What happens sometimes is that people will try to do the bonding thing with you, by complaining about something (or, more likely in the Eagle, some sweeping subset of homosexuals), in a tone that assumes absolute agreement. Because why wouldn't you agree with something so obvious? I mean, the people they are complaining about are just, you know, people so obviously worth complaining about. Amen, brother.
I had two snippets of conversation this weekend that fall into this general category, I believe.
A guy I know from the days when I was incredibly regular at the gay-lesbian Saturday night Cowboy Dances came up to tell me about how they have changed since their management was taken over by a different group (the guys who had been running them bowed out). He was telling me how awful it had become since now "the women" had taken it over. I wasn't at all sure what he was getting at, since there are still far more men than women at this event and why does it matter anyway since everybody dances and jokes and hangs out with each other, or at least lots of us do. On questioning he complained about how more women come now. Now me, with my years of experience in trying to be sure that the lesbian and gay community bands were welcoming to both men and women, responded internally with a "Wow! That's great!" But clearly he wanted me to commiserate about what a bad thing this was. The more he talked about this the more I thought, "Boy, this guy's really a complete asshole."
So I listened, and smiled and said, "You know, that seems like a good thing to me. I've got to be sure I make a better effort to be there more." He looked at me as if he weren't sure whether I was joking.
On a related note, just yesterday, in a livejournal entry I was scanning, somebody wrote, " ... of course I don't have many close women friends [that seems to go hand in hand with being a bear and all of that, after all]." No, I thought, it goes hand and hand with leading an insular life, which is frequently coterminus with "being a bear and all of that" but hardly a necessary result (and, in my eyes, an unfortunate one).
Anyway, later in the same evening my bigger-barfly-than-me friend Al introduced me to this charmingly hyperenergetic big disheveled young guy who had just moved to the Twin Cities to attend law school after graduating from college in Iowa. This biographical stuff came up because I noted that I hadn't seen him before at the Eagle and I asked if he were new in town or lived elsewhere. He then went on a little bonding-riff about how he had gone to the Saloon but he just wasn't comfortable with the guys there (he may have used the word "queens") and expounded on this thought by explaining how he liked men who were MEN (as opposed to the guys at the Saloon, who are ... well, what exactly I'm not sure because they're certainly not women) and how here at the Eagle you find guys who are MEN. "Or who at least dress the part," I added.
He gave me that "are you joking" look so I went on that I didn't know one way or the other from this MEN thing, but I liked the fact that the Eagle was a place where you can talk to folks and meet people. He immediately switched his bonding-talk tactic and agreed that he likes the fact that you meet "all different sorts" of people at the Eagle. Then, in a conversational turn I couldn't follow at the time much less remember in retrospect, he was off on a riff about how he was going to law school to protect our rights against the right wing assholes and I thought to myself ok, definitely don't write this guy off yet.
I'm still not tired of the barfly phrase.