X-Mas In July At Rumours

By KellySwayze?

For a few months, in my early twenties, I was the busser, cleaner, occasional bartender, and unofficial prop designer for Womyn’s Night at Rumours. I zipped around the customers, playing a game of virtual Pac-man. You’d better have held on tight to your drink because if it was approaching empty I’d grab it. Every half hour I would check the women’s washroom for bottles. This was an excellent thing to do, because I discovered that women, away from their peers, were friendlier in the washroom. One night I walked into the middle of a spat. A woman flew out of the door holding her eye and crying. Curious I entered the washroom. Another woman had her lover pushed up against the wall, snarling “You f…!” So I turned on my heels and ran to get security. I remember this incident because physical violence was rare in the bar. Words were exchanged of course, but we were there to have fun, (and possibly get laid).

With all the cute girls, thumping music, steaming dishwasher, saucy (but kind) bartenders, outrageous acts... I loved it. Mind you, I didn’t know any better. Items found during cleaning included packages of condoms, cigarettes, cannabis, phone numbers, and twenty dollars. No, it is not yours and I spent it a long time ago. I plead the 5th on the cannabis. The best part of the night was the end; hanging out with the staff at the bar, gossiping, and drinking beers. Our current partners would join us for a drink, before tripping home. Sometimes we would go to a Chinese restaurant on Agricola Street. The drag queens would do cartwheels in the aisle. The proprietor would run after them waving her arms in protest.

Because I was going to art school, the manager asked me to decorate for a special night, X-mas in July. The club needed a big sun, and simulated tropical vegetation. I decided to make a gigantic sun out of papier-mâché, a piece that no one would forget.

It should have been constructed as a low relief flat disc. Instead I choose to build it in the round, with a diameter of ten feet. We built it on the dance floor with chicken wire, and a helluva lot of newspaper. Paul, the head bartender pitched in to complete the beast. He said, "I used to be a farm boy, no problem, don’t worry girl." He recruited his crew of fellow drag queens or as they say, his entourage – or it seemed like that in the eyes of a 21 year old baby dyke anyway. With their assistance we finished the sun on time. Usually I was shy and shocked by the queens’ conversations in the bar, but after that event I had a new respect for drag queens. It certainly changed my perspective on gay men.

An hour before the event I sipped a coffee, and reflected on the 12 foot-high, fluorescent palm trees that were decorating the walls, and my gigantic sun, dangling over the dance floor. I put my hand to my mouth to conceal a nervous snicker. The papier-mâché sun looked like a colossal Jabba the Hutt. A big yellow blob with tentacles radiating out, suspended 30 feet above the dance floor.

People kept asking, “What is that thing is hanging above the dance floor?’” Most wondered but didn't really care. There was dancing, attractive people, and plenty of booze.