Photograph of the Castro Theater as seen from Divisidero Avenue in San Francisco

Bar Hopping On The Castro, June 10, 1993

The Castro has a fastidious beauty: flawless and surreal; I see
nothing of the joyful anarchy of gay liberation, or the horror of
young men covered in lesions.

New drugs and quicker testing have reduced some of the worst
symptoms of HIV, but the gay contingent of My Generation is
still dying in droves.

I check out a bar called ‘The Transfer’ and watch a bored
stoner fan dance to old disco and move on to a bar called
the ‘Badlands’.

The ‘Badlands’ is almost empty.

I order a beer and take a seat by the pool table to watch a
group of boys play.

They play badly and grin when they see me watching: the
handsome butch daddy with a mustache, a queen who can
play a mean game of pool.

I smile and raise my beer as an elderly drunk stumbles out
of the toilet and staggers toward the pool table.

He waves to the boys and plops himself in the seat next
to me.

“Drinkin a beer eh? Wannanother beer?” His breath stinks
of tobacco and stale beer.

I politely decline and the guy blows up; he wags his finger at
me and snaps loudly:

“Take a good look at me, Miss Thing! This is you in ten years!”

I find it noteworthy that he assumes I will still be alive.

In 1992, AIDS was he number one cause of death in the United States for
men aged 25-44.

(c) Rob Goldstein 1992-2018


9 thoughts on “Bar Hopping On The Castro, June 10, 1993

    1. Those of us who remain had ten years of joy as we marched out of closets in 1969 and lived as free people with a right to live as worthy Americans. We had ten years of grief as hostages to the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s as friends died while we waited our turn; followed by ten years of grieving while trying to understand why we survived. I hope the last line captures the beginning of
      that process.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s valuable that you remind people of this era, Rob.
    On a different note, I love the image. It’s gorgeous. The bright colors give it a retro feel, matching it to your story. It’s a marvelous post. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.