Pride Season. Crop tops and crew cuts, YAAASSSS-ing and yearning, twerking and twinkling. There is a lot of amazing sh*t going on, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost in a sea of glitter and tequila. If this is your first time, it’s also easy to make rookie mistakes. You also might be totally unprepared for the plethora of feelings you’re going to experience. That’s where I come in. I’ve been going to Pride and making stupid mistakes for years. So you don’t have to. Put down that 4loko, grab a water bottle, slather on sunscreen, and come with me.
1. Don’t fight with your girlfriend.
It’s 2012. I have the world’s worst blonde/Mac ‘n’ cheese-orange dye job, ratty extensions, a royal blue crop top, daisy dukes, and a stretchy rainbow belt. Can’t forget my rainbow Nicki Minaj inspired “Barbie” necklace. Yes, it was as tragic as it sounds.
But wait, it gets worse. I drank a McDonald’s Sweet Tea mixed with, like, six shots of vodka on the Long Island Railroad. I was off to a rocky start. It was a drunken blur, but here is what my lez brain has managed to remember: I was dramatically telling these cute dykes about how much I love Robyn’s music video for Call Your Girlfriend. (If you haven’t seen this weird masterpiece, watch IMMEDIATELY. It’s literally just Robyn looking extra dykey doing interpretive dance in a fuzzy sweater in a gigantic warehouse. You’re welcome.) The next thing I know, my girlfriend and I are SCUH-REAMING at each other in the middle of the street. (It’s not Pride unless two ratchet Long Island lesbians are beef-ing. Once, I saw two Long Island butches fighting over a femme, and one of them physically tossed the other into a shop window shattering it. Bible.) I ended up hitting her (violence is inexcusable and I hate myself for that) and then crying my way out of getting arrested. Happy Pride!
I’ve wasted many a Pride drunk-fighting with a girlfriend. Even though it’s essentially a lez rite of passage, it’s not worth it. Make a game plan with your girlfriend before. Maybe have a ~safe word~ to reset if you start to bicker.
2. Prepare to see every ex you’ve ever had.
Last year, I saw that same ex girlfriend that I punched six years ago.
I was drunkenly eating a Big Gay Ice Cream Cone BY MYSELF. I randomly invented my own rule and insisted I couldn’t enter the bar my friends were going into with an ice cream cone, when I heard “Dayna?” and felt firm hands on my shoulders. I felt like a deer in headlights as chocolate dribbled down my chin.
Don’t ever stop thinking about your ex, even for a second, cause that’s when you’ll run into them. Luckily, I was with a ride or die friend and she booked it out of the bar to hang on my arm and pretend to be my girlfriend. If that’s not the pettiest, most immature, yet most lesbian thing that has ever happened to me, I’m not sure what is.
3. Know your route home, or don’t be afraid to ask for directions.
After that fateful fight with my girlfriend, I sat on the curb, crying. Two lit-ass gay guys asked if I was okay, and insisted I come with them to the “burger rave.” We went to Shake Shack, where they sobered me up, invited me to a party that night, and introduced me to their thirsty AF lesbian friend who immediately sent me a nude as soon as we exchanged numbers. I wanted to keep up my illusion of being cool – which I have no idea how I pulled off since they found me sobbing off my drug store mascara – but I also desperately needed to figure out where Penn Station was. This was life before iPhone directions. I finally mustered up the courage to be like, um IDK where TF I am. Please help me.
4. Portable charger.
Just don’t forget one, okay?
5. Wear sensible footwear.
I don’t trust anyone who tells me to wear sensible footwear so that means you can trust ME when I tell you to wear sensible footwear. I’ve gone through seven Prides in uncomfortable shoes, and I want to say that it’s worth it, but it seriously takes away from the fun. How are you supposed to last then entire march and after parties if your feet are bleeding and blistered? Now, I’m not suggesting you wear sneakers; let’s not get crazy. You can totes wear platforms, like these.
6. Prepare to be shooketh at least 20 times.
I remember at my first Pride ever, I found this flyer on the floor giving resources for femmes who felt like they didn’t “fit in.”
It’s like, DUH Earth to baby dyke, all femmes feel invisible, but at the ripe age of seventeen, I felt SHOOKETH. I felt less of a freak, an outsider. I felt less alone. I went on to email the contact listing on the flyer, and the kind stranger behind it emailed back and forth with me for months.
You will have your world rocked, and maybe you’ll think you’re the first person to ever have whatever epiphany you’re having, but then you’ll realize you’re surrounded by thousands of other humans who share your experience, and it makes you feel both more and less special, validated, comforted, seen, and held.
You might also see some weird shit. That might shake you too.
7. Bring tissues.
Be prepared to HAVE ALL THE FEELS. Because being surrounded by thousands of gay people who have had similar struggles, joys, triumphs, ~sex~, could make even the hardest heart cry. You can’t help but think of the fight that our queer and trans brothers and sisters have fought before us, and the fight we still have. Cry it out, babe.
8. Gay solidarity is real.
You might see all the annoying fighting going down in queer rabbit holes on the internet. But I’m telling you, babe, all of that goes out of the window at Pride. It also always goes at the window at the legendary Stonewall Inn. A few months ago, I was in the all-genders bathroom and I was so desperate to pee I peed in a urinal (yes I ended up peeing all over myself, but that’s beside the point. A gay boy walked in on the whole ordeal.
“Oh no, honey, this is a dark scene,” he laughed. Then he helped yank my skin-tight latex pants over my big ass. And that’s gay solidarity.
Happy Pride, babes! <3