A lot of questions drift through your head when you’re at a gay bar in your underwear. Should I have gone with boxers? Are these singles too gross to tip with? Whoa, is that thing real? No. That thing’s not real, is it? Shut up, no it’s not.
You also experience mini-freakouts over the location of your phone, keys, ID, and pants. Oh yes, you reassure yourself, I put them all in a white shopping bag and gave it to that nice daddybear guy in the boxer briefs. That’s where I got this wristband.
There’s a nice sense of security in knowing that your pants are safe in a bag somewhere waiting for you. In fact, despite the host of questions that invariably pop up during the irregularly occurring Underbear evenings at the Alley, there’s a pervasive sense of safety that warms the proceedings (a process aided, I’m sure, by the hundred or so large, hairy, half-naked men in attendance).
Part of this stems from the fact that the Alley is heir apparent to the similarly unmarked and hallowed halls of the late, often sticky, always cruisy 119 Merrimac and thus carries with it not just a weird tapehead-cleaner aroma but a degree of (all too scarce) privacy and seedy excitement that harks back to a time when being gay was more than a checkbox or a perfectly normal neighbor. The other part is that it’s hard to feel too threatened by an IT administrator in SpongeBob boxers sipping a Long Island iced tea through a stir straw.
Indeed, if any force threatens the chummy waistband-snapping and Audubon-esque tentspotting that characterizes Underbear, it’s the ceaseless miasma of heinous trance lobotomies on Journey songs and the Brokeback Mountain theme — they’re so ball-shrinkingly awful, it’s difficult to imagine anything remotely sex-related resulting from prolonged exposure. Fortunately, bears, more so than any subsect in gaydom, with their hirsute pursuit of balls-out (ahem) anti-beauty, are seasoned experts at tuning things out — or taking them off.