Yesterday, about 10 in the evening.
Seated at a bar, one of our bars. Kuchu bars, I term them. But that is a very loose term. It is a kuchu bar as and when we are there. It is not when we are not there.
Looked around and counted, at least 50 kuchus.
It is true there were many others who were most likely not kuchu, but there was, and is, something special in knowing that so many of us are meeting in the same place. Incognito, yes, and I bet few who are not in the know would be able to figure it out un-aided. But we were there, and we knew one another.
A sense of community, a sense of common knowledge.
Kuchu society, under the current circumstances, is very much a jungle society. Closeted, secretive. Stressed by what affects the rest of society, in addition to the need to remain invisible. A sub-culture separate from the rest of the community, yet a part of it. Individuals who are immersed in it in different ways, to differing levels.
There are the sex workers. True, we know them, and they know we know, but we are all kuchu. There are the less blatantly ‘sex for gain’ people. There are those looking to lay and get laid. There are those seeking for company, some out for a chance to talk freely with other kuchus. Others fearful and lurking in the shadows, looking around. I like the variety. From ‘white collar’ workers to office messenger, we are all equal at that hour. Men and women, kuchus. Incredibly, our tribal differences barely register.
A sense of community, noting some who have not been seen for a while. Careful about the inquiries. There are some areas that are red limited. Though there were some guys who had come in with children, obviously their children.
Meet, talk, look around. See new faces, talk to new people, tease out those who are on the fringes.
It is a jungle. One has to know his or her limits, how to take care of one’s self. But it is a jungle which for the kuchu spells the comfort of the familiar. An uncritical, accepting environment. A safe space that is defined by the time and space. It may not be as safe on other days, or other times, but at that time, it was.
Saturday, we were at another place. Again, there were lots of us, but it did not feel as safe, as confortable as the Sunday place.
I was struck by the thought that the comfort zone is getting better and better defined. And more comfy, at least to my perception. For some, it may not be so. Saw a couple of lads who looked lost. Felt like going and giving them a hug, just to say welcome, you are safe.
Now, it is morning. Another week, a Monday.
Rained at night, the leaves fresh green and glistening with dew, the land washed and muddy roads. Yes, the evening was refreshing, and feels like time for most of us to duck into the usual closets of our existence.