It’s THAT time of the year again. Everywhere you look, rainbow flags flutter in the muggy NYC air, straight people are posting pics with the #loveislove caption, beautiful queers are spreading their wings and getting lit, and love and lust are in the air. Yes, it’s Pride month, baby. We’re all celebrating the fact we’re here and queer, remembering those who fought for us before, reflecting on those of us who still can’t live out loud, and cruising for a new boo at a million pride parties all at once.
Pride month is a gorgeously bittersweet, messy, invigorating time. There’s so much to juggle at once and emotions are running high. Toss in rapidly rising temperatures in NYC with this emotional rollercoaster and anyone in a relationship is in for a ride. You adore your partner and you’re so excited to share this wild month with them, celebrating yourselves, each other, and all who came before you. BUT, it’s also filled with hot women, booze, constant parties, major feelings, and… hot women. While this is the recipe for a good time, it’s also the perfect storm for drunkenly sob-screaming about your future in the cab over the Williamsburg Bridge on the way back from Cubbyhole with your girlfriend. (No? Just me? Okay…)
Pride can be a tinderbox for a relationship inferno. How do you minimize the conflict, maximize your fun, and come out of pride hungover, happy, and still in a relationship? Here are a handful of ways to make it through the next few weeks with bae in tow.
1. The Pride March is not the place to process your relationship problems.
Let me take you back to NYC Pride Parade 2018. Vodka soaked, near heat stroke, and shaking glitter from my hair, I found myself chugging water at an outside cafe sitting across from my beautiful, swaggy best friend, Alex, and her new lady as they discussed every minutia of their new relationship. As I stared quietly through my deeply dehydrated state at Alex’s bloodshot electric blue eyes, I saw how upset, sad, distracted, and druuunk she was. Alex really liked this girl, and all the things they were shouting over pounding Madonna music were things she had vented to me about many times over the past week. I sure as hell didn’t want to be there, but neither did they.
Flash forward a year later and they’re one of the happiest couples I know. However, at the time, that conversation had set them back. Rather than work through their feelings as intended (I think that was the purpose, remember I was intoxicated), it confused things more, made their friends uncomfy, and took at least a week of untangling what they had actually meant. This year, though, I’m excited to get lit with both of them and hear literally nothing (pleeeease) about their different love languages.
2. Celebrate some parts of Pride sober (or at least kinda sober).
Pride brings up so many intense feelings of happiness, mourning, love, etc., and alcohol flows naturally with every one of them. So drink up, queers! But don’t forget there are an amazing amount of things you can do sober that can be good for the soul and your relationship. Make the pilgrimage to Riis Beach or Cherry Grove and soak up the sun with your person. March or Marshall together in the Dyke March. Some good old fashioned sober fun is the perfect way to soak up the queer community and our history and to deepen your bond with your partner.
Yeah, I said it. If you’re both down, then get down. Our predecessors didn’t struggle so we had to stay celibate. Take some time for the two of you (or more—Pride is the perfect time to find a third if you both are open) to get intimate.
4. Embrace that there will be flirting.
Everyone and their mother (or daddy…) is out and cruising. We’re all so wrapped up in the rainbow, the revolution, and the ridiculously hot, mostly-naked people around us. Of course, we’re going to flirt and be flirted with. You think that your lady is gorgeous, others will too. Talk about it beforehand, joke about it, even enjoy it. Don’t let it lead to a screaming match on lovely Waverly Place in the middle of the day.
Yes, I know I started this article with a plea to not process, BUT my advice here is to specifically just pick the right time and situation to do so. Per my above cautionary tales, drunken fights outside of lezzy bars and deep conversations during Pride month surrounded by friends are not the places to do it. However, talking about where your relationship is before you start the revelry is key. Check in on each other’s boundaries before you go to some of the wilder parties. Simply ask if your partner is okay in general; Pride is a complicated, emotional time, and it might be stirring up feelings of individual and collective turmoil for them. These can all be handled responsibly and productively if done with ~intention~ or whatever.
6. Have a meal in Village (preferably outdoors and definitely with a resy).
Greenwich Village is the birthplace of Pride and, lesser known, outdoor brunch. (Kidding, idk. But, probably). June is beautiful and the height of rosé season. There are ample outdoor dining options, and it’s the perfect place to be a part of the festivities while enjoying a romantic date. Indulge in Mermaid’s Oyster Bay’s incredible (and affordable) happy hour food and $6 Aperol Spritzes together. Gaze at the vast cheese selection at Murray’s Cheese Shoppe and head next door for a cheese-filled meal at Murray’s Cheese Bar. Sit and coo over the passing dogs wearing rainbow bandanas and their fabulous owners. Stroll in the June sun just minutes from Stonewall at Big Gay Ice cream after your meal. Any and all of this will let you two be part of Pride but also spend quality time. And eat cheese. Which is very important.
7. Make new friends together.
You’ve heard the saying “make new friends, but keep the old.” Sure. But also, make new friends and make them gay. Pride month is the best time to meet other queers tryna connect. And it’s not just to hookup! Everyone is looking for some version of their own “The L Word” clique. Having friends you can both hang out with on equal footing is important! One of my favorite things is seeing how my girlfriend interacts with new people, and I love when we find people for us both to meet. It gives you a chance to discover new interests, learn things about each other, and grow that chosen fam.
So, my lovely rainbow clad Pride month go-ers, I can’t wait to see you and your lovely baes out and about in NYC, proudly holding hands and kissing. I have confidence that you will be the couple buying new friends shots at the bar and not the couple crying outside of Cubbyhole. But please, do buy that couple a shot for me (or maybe a seltzer…). We’ve all been there.