Monday, August 30

Amsterdam #2

So, Amsterdam just blew my mind. Let me start at the beginning.

4:30 pm yesterday, at a pizzeria near the Rijksmuseum. Eating my first real meal of the day. We invite the solo gentleman sitting a few tables down to join us. He is a charmingly funny Irishman named Martin -- and I don't care what your gender or how you identify, I simply love accents. So. After we eat, I head back to the hostel to take a quick nap and get some work done on my Fulbright application, leaving my friend Tina and our new friend Martin alone for a few hours. We meet up later, around 7, and they've already got a few drinks in them and have a few cans of Heineken to offer me. We wait for Martin's friends to show up right by the entrance of Vondelpark, all the while getting sprinkled with the lazy Amsterdam evening rain and enjoying the people watching. Then we're a five-some: I, Tina, Martin, Sean and Mark all head out toward the Red Light District, tramming it to get out of the rain and stopping off at the Euro Bar to have another drink and some fries.

Now, friends, try to picture this. Me with three charming, witty, very very straight Irish men. Drunk. Wandering through the Red Light District, with barely clothed women shimmying and beckoning in red backlit windows right on the street front. Now, I thought that I had made it fairly clear that I prefer WOMEN, but these three took my comments as a way to amuse themselves all night. Let me make myself clear: they were very nice men, and once they realized that I actually do date women, they were adorably curious and sweet. But the running commentary was a tad obnoxious.

So, we enter the Red Light District. And a few drinks down the hatch, we decide that we should go see a sex show. I figure, when in Rome... Before you judge me, you should know that I'm a complete feminist, and that prostitution is legal in Amsterdam, that I was not partaking, and that the situation is compelx, and of course all I'm thinking the entire time is ughh, umm, okay? I needed to see it for myself. It was so funny -- the boys kept turning to me and asking, genuinely, does that turn you on? what do you think about that? is she your type? Meanwhile, I'm sitting toward the back, slightly uncomfortable, mostly bemused, Heineken # something-or-other in hand, looking into all of the performers' faces and trying to understand their stories, get any hint of their emotions, and also monitoring the audience, slightly sickened at the whooping older men, surprised at the number of women in the audience, and the different personalities of the performs. I turn to the poor blokes and explain that I like REAL women. I can tell I'm totally bursting their bubble, but I forge on. These women are most likely straight. And there's no emotion or, well, reality! There is absolutely nothing that turns me on about a performance like that -- it's the lover that gives the pleasure, not the sex, as Marge Piercy says.

Sufficiently non-shocked and non-turned on but still sufficiently floaty, we do a bit more wandering and head to an Irish pub where I'm no longer buying my own drinks. There the conversation splits into two, with Kristine (Tina) and Martin chatting animatedly next to me (he had lots of good tips about which places to visit) while Sean, Mark and I delve into conversation about me, my relationships, my history. It was incredibly cute, and flattering, and unusual for me as a gay girl having these two incredibly hetero guys just genuinly stone-cold fascinating in my life. And no, I wasn't so out of it that I THOUGHT they were genuinely interested. Those of you who know me will know that I don't take any shit or any interest from people I'm not interested in.

Anyhow, then it was time for the night to end. Lots of hugs, invitations to come visit in Dublin, and voila! our exciting, cliche adventure in Amsterdam (sans the hash) is over. Tina and I departed for our respective hostels -- hers was very close to the District but mine was too far -- and I cab it home after three nice Dutch boys on bikes tell me it's too long to walk. I crawl into bed, whip off my jeans and reach up to take out my earrings and -- wait! -- there's only one there! Fucksicle. Oh well. A good night out. I love this city.

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