"Are there any straights in the house?" asks bingo queen Dieta Pepsi between calls at Freddie's Bar. A couple raise their hands in the back. "Good. We always like it when the straights come out to play with the gays."
With Pride Week in the rear-view mirror, now is as good a time as any to thank the gays for their contributions to American society. Raise a Big Lady to Abraham Lincoln, to Charles Nelson Reilly, to Ellen DeGeneres and her many flames, to Janet Reno and Condoleezza Rice, to flies-in-the-Republican-ointment Mary Cheney and Candace Gingrich, to Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields and Rob Halford of Judas Priest. To women with mullets. To men with hard-ons. To flamers. To fruits!
Is there a better way to spend a Monday night than Homo Bingo at Freddie's? Hell no. It's nonstop laughter from start to finish and is officially The Place to be on Mondays. Two hours zip by like a wet dream. Even better, the bingo cards are free. Legendary drag queen Dieta Pepsi is all giggles as she sits under bright lights at the front of the room, a fishbowl before her, calling numbers. She's brought a tin of fried chicken for everyone to enjoy. "B-4," she says with her soft Southern twang, then repeats it." "N-44...N-44." Then she gets her favorite number: "O-69," she says, then repeats it seductively as the crowd joins in: "Oooh, sixxxty-niiiiine!"
The game of bingo has been virtually monopolized by Christians of one denomination or another for as long as we can remember, which sucks, because it's an excellent way to while away the hours. Scorecard on the table, drink in hand, marker blotting out numbers. Why should the Bible-thumpers have all the fun? Freddie's has successfully reclaimed bingo, and we couldn't be happier.
A Big Girl is really a jumbo, and not so much a drink. You can order a Big Girl greyhound, or a Big Girl gin and tonic. Whatever kind of Big Girl you desire. We've opted for a raspberry sex on the beach: raspberry vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice. As you can tell, it's a fruity drink for a fruity night -- and it's pink.
A sex on the beach lacks subtlety, it is true. Then again, it arrives in a huge mug, so who are we trying to kid? It's a drink to get drunk on, one to suck from the straw until it's spent.
"G-54," calls Dieta, and out comes a scream of "BINGO!" from the back. A chorus of grumbling fills the room. Just one call away from the prize, a Paris Hilton Drag Bag: blonde wig, dress, bracelet and a tube of lube. Other prizes tonight include what Ms. Pepsi has tagged "The Ghetto Package": a Thug Workout DVD, a 24-ounce can of Olde English 500 malt liquor, a keychain and two pieces of fried chicken.
The winner of the drag bag walks to the front to claim his prize, but there's one stipulation: He must put it on immediately. He does, of course, and within moments the man has been transformed into Paris Hilton: beautiful, elegant. Maybe it is Paris Hilton. A man can dream, can't he?