So, SuperDramaTeen, being who she is, really wanted to go to the River City Gay Pride Parade last night. She had all these grand plans for who she was going to go with, but, in the end, all her careful scheming came to naught and she was left moping around the house, badly wanting to attend the event, but not wanting to go alone.
I couldn't blame her; I've gone to a lot of stuff alone in my life -- malls, movies, parks, the beach, parties, weddings, all that kinda shit -- and that's always at least a little bit depressing, but attending this sort of mass event where there are always thousands of other people there, none of whom are alone... well, that's an entirely different magnitude of despair. And this Gay Pride Parade and associated events afterward? About as bad as it could get, for a solitary attendee. To mingle at this affair by yourself for any length of time and not come away feeling suicidal, one would need to be the Unabomber.
But wait, you say. Yr. Humble Narrator seems to be speaking with an unaccustomed assurance about said event, and how could that possibly be? Wellllllll... see, I kind of wound up there last night. For a couple of hours. Because... er... well... my oldest daughter really really really wanted to go, but couldn't find anyone to go with her, and I didn't want her to be sad. So, off I went, traipsing merrily like Dorothy down the Yellow Brick... er... I mean, striding manfully (MANFULLY, mind you, DAMNED manfully, at that) like Kurt Russell in TOMBSTONE down a dusty Arizona street towards an inevitable date with a carnage strewn destiny.
Yeah, yeah. That's the ticket.
SuperDramaTeen seemed to have a good time, although we wound up coming home earlier than planned because there just wasn't much going on. She bought a t-shirt and a rainbow necklace from vendors there. Alas, I had no money, else I would have brought home a t-shirt for SuperWife proudly emblazoned with SORRY, GIRLS, I SUCK DICK, which I imagine was meant for a slightly different target demographic than that of my lovely spouse, but which would still be entirely appropriate in her specific context.
We watched the parade, which was, to my perhaps overly critical eyes, a pretty shabby affair -- you want to seriously see Sexual Deviants On Parade with something like a big budget behind it, you need to attend the Tampa Gasparilla Night Parade, something I've never done, but, as I lived in Tampa for seven years, have seen many pictures and heard many tales of. River City's Pride Parade seems to mostly consist of tired dykes and hard done looking fags perched on and crouched paranoically in motorcycles and the backs of small convertibles, waving wearily to the small but enthusiastically cheering crowd. A few paraders lethargically toss out miniscule strings of beads, a few others scatter the occasional stingy handful of Dubble Bubble or Tootsie Rolls onto the pavement at their feet, much like elderly farm wives tossing feed to their chickens... the only participants who seem at all enthusiastic about it are the Christian Gays, thrusting their JESUS LOVES US TOO signs vehemently in every direction like battle axes at the slavering Hun, and the trannies, who in my limited experience always seem to be either dementedly, near maniacally cheerful about everything, or about to commit ritual seppeku with their own nail files.
After the parade petered out, SuperDramaTeen and I adjourned to a nearby park area where various vending booths had been set up and a pretty good lesbian rock band was attacking the nearby atmosphere with various classic remakes and a few decent original tunes. We wandered about, more or less aimlessly. SuperDramaTeen had promised to purchase me some Gay Fried Dough if there was any to be had and I wanted to have it, but it had been Chicken Tender night at Castle Anthrax, and SuperWife's homemade chicken tenders are the stuff that dreams are made of, so I wasn't at all hungry, and the Gay Fried Dough went by the wayside.
Which was good, as it freed up SuperDramaTeen's meager funds for the purchases I have already detailed. We also scoffed up a reasonable amount of free swag, including a small inflatable ball puzzlingly imprinted WALKIN' WITH JESUS, a Gay Frisbee (a gift from a generous couple of quite pretty girls, who each had one and didn't mind sharing) and a few other odds and ends I can't remember right now. (I had a Tootsie Roll, but some deaf gay guy standing near me at the parade motioned imperiously that I should give it to him, and he was astonishingly homely, so I did, lest the same bad fairy who had cursed him turn her ire on me.)
What I noticed while I was there -- and this will seem unkind, mostly, I suppose, because honest observations of this sort pretty much are -- is that the proportion of attractive/average/ugly people in a nearly all gay population is startlingly skewed from the mainstream towards, well, shall we say, the unhandsome. I mentioned in passing to SDT while we were listening to the rock band that if Hollywood ever shot a big budget version of this event, every single person in attendance would be totally hot... but the actuality was nearly anything but that.
There were, every once in a while, good looking people of either gender wandering around (the pleasant couple who shared one of their frisbees with us among them), but they were as lost in that crowd as a few grains of pepper would be in a sea of salt. But while attractive people were, perhaps, proportionally slightly under-represented compared to a more mainstream crowd at, say, a busy theme park, what really struck me was the lack of normal, average looking people. Everywhere you looked there were human eyesores on two legs; truly, staggeringly ill-favored individuals covered the ground like an infestation of ambulatory toadstools.
I was proud that my daughter was so beautiful, but I always am, of all my daughters, and, in fact, their indisputable beauty is among the least wonderful of their attributes, as they're all smart and funny and kind and sweet, too; at the same time, I felt so dreadfully bad for most of these people, and had to wonder, how many were truly gay or bisexual, and how many were simply so desperate for affection that they'd willingly left the mainstream -- or been all but forcibly exiled from it -- to search for love and acceptance elsewhere, among other outcasts like themselves?
Whenever I see a handicapped person, I always wish I had the power to make them whole; to regenerate their wasted or missing limbs, to make their eyes or their ears or their vocal cords work, to give them back the gifts that cruel fate seems to have robbed them of. Last night, I felt that way for hundreds or thousands of people, based only on their appearance. And it made me wonder, how badly must our society treat the truly unattractive among us, that some of them at least would trade that kind of mass contempt for the in-built bias nearly every normal person feels against homosexuals?
Moving on beyond all that heavy shit, though, the band was pretty decent. They closed out their set with a rendition of "Proud Mary" notable only in what it lacked compared to CCR's version, and, well, the fact that in the first verse, instead of "Left a good job in the city, working for the man every night and day", these chicks sang "working for A man every night and day", which rather startled me with just how much contempt for an entire gender (instead of, you know, the ruling wealthy ownership class) you could pack into a tiny three letter substitution like that.
I had no idea what the band's name was, but while I was listening to their unfortunately lethargic rendition of their last number, I though to myself that maybe this was their signature tune, and the name of their band was Proud Mary, which strikes me as an excellent name for a gay rock band, male or female. But on the way out of the park SuperDramaTeen advised me that they were the Blue Umbrellas, which is, I suppose, an okay name, but Proud Mary would be way, way better.
For all of that, I had a pretty good time hanging with my eldest girl, and am glad I went if only so she could. And as an added bonus, when SuperWife picked us up to drive us home, she informed me that SuperAdorable Kid had been distraught and inconsolable for the several hours we were gone, weeping and wailing about how much she missed me. Who'd 'a thunk it?
I'm nearly finished with Neil Gaiman's newest anthology, FRAGILE THINGS, and have a post in mind about how much Gaiman irks me, on several levels, but that will have to wait for another time. I know you'll all be looking forward to that, though.