Free beer for straight men! Eagle bar’s ‘Hetero Month’ puts ‘trans’ in transparent bigotry

No disrespect, Eagle, but Old State Saloon probably is the last bar on Earth I’d ever want to drink a pint.

Yet, suddenly, I’m battling a bizarre urge.

To strap on my wife’s high heels. To hobble into the town’s extremist watering hole. To challenge the nearest macho man to a friendly arm-wrestling match — loser buys beer.

I’d be earning my free suds the hard way, even if it felt good to make a point. Because in June, Old State Saloon is unleashing its latest face-palming promotion: Heterosexual Awesomeness Month.

“Come join us all month to celebrate heterosexuals,” the bar proclaimed on social media, “for without them, none of us would be here! Each Monday will be Hetero Male Monday and any heterosexual male dressed like a heterosexual male will receive a free draft beer.”

As a God-gifted, handsome straight devil, I grand-slam the first criteria. But, heels notwithstanding, how exactly does a customer dress like a heterosexual male? Wear one of those “The Only Thing I Like More Than Beer Is Twins” shirts? Or the one that reads, “Cool Babe Now Go Make Me a Sandwich”?

Maybe I’ll invite my beautiful wife to join. We’ll try the midweek discount. “Each Wednesday is Heterosexual couples day,” Old State continued, “and each heterosexual couple will receive 15% off their bill.”

But what a price we’d pay — in the shame department.

No stranger to pot-stirring, Old State Saloon’s latest unfortunate stunt has incited a predictable ruckus: nearly 700 Facebook comments in less than 24 hours — and counting. Instagram is a similar cluster.

It’s both sad and funny. “An all-male Monday sounds pretty gay to me,” one guy wisecracked. Old State Saloon claims to have banned about 25 negative Facebook commenters for “using horrific words, expletives, using the name of the Lord in vain, etc.”

(Flat-out banned? Sheesh! Grow a hetero pair!)

But based on thrilled, supportive reactions — “This is the best thing I’ve ever seen” — tons of people are loving Old State Saloon’s thinly veiled hate. These misguided folks can post laughing emojis and slap each other on the back all they want. Or preferably, on the butt, like those manly professional athletes do.

Because most Idahoans will see this dog whistle for what it is. Old State Saloon is promoting intolerance. It’s putting the “trans” in transparent bigotry. This marketing gimmick is an insecure reaction to LGBTQ+ Pride Month, the annual celebration for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride in June. It also happens to be timed perfectly with Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling’s recent pathetic, gutless statement about a Pride event scheduled for a Canyon County park.

If, like me, you’ve lived in Boise most of your life, you’re familiar with the historic Orville Jackson’s Eagle Drug Store building at 50 E. State St. For more than a decade, it was a welcoming Eagle watering hole — The Gathering Place. It was purchased and then rebranded in early 2023. New owner Mark Fitzpatrick describes himself as “a Christian, conservative, Constitution supporter, retired police officer, and family man.” That’s from his Zillow real estate broker profile. “My family relocated to Eagle, Idaho from SoCal ... ” it adds.

Old State Saloon is not an old-school saloon. Not like its predecessor. Fueled by a stream of social media posts, it traffics in eye-catching promotions — often unusual ones — focusing on far-right politics. “Truth seeker” events. And religion.

“Conspiracy Theory Trivia” with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle as a prize. “Open Carry Coffee” mornings with holstered handguns. “Worship Nights,” Bible study groups and “Christian Singles Mingle.” A “Nefarious Vaccine Agenda” event. And let’s not forget the “NASA Lies and Flat Earth” presentation coming next week.

As for “Heterosexual Awesomeness Month”? Free beer is tempting, but I’m skipping. And more events are planned in June, Old State claims. Swell.

I believe that American citizens are entitled to far-right and far-out opinions. But I’m confident that most barstool conversations struck up at Old State Saloon just ain’t my bag.

Or sack.

Whatever the hetero dudes call it.