One night, when I was just 18, I was walking downtown towards one of the 18+ bars in Austin. I was in the mood to go out, however, the rest of my friends were all happily coupled off and didn’t like to go out as much. As I was walking down the street I was stopped by a couple just coming out of a bar. They were a little older than I was at the time, perhaps 25. He was gay, white and very flirtatious and assuming. She was straight, black with a radiant smile and welcoming tone to her voice. His name was JT and she was Shawanna. JT grabbed my arm and said that the three of us were going to another bar. I didn’t dare say no, as they seemed like interesting people.
We walked up to the Forum, an old bar located on congress now closed. They were not have an 18+ night, and I stopped short of the door, telling them that I was only 18 and couldn’t get in. JT told me that I can either walk in and own the place or go back to my comfort zone. So I followed in between he and Shawanna, the door guy knew JT very well and they hugged and JT introduced me to him. He didn’t ask to see any ID, he just said “Welcome cutie” and directed us through the curtain.
Inside the bar JT went and ordered us our drinks and we headed upstairs to the balcony patio. This was a very cool and relaxing place, not classy at all, but comfortable. While we sat there drinking we exchanged our biographies with each other. learning more about these two people, I figured out that JT is the one who leads, and as I met more of JT’s friends it was quite obvious that he is always the one who leads. He has a presence about him that takes control.
That night I strutted into another four bars all of which I glided past the door guys and was never questioned about my age. Being friends with JT did have its benefits. Near the end of the night we exchanged numbers and planned on hanging out the following weekend.
Over the following years I met a number of JT’s friends…Some very colorful, others crazy and some certifiabley insane (otherwise known as Deanna, Manny and Nicole). None of these people however had everything JT did, unparalleled fashion sense, a thirst for all things liquor and a heart for adventure.
Most night began having cocktails at JT’s apartment, located just a few blocks from the bars and clubs downtown. The night lasted at the bar until 2am, and then we would all head to Wally’s.
Wally was an older gay man who lived in a nice neighborhood not too far from downtown. He threw an after party every Saturday night, after BoyzCellar closed for the evening. BoyzCellar was a bar owned by one of my friends, and a place I briefly worked at for a while. I digress. JT and I would always make an appearance at Wally’s because most anyone who was anyone in Austin would be there. Many drag queens, lots of drug dealers and tons of gay boys all at this house continuing the party. The night always ended however with Wally crying in his bathroom, as he usually had been robed by some gay boy and/or drag queen over the course of the night. The night wasn’t over unless Wally was crying, that’s how we knew it was time to go home.
One night, JT’s friend Nicole, who was more cocaine than human took the bottles of vodka from the kitchen counter, pour herself a drink and then placed the bottles inside the washing machine and went on to sit on top of the washing machine so that nobody else could drink them. No, she did not bring the vodka, or even chip in for the vodka, so the claiming rights were not hers to have. Luckily, JT tricked her in to heading outside for a cigarettes. That’s when I grabbed the bottles out of the washing machine and replaced them in the kitchen, first filling up too large solo cups full of vodka for JT and Myself.
JT has a knack for nicknames, as he will give them out freely and always without consent. Nicole, for example, has evolved from Tranny Nicole into Tranny NiTroll. I myself have received quite a few: Kevilina, Leonardo KeVinci, and probably the one most people seem to like, Kevinescence.
Even though we met over 13 years ago, we have remained close friends. When I moved to NYC in 2011, JT was living there, and I had no idea. So we finally caught up and reignited our friendship. Throughout the years in NYC we had many more exciting nights, going to New Years eve parties with Porn Stars that were doing REALLY hard drugs, our Auntie Mame nights, going to Julius for those delicious hamburgers then drag queen bingo, also our trips to fire island that we dare not discuss, and even living together for a while. I was very excited when he came to Paris to visit me for a small vacation.
Even though we have had our ups and downs, he is a wonderful person and friend and I am lucky to have him in my life. From ATX, to NYC to Paris….JT, you’re the best, the Mame to my Vera! Thank you for everything, Cheers darling.