Congratulations! If you’re reading this, that means you’re probably a heterosexual, yet adventurous young man who is about to set foot inside a gay bar for the first time. This is a big moment for you. Prepare to pass through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole. But first, there’s a few things you’ll need to know.

For starters, understand that we can smell the straight on you as soon as you enter. There’s no hiding it. It’s on your clothes, in your hair, the way you walk. We know and we will swarm you. Really though, don’t be afraid. Just be aware that guys may approach and flirt with you. It’s a gay bar--it wouldn't be unheard of. If you’re not interested, politely explain that you don’t swing that way, but be prepared for him to not give up the chase easily.

Most folks in the LGBTQ community agree that heterosexual men are totally welcome at gay bars, but just keep in mind that you are a guest. Unlike literally every other place in society, a gay bar is a sanctuary for gays to be themselves in public. We like to the keep the vibe very gay, so you prepared to roll with that while you're here.

The good news is, your preconceived notions about relative levels of debauchery are probably misguided. No need to be paranoid while going to take a wiz. There’s also probably not going to be guys fucking in plain sight or sweaty hunks wrestling in jockstraps on top of the bar (but if there are let me know because that’s awesome). There may be go-go boys and drag shows, but those of course are types of performative art that transcend any specific sexuality.

The main thing to keep in mind as you traverse your first gay bay, is keep an open mind and just be cool. Everyone is there to have a good time. We’re not going to perform an Eyes Wide Shut ceremonial orgy if we catch a straight intruder. At the end of the day, most gay bars are just like regular bars, except with a different clientele and better music.