlands.
Now, it is important to note that the last time I visited Badlands I ended up losing my shirt and pulling a total Brenda Walsh on Harper after she got picked up more times than me – which was once. Walking through the front door, I told her that under no circumstances was I allowed to consume their $5.50 strawberry cosmo. It was this mixture of well vodka and liquid sugar that got me in so much trouble the last time. My resolve lasted six minutes and two top-forty hits before I was in line at the bar for last call.
When I returned to the dance floor, I found Harper with another man and proceeded to act out a repeat performance. “You have a boyfriend!” I yelled at her, making big hand gestures and waiving my drink in the air. “In the name of Mariah Carey, why must you always cock-block me?” One year older and apparently I have not learned a thing.
Cruising on top of a sugar high, I got distracted from my wrath when my eyes fixated on a Beaujolais of gays at the front. A “Beaujolais” is a group of gay men who have perfect bodies, olive skin and wear the latest in designer fashion. They typically travel in groups of 6 or 7 and can be found at popular night clubs or Holt Renfrew stores across the globe. They are gods of the of the bar scene and pose the greatest threat to my self-esteem.
Typically, upon sight of these men my drunken mind always switches discs and starts to play the classic wallflower record “Desperate Fox.” Featuring hits like “I wish I looked like that!” and “If only I had a flat stomach,” my confidence level drops while my blood-alcohol level rises. Trying on a new soundtrack last night, I began to re-condition myself whenever I heard the record start to play. Every time I found my eyes drawn to those beautiful sirens, I had to look at every other man in the bar. It is amazing how many men you miss when you are only focused on one bicep!
Feeling my high come down, the lights came up and I advised Harper that I would need something in my stomach posthaste. The two of us skipped across the street and got in line for a burrito at La Taqueria. On the way out, Harper put her hand on my arm and drew my attention to the two go-go boys from the bar before. Because I am from Friendly Manitoba, I stopped short of leaving to congratulate them on their performance.
What could have been a pleasant drunken conversation turned sour when it became apparent the chiselled men were nothing more than douche bags. Praying on my vulnerable state, the two of them asked me if I wanted to come back to their place for a threesome. At first I was flattered, but then I remembered the scene from Never Been Kissed when Drew Berrymore gets egged on prom night, and began to feel humiliated. Harper told them off and whispered in my ear, “honey we have Jameson’s at home.”
Well, it appears I have brought you successfully up to speed. Because I have already surpassed my entire trip's budget (and it is only day two) I am going to take my book to the park and set up camp until the sun comes down. Tomorrow, I plan to rent a bicycle and travel across the Golden Gate bridge (terrifying!) to visit Sausalito. I hope this post finds you well and sitting on a patio chair in the sun.