By Cory Sklar
By Alee Karim
By Christina Li
By Dave Pehling
By Ian S. Port
By SF Weekly
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
Yes, I know that pirates are so 2003, so goddamn Eggers, but they've been on my mind a lot lately so bear with me. I have been spending time in the seat that is carved with indentations for your ass at the Buccaneer on Russian Hill.
Firstly and thusly, it is important to know that a "buccaneer" specifically refers to a Caribbean pirate. The name comes from the French word boucanier, which means "he who barbecues." Apparently the OG buccaneers were a fierce sort who liked to steal pigs and then smoke the meat to preserve it. Dastardly. I'm guessing that, like most men, they courted death by squirting lighter fluid into an already lit fire.
Buccaneers went both ways, in that they could plunder the sea and the land, whereas good old-fashioned "pirates" could only do their thing in the ocean. For my money, a buccaneer is cooler.
Johnny Depp has a Jolly Roger tattooed on his ankle. Johnny Depp is a bad actor. I think he knows this deep down, and probably has a lot of self-doubt. But it's not the fact that he played a pirate in a movie that makes me think of him during these, my pirate days. No, it's that he played a fucking lame-ass Willy Wonka in yet another pirated attempt to replicate my favorite author, Roald Dahl. The Harry Potter books are also pirated versions of Dahl's style. He has been pillaged. But maybe on some level he deserves it. He was reportedly quite the anti-Semite. At any rate, I saw the Tim Burton movie and felt plundered. It only seemed right to go to a pirate bar.
The Buccaneer is the sort of place you either start out at or end up in; very few peeps actually make plans to go there for the entire evening. I have been avoiding the place for months, finally realizing that I used to go there with an ex-boyfriend. Some subconscious, invisible shield had gone up around the joint without my really realizing it. They say that memories are held in our vital organs; that metalheads who have gotten heart transplants suddenly love La Traviata, or truck drivers with new livers suddenly want to make love to their brothers-in-law. Well, I say that memories are also tied to bars; that our thoughts and feelings are molecules that disperse and settle like dust, and when we return to these places they get stirred up. Upon entering I felt rejected, again, the same thing I felt when we split up.
I sat down and ordered a Boddington's and generally felt pretty melancholy. The Buccaneer is designed to look like the galley of a ship; that is, you are in the galley, sailing on the high seas. This is achieved by ceiling beams that look like a ship's. For added effect, I recommend getting really drunk, because then the room seems to sway back and forth like the swells of the ocean. Most important, the pool table is free and the jukebox is full of manly music like the Supersuckers and bands from Sweden that aren't Abba.
A woman was sitting to my left, somewhat dressed up and quite pretty. She had long curly hair and a ring on her thumb. She had been talking closely to her date. Not wanting to be a lookie-loo, I'd been "ignoring" them. Besides, I couldn't make out what they were saying. I even tried moving my chair a little closer, leaning my cheek on my left hand so as to put my ear even nearer ... damn. It is times like that I need a listening device. Heck, I was at a pirate bar and wanted to invade some space.
I knew it was a first or second date. The guy was smiling and acting like he gave a shit about what she was saying. He was cute: long and thin, with a spiky haircut and the looks of a guy who wasn't traditionally handsome but probably knew his way around a clitoris. She was playing it kinda cool and letting herself be pursued. Suddenly he got up to go to the bathroom and I made my move. I locked eyes with her and said, "Hi."
"Hey," she responded, a bit removed. All at once I got a hint of something, perhaps it was mental telepathy. Or maybe her thought molecules flew out of her head and into mine. But inexplicably, I immediately knew what she was thinking.
"I'm not a lesbian," I blurted out.
Nope, not a lesbian, just lonely and desperate for company. I realized that my lack of makeup, Mills sweat shirt, and baseball hat weren't doing me any favors.
"Ha ha," she laughed, "actually we were just wondering that. Jordan thought you were." Jordan, I presumed, was the guy who was rapidly becoming less handsome in my eyes.
"Oh yeah? Funny!" I countered, trying to sound easygoing. The gal was actually pretty nice. Her name was Sammy (and she was calling me a lesbo?) and she had great teeth. In about three minutes we figured out that we were both from Illinois, that we were in the mood to just date and have sex with men -- no relationships -- and that we both liked vodka gimlets. Just as fast as I got the hint that she thought I was gay, I got the hint that this was someone I could really be friends with. Then Jordan came back. He sat down and the two of them immediately went back to talking close together. I did the right thing and turned away from them. Until I saw a time to interject.