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[whitespace] Riding the handlebars of Love

By C. Silo

A sure-fire way to get over a (particularly treacherous) skater is to hook up with a bike messenger. If having a particular type is your thing, you will certainly find similarities between the two, the primary quality being "tautness." But with the messengers you get a little more bang for your buck, so to speak; their tattoos are more esoteric and they usually have better weed. Plus, messengers are political--they stage the most exciting protests in town and are never, never down with the status quo. Not to mention they're the only people on earth who can work the lycra look. Face it--it's nice to get lovin' from a guy who does wheelies on the corner of New Montgomery and Market.

So as soon as the lanky boy in shorts, tribal leg tattoos and a walkie-talkie strolled into Toph's Bohemian Lounge at McCarthy's last Friday night, I knew I was down for some serious heart mending (in the cardiovascular sense). But because I was decked head to toe in slutty secretary gear from BeBe, I feared he might pin me as Mission imperialist SUV-owner. How can I convince him that I too want some free Mumia? Answer: flash the stash. Within minutes I was riding "handle bar" all the way to a four-story flat on Folsom and 22nd, where messenger boy shares a room with a lumpy futon and a perfectly clean glass bong. It was love at first rip, ecstasy at third exhale. Although he accused me of maliciously lifting his Pamela Anderson Bic lighter, we shared a bottle of Hennessy and eventually dozed off to the sweet sounds of Motorhead.

The next evening I found myself nursing my lungs at the most unlikely place to find both skaters and messengers: Martuni's. Aside from the Swallow (watch those innuendoes!) on Polk, there is not a more elegant gay bar in the City--the piano singers are supremely glamorous and the chocolate martinis are more sinful than George Michael in a public outhouse. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts curator Arnold Kemp and I sipped mineral water while LIMN Gallery curator Patrick Hinds and house diva Tyler Stone expounded upon the virtues of hard liquor. "As long as you don't black out before noon, you can drink whiskey all day long," explained the non sequitur-prone Mr. Hinds. Feeling the need to feel wholly heterosexual, DC Shoes art director Wei-En Chang suggested we forsake our cozy, velvet-covered seats and the charming piano man for a night of breeder-style hip-hop at Deco's Funk-Side.

A quarter past one is always the ripest hour at a house party; the drinks get stronger, the music gets deeper and leftover inhibitions mysteriously fade. The basement at Deco was no exception on this Saturday night. A crowd of b-boys and girls in tight shirts worked it in front of the DJ booth while clouds of smoke and hot air swirled beneath the low ceiling and muggy blue lights. DJ Paul Nice dropped a dancehall track as MC Jamalski grabbed the mic and began to chat maniacally in his brilliant-poet style. "I feel much more comfortable here," admitted Mr. Chang.

Seconds later a cab whisked Mr. Chang and me to Wade Hampton's sophisticated drum 'n' bass scene, Belle Époque at The Top, where we joined DC Shoes co-founder Damon Way. Luckily, the septums and earlobes of the dancing crowd were not excessively punctured, and their pant cuffs seemed to possess an appropriate width. It's nice to know that you don't need a fake ID to listen to good music. As the PBS Crew ran the turntables with amazing dexterity and speed, I spotted a walkie-talkie and a courier bag at the end of the bar. Adjusting my cleavage and detachable eyelashes, I made my way toward the scent of two-wheeled passion; in times of need and saltless margaritas, it's always nice to find a piece of critical ass ... .

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From the February 15, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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