A Seasoned Lesbian’s Guide To Not Blacking Out, Crying, Getting Lost Or Fighting With Your Friends At Pride

Keep it cool and proud this June.

Oh, babes, it’s finally that time of year! It’s ~PRIDE~ month h-o-n-e-y!

And this little queer couldn’t possibly be more excited. Yes, our scumbag of a “President” has snubbed us by choosing to not recognize June as Pride month, and instead to ironically deem it “The Great Outdoors Month” (Because sweet little Trump, has for the record been SO sweet to Mother Earth lately, right?! What a painful choice it must’ve been for him to make!).

However, you and I every other human being with a pumping heart and a functioning soul, knows that despite what “The White House” (which has never been whiter, has it now, babes?) claims: It’s FREAKING PRIDE MONTH.

Can I get a “Yas, Queer.”? A “Gaymen”? A “Lez do this”? A “Transaluljah”?

It’s our TIME to shine brighter than the brightest bulb in the most powerful tanning bed in all of New Jersey! No fuckboy administration will ever be able to snatch away the remarkable spirit of The Stonewall Inn. That kind of resilient history is pure magic. And like I’ve said before: nothing can kill magic. Due to the vitally important glory of LGBTQ pride month 2017, as your lesbian big sister, I feel it’s my duty to ensure you have a great time this year.

Photo by Celine Rahman

On that note; let’s get real, ladies, gents and anyone in-between: While pride is full of incredible parties, sparkly characters and the arm-hair-raising chills of unity, it can also be uh, messy. To say the fucking least!

For example, I’ve been too many a pride event across the country. And almost every single time, I, cry. Blackout. Get in a fight. Or get completely lost. Pathetic, I know, but all it takes is observing a pride party for thirty-five minutes, to quickly realize, Zara isn’t the only one. Lot’s of queers of all ages can be found wailing in bathroom stalls, passed out behind a step and repeat, wandering aimlessly around the club searching for a familiar face.

I distinctly remember a particularly brutal Pride about five years ago, during St. Pete Pride in Florida. On the ride up from Sarasota to St. Pete, my friend Blue* and I vowed to make it a pleasant Pride this year. As we glided over the Skyway bridge in her Prius, we made a pact.

No blacking out, this year, baby. No hooking up with our exes this year either. And NO engaging in dyke drama. And most importantly, no matter what transpired, Blue and I would stick together.

So what how well did our plan work? Well, I lost Blue after 20 goddamn minutes, told off a 21-year-old Instagram bully in front of a large snickering crown, blacked out and woke up in my ex’s bed. So you tell me, sweet pea.

“Blue” I shamefully whispered into the phone at 7 am, my ex-girlfriend curled up into a little ball to the left of me. I haphazardly crept out of her bedroom with the grace of an inebriated ballerina. “Where are you?”

“Zara. I’m at my ex’s house all the way in Orlando! What happened last night? I’m so ashamed. I can’t remember anything.” Poor Blue wailed into the phone.

“Don’t worry, Blue. I’m at my ex-girlfriend’s house in fucking TAMPA. I have no idea how I got here but I do remember arguing with that mean little social media lesbian in the middle of the street!” I wailed back into the phone.

“Isn’t that girl like 20?”

I stared at a crushed beer can in the sink. I noticed my bright red lipstick prints were all over the can. Since when did I drink beer?

“Yes,” I answered weakly. “Let’s go home. I need to book a double session with my therapist to process this.”

And just like that, wonderful, glittery, St. Pete Pride was ruined for me. I’m sure there were some fun moments peppered in there, but the truth is I’ll always think of lovely St. Pete Pride as a giant, drunken mistake that sent me back months in healing over my breakup.

I mean there is so much emotion, so much excessive drinking, so many exes, so much powerful energy during pride—it’s easy to become overwhelmed and fail. And this year, as a big “F YOU” to all those homophobic bigots in the White House, I refuse to let any of us have a dismal pride.

And lucky for you, you have a seasoned lesbian at your service. The good thing is, your lez big sis has made all the mistakes, but she’s come out the other side STRONGER.

Just follow these rules and you will actually have fun at Pride 2017. You won’t be calling me all blacked out wailing about how you were miserable during most important month all summer.

Hydrate, babe.

No really, hydrate the HELL out of yourself. The combination of the pressing June sun and all the booze you’ll surely down is a surefire recipe for a blackout. Follow my mother’s rule: “One water for every cocktail.”

I know it’s easy to get drunk and forget to drink water, blah, water, blah—but seriously water is your best friend. It doesn’t just stop you from getting too wasted, it also supercharges your brain. We’re assholes when we’re thirsty. All of us. Dehydration is clinically proven to make us mean and irritable.

Set a water alarm on your phone, every hour! I see straight girls do this with their birth-control all the time. We’ll do this with our water intake.

Sunscreen, babe.

I don’t care if you want to TAN, or you don’t BURN, or any of that winging nonsense. Slather some SPF 30 all over your body, all over your face, and all over your hands and feet—-or you will wake up burnt to a crisp the next morning. Puffy-faced and unable to attend the rest of the pride events the rest of the weekend, because you’re suffering from the wrath of the pride burn.

Create a meeting point if you get lost.

NO ONE has cellphone service during pride. Not to mention if you’re anything like me, your phone will die around noon, and you’ll find yourself wandering around the rainbow-adorned streets searching for your friends as hot, drunken tears stream down your sun-burnt face.

Also: You will cry if you get lost, baby kitten. I don’t care how independent you are. I once found my friend weeping in a bush. She was so drunk, lost and defeated that she literally plopped onto a prickly bush and cried. And that was one of the toughest lesbians I’ve ever met. Don’t think you’re above crying in a bush. And no, I don’t mean a “figurative bush” I mean a literal bush.

Crying in a vagina is a topic worthy of its own article.

So come up with a meeting place. Say “Babes, if we lose each other, and we haven’t seen each other or can’t get ahold of each other in 60 minutes, we’ll meet at CVS on Christopher Street.” Don’t be stupid and make your meeting place somewhere iconic like The Stonewall Inn, it will be so filled with people and you’ll never be able to find your friends. Go somewhere, like Duane Reade, CVS, Wallfreakinggreens. That way your friends will be able to easily find you in the brutal fluorescent lights. Then hand in hand, brave The Stonewall Inn as a united force of gay nature.

Have an ex-girlfriend game plan.

All of your friends need to get together and come up with an ex-girlfriend game plan. It’s imperative as you will all be running into at least three exes, each. And your ex will probably be with a new floozy and you’ll probably be there with a new babe you’ve hooked up with once and the whole thing will spiral fast (it always does when booze is involved).

And your best friend Lyla will be crying because her ex snubbed her, and your ex will be crying because she saw you with someone else even though she’s with someone else, and then the girl you’re with will start crying because she will think there is still something happening between you and your ex, and then you’ll start crying because crying is contagious in lesbian circles.

Don’t engage with the bullies.

I wish I could say we didn’t have bullies within our own sacred LGBTQ community, but that would be a lie. And I refuse to lie, that’s why I get much internet hate (that’s what I like to tell myself, at least). A mean girl once threw a water bottle on my head during gay days in Orlando.

I wanted to shout horrendous things back at the mean girl, but I stopped myself. I remembered the wise words of my therapist:

“You can’t play tug o’ war if you drop the rope. There is no game.” In other words: don’t engage.

Plus, Karma is totally a lesbian. And she will bite you in the ass twice as hard if you dare be cruel on her holy pride day. So let Karma, the lez deal with the mean lez who is starting drama. And you my dear, can walk gracefully away.

Take a moment and remember where you ARE and WHY you ARE here.

If you find yourself drunk, if you find yourself crying, if you find yourself lost and arguing with an aggressive bully who stole your line in the bathroom, take a moment. Close your gorgeous gay eyes. And remember why you’re here. Why pride exists.

Think of what the people at Stonewall did, what they endured so you could live the life you live now. And while it’s not perfect, and we have a long way to go, it’s pretty damn good.

Think of the kids at home who are comforted by the fact that there is such thing as pride. Maybe they’re bullied at school maybe their parents think it’s all a big fat sin, but they’ll feel great comfort in knowing that thousands of people came out to celebrate because of their sexual identity.

So, thank God, Lana Del Rey, Jesus, The Indigo Girls, Lady Gaga, Harvey Milk, Grace Jones or whatever GOD you pray to, that it’s summer and you’re proud of your sexuality and you’re surrounded by a sea of LOVE. People would kill to be at a pride event in America. So wipe away the tears, let go of the drama, and start dancing with a stranger, love.