If you are in Los Angeles and are gay, Asian, at least eighteen, or any combination of the previous, you have been to this club. Or at least have heard about it. Or slept with someone who has slept with someone who has walked by it.
Right in the heart of West Hollywood stands a club between what gays love the most: an American Apparel store and a pizza parlor. A lot of gay veterans have a love/hate relationship with this club, but when it comes to it, on a Friday night and there’s nothing else to do, I’ve probably seen you getting nasty on the dance floor with the under-agers or smoking a cigarette with the Korean boy-banders on the patio.
As a military brat that moved around every three years I never got the sense of wanting to fit in because I knew I’d be leaving shortly thereafter. Well, that’s a lie. In middle school I tried to be a ‘sk8er boi’ and in high school I tried to be ‘punkrock/scene’… Girl jeans and everything. But at the heart of it, I was always crazy, sassy, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am Kevyn. The longest I’ve ever lived in a place was about 8 years in Las Vegas; but even then we lived in several houses and I went to about 5 different schools. Fast forward to college where I was bouncing between Hawaii (Go Warriors!) and Vegas (Go prostitution!) every 3-4 months during the breaks, so I was constantly meeting new people and then moving on.
I always knew I’d fit in with the Asian-American crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I did feel a sense of community in Hawaii with all the Asians there, but it was a different kind, a more local-Hawaii-Island-boy-kill-haole kind. If you’ve lived in Hawaii and got to know ‘da aina’ for a little bit, you’d know what I’m talking about. But then I moved to Los Angeles, California – the home of Hollywood, paparazzi and crushed dreams. I had to live there. I had to at least move there, try my best and sleep my way to the top with as many people as possible to make my dreams come true.
But besides what I want to do career wise, I had a lot of self-searching to do about what it is to be an independent homosexual Asian man. So, I hear about this RAGE club where on Friday nights it’s called ‘Gameboi’. Yes, that’s spelled B-O-I. And I’m assuming it’s called RAGE because you get yourself into a big gay rage when you see everyone there is younger, hotter and skinnier than you.
“What?” I say to my friend as I finish my vodka soda (not Sprite, because it’s all about drinking the smallest amount of calories as possible), “It’s called Gameboi? Like the portable video game device? That’s the most stereotypical and amazing thing I’ve ever heard!”
Finally, a place where I can be fetishized and stereotyped like a real woman! It’s my first week in LA and the only contact I have out here, Quentin Lee, takes me under his ginormous gay wing and guides me through LA introducing me to his friends G and Tina. I’m taken to all the places -Tiger Heat, The Abbey, Cherry Pop – all the major clubs, yet Gameboi has yet to be conquered by my slutty dance moves.
To arm myself for my first night at Gameboi, I wear a form-fitting collared shirt, a black bowtie (because bowties say, “Hey, I’m used only for formal occasions, but I’m also used for informal occasions! I’m so fashionable!”), black skinny jeans with a studded belt and slick-n-shiny pointy dress shoes. My hair, which is responsible for about 40% of the holes in the ozone layer, is done to perfection. I brushed my teeth with a bottle of Jack and I was ready to be accepted with my people and find the love of my life (who would be a 6ft tall older white film/television producer who would find me in the crowd and be drawn to my charismatic smile and skinny 12 year old girl body).
That didn’t happen…
But I got there, paid the $12 cover (How the hell does this club stay open when we all know Asians are all about saving money?) and walked inside. On my team is my friend Steven and Joe, both who are also openly Asian, guide me directly to the bartender who makes the strongest drinks.
To call this place a Rice Queen’s dream is an understatement. If you are into Asians, or if you just like the feeling of being taller than others, this is the place to be. You have your skinny cigarette-smoking Kpop boybanders outside, the Filipino B-boys upstairs, the young Thai boys dancing to 2NE1 on the dancefloor, and the one tall black guy that is about 4 feet taller than everyone else telling everyone he’s not into Asians, but he really is. There’s also the occasional extremely-older-white-man/young-jailbait-asian-ladyboy couple and the even more occasional hot-perfect-sticky-young-fit-asian couple. Whatever you Asian want, you’ll find it. It’s like some crazy, gay, Asian boy buffet.
But don’t expect anyone to come up to you to talk or buy you a drink, oh no. This is a place to be seen. So if you like someone, you will have to be the aggressive one and muster enough courage to ask the Taeyang look-alike for a dance, because we all know that she only goes for the best… or if you buy her shoes. Whichever.
I wouldn’t say that Gameboi defines me, because that’d be a silly way to describe myself. Kind of like when people’s screen names are “Hollisterboy69” or “AnFguy247”. Because if that’s your screen name, I now know you’re a skinny white boy with no fashion sense… Not to stereotype anyone…
Brb… Gotta make some rice.
But the sheer magnitude of just being around others like yourself is somewhat comforting. Despite all the haters and the divas and the insecure feeling I get when I realize that my abdominal muscles aren’t separated into individual visible parts, I still enjoy myself when I’m there. Sometimes, just playing up the stereotype and being around others with similar backgrounds helps you find out more about yourself.
And what I’ve found out about myself is that in order to be the queen of Gameboi, I need to work out more, stop eating food altogether, and only take drugs from strangers so I can be thin and popular and accepted.
… Okay, I’m joking.
…Only about the working out part.