About Andrew Extein
Freshly minted from liberal arts college, in the dawn of my first “real” relationship, and eager to explore what gay adults do, I curiously and skeptically walk through the doors of The Faultline. My slender frame, young face, social anxiety, and colorful clothes stand out here. For anyone that has not patronized this particular establishment, The Faultline is an old-school gay bar in Los Angeles that features all the traditional iconography of the bars that came about in the early ‘90s that focused on bear and leather culture. The interior features a pole for furry dancers to cozy up to, black walls that ease facial crevices, and a “test your strength” arcade game.
“I assumed that all gay spaces would be a ‘safe haven’ for gay men…”
A few steps away, the patio reveals a comfortably sized space for socializing and casual groping, though with enough light to dissuade heavier petting. Two stripper poles flank a stage that, to my knowledge, has been occupied only by what I recognize as the geriatric homosexual equivalent of a village idiot. Glazed eyeballs drift around his skull while he dazzles the crowd with his limp limbs and syncopated dance abstraction. Stout men with migrating hair, overtanned raisins in worn leather chaps, eagle-eyed chickenhawks with discreet baseball caps, and the more testosterone-fueled Silver Lake glitterati all chatter and glance about the space. The bathroom reveals a more lecherous set, where frequent trips allow for maximum cruising potential. Lining the channel between the patio and bathroom are stacks of gay publications, a bit tousled but largely untouched. Therein lay stacks of advertisements for gay liposuction, gay lawyers, gay plumbers, gay sex clubs, and gay bars that would appear to be replicas of the simulacratic situation that I am finding myself in at this very moment.