(PKI/Pride) Bar Outreach Numero Dos
|PRIDE NIGHT AT KING'S ISLAND (PKI)|
"So, tell me: where would you like for me to stick it?" I asked in a loud voice, approaching the small group of 40s something men that had huddled near the Starbuck's.
The man that had his back to me turned and, smiling, said "Excuse me?"
I showed him the AVOC sticker that I wanted to apply on to him.
"Where do you want me to stick it?" I repeated.
One guy pointed to his chest and I applied it there.
The next one had a cocky grin. I repeated my question. "Anywhere you want."
"Anywhere?" I said playfully.
"Anywhere," he replied and the group laughed a bit.
"Turn around then." I said. He promptly did and I applied the sticker on to the back of his jeans with a SMACK.
"These stickers are for AVOC. They do free, confidential testing downtown."
I placed another on the shirt of the cute guy with a goatee.
"They're nice people. If you have any doubts or questions, give them a call. Have a great night," I said, getting the last guy. All four men were smiling.
Thus was what I did from about 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Friday night. In total, Barry and I gave out some 950 stickers! We figure we talked to upwards of a quarter of the people that attended pride night.
Both Barry and I had a lot of fun with it. Not only was it a fun, silly thing to do, (ex. Asking lesbian couples where they wanted it made them blush a bit) but I know some people were not too familiar with the organization. Even if we get 50 people into the "get tested twice a year" mentality, it will all have been worth it.
Some people wanted to chat, especially some of the guys in their 40s. We talked everything from testing
I stuck one guy and I explained who AVOC was and that they did testing.
"It's already too late for me."
I wasn't completely sure what to say, and I said the first thing that came into my mind. I put my hand on his shoulder and I said, genuinely, "Well, we're trying."
SATURDAY BAR OUTREACH
We left PKI at 9:15 pm and head downtown to the AVOC offices, where several people (Barry, Alexis, Barbara, Todd and others) met. Soon, we split into three teams to hit all the bars on the Ohio side of the river. My team hit 5 bars total:
Jacobs. Had a decent crowd for their drag show. There were a lot of college age students out, many who I presumed to be straight. Regardless of their orientation, all were receptive to the condoms and lube.
The Serpent. I went alone as nobody in my group really had any urge. The bar was dark and smoky. A lot of husky men, in black or in harnesses. As I entered I felt like a baby zebra in a field of lions. I paid for my Bacardi and diet Coke and asked the bartender for a permission. An overly clingy guy immediately approached me and offered several compliments. I politely excused myself as I walked the bar. I talked with all of the men in the bar, individually, for about 20 minutes. Most took the packets, but some were more concerned about the lube than the condoms (one person confirmed this.) Some people were really supportive of me, while some were completely indifferent.
Bullfishes. The place was packed. There were some mediocre drag queens who sang and strutted around the stage. This required a bit of alcohol for me to endure. I ordered a Bacardi and diet Coke from the rugged looking female bartender. She returned with the drink and laid it beside Barbara'sBacardi and diet Coke. My drink was midnight dark, whereas hers was practically white. I went to the restroom. Barbara had mixed our drinks as hers had too much alcohol and mine (being that I'm a male) was only lightly seasoned with rum. (On a previous occasion, I was refused service at this particular bar.) I talked with several nice female couples. Thankfully, this time we had dental dams. We left soon after all female wrestling in baby oil started.
Hamburger Mary's. Again, hopping. I knew the crowd and several people and felt very much at home. I let the others distribute the packets, while I talked. An attractive Latin man who I had "stuck" with a sticker earlier approached me to say hi. I talked briefly with Mark, Michael and others.
The Dock. Last stop. The nightclub was in full swing. A younger circuit crowd was there. When everyone from the three AVOC groups arrived, we went through the bar with our kits. By 1:30 am, I was completely exhausted. I bid everyone farewell and left.