DEAR LADY A: I’m planning on going to the Pride parade for the first time this year. I’ve been to smaller Pride celebrations, but nothing on the scale that Chicago does. I’m just wondering what practical advice you’d give to Chi Pride newbies who want to have a lot of fun and maybe not be all that responsible. The sexy, steamy, leather pants and eyeliner, covered with glitter and other people’s saliva (or worse) by the end of the night kind of fun!
– Rainbow Leatherpants
* DO APPLY SUNSCREEN … ON EVERY INCH OF YOUR BODY: Nipples burn easily, and you never know what you might end up taking off at a Pride parade, so make sure those body parts that rarely see the sun don’t get scorched.
* BRING CASH & IDs: Yes, they still card you at after-parties, clubs, backlot bashes, sex stores and bars.
* ACCEPT THAT YOU WILL PROBABLY HAVE TO USE A PORTABLE TOILET: And bring hand sanitizer! And nose plugs. And don’t look into the hole, whatever you do. And by all means, learn to hold it and never, ever go in.
* DO WEAR APPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR: By which I mean, shoes on which you don’t mind getting vomit. By which I mean, someone else’s vomit. By which I mean a complete stranger who’s vomiting a block away from you. By which I mean, their vomit will be so dedicated to finding an open-toed sandal it will actually project itself through the air, turn a corner, wait at a stoplight and cross at the crosswalk to get to you.
* DON’T BE THE PERSON DOING THE VOMITING: Don’t be that asshole who drinks so much they puke into sandals or some random woman’s purse. Nobody likes that asshole. And when that asshole says, “I had the best time at Pride! Woohoo!” they’re lying. Because when you drink enough to vomit, you don’t end up recalling much of your supposedly excellent time. Or your last name. Or how exactly you ended up with that stupid tattoo of a unicorn eating the word “hate” in front of the Statue of Liberty.
* BE SENSIBLE WHEN YOU IMBIBE: There are the obvious reasons, like I’d rather you didn’t embarrass yourself, fall into the street, sleep with someone untoward, forget to use protection, argue politics with a baby, light a fire, start a fight, punch a horse, lose your wallet, get hurt, get sick, get yourself arrested, or die. But there are more shallow reasons that also matter a little. Intoxicated people are sweaty and not in a glamorous, glowing, eyeliner-still-looks-fab way. More of a sticky, stank kind of way that smells like a mixture of body odor, beer farts and mustard. And if you should be so lucky as to meet someone whose saliva (“or worse”) interests you and who isn’t offended by your disgusting, sweaty B.O., stumbling inebriation can be a serious detriment to your ability to fuck. Whiskey dick can be especially hard to beat in a situation wherein you’re already exhausted and dehydrated from being out in the sun all day, so don’t take that risk! Drink a lot of water and limit the alcohol. Your saliva partner will thank you.
* BRING YOUR OWN CONDOMS/DENTAL DAMS: (Yes, ladies I specifically mention dams because STDs — that new drug-resistant gonorrhea that was first discovered in the throat of a woman, for instance — actually don’t just infect the boys, believe it or not. You’re susceptible too, so no more of this, “women are cleaner than men” bullshit.) Now, this should go without saying, but bear with me while I say it anyway: If later in the day, you decide to … ahem … ”partake”, USE said condoms/dental dams. With no exceptions. At this point you have over a week to procure what you need, so I don’t want to hear, “I didn’t know I’d be having sex, so I didn’t bother using protection!” Protect yourself every time you have sex, kittens. Period. Don’t MAKE me come over and put the damn rubber on for you! Because I will. Don’t test me.
* WOMEN, SCRATCH MEANS NO SNATCH: So, if you plan to hook up at any time during Pride weekend, for fucks sake, cut your fingernails! I cannot speak for all other girls, but scratchy nails are pretty much a guarantee that you won’t get anywhere near my delicate lady parts.
* MEN, NO ONE WANTS TO SEE YOUR WANG: OK, maybe half the people want to see your wang. OK, just me. But the other people bitch about having been forced to ogle your wang for the rest of the year, so try to show it only to men you’re specifically courting.
* DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE: You and your friends came to have fun. And so did everyone else. Don’t be a pushy jerk if it takes an hour to walk two blocks. Just expect it and plan for it. Don’t be discouraged when you hear the same exact Neon Hitch song 12 thousand times in a row. Just learn the lyrics and sing along. Don’t ask aloud where all the cute guys are. That’s rude to the un-cute guys. Do not act rude to allies or children and never assume you have more of a right to be here than the person standing next to you.
* AMIDST THE DEBAUCHERY, DO NOT FORGET TO BE GRATEFUL: Just standing in this living, breathing rainbow-colored collective organism that makes up the crowd, you become part of one of the most inspired, creative, diverse, inclusive and beautiful LGBTQ communities in the world. Take pride in how far we’ve come. Use that pride to help inspire the strength it’ll take to get us where we need to be. That’s what Pride is all about, Charlie Brown.
And finally, advice especially for you Mr. Rainbow Leatherpants…
* PLEASE DO NOT WEAR LEATHER PANTS: Yes, they’re pretty and shiny and they show off your bulge. But there’s just no way you’re gonna get out of this unchafed. So let the rainbow dream go, good sir, while there’s still time to plan a new, similarly libidinous outfit. If, by some off chance, we should meet at the parade, I will still address you as Mr. Leatherpants, I promise!