Reading this, I’m reminded of a memory- well, a few memories. When I was first going to college in San Antonio, some college friends invited me out drinking and we went to the Bonham Exchange, one of the city’s gay clubs. It was the first time I had been out having fun somewhere I felt like I belonged. This was the same club where my wife and I went to with some friends when we had first met. I can only imagine those people in Orlando who went out that night and were making what started as a great memory before the night went tragic. No one should have to leave their homes and fear having a fun night out with friends or someone they love.

The Flannel Files

W and I had our third date at a gay bar in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, called Frank Jeffreys.

This was my bar.

This was my gay bar.

That night, we bellied up to the old wooden bar.

The bartender knew my name.

He knew my usual.

“Hey, Russ. How’s it going?” I asked.

I figured I was scoring points with W. I was racking them up like a human pinball machine. Ka-ching.

That night, we talked with Russ about labels. And laughed about that time I got hit on by a dude.

“Am I sending out the right signal?” I had asked.

Russ assured me I was with my cargo pants and flannel shirt and short haircut.

I remember lots of details from that night: Flirting with W. Taking her back to my place to watch the movie Kinsey. Being too shy to make a move.

“I thought you were asexual,” W would…

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