Wednesday, May 24, 2006

50 HRS IN COPENHAGEN


As I mentioned in my Helsinki misadventures, Copenhagen is small, about the size of Amsterdam, if not smaller. The whole city is really laid-back and enjoyable, though. I arrived late Friday afternoon and had walked through the city (in pain) by nightfall. Plus, compared to other Scandinavian cities, perhaps because of its microscopic proximity, Copenhagen is crawling with tourists, particularly American tourists. On the train from the airport, two bickering American couples in their late 30s competed with each other with less-than-impressive travel stories about their adventures around exotic lands like Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Tuscon, Arizona. Naturally, I threw up on all of their shoes.

When I arrived at my hotel, another gorgeous Scandinavian greeted me, only this time it was the flirty fit homo desk attendant. My Danish hotel was nicer (and pricier) than the other hotels of my trip, so I wasn’t really bovvered when it began to downpour on Friday night and I decided to retreat to my hotel. Plus, there was a bar near the front desk, and really, that’s all I needed.

Earlier in the evening, I had peeked my head into a couple homo bars just to see what they were like, as Denmark may just be the capital of the homo world. Homos! Everywhere! The whole city was like a Pride Parade. I checked-out three homo bars and didn’t stay for a drink at any of them. Seriously: I just ran in and ran right back out. They were like any other homo bar in any other city with the same merciless, impending blanket of doom: dark, depressing, soulless dens of misery, with the same lonely people lurking about, searching desperately for a fuck or a conscience. Why don’t homo bars have windows, sunlight, or even light fixtures, for that matter? In this respect, perhaps the reason I do not like homo bars is because I do not think I would like prison. I really enjoy and appreciate light – natural sunlight or artificial light – and also, you must fear what will happen in both prison and homo bars if you drop the soap in the bathroom. Then there are the obligatory rainbow flags that must hang on every wall in every homo bar, just in case you’ve forgotten what type of establishment you’ve entered. Thus, it would only make sense that prisons must have rainbow flags hanging from every wall, as well. Right?


Anyway, when I returned to the hotel that night and ordered three pints from the desk attendant who doubled as the bartender, he asked who was I was meeting. I told him, “Oh, these are all for me, so I don’t have to disturb you in about ten minutes.”

He laughed. We talked for about three hours, with a few other random guests coming and going for a drink. After he had snuck a few drinks while working, and had asked how many nights I was staying in the hotel, he said flat-out, “We’re going to have sex before you leave Copenhagen.” The way he said it, I could tell that this guy has had sex with every homo guest who has ever stayed at this jovial, transient hotel.

Now. Any faithful reader of this website knows that I love nothing more a combination of genuine, unabashed personality display (i.e. no pretense or bullshit) mixed with an incredibly strong, innate dose of confidence. You tell me to go fuck myself and I’m all yours. After I accidentally spit out a little beer on my shirt from being startled, I explained Awesome to my new hotel pal. Hey: at least if Awesome and I ever break up in the near future, I’ve already got a list of people all over Europe who want to have sex with me. I’m in international hooker! Oh. Wait. This promise is exciting in itself, particularly since there’s a cruel part of my psyche that enjoys being an empty flirt. I have a lot of reasons for my monogamy, but thankfully I can upgrade these reasons with innocent, playful, drool-worthy flirting. I do no doubt that Awesome does this when I’m not around, too, so it’s not like I’m faulting anyone. It’s fun. It’s naughty. It’s human.


It rained the entire weekend in Copenhagen. Which was okay, I suppose, since the city really is miniscule. I went to the Carlsberg brewery and when we got free beer at the end, I am not ashamed to admit that I got back in line three times. On the second serving, I told them I had a twin brother; on the third they figured out the truth. I walked along the canals forever (in pain) and saw all the cutesy neighborhoods downtown. I saw the famous Little Mermaid monument, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved character, where large groups of American tourists (‘large’ as in group numbers and globular waistlines) took turns taking photos with the statute, one-by-one, as if it looked different each time. I went to the Royal Library and Theatre Museum in Christiansborg. I wandered aimlessly, all over the city, for most of my time there. I did not go on the tacky tourist tides in Tivoli Gardens.

On my last night, when my hotel bar/desk attendant friend got off work after we’d been drinking for a bit, and after I declined going clubbing with him, I returned alone to my room with a bottle of red wine, and sat on the bay window seat with my laptop, working on my dissertation and conference paper edits (my real world), and watching the Saturday night thunderstorms and lightning. Awesome called my hotel room really late that night, just as I had nearly fallen asleep, pressed against the window with an empty wine glass in my lap. At the end of my Scandinavian tour, my solitude, the thunderstorms, and his familiar, comforting deep voice was far sexier than any of the Finnish, Danish and Swedish supermodel look-alikes I met all week.

Tomorrow I am giving a long lecture at a conference in London. Then, Thursday morning I am off to Stirling, Scotland, where I’m speaking at another conference all weekend. I shall return late Monday. I am still one busy midget. And now you know all my whereabouts. Okay then.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:
No matter where you go, there you are. - Unknown