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This thing about fancying straight people… like, I don’t get it… is it because they’re unobtainable? Is it because we’re socialised in a heteronormative society that conditions us to see more value in straightness? Is it because we just really hate ourselves? 

I don’t know… But, luckily I have recovering straight-luster-afterer Mark Perez, co-host of the Star Wars appreciating Pink Milk podcast, to help fill me in.  

We talk all about Club St. John, a bar in San Jose, California, that Mark started going to in the early 90s. Expect to hear about trashy 80s soap operas, how exhausting it is to pretend to be someone you’re not, and those pesky straight people… 

Mark Perez  00:00

Back then it’s like, I didn’t even want to even entertain the thought of going to a straight bar when it could go to a gay bar. I just wanted to gay, gay, gay, gay, gay. Anything else was a waste of my time.

K Anderson  00:11

Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories that they created there and the people that they used to know. So this whole thing about fancying straight people, I just don’t get it. Is it because there’s this thing about them being unobtainable? Is it because we are all socialised in a heteronormative society that conditions us to see more value in straightness? Or do we all just really hate ourselves? I don’t know. But luckily, I have recovering straight lustre after Mark Perez, co host of The Star Wars appreciating pink milk podcast. To help fill me in on this week’s episode. We got together to talk about club St. John a bar in San Jose, California, that Mark started going to in the early 90s. But you know how it goes on this show. We veered all over the place. So expect to hear about trashy ad soap operas, how exhausting it is to pretend to be someone you’re not. And the aforementioned straight men that Mark lusted after. Sorry about that. Let’s talk about boxing it up. Yeah. So what does that mean? Like, what does that entail?

Mark Perez  02:30

Oh, I, here’s just the way I carried myself the way I walked. I was trying to just not bring too much attention to myself in the fact that I could easily just get lost amongst a crowd of people. And I wouldn’t get singled out for being gay. You know, I think just in general, I didn’t like getting a lot of attention, then having a focus beyond me, in general. So this isn’t just about being gay. It was just about I just didn’t want to stand out in that way. You know,

K Anderson  03:00

but how do you know that it’s not just about being gay? Because I apply that to a lot of

Mark Perez  03:05

different things. Whether it be like something I’m wearing or something that I’m doing, I would not want to be all of a sudden the centre of attention. It would just really,

K Anderson  03:16

is that because this is a learned behaviour? Good question.

Mark Perez  03:20

That’s a good question. Um,

K Anderson  03:25

because it’s the same for me, like, I don’t like being the centre of attention. But when I was a kid, like, you know, before, I was aware of everything around me, I had no problem with that. Yeah. And I loved showing off and like putting on shows and doing

Mark Perez  03:42

the opposite for me now.

K Anderson  03:44

Oh, okay. Well get on. But like, so Did I did I learn over time not to want to be the centre of attention? Because that meant bad things? Or did I?

Mark Perez  03:54

That is it. I think, I saw it as negative attention in the sense that I didn’t want to not be, again, not be liked to be thought of as weird to be thought of as different. I wanted to blend in so that I could be like everybody else and be boring. You know? Here’s how I knew that it wasn’t for me, because I would look at people who were out who were their authentic selves, they would just act any other way. People would love them, and I’d be jealous of them. I was like, Well, how does that work? Why am I jealous? If I’m doing what I think is right for me. Why am I jealous of them? You know, that’s when I realised Okay, Mark, you’re not doing something right here. You got to start. Just be yourself. You know?

K Anderson  04:35

Yeah. And people underestimate how exhausting it is. It’s a lot of work being visible. It’s a lot of thinking and micromanaging yourself. Yeah. Well,

Mark Perez  04:46

I think it’s a lot of work either way, trying to hide and suppress yourself and trying to be this other person. It’s like you’re putting on a show either way. That’s the irony of it all, isn’t it? It’s like, yeah, you’re putting on a show by the way because you are actively Working so that people see what you want them to see. And it’s not necessarily just you.

K Anderson  05:05

And it’s not even necessarily successful. Like me. But yeah, and then that then I feel as though there are people that go the turtle other way who were like, I’m gonna be my authentic self. But they’re actually like this heightened version of themselves to like, go completely the opposite way, and it’s exhausting. Just be in the same room.

Mark Perez  05:32

It’s like, you can’t always be in a good mood. It’s like, No, this is not realistic.

K Anderson  05:37

You know, I mean, parents not enough pap in the world to know there’s

Mark Perez  05:41

no I mean, it’s like, so I’ve seen people get up and they’d like, oh my god, I love life and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, like, shut up. But I get it. I’m happy for people who generally wake up loving life, right? Good for you, right? You’re gonna do it your way. But I just can’t. I’m like, I wake up. I’m like, Okay, I’m gonna be a little grumpy. And then you’re gonna get my happy self at some point in the day.

K Anderson  06:05

I mean, I mean, I’m happy for them. But I’m also suspicious.

Mark Perez  06:12

They can be serial killer, for all we know.

K Anderson  06:15

making you happy. I feel like they’d be a lot of work involved. All that chopping? I don’t know. Exactly. So. So when did you get to the point? When you were like, Nah, I’m not going to budge it up anymore.

Mark Perez  06:29

I think it was when I got to my early 30s is when I started realising I put these up on this person that I wanted everyone to see. It’s like, look, I have those sides of myself. Yes, I have, quote, unquote, I can act like a girl doing this or that, like people. I think I said, let me give you instances, the things that would bother me during my 20s were like when girls with him you smoke like a girl. And I would just hurt me so much. How

K Anderson  06:58

do you smoke? Like, how do you smoke like a girl? Because just the way I would hold it and the way I would do things? It’s like, don’t it’s like the the wrist action,

Mark Perez  07:06

I guess that you know, whatever, whatever it was that just instances like that were the things that would get me down and I’m like, it would hurt me a lot. But then I would realise I’m like, wait a minute, but those are parts of you. Why shouldn’t you love that party? And what’s wrong with being that way? This is the way I’m going to be this is the way I’m going to do things. I shouldn’t have to change that to please others, right? Whether it be what somebody thinks in my voice, my looks if I look too much this way or that way. You know, I just finally got to the point where I’m like, Well, I love being around women, lesbians. So if somebody tells me, I may look like one don’t get offended, they’re cool. That’s a great thing to like, it doesn’t matter. It’s like, This is who you are. And you have to start accepting that. And like it took me a long while all those things I finally got to a point where I was just like, I’m not offended by somebody saying that about me anymore. I that’s like that’s. So like you said he’s exhausting. You know, it’s

K Anderson  08:01

such a weird thing for someone to point out to you though. Like, it’s really weird. It’s happened a lot. I went through like a string of boyfriends who all felt the need to tell me that they were the more masculine? Yes. And it’s like, so

Mark Perez  08:18

what does that give you? The upper hand is

K Anderson  08:20

telling me? Like,

Mark Perez  08:23

that’s exactly it. It’s like, they felt like they had the upper hand or they almost were better than you because they could point that out about you, right?

K Anderson  08:32

And it’s just super annoying. And it’s like, what scale are you using to come up with this explanation as well? Like, what maths are you doing in your head? Yeah, I get more annoyed about the fact that someone felt the need to tell me then the fact of the thing that they’ve told me because it’s like, there is no way that you’re not telling me that to like exert some kind of power over me or to exactly some kind of way. Yeah, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Mark Perez  09:03

Yeah, exactly. You know, and then it wasn’t even just straight people who would do that it was even in the community at times. It’s like, you know, we can be so damn cruel to each other at the clubs and so. But it’s funny because like I said, I took it in stride, because it’s like, who I was, at least things that I saw myself doing that I would put myself down for that I was so afraid people would see, were the things that are potentially loving about myself. And it’s like, why did you do that to yourself, you put yourself through help or just wait too long, when you can just ease up and been like, Okay, well, you know what, this is me. And we’re going to do this. And, you know, don’t let it bother you. When people say that. It’s like it’s on them. It’s like the other ones like don’t have any tack.

K Anderson  09:47

Okay, so with that in mind, if these are the things that you love, let’s do 30 seconds of celebrating mark, tell me all the things that you love about oh, I should put a timer on your shirt. You’ve got 30 seconds.

Mark Perez  09:58

All right. I love that I get to get out there and meet new friends and like I love just getting to interact with people and being able to talk with them about a whole bunch of different subjects.

K Anderson  10:10

But what do you love about yourself? About yourself?

Mark Perez  10:13

Okay? I love it. I love to sing. I love my passion for music and films. I love that. When I am really getting close to people, I can be loyal to fault.

K Anderson  10:33

That’s the alarm. It’s time to finish it off, finish it off,

Mark Perez  10:36

okay, and then love that I’m open to meeting new people like you. And it’s like, that is a big part of my life. Like it just I love meeting new people in the new experiences and getting out there, you know?

K Anderson  10:49

Yeah, well done. I would have been terrible at that. So congratulations. For putting you on the spot. No, that’s

Mark Perez  10:57

great. Thank you. I don’t do that enough. I think that’s a great thing to do. You know, it’s like, just remind yourself, what are the things that you love about yourself? Because sometimes you lost the day, we don’t

K Anderson  11:08

do that. And I need to start doing a gratitude journal, even saying it makes me but like, I get it. I’ve been thinking about doing some thing along those lines. Just recording, even if it’s not a gratitude journal, but it’s more of like, these are the things I want to let go of. Yeah, maybe. Yeah. Anyway, so that’s something for me I need to get. So Young mark, yes, has come out. He is exploring his queer self in the city of San Jose. So where would he go? So one

Mark Perez  11:45

of the main places that I would go to was a place called Club St. John, in downtown San Jose, it was literally the best bar we had in the area. You know, all the cool kids went there.

K Anderson  12:00

And what made it better than everywhere else,

Mark Perez  12:02

it was just the environment. It was so nice. Inside the dance area, you know, the bartenders, the drinks, it’s the way it looked. And just where it was located was so central. It literally was so central that it was just, that’s where we would meet right. And Wednesday night was the big night, right. And it was on a really good night, there was a line around the corner to get into the damn place, especially the night before Thanksgiving, because everybody would be in town to visit their parents and so forth. Right. But that place as legend has it, people started going on Wednesday nights there because they would watch dynasty and when that was over then that they would just stay for the bar and like have a good time there that night. Right. And Wednesday night became the night. But yeah, it was just it was just a great place. And it was a goal to want to be old enough to be able to get in there because I’d go before I could get in and see all the people going in and they were just being themselves living their best lives with their friends being Catty, whatever it is that they were doing, but they were able to get into the space that I wasn’t old enough to get yet.

K Anderson  13:00

So what would you do

Mark Perez  13:01

you just oh, we were just hanging outside just people watch and stuff. Like it was so dumb. It really was dumb. But it we just, it’s just the closest we could get to being in that environment because we couldn’t get into the bars just yet. Right?

K Anderson  13:12

And so what would you just like hanging out on the curb?

Mark Perez  13:15

Yeah, all right in front, you know, they would tell us the move, whatever, you know, but it was just silly. It was just silly now that I think about it’s like, why would you do that? Right? But we just wanted to be close to it. Right? You know? And eventually we would and like I said, like once I was able to doctor my ID I was able to get inside you know,

K Anderson  13:31

but tell me about this them? Do you remember the first time you ever went

Mark Perez  13:36

off the top of my head I remember walking in and just taking it all in and being like, Oh my God, look at all this. It’s like look at everybody, with themselves, hanging out people kissing people dancing, people drinking, you know, like, and I remember it had been either the first or second time I was there. I walk in and trying to like, look around and see if I can find a picture I’m gonna feel comfortable at this drag queen walks up to me, looks at me and says, Do you do your eyebrows at all? No. And she’s all bitch and walks away. Now it’s like I knew I was in the right place. But eventually, like I said, I had my my friends that I would meet there and we would hang out, you know, and that would be where all of queer San Jose would meet on Wednesday nights for the most part, right? You know, they had great music. Obviously, you know, early 90s was a lot of CC penasaran black box. The last song The last song of the night would always be we are family Sister Sledge. And that informed my idea of family than two because again, back in those days when we weren’t so open, we were out and about, you know if we were talking about other people, and we were trying to figure out if they were gay or not, we’d be like, Oh, are they family? That that was the way we spoke then Right? And so to hear that song at the end of the night just only made sense to me. Right? And I love that that idea because that’s stuck with me, you know, because you got to find your found family, if if your parents and what not are not supportive, then you’re going to find that amongst your friends, because they’re going to be the people that you spend your holidays with, or you go to when things are not going great.

K Anderson  15:15

And you are the kind of person that stays until the end.

Mark Perez  15:19

Not, not now, at one point I would have and then I realised I was like, I can’t be around this person anymore. They’re a little too toxic. Or maybe we’re toxic together, because it’s not always about them. It’s about like, together, we’re not a good fit like this will bring out the worst in each other. So let’s move on.

K Anderson  15:39

But I was joking about staying to the end of the night in the O about relationships. So were there any particularly toxic relationships you were in at that time?

Mark Perez  15:51

Oh, yeah. Have you whether it be like close friendships, or even just the people that I was, you know, got to know more intimately? Yeah, there was one then we met at a bathhouse. And but we ended up in a relationship and he was just, I loved him to death. He was a mess. And eventually I had a cut my ties, but it also informed me very much of what it is I wanted in a relationship. And what to watch out for, you know, I was so young and starry eyed. I didn’t realise what was going on around me until it was like a little too late.

K Anderson  16:25

So are you the kind of person that wants to fix the other person in your relationship

Mark Perez  16:33

I was then I was very much that person, then find me the bird with a broken wing. I’m gonna mend it

K Anderson  16:39

and make him fly. And so how did you get over that? Again, I

Mark Perez  16:43

realise it’s like, you know, whatever their their problems may be, whether it was drinking, or drugs or whatever, unless they’re willing to help themselves, you’re not going to be able to do much, right? So I realised

K Anderson  16:55

that you can go and find someone else who you can fix like, yeah,

Mark Perez  16:59

and I. And that’s just the thing, I didn’t realise I was repeating that behaviour over and over again, and that I thought, Oh, this is my job in life. I’m gonna fix everybody. And it’s like, no, no, it’s not hard. You don’t have to do that. You can help somebody, you can, of course, be there for them, you can support somebody, but the whole fixing them thing when I realised that that’s just not how it works. You know, and I think that would be like, again, years where it kind of became much more self worth 30. Somewhere around there is when I realised it’s like, you can’t be repeating this, it’s like you, do you realise that there is just the same story keeps repeating yourself over and over and over again. Why are you doing it? And it’s funny, because I would even stay away from relationships that weren’t like that, because I thought, I don’t belong in this because I’m not fixing them. I didn’t realise that. That was all part of that same mistake, right?

K Anderson  17:47

Oh, like in healthy relationships. You were like, This is a bit off.

Mark Perez  17:51

Yeah. And it’s like, oh, this, there’s no challenge here. What the hell am I doing? This is boring. That was so dumb. I didn’t realise it’s like, Oh, my God, you can actually get a, you know, a healthy person. And again, nobody’s perfect. You can get this to this person who’s just like, got it together. You know what, they come with their own problems, like we all do. But it doesn’t have to be this Super Challenge where like, there’s drama all the time. You know, you can just

K Anderson  18:18

another trick Another trick that you could have done if the relationship was healthy. Yeah, bring drama. Oh, I did that, so what was the moment of realisation then when did this switch flip?

Mark Perez  18:36

I think it was, again, like early 30s, when I had some time to kind of reflect on everything that came before that. And I realised that same kind of thread went through all of them is that I thought, wait a minute, why am I trying to fix these people, it’s like, you know, when we can concentrate on all the other things that we’re going to be doing together, it’s like, it doesn’t have to always be this way. And a lot of myself time to look back and go through those stories and be like, well, this isn’t a good, you know, it’s like, it shouldn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t, you shouldn’t have to be trying to fix anybody. It’s like there’s other things that concentrate on, there’s other things and again, I didn’t have to be with anybody. I finally realised that as well then to that it’s okay to be with yourself and allow yourself time to grow and not have to be in a relationship. And that’s okay, too. Doesn’t mean you’re any, you’re not worthy, or you’re less than because you’re not with somebody so you don’t have to, again, all that stuff just started coming like right around like early 30s. It helped me be more of who I am.

K Anderson  19:41

But like there’s a difference between recognising that behaviour. Yeah. And changing that

Mark Perez  19:47

and changing the behaviour. Okay, so I guess what, what it was is that when I did go try to look for a relationship, when it was time again and I met somebody, I would look for those red flags. stuff that I knew got me into those other relationships. It’s like, oh, this person has a lot going on. This may not be a good choice mark. Let’s just stop right there. I like you. We’re cool. We’re just gonna be friends. But you know, but it’s so

K Anderson  20:13

alluring.

Mark Perez  20:15

Of course it is. Oh, God, it was I was like a moth to a flame, it was like, is to seem like a you know, like, again, my 20s I spent full time like chasing after straight boys that I thought it would be able to make my boyfriend, you know, I’m doing that too. And then I had to realise I’m like, Mark, you know, you could solve a lot of this problem if you actually went for gay men. There’s a concept.

K Anderson  20:37

So I need to know more about this, because like, I have never had that straight. Yeah. Like, I recognise, it’s a thing, but it never made sense to me. So what, what’s the appeal there?

Mark Perez  20:49

In a way, it was kind of internal homophobia. And that if I’m looking for somebody who isn’t gay, we’re like this, like pillar of masculinity. You know, it’s like, it’s like, better than being with like, gay men, which is horrible to think about now, right? But then again, we we learn this behaviour as we’re growing up, right? It’s like, beaten into our heads. And so when you finally come to the realisation that like, again, like I said, Oh my God, what a concept. I could go for a gay man, you know, who, whatever level of they’re coming out. They may be, but at least they’re aware of who they are and where they’re going. And they’re working towards that. Right?

K Anderson  21:26

Well, they hate themselves as much as I hate myself.

Mark Perez  21:29

Exactly. Oh, my God, your your luggage matches mine. Let’s go. Let’s The beautiful thing of it. Right? Okay,

K Anderson  21:38

let’s go straight man. Did anything ever get to a point of like sex or kissing or feelings? Or was it all just

Mark Perez  21:47

so let’s go back to that relationship I was telling you about with the person from when I was 15 or so that’s, I think was the point that I thought that that’s what I should be looking for in the future. Because I thought this person is not necessarily maybe more straight leaning maybe by, but the fact that I could get to know them, and we can have a relationship. And I liked what I had within that. Even though I wasn’t getting everything that I should from it. Right? I thought that that’s how it should be going forward. Again, repeating those same mistakes, because it worked, but then it must work going forward. This is how I find somebody. Right? And so

K Anderson  22:24

did you find other straightening,

Mark Perez  22:27

some somewhere like that, I mean, never got quite to that. But I just as horrible as it sounds, I just like the challenge again, putting myself through that, you know, which is not fair to the other person. It’s like, Who the hell did I think I was, you know, how rude.

K Anderson  22:43

I like, it’s kind of exhausting isn’t

Mark Perez  22:45

it was it was and then I wondered why I was so damn grumpy during that time periods. But it was, I guess it was because again, like I said, the whole bunching it up and everything I was able to, like be around these guys. And that was able to like, you know, be a dude, whatever, you know, and like, you know, with with the added benefit that maybe someday this person might be my boyfriend or whatever. I mean, it was just it’s so silly. When I think about it. Now. It’s like this, this the mind that that I had, then what I thought was the right way to go about doing things. And it was nowhere near what I needed to do to be happy. You know,

K Anderson  23:23

I can see there’s something appealing about this secretiveness of it. Yes, yes. And that like to only the two of us.

Mark Perez  23:32

Exactly. And that was alluring that it’s so for me, it was alluring in that it was just our thick, right? People don’t have to know about all this. And it’s not because I’m trying to hide. I like the fact that it’s just a menu thing, you know? So for sure. Yeah, that had a lot to do with the two I it just Yeah, it was just it’s a trip. It was something I put myself to do for way way too long until I realised it was right in front of me the whole time. It’s like, what am I doing? Stop doing that.

K Anderson  24:02

It’s really interesting because I am right on the same page as you with needing someone who I can fix. But I think I also had the pattern of only going with people who adored me. Totally get that whole, that whole straight man thing, and I just couldn’t ever get into because it’s like, oh, wait, hang on. You’re supposed to adore me, not the other way around. Yeah, that’s yeah, maybe why I don’t

Mark Perez  24:33

check this out. This is why sometimes things would happen. That would assure me that I was on the right path then even though it wasn’t, is when the straight guys would tell me. You know, there’s girls and I love them. And then there’s you. You’re the only one I would do this with and that was when I like oh I have something I’m special. I can get this person bla bla bla bla bla so that didn’t help that didn’t help.

K Anderson  24:59

Did you get the Ready for you to get to that point, liquor.

Mark Perez  25:06

The liquid courage helps for sure, you know, hanging out with friends, whatever it is that you’re doing whether getting baked, whatever it was, then you know, but those moments would come up because it was hard it was there was a lot of tension, you know, there’s a lot of be working up the courage to finally tell this person how I felt about them, you know, and sometimes, again, that would allow us to get close to a certain point. And I thought, well, oh, maybe this can happen, maybe we will, we will end up together, and then I’d be heartbroken when they would finally go out with a girl. And I’d be like left alone, you know, because they were just being themselves. They were doing, you know, I wouldn’t say that they baited me in any way. Some of them did. But, but for the most part, I did it to myself, you know.

K Anderson  25:53

And so before I say the thing I’m about to say, oh, no, you already know, I’m going in some judgy direction. So I know that sex is an all and everything about a relationship. But was it not like, Oh my God, I’ve put in all this work. And all I got was to touch his penis for 30 seconds. Why bother?

Mark Perez  26:17

Well, there’s that. But let’s say this, that void was filled. read into that, however, you want to know that when I wasn’t spending time with this person, I wouldn’t be able to go out to the bars, I would be able to go cruising. And I wouldn’t be able to have that intimacy with men that were gay that were out there, you know, or if you’re cruising with the people that you meet on the DL, there was that outlet. So it wasn’t like, I wasn’t doing any of that at all during this time period. Because I knew this person wasn’t necessarily my boyfriend. But I mean, I want to go have sex with men. That’s, that’s, you know, as soon as I came out, it was like a kid in a candy store. I you know, that’s some course in and the reality of it comes from around that you have to be careful, you gotta take care of yourself, use a condom, Mark, you know, you got to do, you know.

K Anderson  27:04

So it wasn’t like you got really infatuated to the point of not wanting anything else.

Mark Perez  27:09

Now, the way it did get to that point, because if we did spend a lot of time together, then I wouldn’t have a lot of time to myself, and then I wouldn’t be able to do it, then I would get upset with myself. But for the most part, I was able to go and do that as well, too. Right? It wasn’t just all about this person, you know, thankfully. But But you’re right, though. There were instances where you’re just like, I spent all that time. Why, you know? And all part of growing up, I suppose. Yeah.

K Anderson  27:40

Yeah. And it’s I mean, yeah, as I said, like it is an actual phenomenon. And it is something that guys do. And women do. I don’t know why I settled on one gender, all genders. Do you think I want to get to the point too quickly?

Mark Perez  27:58

Yeah, yeah, no one, I totally get it. Like I said, thankfully, like there was that outlet where I could get to the point quicker, because I knew where to go looking for right. This is long before apps, you know, you actually had to meet people in person, whether it be at a bathhouse, or a bookstore or parking lot, wherever it is that you would find your new friend is exactly.

K Anderson  28:19

So so to bring us background to topic. And to get us to the bar. I’m going to ask this question, because there were those outlets because there were those opportunities to meet men and have sags. Did that mean that it was happening less in bars and clubs?

Mark Perez  28:36

No, because again, that was another place to meet people, right? You know, because you could be out having drinks with your friends, and you look across the room and somebody’s staring at you. And I’m like, Okay, I’ll see you guys later, goodbye.

K Anderson  28:50

But would you then go to the bathroom and get it off?

Mark Perez  28:53

Um, no, not necessarily there, there might be now there used to be a fence outside that people would go to if they wanted to lean against with their new friend, you know, but that there’s that right. But otherwise, you know, you hook up or you leave together, you know, whatever. However, that would look, it didn’t have to necessarily happen there. You know, unless, you know, you couldn’t get away or you’re going to meet at a later date sort of thing. You know, back when you would exchange phone numbers, you know,

K Anderson  29:18

on written pieces of paper, no one stone tablets.

Mark Perez  29:25

But yeah, little pieces of paper, right? And then you go and you call it and it’s the phone number. Not all the time. No, but you know what happened? People wouldn’t do that. I mean, you just, whatever, you know, some people weren’t ready to like do any of that. So

K Anderson  29:44

it is what it totally but why can’t people just be like, sorry, I don’t want to give you my number. Yeah,

Mark Perez  29:49

I know. Right? They just didn’t want to that awkwardness, you know, and, and I get it, I get it. You know, sometimes it’s better to have that little white lie than to actually own up to the moment and be like, we’re just got gonna cut it off right here is not going to happen. It would have been so much better, right? Save us all a lot of trouble. And then when you see them, you know that the bar next it’s just daggers from across the room because you’re like,

K Anderson  30:13

oh, yeah, like they’re not thinking too far enough in the future. Yeah, just I wish that there was a class at school that was called rejection that you just got rejected over and over so that like we just as a society just better at dealing with this.

Mark Perez  30:31

You reminded me of that meme. It’s like, this is what society would look like if we would have had a rejection class in high school.

K Anderson  30:39

Yeah, just like it would just be so much better. I just don’t know why we’re, I mean, not that I’m like, perfect at handling rejection or beat or rejecting, but I just think it’s so much nicer to know. Yeah, sorry. No, I’m not interested. If you think

Mark Perez  30:56

about it, there’s so many groups of men who their whole personality is the bitterness of not being able to deal with that rejection. You know, and so that’s a problem.

K Anderson  31:07

It’s not just men. It’s Oh, it’s okay. It’s okay. i Sorry, I don’t

Mark Perez  31:11

mean to pick on men, but I am

K Anderson  31:14

but specifically what kind of man even gay man or No, I think more screaming Oh, okay. Oh, yes. Oh, and then they get radicalised. Exactly. would not happen.

Mark Perez  31:26

Yeah, that’s exactly how how that all comes about, you know. And not that I’m saying that there are, you know, there aren’t green men who aren’t good with that either. But you see a lot of straight men get radicalised that way. You know, that becomes

K Anderson  31:40

a whole other thing. Yeah. Straight. So weird. Right. Okay. We have not talked enough about the bar. Sorry. So let’s get on to topic. And so do you remember hearing about the bar closing down?

Mark Perez  32:03

Yes. And it would have been at a point where I had stopped going so frequently, I wasn’t going anymore. When it stopped being club St. John, but it was still at the same location and became hamburger Mary’s that kind of went through a rebranding and kind of changing the place a little bit and everything. It became hamburger Mary’s, I want to say might have been called something else, at some point from what somebody else mentioned to me. But it just had lost that flavour. It wasn’t quite the same anyone. And it got to a point and I was just done. You know, maybe it was sad. Because, again, the coming of the apps, all that and everything people meeting online, more really, obviously killed all that right, you know, and our community started shrinking more and more in San Jose, we don’t even have half the bars we used to up there. Right? I think that this was kind of the beginning of the end. Unfortunately, once that big anchor bar was gone, the other ones little by little kept disappearing. Yeah. I think a lot of people have moved away to whether it be San Francisco, whatever, they got partnered up, you know, whatever they did, they just moved on, right? And it just it shrank. But tearing about it was really sad. Because I mean, when I look back at that time period, and look back at that bar, and all the memories, all the friends that I met there, the things that we got to do while we were there. I mean, I just those were happy times was fine. It wasn’t always great. I mean, there was drama, of course. But for the most part, I’m so glad I had that place to go to when I was learning more about myself, right? Just think about all the nights getting dressed to go there, you know, making plans with my friend Jay going on Wednesday, you’re going on Wednesday, right? You know, we’re gonna meet there. It just so much of life revolved around that Wednesday night going to club St. John,

K Anderson  33:45

any of you could go back in time and have a little chat with young mark with his fake ID and has just come in to the bar. What advice would you give him?

Mark Perez  34:02

I would say, Mark, try not to take things so seriously. Watch out for those birds with broken wings, you’re not going to be able to fix them all. A lot. Allow those bad relationships to come even if they’re gonna be a mess, but you’re gonna grow from them. And just be kinder to yourself. You just don’t realise what you have during this time period. You don’t realise things are okay. And you know, being so hard on yourself doesn’t help anybody. And just enjoy the hell out of it.

K Anderson  34:37

Do you have any memories of club St. John or clubbing from your own queer scene that you want to share? Well, if you do, I would love to hear from you. I want to create the biggest online record of queer clubbing and memories and stories and things that have Don’t go to law spaces podcast.com and find this section share a lost space and tell me all about what it is you got up to. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the handle lost spaces pod. Find out more about mark by following him on Twitter. His profile is I am El Diablo Ito. And I don’t know if I pronounced that right so I’m also going to spell it I AMELDIABL eye to eye. Sorry mark if I got that wrong. And if you love Star Wars, then you are going to love the pink milk podcast, which you can find wherever you stream podcasts. If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on your podcast platform or just told people who you think might be interested in giving it a little listen to like just drop them an email and be like, Hey, I listened to this and I thought maybe you’d enjoy it. That would make a big difference to me. Thank you. I am getting Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces.