For most New Yorkers, quality time with one’s friends probably involves some kind of leisurely brunch or maybe a Magnolia cupcake splurge whilst recounting their latest romantic trysts and showing off those latest designer bags, sporadically purchased during another “crazy, New York-minute” moment.
However, I most often find myself getting the latest bullet point delivery of friends’ hook-ups and break-ups and when the latest sale is happening for Nasty Pig jock straps during a quick break from the go-go box as my pals and I sort through each other’s break-away costumes and underwear shed just moments earlier. Quality time with my friends—like most of my time in general—is usually spent in some form of undress, at its very tamest. You know you have a solid friendship when you can dance naked and hard next to your buddy in a shadow box, all the while exchanging notes on your favorite Orange is the New Black characters, still maintaining your boner I might add. And that, dear readers, is a real Sex in the City moment.
Side note: Fuck Carrie, I’m all about Red. #trueRED #OITNB”
As far as my male friends go, I reserve a special term for such a friendship as described above: the “Go-Go Bro.” The Go-Go Bro is that dancer/sex-worker/stripper friend who always has your back without trying to get you to “back on into it.” It’s a relationship steeped in sexuality and yet practically asexual at the same time since sex and nudity are simply the backdrop for such a friendship, acknowledged merely as the demands of the job. In the realm of male-male bonding, the Go-Go Bro is quite possibly the gayest and yet completely non-gay friendship contract in existence. Whereas other straight-straight, gay-gay, and gay-straight pairings might seethe with carnal tensions simmering just below the surface of a “causal” bro hug or a sly slap on the ass, sex is already at the forefront of the Go-Go Bro relationship. That’s just how the jobs usually work. My friends and I aren’t grinding away at a ladies afternoon tea party, we’re swinging our dicks around at 2 a.m. in a packed club wearing basically a piece of cheese cloth and some combat boots. And yet, somehow this all again becomes merely the accoutrement and expectations of the evening’s work. Instead, the focus of the night becomes teaching each other hand stand tricks or exchanging chest work out tips or where one can get the best deal on herbal Viagra.
Right now you’re probably thinking, “Really, Harder? There’s no sexual tension whatsoever?” The thing is — at least in my case — the Go-Go Bros I most often casually drop my pants next to and debate pubic hair aesthetics with are in fact straight-identified men. It is an atmosphere both tingling and yet completely void of sexual energy when your big-dicked Dominican bud helicopters his penis in your face and all you can do is exasperatedly ask him (again) what he wants from the bar before the cocktail waiter comes to grab your order.
Side note: Now you may be thinking, “Well, technically Harder, you could still be turned on by a straight dancer, especially if he’s helicopter-ing a coke can sized schlong in your perimeter.” True, true. But personally, I got that whole B-gay-movie “I’m in love with my straight friend” subplot out of my system in high school.
What I find more curious is the idea that a guy who continually offers his body up to other men, many times with flag pole rigidity, can identify truthfully as straight. As a matter of fact, my Go-Go Bro Andre and I were discussing this very same phenomenon while dancing and intermittently jacking off in a shadow box during a sex show at Berlin at Club Providence. Andre definitely identifies as an exclusive vagina enthusiast. His Facebook page is covered with “hot girls on hot cars” and he has a keen sense for discovering the token straight girl during any gay strip night and dragging her out from under her cosmo for a lap dance
As we traded the bottle of lube back and forth between each other, Andre recounted to me so many stories growing up of neighborhood circle jerks, porn-watching parties and ejaculating contests with his other straight guy friends that I have a year’s minimum worth of “Frat Boy Fantasy” outlines. Andre’s adolescent memories definitely struck me as being gayer than Chris Colfer getting plowed by Michael Sam at a Judy Garland look-alike-pageant. However, to him, they were as straight and normal — or perhaps “commonplace” is more accurate —than a locker room full of naked basketball players snapping each other in the asses with their shower towels.
Side note: My spin on the “straight but curious” locker room set-up would be jocks going down on one another at the behest of their cheerleader girl friends, secretly organized by the butch lesbian softball coach who’s really the brains of the entire operation. Did I mention I’ve been watching a lot of Orange is the New Black?
Go-Go Bros aside, I can’t say, of course, that there’s never been a moment of sexual tension — or action — that doesn’t occur either on a club box or in a dressing room. Not every dancer is my Go-Go Bro, and I’ve certainly enjoyed literally hanging out with some of my co-workers in a less-than-brotherly way. What I find so fascinating though are those friendships where sex and sexual expression are simply white noise to the real conversations being shared between friends who can move so fluidly from the “adult space” to the “brunch space” — or in my friends and my case, the “late-night diner space.” Personal discoveries such as this are just one of the many road markers I’ve encountered on my journey into the not-so-black-and-white, X-rated world. If the Go-Go Bro offers a new perspective of sexual identity, maybe orange really is the new black.