Guest Post: Five Tips for the Perfect Gay Bar Party (from a fictional promoter for Flashy Sundays)

[Barred in DC Note: This post was submitted by Zachary Woodward  (@ZacharyAmbroseW) who doesn’t even follow me on Twitter now follows me on Twitter after this was posted, but I’ll give it a pass. For those of you don’t know “MAL” is “Mid Atlantic Leather” weekend, and on select Sundays there is a “Flashy Sundays” LGBTQ-friendly event at Flash, the Shaw dance club near 6th and Florida NW. This post hasn’t been edited and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Barred in DC. If you would like to submit a guest post, send it to]

UPDATE: A day after this guest post appeared, Flashy Sundays posted an apology to attendees of their MAL party. In response, Zachary wrote, “This sincere apology is what I was hoping for when I wrote my parody in ‘Barred in DC.’ Thank you, Flashy, for acknowledging your shortfalls and outlining concrete steps you’ll take to improve. I and everyone else are looking forward to seeing you follow through.”

As a fictional promoter for Flashy Sundays, I heard the same question over and over at our Sunday night MAL event: “How the hell did it get like this?” I’m flattered everyone had such a great time, and I’d be honored to share with you five secrets to Flash’s success:

1.     Promise the Moon. By putting a long, inefficient coat check at the front of the first floor, you can bottleneck the entrance, affording patrons the opportunity to line up outside and witness astrological phenomena like Sunday’s Super Blood Wolf Moon. While your guests wait (in sub-zero wind chill), they’ll ponder the same questions Galileo, Kepler, and countless other sky gazers across history have. “The shadow’s making progress, isn’t it?” “Do you think it’ll reach totality before we get in?” “Oh, is the eclipse over already?” And of course, “How much longer do you think the line will be?” BONUS: For added edutainment, hire the Capital Weather Gang to explain to queuers that the same low-overcast conditions that make for perfect eclipse viewing also make for frigid temperatures.

2.     Acknowledge past mistakes. Pledge to do better. (But, like, don’t feel obligated to actually do better.) Attendees of last year’s MAL Flash party will undoubtedly remember waiting a half hour for two overworked clerks to check their coat. We heard your complaints, and that’s why we decided to understaff our main coat check line (see tip number one) and post on Facebook “We’ll have extra space for coat check on hand.” Exert such minimal effort, and you too can have reviews like “In line at 10:30, still in the coat check line at Midnight. One individual working it? This is absurd.” Thanks for noticing, Courtney Bennett!

3.     Control the Crowd. Everyone’s favorite part of Flashy Sunday is hands-down the second floor: shirtless hotties, sweat beads, furtive HJs evolving into flagrant BJs. As we were planning our MAL party, I had a eureka moment. “Hey,” I said. “Why not make the third floor so cold and uninhabitable that all the gays will just pack into the second. Twice the bodies times half the space equals four times the fun, right? Right???” By midnight, the answer to that was clear. A never-before-imagined wait time to get to the second floor from the third. The effective halving of the number of viable restrooms as using anything but the second-floor ones meant a twenty-minute wait to get back to dancing. Panic as pushing and shoving in the middle of the dance floor recalled details of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Y’all, we weren’t kidding when we told you, “O did we mention we have a few surprises in store for tomorrow night?” Hope you were surprised!

4.     Take Advantage of the Trump Administration’s Labor Regs. If you worry it might be cruel to ask your bartenders to serve cold drinks on a sub-50 floor, just give them a coat and try not to notice their shivering. They’ll appreciate the sympathy tips.

5.     In the Face of the Truth-Tellers Haters, Deny. Deny. Deny. If you’re following my tips and someone tells you point-blank in the middle of the party, “This is all your fault,” simply laugh, ignore them, and cut every line that your decisions have helped create. (Remember, lines are for the normals.) As people are rummaging through mounds of trash bags to pick up their own checked items at 3 AM, make sure to post nothing but positive messages and ignore all the comments calling you out on your alleged BS. Everything is awesome. Flash has in no way degraded over the past two years. Club loyalty should keep us afloat through Presidents’ Day.


4 responses to “Guest Post: Five Tips for the Perfect Gay Bar Party (from a fictional promoter for Flashy Sundays)”

  1. this was a fun (and useful) read… guess avoid flash on “flashy sundays” is the takeaway

  2. Thanks for calling this out. The Flashy Sunday promoters did an awful job running the event. No patrons should be ever treated that way!

  3. Turned around as soon as I saw the line. Glad I did!

  4. Awesome read!

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