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Beyond Borders

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Elana Koff

On the Prowl: Millie cruises among the stacks and discovers that there are tons of great neighborhood bookstores full of cute, eligible, lonesome folks.

Millie stalks the stacks

By Millie

If you want to pick up a straight guy, stay away from those all-male theaters in the Tenderloin. If you're looking for real closeted boys--and gals, too--your best bet is Borders Books.

Millie stands in the Current Affairs section pretending to read the latest book about the O.J. trial. (Seems Kato Kaelin is hiding much more than just his intelligence, his talent and his natural hair color.) From his vantage point, Millie has a perfect view of the surprisingly well-stocked Gay and Lesbian section. The tall corporate type who just sort of "wanders" over from the Sports section catches Millie's eye immediately.

Corporate puts on quite a show of pretending to be shocked, then intrigued by a coffee-table picture book of naked college jocks. He pages through the book, furtively glancing around the store to ensure no one is noticing. (Earth to Corporate: NO ONE CARES!) Except for Millie, that is, who slinks over unnoticed and whispers into his ear, "Meet me in the men's room. And bring the book."

Borders is great for cruising. (Don't buy books there; that's why you're paying for a library, babe.) But you don't have to go to Union Square to cruise among the stacks. There are tons of great neighborhood bookstores full of cute, eligible, lonesome folks. Millie suggests throwing on something provocative to go bookstore hopping next Saturday night.

At Modern Times Bookstore (888 Valencia), catch the revolutionary thunder of a Neighborhood Watch meeting and score the number of the scruffy, Trotsky-revolutionary type behind the counter. Grab a calendar of events on your way out. If Brownie Mary ever decides to have a bake sale for Central American dyslexics, she'll do it at Modern Times.

Make sure to stop in at Dog Eared Books (900 Valencia) for a quick look around. It's typically pretty empty but always worth a shot. Millie once picked up a hot skateboard punk in the cooking section (used) of this weird little bookseller. The guy behind the counter is always in some heated discussion with a ranting neighborhood scholar. Perfect distraction for a quickie back behind the Used Sci-Fi shelf.

On Van Ness, stop in at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books (601 Van Ness, Opera Plaza). The best thing about this place is it's clean and, well, lit. If you're like Millie, then you like to see what you're getting into. Saunter up to a cutie and flash two tickets to the next showing of the Cannes also-ran playing at the nearby Opera Plaza Cinemas. (Trust me, you'll be the only ones there.)

If you've got a weakness for show people, you want to check out San Francisco's premier theater and performing arts bookshop, Limelight Film and Theater Bookstore (1803 Market). Every actor, director, producer--even extra--passes through this place at one time or another. Millie suggests dressing up like Chita Rivera in Kiss of the Spider Woman if you want to snag a hunky leading fella.

Of course the best bookstore to cruise is the best bookstore in town: Green Apple Books and Music (506 Clement St.). Huge floor-to-ceiling shelves are crammed full of new and used books. Stacks of books jam every nook and cranny in the place. (I'd hate to be there during an earthquake.) Get turned on by the musty attic scent and by the clientele--sexy, literate bargain hunters. To get cozy with a cute book lover, cruise upstairs, down the hall and in the back. Be careful of the creaky floorboards. You wouldn't want to disturb other couples hooking up downstairs.

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From the June 15-28, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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