It’s 11 p.m., and I’m in a nondescript elevator with another dyke. There’s an odd atmosphere between us, neither of us smiled or said hi when we got in, so now we’re slowly ascending in awkward silence. After what feels like an eternity of avoiding eye-contact, the elevator pings and the metal doors fling open to reveal, well, a queer women’s utopia. Stage 49, the extraordinary four-story superclub in West Manhattan, has been taken over by dance party connoisseurs Hot Rabbit.
Beyoncé’s “Partition” is playing, and the initial base crashes into the elevator like a wave. Groups of queers, with their finger-pistols flailing, ecstatically shout about “rolling up in the club with fifty-eleven girls” and “yoncé’ing all on his mouth like liquor.” The dance moves are impeccable, the atmosphere is open and experimental, the club is filled with two thousand happy queers living their best Priday lives.
On stage, troupe-after-troupe of performers unleash insane dance routines, choreographed to a tee, on the reveling masses. In a surrealist contrast, graphics of Bugs Bunny (is he the hottest rabbit around?) and the potato-faced hunter are projected behind them. The crowd—many of whom had acquired bunny ears—are lapping it up.
As I look around at all the delighted humans, I, an English lesbian in New York, make a simple observation: You lot are bloody hot.
Maybe it’s the NY swag, the accent, or the eye-bang that says, “I am not playing, I am DTF”—a massive turn-on in my humble (and horny) opinion. You are diverse, chilled, able to have open conversations about gender and sexuality, lots of you ask for pronouns, many of you are absolute powerhouses and, don’t even get me started on your prowess in the bedroom. For real, you need to come across the pond and give us Brits some tips—don’t worry, everyone can stay at mine. I insist.
I felt the exact same way when I first came out and first came to this city. I was a little 19-year-old baby dyke on a mission to pull, and I ended up at Hot Rabbit back when it was at Boots & Saddle (RIP). I remember running home and telling everyone that NY dykes are the hottest in the world. Years later, I’d assume my enthusiasm was thanks to the unquenchable thirst or baby dykehood. It was not. I stand at Priday’s party—the well-seasoned dyke-adult I am—a hot, horny, quivering mess.
Where was I… ah yes, the third floor is popping off as well, with a barber, face-painting, a little Pride shop and tarot readings. The highlight of the evening, however, had to be the rooftop cantina. Such friendly people! Most were steaming drunk but in a jolly Priday way—all chatting between groups and courting like crazy. In the background, the city looked divine, beautifully lit-up and loaded with queer folks.
It’s now 4 a.m., and we prise away from the cantina and set off on our merry way. As I head out, I spot my (not quite) pal from the elevator, getting steamy with someone in a corner. Proud of you, boo!