My Very First Pride Parade

I was planning to discuss my relationship with Jay chronologically, and since I started writing this blog a couple months after we started dating, I’ve been playing catch up. BUT I’m going to skip ahead for a moment and tell you about our trip to San Francisco’s Pride Celebration & Parade.  We’d been dating several weeks at that point, but I wanted to write about it sooner rather than later, so it would still be somewhat relevant. I’ll discuss how our relationship formed in later posts.

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A few weeks ago, Jay and I went to the 43rd annual “Pride Celebration & Parade” in San Francisco. This years Pride was especially festive because DOMA had just been struck down by the Supreme Court, and I certainly didn’t want to miss this once in a lifetime experience.

Technically, I’d been to a Pride parade in San Diego, but this was my very first one in San Francisco, so I was extra excited. I’d been warned that the parade and subsequent gatherings could get a little crazy. According to Jay (and his straight roommates who weren’t sure how much I knew about gay culture in SF), there would very likely be nudity at this event. Actually, one of them said something like, “I mean, you’re definitely gonna see some old man dick.” There would be all sorts of people dressed up (and NOT dressed up) in a wide variety of festive attire that would cover (and not cover) a whole range of body parts. I acted like “Nudity? What? Oh wow, thanks for letting me know,” but in my head I was like “Haha… cool.”

Jay also put me on notice that gay guys might hit on him. At this point we had been dating for several weeks, and I think he still wasn’t entirely sure where I stood vis’ a vis his sexuality, especially since we hadn’t (and still haven’t) sat down and talked about it in detail. Perhaps he was afraid that actually SEEING another man hit on him might send me into some kind of girl-rage. Overall, however, he said gay guys would probably not hit on him since I would be there, terrifying them with my spectacular femininity (he didn’t say that second part, but I can only assume that’s what he meant).

I was actually a little disappointed that my presence might deter the gays from trying to pick up on my boyfriend. I was kind of curious to see how that might go. Would they think he was gay? Would they be unsure, and try to cautiously encourage him to disclose that information? How would he respond?

On the topic of trying to figure out how Jay fit into the LGBT community that would be attending Pride, I asked him what he would be wearing

“A speedo,” he said with a straight face.

I knew that was a lie, mostly because it was too good to be true, and the world seems to enjoy disappointing me. Furthermore, Jay usually dresses pretty normally. He just doesn’t seem like the ‘wear a speedo to Pride’ type. And I feel like if he was planning to actually do that he would have warned me further in advance.

In reality, he was planning to wear shorts and a tank top, “But I’ll probably take my shirt off if it gets really hot.” (And I thought, great that means I’m gonna be carrying a shirt in my purse the whole fucking day. Why do guys do that? They always ask to put stuff in your purse. Like it doesn’t matter. It DOES matter. Every little thing adds to the weight.)

We arrived at Pride via BART, and even on the train ride I could see all my expectations were going to be fulfilled. So many people! So many colors! So many exposed butt cheeks! On second thought, there weren’t THAT many naked people. Supposedly there were far fewer than last year; this year’s crowd had more mild spectators since DOMA had just been struck down, making Pride a sort of tourist destination. In contrast, less publicized Prides attract only the most die hard fans. But still, ANY naked people is a lot by my standards. And when we got there, it was just… more. More people, more colors. The sheer number of people was amazing. This may have been the biggest crowd I’ve seen in my life.

The Crowd

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Episode 1: The Guy I Scared Away

I was having more fun than anybody else. There was so much to look at, and I had my camera; I could have been entertained for hours. At some point, I wandered away, distracted by things I wanted to take pictures of, and Jay was left alone and shirtless.

When I tried to find him again, I spotted him in the crowd and saw that he was chatting with a young (presumably) gay man. I had been gone only a few moments, yet this person had descended upon him like a sexy vulture.

I watched for a while, curious about what their interaction might be like. Jay was giving off “don’t hit on me vibes,” the same way I do when men come up to me while I’m trying to study at Starbucks. I couldn’t quite hear what they were talking about, but eventually the guy asked something like, “So did you come here with friends?” and Jay pointed to me, explaining that I was his girlfriend. The guy said, “Oh, oh, okay,” and quickly backed off.

I had been standing there, staring at them like an idiot with my mouth open, so I decided to come over and say hi. But before I got there, the guy had scampered away, presumably fearing I was about to grab him by the collar and scream something in his face, like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY BOYFRIEND?” I wasn’t gonna do that; I was just going to try to keep observing their interaction. But he was long gone by the time I got there.

I was never quite sure whether the guy backed off so quickly because he thought Jay was straight, or because he thought Jay was taken. Like, would he have run away so quick if Jay had said he was there with a boyfriend? It seemed to me like he got out of there extra fast because he was afraid he had just been hitting on a straight dude who might be annoyed by it… But who knows.

I also wonder a lot about whether Jay gets annoyed when people presume he’s straight just because he’s with a girl. I haven’t asked him. Perhaps I shall…

Episode 2: The Guy I Couldn’t Shake

On the topic of people making assumptions about Jay’s orientation, the afternoon brought another interesting incident.

We met up with some friends of Jay’s from school, and they were all chatting when I noticed a stand selling corn dogs. Which I love. So I made everyone gather and hang out near me while I waited in line.

There was a group of about 4 people standing nearby, and one of them started approaching us. It was a guy who looked like he was probably in his mid 30’s. He came up to Jay and said, “We’ve been trying to figure out, are you gay or straight? She says straight, but I say gay, and we’ve been arguing over it.”

Jay said they were both wrong because he’s bisexual.

“Oh… you’re bi,” the man said. He pointed to a blonde woman (also looking to be in her mid 30’s). “She’s bi too. You should meet her. She’s great. She’s so fun.”

The woman waved at us.

I glared at her, feeling a little ticked off that she would think she was entitled to meet Jay solely on the grounds that she was also bisexual. I immediately sized her up; I was obviously younger, so points there. She was blonde, so that was a huge plus for her (sorry, blondes are awesome. What can I say?). Overall I decided she was definitely not as cute as me, with oldness playing a huge part in that; there are certainly cute 30 and 40 year olds, but this lady, with her fake hair color, was trying too hard to look like a college coed. So, big fucking deal that she was also bi.

As I was lost in my hate-daydream, Jay was saying that I was his girlfriend, so he did not think he should meet the bi lady.

The man turned to me. “Oh, you’re his girlfriend?”

I told him that I was.

By this point, the others in our group had turned back amongst themselves, a signal the conversation with this man was over. Unfortunately, the corn dog line was moving up, and I was getting pulled away from my gang, and the man was following me.

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“So you’re his girlfriend. So is he gay or straight?” The man asked.

I said, “I don’t know,” which was stupid because I did know.  What I meant was “I don’t know why you’re asking me again when he just told you he’s bi” or “I don’t know why you’re following me, when I’m just trying to mind my own business and get a corn dog” or “I don’t know why corndogs aren’t a more commonly served food…” (That one had nothing to do with the conversation; it’s just something I often wonder).

The man wouldn’t let up. “Well, what, you guys haven’t done it?”

“Yeah we have,” I said.

“Well? So, can he do it?”

“Yeah.”

“So he’s straight,” the guy said.

If I hadn’t been so focused on not losing my place in line, I would have corrected the man and explained what ‘bisexual’ meant. But ‘bi-activism’ was taking a back seat to ‘getting corndog’, so I ignored him as he shuffled off back to his friends and the old blonde bi lady. (She wasn’t that old. I’m just being a poor sport).

I’ve been wondering why that guy seemed to accept Jay was bi at first, but then followed me to question me about it. Is it some common, or hip thing for straight guys to purport to be bi? Was there some reason for this dude to doubt that he was standing before a real live bi guy?

I certainly have no idea, and if you do, please feel free to share.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Sydney S.

P.S. I was so happy when I saw my blog had ‘likes’ that I almost peed my pants.

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These are all my very own photos that I took while wandering away from Jay. Nothing spectacular, but I hope you like them.

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