The muscular guy in a backward baseball cap is red-faced from howling. “Are you a man?! Do you wanna get fucked up? Well, come up, bitch, and do a beer bong!” He’s holding a can of Pabst and a homemade beer funnel. A volunteer puts the tube in his mouth, and gulps. The funnel holder nails the empty can against the wall and pumps his fist victoriously.
This might be a familiar scene at Ole Miss or UVA, but it’s somewhat exotic in a Manhattan gay bar. This is “Boys Gone Wild,” a wildly popular “frat party” at the club Boy’s Room in the East Village.
Guys in baseball caps aren’t exactly new to the gay scene, of course. But this goes beyond being a “straight-acting” sports fan. “I grew up overseas and went to acting school,” says promoter Johnny McGovern. “It’s not like I had to deal with some mean frat boy who called me a fag. I have a pure, uncut fantasy of frat boys in my head.” Apparently he’s not alone. Whether it’s the result of five years of living under the manly George Bush fratocracy, or just Abercrombie & Fitch, gay “frat” parties have also sprung up in Chicago and L.A.
“A lot of gay boys were all about hiding in college,” says Marlon Gobel, one of the party’s “pledge masters.” “They weren’t part of fraternities. This party is about taking advantage of every fantasy you had but were afraid of.”
But no reason to be too afraid: There aren’t any frat boys at the Boy’s Room to beat you up (Gobel himself de-pledged in college after coming out). “Real frat boys aren’t that hot,” concedes McGovern. “They’re mostly drunk and fat. We’re not about keeping it real, but keeping it fake.”