A couple of months ago I was in the Eaton Centre H&M when a gay guy out shopping with a friend decided to try on one of those big, floppy Russian-style hats with the ear flaps. It was made of some sort of fuzzy fun fur and it looked like a muskrat had set up house on his head. It wasn’t any of my business but I burst out laughing.
“This isn’t going to work,” said the man with the hat to his friend. “Total strangers are laughing at me.”
There, in a nutshell, is why you should rework your Pride plans this year: You can have more fun elsewhere.
Pride is hot, crowded, clichéd and expensive. Its streets are littered with water bottles, draft beer in crappy plastic glasses that crumple at crucial moments and pleasures that were old when Petronius did his tour of ancient Rome. It’s supposed to be entertaining but the entertainment is always the same. There’s a limited amount of insight to be gained from counting the number of drag queens that can dance on the bed of a float.
My advice? Stay at home or work the fringes. Once upon a time that meant Cheap Queers’ three nights of cabaret at Buddies In Bad Times theatre, but I wouldn’t bet on outwitting the lineups. More aggressive measures are called for. Here are a few suggestions.
? Pick up The Vice Guide To Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll (HarperCollins, 2002) and check out the chapter on anal sex. It’s mostly about boinking straights (girls and boys) but it’s far funnier than the real thing. Sample topic: “Girls Not Down With The Brown.” Sample advice on getting in the rear door: “Give it small and swirling ‘hellos,’ as if you were trying to pet a newborn squirrel without scaring it too much”
? Go to the Eaton Centre H&M and try something on. It doesn’t have to be something you like. Just stand in the change-room lineup. Now that cruising is largely confined to the Internet, this is one of the few places you can exchange covert glances with semi-cute guys. Plus the store is plugged into some satellite radio station so the music is better than most bars’. Warning: This does not work at Yorkdale
? Don’t bother with any party costing more than $10. The only people who go to them are a) twinks who don’t know any better and b) middle-aged couples trying to prove they still have a life. Remember that all these big parties are built around the not-very-innovative concept of a single guy/girl spinning a lot of records. In high school this was known as the prom and you felt left out. Things are not going to change tonight
? Look at the subway ads for Interactive Male and realize that things could be worse. You could be a straight model trying to look comfortable with your hand draped across another guy’s tits
? Read the male-male ads on Craig’s List (Toronto.craigslist.org). Ostensibly a buy-and-sell site for every conceivable kind of junk, it’s also a clearing-house for last-minute lust. I particularly liked the guy who was selling nude yoga sessions and the tourist who wanted to erect a gloryhole in his hotel room. The yoga guy appeared to be wearing a Prince Albert made of rather itchy twine. Talk about rope burn
? Walk up and down Church St. Tell everyone you meet that you’re there for the culture. Take out a stopwatch and measure the length of the silence
? Visit any of the major downtown gyms and cruise the tourists. They’ll be the only people there and they’ll have the baffled look of small animals waiting to be trapped
? Rent Shampoo and watch straights get slutty. Remind yourself that Warren Beatty was wearing black muscle shirts 30 years ago and he looked way better in one than you ever will – even with a bad 1970s haircut
? Get a whole new perspective on the sexual circus. Join the asexuals. Like homos, they’re relatively new to the front pages but they’re well established in nature. Apparently certain types of animals don’t have sex. “Among bees,” reports the New York Times, “the sisters of queens do not engage in sex.” Well, I should hope not. At least not while the queens are on stage
? Stay home and commune with your video cam. If it’s good enough for horny straight teenagers, it’s good enough for you. A group of them were recently caught jerking off with each other on-line. Apparently the group, based in Hamilton, rigged up a whole system of web cams and instant messaging and called it the Safe Sex Club. One of the guys remarked that it was easier than going over to a girl’s house. He didn’t have to hitch a ride or anything. Proving once again that virtual reality is gaining on the contemptible mass-produced variety we see around us everyday. Why deal with other people when you can have a reasonable facsimile?