I had just gently strolled up to the bus stop, Gentle Reader, when we parted. I boarded, primly clutching my bag, Bucephales, looking for all the world like a little old lady who happens to be a young man.
After a short ride – with far fewer stares than expected – I debarked, and followed the convoy of queers towards the parade. I had never watched one before, you know – in years past, either I haven’t gone to Pride at all, or else I’ve been walking in the parade myself. I didn’t stand there watching for long – the sidewalks were packed. The throng was a solid immobile mass, apart from a narrow trickle of movement, like those under-ocean rivers. I watched a few of the floats drift by, then – aggressive and purposeful – shoved my way to a place where I could breathe more easily. I followed the flow to the festival.
It was early yet, and Uncle G. had packed a flask for me*. Despite the hour, I took a sip, and felt my anxiety reduce a little. I found a shady spot on the grass, where I customarily go to smoke at these events, sprawled and wrote for a bit. Around noon, I decided that I needed to circulate, so I went to the nearest of the beer gardens, and instantly ran into a friend. A. – who models, is ridiculously pretty, and is a lot of fun – had brought Young N., my dear Miss Ward’s little brother, freshly graduated and freshly out of the closet. It was his first Pride.
I saw a number of other friends, throughout the day, including my cousin M.† The strangers were the most fun, though – there was an elderly Cockney lesbian, with flowing dyed-orange hair to the waist, who urged me to open a hat shop. “You can call it Tit for Tat, luv – you know, slang for Hat. Plus then you’d get all the traffic from searches online for tits.” A little rave-twink – giant bleach blonde hair, like Cloud Strife – clad only in electric blue pants and ball-cap and all of the bracelets – embraced me by surprise. I sent him off to play with my pretend-nephew. Actually, there were several twinks§ who were very friendly, including a pair who wouldn’t stop stroking my mustache. We got a picture together.
At this point – about six – I completely regretted bringing my bag with me, instead of leaving it at Maison Stone. The only useful things I’d brought were pen, paper, and flask. Everything else, while potentially useful, was in the event rather unnecessary. If I’m going to pull the traveling off successfully, I’m going to have to completely rethink my packing strategy. As of today, I still have a bruise on my shoulder and collarbone from the weight of … essentially nothing worthwhile.
At any rate, about six the festival starts breaking down. In years past, accompanied by friends, I’d spent Pride Evening clambering up and down Capitol Hill, hitting various bars, making new friends, finding little lost frat boys, and generally engaging in a mad bacchanal celebrating the diversity of what it means to be human. Typically, we’d be fully exploring sensation, experiencing all the pleasures of the flesh. I didn’t quite expect that much revelry this year – I was on my own, considerably poorer than in the past, and staying in someone else’s home. I still walked up to the Hill, where I’d arranged to see Mr. Darling, at least for a short visit. He was just getting off work, wanted to freshen up, then he’d telephone.
I was dehydrated, on my own in a strange city, and a little drunk. I hardly made it up the hill – which is ridiculously steep. Once in the desired district, I dragged my exhausted self to the nearest establishment, ordering a glass of wine and a pitcher of water. I drained two pitchers and two glasses of wine while I waited to hear from Darling. Not wanting to stay without ordering more, and wanting to save what little money I had left for when we were together, I paid up and found some seating outside a convenient cafe. My make-up had completely melted at this point; while hydrated, I was still sweaty and rank. The sweet little old lady of the morning was definitely approaching cronehood.
Nonetheless, I’m very attached to Darling, even if he does play my insecurities like a harpsichord.
It was only after an extra hour of waiting outside the cafe that I realized that I wasn’t going to hear from him. Rather than navigate the bars and parties of strangers on my own, I went back to Maison Stone.
*Uncle G. is the Proprietor and Distiller of Absinthe Marteau, the most historically accurate Absinthe produced in the United States. It’s very good, as well as well researched. In this case, the research involved drinking liquor that was more than 100 years old.
†After my grandfather passed, Cousin M. – then Cousin T. – came out as transgendered. She’s a social worker involved in mental health care, and I couldn’t be more thrilled or proud of her. She ran a booth at this year’s Pride, that involved the “Sassy Gender Wheel of Destiny.”
§Apparently, there are a lot of people who don’t know what the word twink means. I use it as a descriptor all the time, personally. Rather than letting you Google it for yourself – and let’s face it, there’s a lot of porn involving twinks – here’s what Urban Dictionary has to say:
An attractive, boyish-looking, young gay man. The stereotypical twink is 18-22, slender with little or no body hair, often blonde, dresses in club wear even at 10:00 AM, and is not particularly intelligent. A twink is the gay answer to the blonde bimbo cheerleader.There are two major theories about the origin of this word, both of which probably have elements of truth to them.a) Twink comes from an acronym T.W.I.N.K. “Teenage, White, Into No Kink.”b) Twink is a shortening of the name for the famous “TWINKIE” snack cake: a tasty, cream-filled snack with no nutritional value. The phallic shape of the “TWINKIE” snack cake should not escape the reader’s attention.
I don’t like going to that club because it’s nothing but a bunch of twinks.