espacios de fiesta

BonBon bursts the bubble

Making Thursday the party-routine

Escrito por: Enrique Traver
Visuales de: Enrique Traver

When I was in high school I went to my first club in Mexico City—Leonor. It was Thursday, my parents were on a trip, I lied and said I was going to a birthday dinner and decided to go clubbing. From that moment on Thursday-clubbing became a routine, and a fad. Why? I have no idea. When I left to live in New York I discovered that even there Thursday was the day that the club-kids went out to destroy themselves.

After returning to Mexico, I asked myself what my new Thursday routine would be. What club would be trendy in Mexico? To my surprise it is still Leonor, but now, Thursdays at Leonor are called BonBon, and it’s a gay night. This is it, I immediately thought. I called two friends and turned Thursdays-at-BonBon into our new religion.

The entrance of the mexican gay club 'Bon Bon'.

Returning from New York City, home of the original, and gayest-of-gay clubs, I didn’t think I would find anything better in Mexico. My go-to place in New York was the Pyramid, an 80’s club in the East Village, and ElevenEleven, a hardcore, late-night gay party. To my surprise I discovered that BonBon is the perfect mix of modern and retro—a trendy gay club with an old school vibe. Jerry was still the bouncer, but once you walked into Leonor the entire space seemed to be in drag; the deer’s head that had always been hanging on the terrace now had a feather boa and dark glasses, the waiters were muscular boys in speedos, the walls were covered with sequin curtains, and of course Leonor’s iconic disco ball was still spinning in place over the dancefloor.

Deer head with a crown and wig hanging on the wall.

The club's disco ball.

But beyond the perfect balance of vibes, what does a club need for it to last and not become a daycare center? In my pubescence the “old guys” always complained when a club filled with up with youngsters. But at gay clubs you’re not getting 16-, 17-, 18-year-old girls looking for older boyfriends, and bringing down the median age. Therefore the age range never drops, and the gay clubs never go out of style.

The club's waiters.

Two of my friends and I had just broken up with our boyfriends, and BonBon was the perfect addition to our single wardrobe. Even though my friends are straight, they were mesmerized by the club, it’s pole dance parties (in which I inaugurated the pole), and the pink party, featuring a pink cocktail with melted marshmallows (bombones in spanish). But beyond all its shimmering fabric, what makes BonBon an interesting place in the Mexican social scene is the context in which it exists; that is, a traditionally classist and masculine society.

BonBon questions not only our learned notions of masculinity, it also provides a space for men to learn what it means to them personally—being able to kiss another man, being able to dance to the rhythm of Cher, or admiring a masculine body while out. Places like this break the conservative Mexico I was raised in. BonBon may not be a new concept, or something revolutionary in the fullest sense of the word, but it is a space that manages to deflate the conservative bubble of Mexico. I’m not saying that BonBon is representative of a shared reality, but it does manage to bring us a step closer.

The club's rainbow lights.

That’s why I have faith that BonBon will become something legendary, and something that will continue on for many years. Every Wednesday I look forward to reading the theme of the BonBon party. So, If you are in Mexico City on a Thursday, and want to flirt and mess, BonBon is your place. You’ll find me drinking a Fernet and Coke, dancing until 5am.

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