By Kate Ross
Hey! My name is Kate Ross. I identify as a gay woman and have lived in Washington, D.C. since I graduated from college in 2006. I am also a business owner, party host, and artist manager.
I wanted to start a series about how to find other queers which included highlighting safe spaces for queers to congregate, experience the city, go on dates, etc., and I implore readers to give me some suggestions as well (see the email address at the end of this post).
Okay. I apologize to all my Tinder dates in advance. You are all special in your own way, but there is a reason I take all of you to Satellite Room.
I love Satellite Room. I have yet to encounter any homophobic comments or behavior there and the staff are very warm and welcoming. A few of the queer DJs from the scene spin there, like Keenan Orr and Baronhawk, oftentimes playing some of the best hip-hop music in the background (ex. Wu-Tang Wednesday). Not to mention there’s a bar with outdoor seating, they sell boozy milkshakes (I’ll have mine virgin, please), and baskets of custom tater tots. Seriously, what isn’t cool about tater tots and classic hip-hop And as staff member Emily Wessel puts it, “Dining is a human activity, the environment should be one of comfort and inclusion.”
On a more personal note, I always take my dates here because I’ve never run into people I know. I like to come here because it’s like my private, cozy, gay dating spot as opposed to, say, Nellie’s or Town where chances are I’d run into an ex. Or two.
If the date progresses and you aren’t scared of running into those exes, you could move onto those places if that’s your flavor. Personally, I’d prefer to go to U Street Music Hall or Velvet Lounge depending on the vibes for the evening, of course.
But with dating, there’s the knowledge that there are good dates and there are, well, not good dates. With Tinder, it’s a crapshoot, can lead to some humorous situations, and since Satellite Room is my go-to Tinder date spot, suffice it to say I’ve had some awkward experiences there. This one in particular played out like a farce and may very well explain my broken finger after feverishly swiping to find a recovery date.
Satellite Room is a bar. And while the establishment serves dinner, I would advise against having dinner with a first time Tinder date. On one particular date a couple of years ago, I was enjoying pleasant conversation. You know: the regular first date questions like “What’s your sign?” or “What’s your opinion on the divide between Baltimore Club and Jersey Club?” This was with a nice girl with what seemed to be a calm composure, but by the time dinner was on the table, my date began crying. Not regular tears, but full on chubby tears. Thick, almost astonishingly viscous tears.
So, there we were, in the middle of the restaurant, water pouring from her eyeballs as she told me her life story. My solution? Leave. My exit plan was to leave Satellite Room and tell her that I had to be at a music venue for work. While still crying, she insisted on walking with me even though I offered to hail her a cab and pay for her ride home. So, she walked with me to U Street Music Hall and then followed me downstairs. Moombahton Massive was happening and, in the loud craziness, I took a page from the romcom playbook and dodged her by getting mixed up in the dance floor with other people. Just imagine it. It was like a scene out of a John Hughes movie. It was madness! Thankfully, a dear friend, fellow BYT writer Marcus K. Dowling, took one for the team and talked to her for most of the night. Thank goodness for friends.
Not all dates are bad, however. Sometimes, among the awkward shuffle of uncomfortable ugly cries masquerading as promising right swipes, there’s a gem that re-instills our faith in the possibility that one day we’ll find happiness.
My most recent date at Satellite Room, which was not a Tinder date, but a first date nonetheless, was the best date I have been on in nearly a year. After some comfortable, idle chit chat, we got dinner: I ordered an artisanal grilled cheese sandwich and a milkshake while she opted for a Reuben and vodka soda. It’d be an understatement to say we hit it off immediately. Maybe it was the gooey cheese and the sound of fantastic music in the background, but something about it just felt right. So, after some more entertaining conversation, we eventually made it to Rosebar – showing up drenched due to the sudden torrential downpour which, frankly, neither of us seemed to care about. It was just another screwball, magical element that tied the night together. And now, after one night of knowing this girl, I am going to a country concert. Chris Stapleton. At Merriweather. On Saturday. For anyone that knows me, this is like watching pigs sprout wings and fly. But it’s OK because at this stage in my life, what’s wrong with a little bit of impromptu adventure? And to think, my routine go-to for first dates would turn into the beginning of something that looks like the start of a great one.
So, yeah. Satellite Room is great. Boozy milkshakes, Wu-Tang Wednesdays, and great ambience. Just skip the potentially weepy first-date dinners, though. Also, I will probably have to find a new date spot now that you know my secret. Send suggestions and hate mail here: [email protected]