Cold, hard, dirty cash with the Dublin Bears


Social media can occasionally do wonders for your wallet. Not often, granted, but it has been known to enable the acquisition of a crisp, 50-euro, cash-money note.

Earlier this week I had been enjoying a little break at work, in the wastelands. I logged on to Facebook for the daily assault on my senses about how successful and fulfilled the lives of my friends and acquaintances are. The amazing meals they are able to concoct (as I ate from a tin of tuna using a plastic spoon); the fabulous holidays they go on;  how their offspring will reinvent the wheel; how animal cruelty is cruel; and about how awful the Orange One is. Occasionally lurking in the feed is an item that piques my interest. That day saw one of these little nuggets appear.

It was a shout out for someone to complete a team of four, for a table quiz being held at Nealon’s Bar by the Dublin Bears as part of their Pride celebration. The event – tastefully named ‘On the Game’ – was being hosted by the drag queen El Styra. This sounded right up my alley – a pub quiz featuring homosexuals and drag queens. What more could a body ask for?

A ‘bear’ is a member of a subgroup within the LGBT community. Now don’t hold me to my word on this as I could be spouting nonsense –  the rate at which identity politics is proliferating, I could be giving the 2005 interpretation of Bears – but my understanding is that the ‘Bear community’ is a group of gay men who either are, or have a preference for the more hirsute man who has facial hair. Rigorous gym attendance is not compulsory for admittance to this group. Nor is it limited by age. However within that grouping there are further micro-groupings. There exists a segment called ‘Pups’. A good friend of mine once identified as a pup. He explained what it all means. I nodded my head wisely at the time, to impart to him my deep understanding of the rules of puppyhood. I still haven’t the foggiest as to what it signifies. But it all looks perfectly entertaining for those of that inclination.

An issue for me with the different identities and subcultures within the LGBT minority is how complicated and strictly defined they all seem. I am a simple person so I have never had any interest in categorising myself by a specific look or interest. More power to anyone who does though.

It turned out that the team on which I was a member contained two (count them) pageant winners from recent years. I was mingling with the big boys, all the while wearing comfortable shoes; cotton, denim trousers; and a clean-shaven face. On my team was a previous winner of Mr. Leather Ireland and Mr. Geared Ireland. I felt underdressed. If I had had the foresight I would have worn big shoulder-pads, so that I could invoke my inner Alexis Colby during this cut-throat game of general knowledge.

The quiz was great fun. The rounds were not like your ordinary quiz. Round 1 involved a fragment from the logo of nine separate, online dating applications. I almost had the vapours. Such licentiousness. I was deeply impressed by the manner in which Mr Leather Ireland recognised ‘Her’ – the lesbian dating app. Various other rounds followed my favourite being the one where you had to guess the brand and flavour of crisp. Quizzing can be tiring so providing snacks as part of the competition is wise. I justified my presence on the team by identifying all the faces on the ‘Icons’ round.

At the start of the quiz each team had been handed a wooden Lego style set and for the duration of the quiz we had to assemble and decorate a little wooden bus. Not being remotely technical I left the others do the heavy lifting for this task. The reward for the best bus was an extra 5 points onto the point total.

Not that our team needed extra points – with our exhaustive knowledge of quiz show hosts; Judy Garland songs and crisp flavours we were assured victory. It was nice to get the extra points though. Our victorious team graciously accepted the €250 prize, and as we are socially responsible homosapiens we took €50 each, and donated the spare one to Gay Switchboard Ireland – the beneficiary of this evening’s shenanigans. It would have been churlish for me to refuse, seeing as it was only two weeks ago that saw the debut of my short play ‘The Number’ about said switchboard.

The cherry on the cake that was the evening was the signed copy of ‘The Moth and Moon’ by Glenn Quigley – a new novel about a burly, gay fisherman and a big storm, in the year 1780. My bodice is quivering in anticipation of being ripped. I’ll write my review of said book, once I have read it.

A very rewarding evening – both socially and financially.

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