If I said I injured myself badly in a Buenos Aires gay bar, you would assume there was an interesting story behind it. If I said I was injured trying to pick up a guy in a Buenos Aires gay bar, you’d figure there was a really interesting story behind it. If I said I was injured trying to pick up a guy and a girl at the same time in a Buenos Aires gay bar, you’d sit around me in a circle with your legs crossed for story time. If I said I ruptured something internally in a Buenos Aires gay bar because the guy and the girl who ended up on top of me were too much for me to handle, then we are talking some Booker Prize shit right there. Well. I was once in a journal with J. M. Coetzee. Let’s hit it.
To disappoint fans of the graphic, the internal rupturing actually consisted of the anterior and medial cruciate ligaments, in the erotic locale of the knee. The story goes like this. It is (supposedly) my last night in BA, more or less. My plan is to take a bus to Mendoza in the morning to meet the Pirates (two of them, anyway, Juancito and The Blue Pirate) who are travelling up that way. After that I’m going to grab a flight to Brazil for warm weather and the World Cup. A few friends have come around to Alex and Ani’s place, where I’m staying, and there’s a bit of a send-off going on.
One of our friends, the fabulous Dami, is pretty much the gayest gay guy I’ve ever met. He is snazzy, natty, queeny, sparkly, dapper, debonair, and just radiates gayness in such intensity that it must permeate surrounding subterranean bedrock in levels that will be measurable with Gayger counters for 100 million years to come. One day in the future the Gayliens will arrive on Earth, and they shall know his velocity. He’s insistent that we all go to a gay club with him, and loudly protests that we never do, to the point where it’s easier just to go along with the plan. We head out to a place called Human, on the superclub strip along the river. I have never seen nightlife like that in Buenos Aires. The big clubs hold literally thousands of people each, and there are a dozen of them along the line of the Rio Plata near the Aeroparque. They don’t even bother opening until about 2 a.m., and don’t really fill up until about 4. Then they run on through until 9, 10, midday, whenever the people decide to go home. It’s an incredible commitment to the party, and I love it. As I’ve mentioned before, back home I often used to be last man swaying, cradling an 8 a.m. drink in the midst of a slew of passed-out bodies. Here, I’m pretty much an early piker.
Getting into the place is a mission, a Chairman Mao Long March through half a mile of car parks and pathways down from the arterial roadway to the occluded riverside location, where the lights and towers of the superclubs rear up out of the trees like the shining cities of a brave new civilisation. It would not give one iota of surprise to see one of them take off and hover away down the River Plate delta to the sea. Then another half mile of queues and barriers and enfilades and confusion and people streaming in all directions. Once inside, the place is a cavern. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a gay club before, so I don’t know what I’m expecting, but there’s nothing out of the ordinary, aside from the Argentine-standard bikini-girl podium dancers being replaced by a couple of beefy dudes with wobbling greased pectorals that inexplicably make me think of David Hasselhoff. There’s no-one in outrageous drag. There seem to be as many girls as guys anyway. No-one makes a desperate dive for my pants. (Ah, that grey area between relief and disappointment.)
The night pans out as nights in giant nightclubs do. At least until the crucial point arrives. Dami decides to lift up Flor, one of our other friends, who is too short to see much over the crowd. I decide, for my own inscrutable reasons, that it’d be a good idea to then lift him up while he’s lifting her. I’m just getting in position to try this out when some drunk dude crashes into Dami. Balance in this situation is a precarious thing. All three of us eat shit in spectacular fashion. I am on the bottom of the pile, on my back. Now, if you picture yourself falling backwards, the usual and safe way to end up is on your back, your feet within the line of your hips, and your knees bent outwards in perpendicular triangles, like a roast chicken, or a girl in the missionary position. While my left leg follows this format, I go down with my right foot well outside the line of my hip, knee pointing straight down, foot at a 90-degree perpendicular to the knee, like a guy rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament.
There are a range of things I have learned from this experience. I have learned that knees are designed to bend forwards and backwards. They are not designed to bend side-to-side. I have learned that if they attempt the latter with the weight of three people pressing down on them with the force of Earth’s gravity plus tequila, this will roughly equate to A Bad Time. I have learned the Spanish terms for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. I have learned that having travel insurance is A Good Idea, especially when you go to hospital on what is both a Sunday and a public holiday. I have learned to walk again, more or less. I have learned that people love a guy in a fetching bright-blue knee brace. I have learned that those things I’ve read on the internet about God hating homosexuality must certainly be true, if you look at how quickly he smote me for entering into a palace of sin. I have learned that nobody turned to a pillar of salt, and if they had, a greasy muscly man would probably have started dancing on top of them. And I have learned that a slightly misleading summary can make a tale seem much more interesting than its component parts deserve. So there you go. I busted my knee trying to pick up a guy and a girl at the same time in a Buenos Aires gay bar. That’s the story. Pass it on.