Let's face it. Queers have ruled nightlife for a mighty long time. We were disco, then we were Hi-NRG (which was really just disco), then we were house (which was still really just disco). We were club kids and cocaine and staying out dancing till dawn. So why are we ever so slightly unnerved by the return of lounge culture?
Sure, it's got the makings of a great night out. People dress for dinner again (who doesn't love a man in a well-cut suit?), and those incredibly complicated drinks that you can light on fire are enjoying a well-deserved renaissance. However, it just seems so...straight. It's as if, after giving us 20 years of dominance over the apres work world, heterosexuals decided they needed a style all their own. Nightclubbing has gone ultra retro, and although the '50s and '60s were swingin', they weren't exactly bastions of tolerance for us queers. Honestly, if, say, Frank Sinatra is your role model, are you really going to love homos?
Don't get us wrong...it's not as if we have issues with the music! S'wonderful to hear boy crooners and sultry ladies--nothin' wrong with that. For sheer seduction, we'll take the dulcet tones of a Bobby Darin over the thumping grooves of a diva any old day. But let's be honest: It's strictly boy meets girl. More than that, it is really über-boy meeting and mating with über-girl. The male lounge model is a cigar-chomping, red-meat-eating, whiskey-drinking Man. The Girl is Holly Golightly, and, fabulous as that might be, some of us dykes aren't exactly anxious to slip into a little black dress.
This is not to say that there aren't some fun camp aspects of the whole thing. We're enamoured of those housewife magnets, for example, featuring women in those weird, vaguely frightening pinafore dresses with plastered-on expressions of glee--generally over new appliances. And anything that draws attention to Doris Day can't be all bad. Perhaps these campy notions can be our entree into this strange new (old) world. A '90s trend is no fun without a healthy dose of self-conscious irony, and this one is getting a little too sincere. Rise up, O brothers and sisters! Descend on the Morton's, the Lounges, and the Club Havanas of the world. Disco ain't dead yet.