Archive | June, 2010

The Fellows’ News

24 Jun

So this isn’t actually a post.  After working 10+ hour days in the hot Athenian sun, running around with little Greek children, I don’t have the energy to lift myself up from my bed to go to the bathroom, let alone create a blog post.  Sorry.  But, in the few weeks between school’s closing and camp’s beginning, I spent my time slaving away as the Editor of The Fellows’ News, the official alumni newsletter for HAEF fellowship alumni dating back to 1962.  I could drone on and on about it, but instead I’ll just say… check it out here!

It’s pretty awesome, I promise.


Where My Ladies At?

6 Jun

“What is this?”

“A Jagerito.”

“A what?”

“A Jagerito.”

“What’s a Jagerito?”

“Mojito with jager and apple.”

“Umm…okay.  We’ll take two?”

Five long minutes of hardcore drink preparation and thirty euro later, Elyse and I walked away from the bar with new drinks and the remnants of the only conversation to be had with a straight man for the remainder of the evening.  To be honest, I don’t even know if he was straight, and considering my gaydar has been completely out of whack in this confusion pit known as Europe, it’s very well likely that he was not.  But he just seemed straight, and when you’re standing in a crowded room with gay men mingling and gyrating and shaking what their mothers’ gave them, you can (kind of) tell when someone just doesn’t quite seem to fit the mold.

I have always wanted to experience a gay nightclub.  What’s not to love about dancing the night away with fashionable, fabulous men who know how to move and don’t try to creepily hit on you?  So when Elyse pitched the idea of making an appearance at the Gay Pride Parade After-Party, I was in like Tom Cruise in a closet.  I figured I wouldn’t have a care in the world except having fun, since nobody there would be, or could be, anything special.  I was off the hook.  I didn’t have to worry about impressing anyone, saying the right things, or all those other dating game shenanigans.  Unlike some girls, I’m not into the metro men, and this night would be full of guys who weren’t my type, and a club filled with people who definitely didn’t think I was the right type either.

Turns out, I did have a worry or two.  Yes, I did have fun, and yes, I danced in the center of the floor like it was nobody’s business.  But that whole crap I invented about not having to impress anyone?  Complete and utter bullshit.  As a girl, one who was in a sorority no less, I clearly should have remembered that we women don’t dress to impress men, but rather other women.  So naturally, dressing to impress gay men would be ten times more difficult, and more necessary.  I spent time carefully crafting my outfit, my accessories, my hair, my makeup.  What I could forego in witty banter and sex appeal, I had to make up for in fabulosity.  Unlike every other run-of-the-mill dude, these gentlemen knew their labels and knew their looks, and I needed their Queer Eye approval.  As I shimmied away to Ke$ha and Lady Gaga (I was pulling for some classic Whitney, but to no avail), I was more aware than ever of how I looked.  Was I a good dancer?  Does my hair look ok?  How about my outfit?  Are my heels tall enough?  Am I worthy of a gold star of approval by these fine young (and old) lads?  And I thought getting the attention of men I actually wanted to date was overwhelming.

My hard work and attention to detail paid off.  A marvelous man tested my and Elyse’s moves, then deemed us worthy of their circle.  We had made the cut, and cracked the code for getting in with the outed.  Turns out, the Greek gay clubbing world is just like the student body in the movie Never Been Kissed – you get one person to think you’re cool, and you’re in.

Another thing I had all wrong?  As this was technically an LGBT event, I was nervous I’d get hit on by a woman.  But remember what I said about the (potentially) straight bartender?  It didn’t take long to realize that, as Elyse and I were the only women in mini-dresses and stilettos with makeup and jewelry galore, and the only women who knew every lyric of the top pop songs, we were clearly associated as having more in common with the men at the club than the women.

And so we celebrated liberation and danced the night away.  Liberation from social norms?  Wave your hands, honey.  Liberation from society’s ideas about right and wrong?  Shake that ass.  Liberation from having guys grab and grope and try to dance their way into your pants with the moves they don’t have?  Do a twirl, girl.  Liberation from paying for overpriced cocktails?  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  While they were good, those Jageritos cost 15 euro a pop, and with boobs and a menstrual cycle, don’t think anyone’s dishing out cash to get you drunk.  But hey, if 15 euro is the price I have to pay to feel fabulous, learn a few new dance moves, and get a better workout than I’ve had in months, then take my money and get me another cocktail.


3 Jun

The black sky faded into midnight blue, clung to the hue for a few long moments, then began the transformation to gray.  As the blanket above opened up ever so slightly to sun, the gray turned lighter and lighter and lighter.  Light, in its most hazy state, broke through where stars had lingered only an instant before.  Sitting at a small white table overlooking the sand and sea, the sun approached from behind, making this transformation slow and uneventful, albeit for the shocking end result, that being morning.  I looked around, the view becoming easier to drink in as the blue twisted into gray and night turned seamlessly into morning.  Just a few minutes before, I hung in that confusing limbo with only a few souls surrounding me, not knowing night from day.  Was it extremely late at night?  Was it extremely early in the morning?  But with the darkness now completely obliterated, there was no question anymore.  It was day.  The sun was out.  And I was sitting, completely baffled, in the center of a packed nightclub with young Greeks guzzling down cocktails and bumping to the pounding techno music that…Just.  Wouldn’t.  Stop.

I knew what I was getting myself into, of course.  For the past 9 months people have been telling me everything about Mykonos.  My students continually asked me, “Ms., have you been to Mykonos yet?”  My peers constantly raved about it, bragging about its status as their favorite island.  Mykonos has the reputation as THE party island, and I was well aware and ready to go.  With friends visiting from America, I couldn’t wait to show them the best that Greece had to offer.  Forget the best food, or culture, or breathtakingly beautiful views.  I wanted them to experience the best partying Greece had to offer at some of its best beaches.  And so there we were, boarding a crowded ferry at 7am on a Thursday morning, not knowing that a mere 3 days later, we would be struggling to keep our eyes open and our butts shaking as the sleepless Greeks made us ashamed of our inability to pull an all-nighter.

I’ve pulled an all-nighter before; don’t get me wrong.  Unfortunately, those all-nighters in my past have usually involved coffee rather than booze and a trimester’s worth of reading and note taking rather than mingling and club hopping.  While this style of all-nighter was much more fun, hands down, it was also much harder.  When studying, you don’t need energy; you just need your eyelids to keep from smacking together.  When partying on Mykonos, you need every ounce of energy you’ve ever had in your life, all bottled together and oozing out as you jump up and down and anticipate the rising house music that makes its way into the…wait for it…wait for it…wait for it…CLIMACTIC BEAT DROP.  And then you begin it all again, since clearly the music never ends and these Greeks don’t seem to ever take a minute out of their day to rest.  As one guy said to us at 6:45am with a drink in his hand, “I don’t sleep on Mykonos.  I come here for 5 days and party.  I grab souvlaki on my way from one club to another, and eat it on the drive.”  They’ve really got partying down to an art over here.  While I cannot, in any shape or form, call myself an artist, I’d like to pat myself on the back and congratulate my friends and I for doing Mykonos right.  Unfortunately, I’m still too exhausted from the weekend to gather the strength to reach my arm over my shoulder.

We clubbed it up during the day at Super Paradise.  We bar hopped in Mykonos Town two nights in a row, until about 5am each time.  We hit up famed club Cavo Paradiso at the suggested 5am and managed to hang around there until 7.  We rented ATV’s and zipped around the island, making our way to Agios Sostis Beach, known among the locals/frequent visitors as one of the most pristine and quiet beaches on the island.  We ate at the little-known and hidden no-name taverna overlooking Agios Sostis, chowing down on some of the best Greek food I’ve had as of yet.  We chatted over frappes in the afternoon and discussed the day’s events over dinner at 10:30pm each night.  We made Greek friends at every corner of the island and managed to be befriended at every corner of our bodies by the local mosquitoes.  We wandered through the winding pedestrian streets of Mykonos town during the day when they were charmingly not packed and welcoming to wanderers.  And we left the island feeling that we did it justice, and didn’t waste a single moment.

And so as the grey sky gathered up light and blossomed into blue, and the sun perched above the coastline and jutting rocks, I conked out and waited for the ferry to take me back to Athens.  The faintest sounds of bumping techno still linger in my eardrums days later in the sleepy suburbs of Athens, and if I try really hard, I can still hear the DJ’s voice yelling over the music to pump up the already wild crowd, “MYKONOOOOOSSSSSS!”

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