Pride weekend was on its way. Lovely, glorious, beautiful Pride--upon which the entire queer year revolved.
Yes, this is the weekend that we gay boys and girls of the Twin Cities let down our hair (or put on our teased-up, sky-high wigs) and take to the streets and parks to celebrate our rainbow-hued fabulosity in the nation's third largest Gay Pride celebration.
I know it makes me sound like a party-poop (Darren pretty much called me that when I told him what I was writing about for this post), but I've never been a huge fan of Pride. I have nothing against it, but it's just not my cup of tea somehow. I feel the same way during Superbowl weekend.
I'm like the Charlie Brown of Gay Pride: "I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Pride is coming, but I'm not happy. I don't feel the way I'm supposed to feel."
Unlike Charlie Brown, I don't need Linus to stand in a spotlight and explain "the reason for the season." I'm enormously grateful for the huge gains the gay community has made since the 1969 Stonewall riots that Pride hearkens back to. That social progress is definitely worth celebrating, and I never take it for granted.
Look, I certainly don't begrudge anyone their wild fun this weekend; it's just that I personally have never really enjoyed the event itself all that much.
As an out gay man, I feel obligated to attend the festival in Loring Park at least every few years for an hour or two. I make a desultory loop around the park with Darren and a couple of friends, but I quickly grow bored, footsore, and sweaty, and I want to hit the road to have drink someplace where I can use real money instead of obscenely expensive festival tickets.
As un-hip as it makes me sound, I'm always relieved to return to the 'burbs, to our happy little terrier, and the comfortable, sequin-free reality of a gay lifestyle that doesn't feature men in leather chaps, or tweaked-out shirtless twinks parading about in body glitter, or dykes on bikes.
All of that gay revelry is fun to see for a couple hours, and though I am invariably impressed and heartened by the sheer numbers and types of queer folk who turn out to enjoy their weekend in the sun, I've always felt like just a non-participant observer at Pride. It's kind of like I'm at "Gay Country Safari."
Naturally, I recognize that I lug my own considerable collection neurosis and baggage to the park with me, and these don't do me any favors.
- I really don't like huge crowds. At all.
- Using porta-potties is revolting, but when I'm nervous (like when I'm in a huge crowd), I always have to go to the bathroom. Twice or more. An hour.
- Being around young hunky shirtless boys is simultaneously tantalizing and incredibly depressing, because they remind me that I'm not hunky, I never was hunky, and now I'm 41 years old, which is like 895 in gay years.
- There are only so many jokes one can stand to hear in one day about deep-throating foot-long corndogs.
Given my reticence about Pride, it may come of something of a surprise to you (it certainly surprises me) that this Saturday afternoon I'll spend two hours at Pride stationed in my company's booth.
How did that come to be?
I'm afraid you must wait until tomorrow for the answer...