A few months ago I was in one of my favorite bars when a guy asked me if it were a leather bar. I quickly told him this place was more of a cowboy/bear bar and that he should go up to the Eagle on 28th street for the full leather experience. He thanked me and headed for the exit. I then noticed that an acquaintance I'll call Peter, who was sitting nearby, was giving me a really dirty look. I figured it had nothing to do with me, and an hour or so later he seemed perfectly friendly.
The next time I went into this bar, Peter was there and called me over. "I have a bone to pick with you," he told me. "You told the guy I was cruising to go up to the Eagle." Oops. Now I knew what the dirty look was about. Because I'm a nice guy (most of the time) I apologized to Peter, but afterward I wondered what the hell I was apologizing for. First of all, why didn't he simply say to the guy, "Hey, I"m going up to the Eagle, too -- wanna share a cab?" (Not that I can see Peter, a kind of theater queen, in a leather bar, but who knows?) Is it my fault if he didn't think fast or was afraid of being rebuffed?
But the amazing thing is that it didn't even look as if he were talking to the leather guy, let alone
cruising him. Yes, this was another case of what I call "invisible" cruising. And it works this way.
Guy # 1 sees a guy he's attracted to -- guy # 2 -- in a bar. He figures that as the evening progresses he'll eventually work up the courage to go and talk to him. He's marked guy # 2 as his target -- in his mind if nowhere else. But before he can actually make his move, another guy -- guy # 3 -- goes over to the first guy and begins cruising him. The third guy, in all innocence, is only trying to get a date like everyone else is, but guy # 1 immediately hates him for getting in the way. Poor guy # 3 has earned guy # 1's eternal enmity, especially if he scores with guy # 2. Some of these invisible cruisers never actually cruise anyone, they just assume the psychic waves they're sending out will force the guy, X-Files-like, to come over and say they wanna fuck them.
For heaven's sake, I can see someone getting annoyed if someone horns in when you're trying to cruise someone, but if you're sitting across the bar only thinking about it, all bets are off. And the amazing thing was that I wasn't even cruising the leather guy myself -- (hmm, a missed opportunity, because I recall he was rather hot) -- nor did I walk out the door with him and head up to the Eagle (which, frankly, is what I should have done, and boy would Peter have been pissed off then)!
Peter was plenty pissed off anyway. He sidled up to me that next time and said "People think I'm a nice guy, but if someone gets in my way, I destroy them, do you hear me, I destroy them!"
Brrr -- was I quaking with terror or what? What would he do -- slap me across the face with a script? Now I liked Peter, but I thought he was behaving ridiculously, and I found him about as scary as Truman Capote in a muu muu. He was acting like he hadn't a date in years. I'm not saying that that's true, but if it is there's not a damn thing I can do about it.
So the next time you see somebody glaring at you with a look that can kill and you have no idea why, consider the possibility that at some point you innocently interfered with their sit-on-their-ass invisible cruising. While the rest of us actually put ourselves on the line and cruise, risking rejection -- nothing ventured, nothing gained -- these Invisible Men hate us for doing what they only dream about.