NYC Pride

Thu. July 7, 2005 12:00 AM
by Jason Paul

Diapers and rash cream instead of feather boas and plastic rainbow beads – that was the choice I made. So you'll have to tell me (email me), how was your Chicago PRIDE? This year I opted to skip it, heading to hometown New York to visit my other family. Yes, this may disappoint all my loyal readers – all three of you (Hi Mom!) – who were eager to hear torrid tales of Altoids' dancer induced halitosis (use your imagination) and sneaking rides in the Jewel shopping cart thingy. Meeting my handsome new nephew Michael Stanley took precedent. In him I discovered a different kind of PRIDE and learned that last weekend of June, in his innocent blue angel eyes, what love really is. It's not just something you say to get people into bed.

Coincidentally my trip did happen to fall on the very same date as NYC PRIDE. So in between naps, feedings and passing poopy pants back to mommy dearest, and when real love showed itself to be kind of a bore, I decided to skip down over to the Chelsea and give the weekend goings on a little look-see.

However our east coast affiliates proved themselves as reliable as the North Bound Broadway bus. Outside the Roxy Saturday night, my press ID sadly dangling from my waistline, pretty party club clipboard girl told me my name wasn't on the list while the big 36"-cross-armed-seven-foot-tall bouncer man dared me to oppose it. Knowing the loving thing to do would be to just let it go, and not wanting my diva fit to end up in all the tabloids, I chose to walk away. Bouncer man was nice enough to carry me to the curb, making certain not to drop me on a fire hydrant. It was the most action I got all weekend and I loved him for it.

No matter, the next day was the big event. With long time pal and NYC fag hag, Lisa "Da Goot" Gootman in tow, we headed off to the historic West Village to catch the Big Apple's PRIDE Parade.

If you consider the implications, the past, the politics and the community of it all, the whole thing becomes so overwhelmingly daunting. This is where the festival of PRIDE originated and where all PRIDE festivals all across the world stem from. It was there in New York, on the very street I stood on, 36 years ago at the Stonewall Inn, where a small band of homos finally put their foot down – high heels and all – and made a public stand against oppression. "We're here! We're Queer! Get used to it!" The rioting of the few brave skirt wearing trailblazers overtook the village and their angry defiant march can still be felt today rumbling over the cobble stone streets.

Ever since, once a year for the entire day, despite the current consensus toward LGBT rights, despite the litigation, the commerce, and the unaccommodating environment, the most powerful city in the world just stops. The island of Manhattan becomes totally paralyzed so everyone in it, republican mayor and all, from 5th and 52nd all the way down to Christopher and Washington, can go gay! And we're not talking you're run of the mill limp wrist and loafers and/or gym bunny beefcake kind of gay, but the over the top, 100 foot float, drag queen, tranny, black, white, red, yellow and pink, larger than life headdress, in the street in your underwear passing out plastic ducks for [competitive publication], outrageous, screaming and yelling, gun oil, freaky-deaky, nipple piercing kind of Q-gay!

Say what you must about the PRIDE parade. It's too long. It's overcrowded. It's too commercial and it's too hot, but it is f*cking amazing.

Which is why I instantly fell in love with Showboy Brandon! Not for his slender tanned buffed physique, chiseled handsome facial features or massive package busting out of his yellow Speedos but for his overwhelming sense of PRIDE! You got to have some if you're going to stand in the street wearing a head to toe feathered gauntlet and shin guards ensemble with matching diadem larger then the both of us.

The attraction was mutual. I could tell. So I asked him to marry me. That's when I figured he must be working for some lame ass marketing group because he answered with the very diplomatic and PR-esque "But I'm not ready to get married"

"Well, fine!" I hollered, hurt and angry from the burning rejection. "You think just because we've known each other for all of ten seconds and I've asked you for a lifelong commitment based solely on your beauty we won't be compatible! You ain't all that Brandon," I announced, "There's one thing I got on you!"

"What's that?" he defensively asked, his agitated plumage standing on end.

"I can walk!" With that, I flipped my head around like the spoiled princess I am and strutted off. Brandon tried to take chase but he tripped over an ostrich feather jutting ten feet off of his shoulder pads.

Now on the rebound, Da Goot joined me as I drowned my sorrows at Barrow's Pub. It's a charming wood paneled beer bar right on the corner of Barrow and Hudson. A must stop next time you're in town. It was there I realized how much I love and miss home when the manager grabbed my arm and accused me of not tipping the bartender. She was obnoxious. She was rude, snide and sarcastic and I thought, "Finally, someone who can truly understand me!" When the bartender informed her that I did in fact tip (And tip quite well thank you very much – Da Goot even tipped Bar Back John per his request marked in mascara all down his back) the manager just shrugged her shoulders and wished me a, "Happy mother f*cking PRIDE!"

"Oh honey, happy mother f*cking PRIDE to you too!"

Showboy B was quickly forgotten upon meeting my circa 1995 Calvin Klein model-esque soon to be ex-boyfriend Jared.

With his fashion forward summer gear showing off his trimmed toned arms, blue eyes looking down at me from 6'3" tall and his sexy pierced tongue inviting me into his mouth, it was love at first sight. However two photographs and ten minutes later I learned of his odd fascination with his lesbian girlfriend Leslie's breasts.

We had to break up.

Well, to hell with love then! Maybe Uncle Jason Paul was just going to have to face the world forever loveless, fabulous and alone. That's what I thought until two captivating college boys on the E train reestablished my faith in the pride of lifelong partnership. Martino and Seth shared with me the charming story of their courtship. There were stolen glances across a crowded street, the coincidence of them both carrying the same textbook and when one mustered up the courage to ask the other for his e-mail, it had been bliss ever since. They've been dating for 45 minutes.

Well, if it could happen for them then maybe it could for me too – Maybe even at the Spirit Party later that evening. Post parade Da Goot and I left the West Village making the long trip to Times Square to pick up our complimentary party passes, only to find they were not there! Those damned east coast affiliates again! I swear, when I become as famous as I like to think I am, names will proudly be taken. Heads are gonna roll one day when I'm in command but of course, only in the most loving of ways.