pizza and pride

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It’s Gay Pride week.  My foremost thought about the Gay Pride festivities is ambivalence: Caring about a person’s sexuality is about like caring about what toppings they like on their pizza.

I.

Truly.

Do.

Not.

Care.

I don’t even care if you don’t enjoy pizza. I really wish things that big celebrations of diversity as a means to promote tolerance were not necessary.

Leaving the Pink Party with the lovely Trish

On the other hand: The reality is that as a society, we still care very much what toppings you like on your pizza. Maybe it’s a vocal minority. Maybe it’s an asinine majority.  At any rate, people who like sausage pizza are still getting the short end of the stick.  This saddens me.  To that end, I think it’s a good thing to take that scorned friend out to dinner, to put our arm around them, buy them a round of drinks, listen to their stories and show them some love & support. Though it’s a lousy consolation prize in relation to the injustices they have to tolerate, I think it would be shitty not to offer a moment of support and understanding.   And thus we have Gay Pride week.  I’m down with that.

7 drinks for $20, AND we met Beiber. Hey Gays, are you trying to get me drunk??

As it turns out, the gays throw much, MUCH better parties than straight folk.  Thursday night, I went to the Pink Party at Hotel Monaco with Joe and Trish. Everyone wore pink and made donations in support of the Utah Aids Foundation.  I rocked a pink dress shirt, black tie, very short tailored shorts, nude pantyhose, black high heels, and a black tie. Joe was wearing a not-too-straight-looking ascot. The question of the evening was, ‘who will get eye fucked more – me or Joe?’  I contend that Joe got more attention than I did. Sure, I look different than everyone else, but experienced gay dudes typically never even ask what team I play on. They just get it.  Joe, on the other hand… looked quite dapper and put together in a questionable sort of way.  To gain admission, we each paid $20 which gave us 1 drink ticket and a raffle ticket.  Usually I’d never pay $20 for an adult beverage – but hey, it’s for charity.  Once we were in, the DJ announced that the bar was open for the next 10 min.  We capitalized on that, coming away with a few more drinks.  Soon the announcement came, “Let’s keep it open for another 5!”   By the time we were done, I had 7 drinks, ran into several old friends, a few new friends, got my ass grabbed by a few cute girls, all in 1 hour.  I’ve never got so much bang for my buck. No pun intended. I’ve never been to a “straight” party that was so well appointed and generous.

Later that evening, I went to Metro to shoot the Pride Week Party. Metro was in top form. Muscle Hawk played a killer set, including Princess Kennedy doing vocals on my favorite Muscle Hawk track.  I listen to this song over and over and over and over and over and over:

( If you liked that track, check out their latest video – it’s bad ass, the music is even better: http://youtu.be/UlGWxR277Sk  )

Beers w/ Nikki

The club was full of fun people – drag queens, non-drag queens, dudes in hoodies, and beautiful girls.  One of my favorite things about going out in heels and hosiery is that it puts me in stealth mode.  Let’s talk about a few of these beautiful girls that I met at the club: You see, I can roll up on a hot girl that has a boyfriend, and he doesn’t think I’m a threat.

The girls are intrigued and even a bit charmed by it. I’m able to get in close, get my arm around them, whisper in their ear, and as far as the boyfriend is concerned, she’s in fag-hag mode.  This happened several times at Metro.  I’d pull her in close and say, “Now, I realize your boyfriend thinks I’m gay.  I am very – fucking-straight – and you are very, very gorgeous. wow….”, I would say in low, pillow talk tones, laced with some testosterone and garnished with a hint of a groan.  Every time, this was met with squeals of delight from the girl, a big hug, and even a kiss on the cheek. The attraction was ON. They loved the little secret that we had just established.  And the overtly straight boyfriend?  Clueless.

As the night progressed, I met a girl that was strangely alluring – and yet – was really not “my type”.  I have long prided myself on being open minded about definitions of beauty, modes of attraction, etc…

Honestly, I’m having a hard time writing about it, because there were things about this night that made me confront some of my own issues – issues I had been pleasantly in denial of.

FUPD and the lovely Paula

[None of the girls pictured in this blog are the subject of the following story. I know you will be wondering, so I'll just answer it now.]

You know how it is – sometimes you meet someone and an attraction exists, even though you never expected it to be that way.  We talked several times throughout the evening, we became a little more touchy… I think we may have even kissed. She was obviously screening me to see what I was made of.  I don’t know why, but I just felt really compelled to see this one through.  She eventually gave me her number and then insisted that I call as soon as I was done at the club.  I did so.  I arrived at her place shortly thereafter – it’s a house I’ve delivered mail to on countless occasions.  Encountering physical spaces that used to be “work”, in a very different context – is always a strange thing.  I could still feel the loathing wakes of energy in the ether that I left as I would plow through this street during my days carrying the mail.

I ascended her stairs , she opened the door, welcomed me in, and in what felt like a totally natural chain of events, escorted me to her bedroom. We began kissing and connecting.  Hands wandered and felt things that I never thought I’d actually feel. I mean, I knew these things existed, but I never seriously entertained the idea that I may have such an encounter.  Tongues traversed, lips learned new things…  I was absolutely enjoying this experience, despite the unexpected nature of it.  I found myself thinking, “I’d do this again. We aren’t even done, and I know I want to do this again…”  To be fair, she was probably thinking the same thing about me. After all, I was still rocking the dress shirt, shorts, pantyhose, heels combination.  How often do you see a man dressed in that?

FUPD in stealth mode. Her boyfriend never suspected a thing.

Nevertheless, things seemed to flow in a most natural way from one level of intimacy to the next – despite what one could call road blocks along the way.  I was fully conscious on 2 levels during this experience: on one level, I was fully immersed in the touches, tastes, smells, sounds, shapes,  and tactile sensations that make up the sensual world.  My second layer of consciousness was observing the whole process unfold, with all of it’s physical, emotional, and societal implications.  On several occasions I just laid there and laughed at the playful tension in the dialogue between my two layers of consciousness: “This is crazy…”  “Yeah, and it’s very sexy, lets do this some more…”

By the time we had exhausted ourselves, the sky had turned to a deep blue and birds had begun chirping. As much as I wanted to stay and sleep, I knew that my mind was already going to be busy processing this experience, and it would be in my best interest to eliminate as much novelty as possible in my environment so that I might have a chance of sleep.  I got dressed and made the short drive home.

The girl that I was with that night has something about her that carries a stigma in the eyes of some.  I thought I was immune to it, but it still gives me pause in certain contexts.   There’s no pretty way to say this. I’m still slightly nervous of becoming the ass end of a lot of jokes if I tell this story in it’s entirety. And yet part of me wants to share the story, because it really is a very positive one with a lot of great self deprecating humor built into it.  I’m holding off at the moment.  Maybe my aversion to being made fun of is what fuels me to get up on stage and do stand up comedy, in some masochistic kind of way.  The great Marc Maron is always talking about how the comics all have a deep psychological need to control how and when and why others are laughing at you – its a way of asserting control over a childhood in which you were teased and ridiculed too much.  Maybe you are right, Maron.  Maybe comedy is a self prescribed exposure therapy of sorts.  Anyway, back to the beautiful girl -  My deepest desire is to operate as a human being in total independence of the opinions of others.  This week was an interesting reality check to see that although I’ve made a lot of progress – there are still some kinks to work out.  I am fully committed to ironing that shit out.  I believe it’s the only way to live a regret-free life.

I champion the idea of people’s unique beauty. I champion the idea of love and attraction having no boundaries.  Above all, I champion the idea of doing what ever you want and not giving a fuck about the opinions of others.  And thus we have Pride week.  Maybe Pride week is about something bigger than dressing up in rainbow costumes, parades, and impassioned speeches about gay marriage.  For me, it’s been a time to look at the shadow of my own pride – a totally different kind – and to find the shame that is lurking in the shadows.

To roughly paraphrase Ghandi – I must be the change that I hope to see in others. I’m a pretty unusual guy, myself, and to expect a warm reception from women without first ironing out these wrinkles in my own soul would be a ridiculous hypocrisy. I am confident that women have had these same thoughts about me.

Pride…. it’s a wonderful thing to have, as long as it’s emanating from a purposeful purging of shame, rather than an effort to cover it up.

 

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Paul Duane

Paul Duane is a photographer, writer, and talk show host based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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