By Holden Wilde
Ervin had made enough money in his early 20s to live anywhere in the world. Many cities possessed a fun nightlife, an abundance of beautiful women, and a wealth of cultural activities, and some of these cities might be cleaner, be better at hiding their homeless, and have more modern infrastructure than Manhattan, but there was something special about this particular island: an air of tolerance. Ervin knew that it wasn’t because Manhattanites consciously embraced the differences – they simply didn’t care to invest energy in getting to know the other person and that was just fine with him. Having grown up under a ubiquitously mind-piercing communist regime, Ervin basked in the superficiality of his friends, colleagues, and passerby – they were defining him by his wealth, clothes, and physical appearance, not by his views on politics, sex, or religion. While the rest of US and the world had continued madly fighting cultural wars circa 17th century, Manhattan had levitated to a nonchalant attitude of indifference and mild curiosity.
Out of all his prejudices, homophobia was the last childhood blanket that Ervin couldn’t quite let go. While he had built a sizable resume of unorthodox sexual experiences with his female partners, Ervin was still hesitant at the thought of being intimate with another man. So when his friend suggested a “Gay Night” at a hot club as a surefire way to pick up women, he didn’t embrace the idea right away. “Hon, you are too shy to start a conversation,” she began making her argument, “hence, you want a place with more women than men so they’ll approach you, right? Me and my girlfriends love coming to these gay nights when we don’t want to be bothered by d-bags while still enjoying the sight of handsome men around us, and so do many other hot girls. Just go there to have a drink, smile, and see what falls from the tree.” It took another few minutes of arguments and specific pointers for Ervin to be convinced. He felt lonely that Tuesday evening and in so much drama with his existing women that fresh fruit sounded quite appealing… Let the gathering begin.