Out at the pub among the lesbians last night, which is not terribly surprising for me. It was Wednesday, after all, the decreed night of lesbian drunkenness in Sydney. I met up with D. at the first pub, we wandered shortly up to the other one (both of them on Wednesdays full of drunk women in designer jeans and button down shirts). It was all very pleasant and usual, saying hello to friends and acquaintances, having those short, biting conversations that pass for friendly banter in pubs. Too caught up in D., as ever, to really socialise much with anyone else. Watched the shows, drank beer, went and sat down with D. at a table by the DJ box. We sat there and watched the crowd, the dancers, the chatters.
Two girls in front of us, standing, looked like they were talking close to each others ear. I wasn't really watching how it happened but suddenly punches were thrown, fists were flying. I sat stunned, stared, as the knot of them came crashing into the table we were sitting at. Drinks flying all over me, all over D., ashtrays upended (this morning I woke up with a long bruise on my forarm from reflexively trying to push the table back). D. leapt up of course, while I sat there stupidly, put her body between me and the ruckus and gestured for me to get out. But we were blocked into a corner, no easy way to pass the chaos of fighting to the stunned audience behind them. The fight was growing, friends leaping in to 'help', at least six bodies now churning and struggling. I saw a gap and dashed, as the mass of them crashed back into the stage, away from us. I watched horrified, D. still standing near them, trying to help the bouncers when they finally made it through the thick crowd to the fight (it seemed to take forever). Fists and boots and heads seemed to be at odd angles, I saw a hand wrapped tight around an apparently disembodied ponytail and smash. The bouncers had pulled the first few out but there just weren't enough of them to break the whole thing up quickly. Cops had arrived by the time D. rescued our coats and my bag, the fight was subsiding but had not entirely ceased.
We left immediately, at my insistence. D. would have stayed but my nerve was completely broken. I don't have much of a constitution for real violence and social explosions, and I could tell that the tension remained, simmering in the pub. D. is too good a boy to press me, and took me down the street to another (calm and almost empty) pub to debrief and distract me.
Is it unusual to be so shaken by something as simple as a fistfight in a lesbian pub? It's not uncommon, I know, for those fights to break out. Dykes seem positively inclined towards fighting in general. But the whole scene made me physically ill. Stupid, stupid girls and their stupid ruckus.
I'm lucky D. was there. I need to be told what to do in those situations more than most.