(An unconventional party in Santiago – 05/05/2018)
Is inevitable for a gay man traveling alone not to use dating apps when in a city. Although the selection of apps is vast, seems grinder is in the DNA of every country gay life.
Today for a person starting to socialize in the gay world is as easy as downloading a free app in the smartphone. What a difference from my first steps in gay world back in the 1990. Those beginnings are worth, if not a book, a good post. But let’s go back to today’s story.
After 6 weeks in icy and lonely Patagonia, it was time for some urban lifestyle and gay socializing. So I deployed my fishing net and turned on grinder upon my arrival to Santiago.
Perhaps is my age, perhaps is my mood… but it takes lots of non-transcendental entries before something interesting comes along.
That day it was particularly tedious… so when someone send me a message inviting me to a big party, my curiosity woke up.
The party was going to be celebrated in the evening, with an attendance of roughly 40 people in a location disclosed by whatsapp only 2h prior the start. And, although you could suspect that sex is behind every social gathering, it was not an invitation for a dodgy party. An entrance fee had to be paid and there was going to be a bar and music.
I wasn’t sure if I would go but was good to have a plan if nothing else happens.
Two hours before the start I got my invitation through whatsapp. I fought the idea of going. I imagined either a bad place or a party full of uninteresting people. But the fact was that by 10pm had no better plan so I said to myself ‘what the hell, let’s go to there’
Party was in a flat at the 16th floor of modern block. As I had to disclose to the concierge where I was going, I thought I could sense what he was thinking at that moment…. ‘another one’ …… Part of my was slightly embarrassed although there was no reason for.
Once at the flat door I tried to hear from outside the door any kind of noise either to reassure or dismiss the idea of entering. But nothing. So I had to venture and buzzed the bell.
What I found inside was, at least, refreshing. It seemed that two young men turned their flat into a weekend gay bar. Most of furniture was cleared and a decoration of curtains and lights was throughout the entire place. There was a bar, a DJ and even a cloak check.
‘People in South America are so creative that invent ways to make revenue’ – I thought. So I went for a drink and decided to relax and enjoy the peculiarity of the setting.
As I chatted to the organizers, the whole thing turned to be more sophisticated than two young guys setting an informal bar. Almost one hour after my arrival, an older guy entered the bar. Turned out to be the manager. I spoke to him as I was in a talkative and curious mood. And he explained to me the way that bar was operated.
Rather than an informal thing, there was an organized structure behind it. The two young boys in the bar and him were working for a company. That company was hiring flats for the weekend only from standard people (imagine you have your flat and rent it for the weekend to an event company). So flat owners leave their flat sat morning. The company arrives at sets the bar and venue for the evening, operates the bar until Sunday morning, to clear and give the flat to their owners in the evening.
Owners don’t know what goes on in their flats and customers never know where the next bar is. The whole thing iterates and get clientele from the whatsapp subscription list plus any local guys in the vicinity found through grinder.
Rest to tell, is like any other gay venue. So there was a bit of everything for everyone. I couldn’t take pics of the entire thing as the hosts did not want pictures of the whole thing, but I managed to get a couple of snapshots.
It wasn’t the most amazing party I have been, but certainly was one of the most peculiar venues I have been and, therefore, refreshing. Besides that, I made a new friend and beautiful connection.