Last week my fag hag Amber and I flew to Amsterdam without a plan. After three months studying abroad at Oxford University, I wanted to go somewhere comfortable. Since Amsterdam legalized prostitution and marijuana, I assumed it would resemble cultural landfills where strippers strip, gamblers gamble, and robbers rob: my favorite American cities, Las Vegas and my hometown, Miami. Yes, these American travesties breed crime, drug addiction, and objectification, but they also motivate human beings to stop giving a fuck. There’s a reason Flo Rida and stage shows starring a Girls Next Door cast member both exist in zip codes lacking social mores. It’s the same reason cultural landfills are where gay souls flourish. When nobody cares about impressing champagne socialists in suits, you can suck all the cock you want. I envisioned Amsterdam as another gay Mecca, a European home away from home, but within four days I realized I had paid 200 Euro to live inside a twelve-year-old straight boy’s wet dream. These are the five worst heterosexual travesties I saw last week in Amsterdam.
1. If you’ve ever hit on a stranger at a bar, you’ve objectified someone. If you’ve ever dressed up for a night on the town, you’ve sexualized yourself. Unlike many feminists, I have no qualms with this–in Miami I know many women and gay men that visit strip clubs as frequently as men–objectification is fine by me if it’s equal opportunity objectification. In Amsterdam’s Red Light District, only straight men have fun. As women stood behind glass, tapping on window like Disney World animatronics programmed to repeat one hand motion, stoned men snapped photos and asked their buddies which girl they should exchange fifteen euro with for a fifteen minute suck and fuck. I consider myself a prostitution decriminalization advocate, but Amsterdam proved that the opponents to the cause are right. Criminalization isn’t the only problem. (Statistically, legal prostitution prevents man-on-prostitute violence.) Prostitution often promotes sexist bullshit.
2. This wasn’t a person, but it was straight enough. Amber and I wanted to go clubbing together, but when we googled gay clubs, we discovered that Amsterdam segregates gays and lesbians. The clubs were homo, but the spaces were as heteronormative as nineteenth century London. Neither of us could visit the same club.
3. Every morning the hostel served guests breakfasts: cereal and instant coffee. Since everyone in the hostel was a broke twenty-year-old or a rich twenty-year-old trying to look like a broke twenty-year-old, the lobby was crowded. Amber and I shared a table with a Chilean girl and a nerdy guy with big glasses, the type of guy who would be too shy to hit on either of us. He was British, and like British men, his sexuality was unclear. Unfortunately, unlike most British men, he didn’t know when to shut up. Within five minutes, he explained that he met the Chilean girl on the bus and that she plans to live in Amsterdam for three months. Although she only says three words (‘yes,’ ‘weed,’ and ‘baca,’ Spanish for ‘cool’), he had convinced her (or lied to her) to stay with him for the weekend. They were already Facebook friends, and, of course, he thought Amber would want to do the same thing. He smiled at her and said we should all smoke later. I mentioned Amber’s boyfriend and that we had a movie to catch later; he invited himself to the movie anyways, because Amber was a girl: clearly, she wanted to fuck him. We declined the invitation but agreed to add them on Facebook. The Chilean girl posts an Instagram photo of weed every five minutes, so we deleted them the net day.
4. Going to Amsterdam, I thought I could escape my fellow students who list socialism as their political view on Facebook, but walking into my fourteen person hostel room, I found a girl surrounded by five pieces of luggage. Predictably, she wore a University of Oxford sweater.
5. My last night in Amsterdam, I went to a gay club twice the size of my freshmen dorm, which was twice the size of a closet. The club offered my favorite gay club archetypes—purple strobe lights and the old dude who was my age when Britney Spears recorded “…Baby One More Time” who thinks he can fuck my young ass—but the DJ played Dutch pop music: a repetition of girls saying, “Dance” in different language to identical beats. He was gay, but he saw pop music as cold, missing out on the longing in songs of “…Baby One More Time”; he saw gay music the way a straight dude does. For the first time in my life, I wished I were at a British gay club that plays Rita Ora on repeat.
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