Gay Pride in New York. Which must qualify at the very least as somewhat-theatrical because hello (1) we’re in the musical theatre capital of the world (2) drag queens, floats, rainbows (3) elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist-wrist (that’s the equation for the royal wave, ya dirty mind), (4) have you ever talked to a gay man?
That being said I was surprised. I am from San Francisco. Yes. Notably shocking: I’ve written 6 posts with out any mention of my beloved hometown. So while NYC is the musical theatre capital of the world and the capital of countless other things, San Francisco stakes claim as the gay capital of the world and also the only place I have ever been to pride before. I found it odd- SFPride wins -hands down- as more theatrical, lively, spirited. New York has numbers and a nonchalant, I’m-fabulous-and-I-know-it-sure-I’ll-accessorize-my-ensemble-with-a-rainbow-something-for-the-day-but we’re-keeping-it-cool where are San Francisco is I-ran-away-from-my-homophobic-parents-in-South-Dakota-to-be-here-and-I’m-fucking-FA-BU-LOUS-and-I’m-going-to-display-all-my-wondrous-GLORY-in-leather/lace/feathers/RAINBOWS/inch thick makeup/pink cowboy regalia/a thong/pasties!! I’d say that’s about the difference. (Should you care for a bit of expose and a walk down memory lane, here’s my 17 year-old-self’s account of my first SFPride.) I really couldn’t help but compare the two. I tried not to. I really did try.
Mika came down for the weekend which was absolutely wonderful. My lovely date for Pride. My friend. I don’t have enough friends here yet. My loner tendencies generally keep me from loneliness, but it was really, really nice to have a buddy. As it was Pride, where hetero-normative becomeshetero-abnormative = you’re assumed to be gay rather than straight, Mika and I knew we’d be viewed as a couple. We were rather amused by this and you’d think would have limited come ons from either gender. You’d think. What you wouldn’t think is that we would be propositioned by a middle aged short kinda fat man. Not individually, oh no. The man wanted us as a unit. “You are beautiful. Both so beautiful. Would you come with me to hotel room?” EW. We fled. Okay, I grabbed Mika’s hand and fled, we both pushed our way away through the crowds of people feeling gross. Fuck you, short middle aged gross short fat man, for having the power to make us feel gross. Fuck you.
Fortunately this was the only real down of the day.
Our journey to the parade was all New York. We woke up in Mika’s brother’s apartment on the Lower West Side which has an awesome roof garden (where, surprise: tenants actually hang out. We were caught us off guard by a man having a morning smoke) and an awesome view of the Empire State Building. This was followed by the perfect Sunday brunch. Classic diner. Classic New York brunch. Well, Mika and I weren’t all that cliche, but the tables surrounding us were. Across from our table. group of about ten 20-something girls all regaling high-pitched stories of the night before, a compilation of “omg”s and “I can’t believe I drank that much!” and “I’m soo hung over” and “did that guy get your number” etc etc all on a soundstage of giggles and requests for more coffee. Mika was annoyed, I was amused. At the table next to us was the woman who takes 2 hours to order. Charlotte York, Sally (When Harry Met Sally, Sally). “Do you have Splenda? You do? Ok, can I get a large iced coffee, no cream and can you bring us some Splenda?… Do you have bran muffins? …Can you check? ….You have mini bran muffins? …ok…that’s fine. I’ll have the Belgium Waffle [I wasn’t expecting that] with no butter on it. Ok? Ok, that’s it.” Again, I was amused.
After breakfast, we make our way to the parade route. We’re also on a mission: rainbow paraphernalia and Arizona Iced Tea. This leads us to making many little stops on the way. All the while Mika keeps saying “I feel like I’ve been here before.” “This is really familiar.” Which I imagine is some vague memory from childhood- the 4 year old Mika in a stroller being pushed down streets of New York. Sure, I have memories like that too. Neighborhoods dig up memories. Well, turns out this memory is not that vague. “Holy shit, I think my friend Alex works at that store.” Alex is one of the 2 of Mika’s New York friends I’ve met so can appreciate this crazy coincidence. We walk in the store and ask the first employ we meet. Yep, Alex works here, he might even be on now. Crazy. Mika’s kinda freaking out as we approach the counter, she hasn’t seen the guy in a couple years. We approach the counter, as a customer is just finishing her purchase and BAM. We are face to face with Creepy Rachel. What are you doing in New York? So funny to run into you! We should hang out. Nice to see you BYE. Ah! Of all people to run into.
Creepy Rachel, as she is not so fondly referred to by most of my college theatre community, is pretty much just that. Creepy. Weird. For the longest time I thought she had a crush on me as I would always catch her staring at me and she occasionally would say “hi” after being caught. I had no idea who she was until during the tech week of some show I saw her in the theater and realized she was a techie. Ooh. Confession: I have a dark past of being the cliche actor who doesn’t know all the amazing people who keep her out of the dark on stage. I have since (done some tech work, which put me in my place and) reformed my snooty actress ways. Techies are generally cooler than actors. Sure, I admit it. Creepy Rachel- whose name derives from her stares, stories she’s told in the booth about her trysts with vampires, the fact that she’s always playing mindsweaper on the computers in the student lounge (especially when you desparately need to use them and all the others are occupied), and also her general aura- is a rare exception. Still, it’s fun running into people and even the creepies make me smile because It’s a Small Island (After All).
I have since learned that Creepy Rachel isn’t creepy enough to attemp to contact me. More smiles.
I like Pride and Rainbows.