There is a curious thing about flies, though, and it is that they tend to clean -- and, dare I say, "preen" -- themselves at a much greater rate when other flies are around, the females especially. So flies are just like teenage girls ... and equally as pesky. In fact, I knew a few gals in high school who always excused themselves after a meal to regurgitate their lunches. These same chicks were often toting around sperm from the previous weekend as well. So I ask you, are we not that different from the smallest of God's creatures?
Still, one has to wonder why a restaurant and bar would name itself after such a disgusting bug. Fly sits on the corner of Divisadero and Fulton. The owners are probably alluding to the adjective "fly," as in, "Dig, that's one fly-ass beeyatch." Or perhaps they mean the verb "to fly," a metaphor for getting drunk or high. But I saw the sign and thought about the bug, and quickly decided that I would not be eating in the joint.
The inside reminds me of an East Coast, liberal college kid's rental, minus the bong collection. I say "East Coast" because despite our local history with psychedelics, that somewhat hippie-ish eastern college kid vibe really doesn't occur out this way. We're too busy trying to avoiding looking all "Berkeley." In Boston or Philadelphia, however, it is a prerequisite for all sophomores to move out of the dorms and into a house that they then bedeck with Doors posters and wall tapestries.
Fly is cozy, with purple fabrics, good paintings from local artists, and a definite set of regulars. The kitchen turns out pizzas that look pretty darn good (though obviously I didn't try one), but mostly this place is a watering hole.
Occasionally, a fella would wander in, rub his hands together, and take a seat at the bar. I was the only woman sitting there, at the far end. All along the rest of the counter sat male after male. They were all trying to get the attention of the comely lass serving drinks, a slim blonde in a Cramps T-shirt named Anne-Elyse. I decided to shut up and just watch the proceedings, a fly on the wall, if you will.
"Haven't seen you for a while, Anne-Elyse," said a young red-cheeked professional, settling onto his stool. He had just a hint of shyness to his salutation that said, "Oh gosh, please remember me or I will be really embarrassed." She greeted him warmly. He had come to meet his stocky friend, who had already downed a few pints by the time he arrived.
"Hey, can I start a tab? I feel like getting drunk tonight," he said with more confidence.
"There's a shocker," said his stocky pal with a snort. They both chuckled the way alcoholics do, you know, that sort of "I drink, I get drunk, I fall down, no problem!" kinda way that those of us in the early stages of dipsomania always adopt.
The other men at the bar were either reading or resting their chins in their hands and waiting for an "in" to talk to someone, anyone. I swore to myself that I wasn't going to say anything to anyone for a change. I was just gonna watch and observe the mating rituals of Homo sapiens.
Groups of people began arriving, and everyone seemed to know everyone else. This was obviously a neighborhood bar, and I felt a bit left out. But that was my choice, after all. A guy at the bar made a comment to the bartender that elicited a chuckle, then another guy ordered a drink and left a big tip. Jeezus I was bored. If this was what a fly on the wall goes through, no wonder it gravitates to manure. When you're a fly and are looking for something more out of life, what else can you do to live on the edge besides traipsing through filth for some cheap thrills?
I needed filth. I paid my tab and went and did something I have never done. I bought some porno, a DVD about cherries and swimming pools and knee socks. But I made the mistake of getting one with two girls, when really I should have gotten two guys. Generic, gay male porn is the best: just two dudes, a prison guard and his capture, doing each other's bidding to a funky bass line.
That reminds me of another disgusting thing about flies. They do it doggie style. Bugs, screwing like mammals. Ewww. The male puts his, er, hands on her head in a brief moment of foreplay, then ruts away for about five minutes. Then he leaves her cab fare and flies off. But I'm not bitter.
I ended up giving the porno I bought to a horny, nondiscerning friend of mine. You never know when your parents will accidentally come across your sordid porn stash while visiting. It's always better to keep your hands clean.