The scene is that of a typical nightclub: techno-infused pop shakes the floor, rainbow lights flicker and sweaty guys grind up on girls in backless tanks.
Add to the mix shirtless men, guys with knee-length boots French-kissing, girls holding hands and making out, and you have Apex.
A self-described gay club, the dance floor on Dupont Circle hosts college night every Thursday. With music pounding until 3 a.m., the special attracts a diverse demographic – including masses of straight undergraduate women. Gay and straight attendees say Apex is the destination for straight people to party with gay friends and go crazy – minus the sex.
Dancing with a group of straight girlfriends and a gay male friend, GW senior Abby Karow revels in letting loose without getting groped every five seconds.
“It’s definitely a plus,” she said of the absence of guys looking for a piece of ass.
GW sophomore David Micron, who had attended a night at Apex before coming out, said he thinks it is a good place for those curious about their sexual orientation. “I went here when I was ‘straight’,” he said as a shirtless man with multi-colored star tattoos near his pelvic bone passes by.
“I’m from Buffalo, where if you go to a gay club, you’re automatically gay,” Micron said. “But here, straight and gay people can come and no one cares. I think it’s a lot more chill than straight clubs.”
Professional drag queen Jasabelle is out of drag tonight. Jasabelle said he performed at GW’s Gay Pride Week several years ago and puts on shows at several other area colleges.
The 32-year-old thinks a lot of straight women are sick of getting hit on by seedy guys at clubs and come to Apex to get away from that.
“Sometimes I’ll say to a girl (at Apex), ‘That’s a great top on you,’ or ‘You have beautiful hair,’ and they’ll get freaked out.” He makes a slinking back motion to demonstrate. “And I say, ‘Honey, don’t forget you’re at a gay bar. I’m a drag queen.'”
Although he said there’s nothing wrong with straight people coming to a gay club, Jasabelle is bothered by the double standard regarding club etiquette. “I see straight girls get groped by gay men,” he says. “A lot of gay men like tits, and if you’re well endowed, they’ll grab them. Why is it OK for a gay man to do it, but not a straight man?”
George Mason junior Erica Stempniak has a boyfriend and comes to Apex with her gay friend, junior Robert Crofton. “I don’t like going to regular clubs because guys are always hitting on me,” she says.
Gay men have felt up Stempniak at Apex, but she says, “It’s all in good fun.”
GW senior Michael Contini enjoys clubbing with his straight friends, but thinks many straight people only party at gay clubs to be trendy.
He said, “There are people who are like ‘Ooh! A gay bar! I’m so accepting; I’m being really cool by coming here.'”