Updated: Aug 9
YOU KNOW, ONE THING I DO LOVE is getting in touch with my inner poof. Some have already noticed this about me. Haha. My physique is very feminine, but for some reason, I go thru these phases. Who knows why.
One year it's all no jewelry whatsoever, can't handle it.
Rings weigh me down, earrings irritate my sensitive ear-lobes, necklaces bring on migraines... Just want bare naked arms, neck, ears. Nothing at all is the go.
The next year it's all go again with the jewellery.
Silver suits my skin tone, so it's silver rings with moldavite, egyptian glass or lapis lazuli insets; slim silver chain necklaces hung with labradorite, amber or chunky smoky crystals; and small sparkling sapphire or turquoise earrings as the finishing touch.
And 'round my left wrist I clip a slim bracelet of tiny gems set along a thin chain, and a couple of boho brown macrame wristlets inlaid with tiny crystals and semi-precious gemstones.
To top it off a dash and a light splash or two of gay perfume. Yes that's right, you heard me.
Ahh ... that heady aroma of Poofter Perfume ...
I grew to adore the sharp yet musky scent of gay perfume back when I was well-known as the dancing diva in gay and lesbian nightclubs. We all knew eachother in those days. How could we not after those all-nighters dancing our hearts out at various gay bars along Sydney's Gayest strip.
The fabulous Oxford Street and King Street Newtown were our main haunts, and certain faces, styles and mannerisms all grew familiar over the months and years. Yes we all knew each other to some degree.
'Envy - On The Other Side' lesbian nightclub
Our fave was "Envy - On The Other Side", a very cool lesbian club run by two gorgeous German dykes. Statuesque and more than a little intimidating, they strutted 'round in tight black leathers and fuckme mid-thigh stiletto boots.
Now and then Gigi slapped a small riding crop hard against one lean tanned thigh as they walked, each with an arm casually draped territorially 'round the others waist, surveying their willingly captive crowd with eagle eyes. With police caps set at jaunty angles and smoky eyes encircled in lashings of smudged black eyeliner, their thick Kraut accents made them all the more alluring.
Both leather SM dominatrixes, Gigi and Andrea were madly in love and weren't shy about making a show of it.
Their hired DJ's were usually hot scene boi dykes wearing heavy lace-up bovver boots and expensive baggy jeans hung with chains, slung low below the band of their Bonds undies, topped off with a tight white or dark blue singlet to show off their muscular arms and tatts. They swayed as they jiggled knobs and slid the slidey things on their mixers, their eclectic lineups covering a range of feels and genres.
'Why do lesbian bars close so damn early?' we all whinged as we left, pulling on leather jackets and warm scarfs, then shoving our gloved hands deep into our pockets. Sydney nights can be chilly, with its icy winds whistling down dark streets after midnight cutting right thru you in the dead of winter.
Fridays at The Lansdowne
After our dyke-club closed for the night, we'd drive up to Newtown and drop into the Dendy Cafe, an old cinema restaurant on King Street, for a strong black turkish coffee to get us going again, and an overdue chat.
The music in those nightclubs was deafening, and conversation well nigh impossible. Yet Wendy was oft inspired to suddenly share her innermost thoughts with me in those impossible conditions, placing her sweet lips up close to my ear.
I heard pretty well none of it.
You know how it goes, you nod and look intelligent and understanding. What else could a girl do?
After caffeine revival and a real chat, we'd head off to the Lansdowne , an old hotel sitting between the incessantly noisy Parramatta Rd and the slightly more refined Broadway. And a few more hours dancing wildly to 70's tracks.
I, of course, danced like a poof, don't forget. And dancing like a poof is no insult but a great compliment! No-one can dance quite like a pumped gay man. Nobody does it better.
The DJ's repertoire each week was highly predictable, but the familiarity of his Sunday night sets was utterly addictive. His music was the best anyway. Out of this world perfect. The greatest gay anthems of all time, remastered with hard-pumping new techno beats. A heady mix indeed.
My two trusty gay-clubbing friends Wendy and Alona were usually totally stuffed by that time, but I was a very fit little gym bunny back then and needed to get all the dance out of me.
And I still had a few more hours left in me. I did it on three scotch and cokes, firstly to loosen me up after a highly stressful work week, and second to fuel me through the entire long night, strictly limiting myself to no more. Always worked. Those dance-fests were therapy and ecstacy rolled into the one thing.
I knew even back then that I loved dancing a whole lot more than sex. Whatever that says about my lovers. But no, I really mean it.
His Soul's Still Dancing!
Remember that great little scene in the Nic Cage movie 'Bad Lieutenant', a real B grader, where he's shot someone.
But he knows the guy's not dead. His thug buddies go to leave the joint, but the Bad Lieutenant stops them, insisting the fallen man is still alive:
'No, he's not dead - his soul's still dancing!'
As he erupts into strangely inappropriate laughter (possibly due to the fact that they're all off their heads on crack), we see the half-dead guy's soul spinning and twirling next to his prone bloodied body, in the most stunning capoeira breakdance moment of all time.
I've always related to that scene so deeply, but only the 'soul dancing' bit. Drugs, thugs, crack and gangs - none of that resonates whatsoever!
That scene is legendary. When I saw it I gasped, knowing that sensation so so well. Lying half asleep, or sick with a flu, sitting in a car, or just ruminating quietly, my soul never stops, just keeps on sky dancing.
NightClub Feng Shui
My lover back then (who shall remain nameless for the sake of her privacy) commented that I always looked cleaned and clear the next morning after those Friday all-nighters of pure dancing. My soul was cleansed - in a nightclub of all places. Utterly Feng Shui'ed, the radiance returned.
And it was also in that time that HIV/AIDS finally had its terrible way with my beloved younger brother Luc, and he called it a day.
Back then I Co-ordinated a Living Skills Programme in our Day Centre for people living with major mental health issues, based in an old Federation-style cottage planted comfortably within the lush green gardens of Marrickville Community Health Centre.
Unexpectedly gorgeous for such an organization, yet exactly what the doctor ordered. A large rambling old house and enough grounds to garden away to our hearts delight. One of earth's greatest healers - gardening. My dear colleague Bruce, a Mental Health Nurse and happily married to a rather enlightened and gorgeous woman, worked beside me in great sympatico.
We made an excellent team. I had a lot of love 'round me back then and had a lot of love to give. Still do really. But I digress.
Some say love, it is a river ...
I flew to Far North Queensland for Luc's funeral and was fairly gutted by the whole thing.
No-one loved me like my little brother, and my God, he'd had one hell of a hard life of it.
My heart was broken, yet we'd miraculously managed to say all that needed be said in his last weeks.
6 months before Luc died, he married his partner of 10 yrs, Juliet. Here I am (above pic) preparing to sing 'The Rose' acapella, when the Celebrant would join them together. One of the most emotional moments any of us could ever hope to experience. Seriously mixed emotions. I remember shaking almost uncontrollably as I sang. A seasoned performer, it was serious angst.
In his last weeks he insisted on calling me over and over, he had things he badly needed to say to release his pain, guilt, suffering and sadness with me. I welcomed all his calls, and in those many intensive hours of phone conversations, I became his sister confessor, as he told me all his darkest secrets in a profoundly personal bloodletting. We both knew he was dying.
His death is another story for another day, too soon he was gone.
I returned to work after returning from his funeral, and sat rather dejectedly at my desk, feeling pretty unmotivated. Understandably enough. Bruce looked me over and said nothing. Abruptly he stood and left the room, leaving me sitting alone with tumultuous emotions. He returned with two fresh cups of steaming hot coffee, then sat at his desk and took a deep breath. I held mine. What was he thinking?
"You've lost your lustre, darling," he observed with some concern. What great insight. My heart flooded with affectionate warmth. I loved that guy. His own heart was pure gold, his spiritual vision exceptional. I was blessed with such wonderful people around me back then.
The Midnight Shift
If Gigi and Andrea's SM leather vibe seems hard-core, you haven't been to the Shift in the early hours. A dyke on her own, dancing like she'll never stop, shoulder to shoulder with sweaty gays every which direction: duos, trios, quintuplets and those who dance on their own. I was in high heaven.
It was here I really began to rip into my true dancing style. Justified. Qualified. Ancient. Free. Was I more restrained in dyke nightclubs? No not really, not at all. But here, something, well...everything changed.
I was my true self.
Almost zero sexual pressure here, too, except the occasional bi-guy or random straight couple looking for a threesome. Didn't worry. Loved that they were there and waved them on by. I wasn't looking for love - not that sort anyway.
So here's the thing. What it is. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I can't call myself a TwoSpirit because that's ripping off Native American culture, so I call myself a Bi-Spirit. I am bisexual, altho' I was more dykey back then.
Our Great Love Affair
I've both an inner gay male and an inner gay male angel (not of the fallen breed). Both crazymad in love with the other. Interesting times, no?
I've other inner beings also, incarnations from other times who re-visit me. But I'll leave that for now. It's complicated.
There's not much of the girl left in me in those times, altho' she does have her day now and then. When I let her out to play. Not that there's been much play for a very long time, more like living hell, but once more I digress....
In the Shift I'd dance 'til dawn, then we'd all slowly walk out into the early sunrise and the damp morning dew settling on the dirty tar and concrete of old Oxford Street.
Dancing Like A Queen
As a postscript:
The 'Midnight Shift 'closed after 25 years in October 2017. A casualty of Sydney’s gentrification and lockout laws, it had previously been an integral meeting space for the gay community.
'Envy: On the Other Side' is also long gone, as are many other excellent clubs of the '90's. But the queer scene lives on, and I've no doubt that new venues have risen from the glorious ashes of their predecessors.
I started writing this article with the full intention of getting some excellent eyeliner tips from cute kajahled Arabic guys out to you all, and somehow ended up here. Interesting trajectory but makes total sense. But we did eventually get here, so all is well.
You can see how I kind of surreptitiously segued into the dark arabic look with my last video right? I'm subtle that way.
I've been having a great day of it actually, reminiscing about some good and not so good ol' times. But let us return to the topic in point. OhmyGod I'm so Irish some days - that's where you go the long and winding road rather than the shortcut. If you get my drift.
So. Arabic and Middle Eastern guys and their GuyLiner. Here we go.
⋄ Do Arab Men Wear Eyeliner?? (Khol)⋄ By ArabicMclovin ⋄
I'm excited! I can finally see a way forward!
And I not only love poofter perfume, and not only have I been known to dance like a poof, but I love guys wearing GuyLiner. It should be illegal for men to NOT wear GuyLiner, don't you think?
That's all from me, changing the world in one day, kisses
COVER PHOTO: 'Three' by Robert Mapplethorpe
Copyright © 2023 by Julie Von Nonveiller Cairnes. All rights reserved.