Blurred gay men in a nightclub.

We’ve all been there. The night is starting to climax and the bop of the moment is playing. Everyone on the dance floor is embracing their friends, intoxicated with gay ecstasy.

You stop staring into the nightclub abyss and look around you. Suddenly, you’re alone.

“Wya?,” you text your group chat.

The responses, which come intermediately over the next hour, are downright dizzying.

“At the bar”

“Upstairs u?”

“Neat the back. find”


With Pride Season inching closer, the annual discourse about queer nightlife is starting up again. Earlier this week, we covered the conversation around circuit parties and “k-holes,” and whether they’re ruining the club experience. The debate delves into deep topics, ranging from socioeconomics to racial profiling.

But what if the real concerns facing gay nightlife are far less complex? What if we’re all just… trying to find our friend “Ryan”?

The proclamation resonated, with hundreds of gays weighing in with posts of affirmation. “This is… too accurate,” replied one poster.

“A core truth that never changes, and has no relation to the size of the space, who Ryan is with, or what he’s on,” added another.

It’s no secret that going is a central part of queer culture. Some of the most important moments in LGBTQ+ history involve bars, and queer people socializing freely within them.

There was the 1966 “Sip-In,” when members of the Mattachine Society, one of the country’s first LGBTQ+ groups, entered NYC bars and demanded to be served. At the time, bars often refused to serve gay people.

The act of civil disobedience predated the Stonewall Riots by three years, when police performed a raid on the Stonewall Inn… and LGBTQ+ folx fought back. Over the ensuing decades, bars became the de-facto centers of many gay neighborhoods.

There’s no word on whether friends back then were looking for “Ryan,” too.

If they were, they were probably less concerned about it. The ubiquity of smart phones creates the expectation that everyone must always be available… even when it’s 12:30 a.m. and they’re chasing after some hottie.

The screenshots don’t lie: we can’t let “Ryan” live! (Don’t even get us started on “Find My Friends.”)

Maybe it would be easier to find our friends if we had different names. While there’s no official statistics on the matter, every crew seems to be feature a “Brandon,” “Joshua,” “Michael,” “Christopher,” or… “Ryan!”

He’s the man of our dreams, whom we can never find 😞.

Then again, perhaps there is something magical about our fleeting disconnections. We are cosmically aware of each other’s presence, but unable to meet physically. Our journeys at Sunday tea dance are separate, for we realize we will join forces again…

But not for long! The gay world calls us.


Do you have similar experiences to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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