You learn a lot about yourself and about others at the Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade. Things like...
...it's possible to "look straight." Yes, you read that right: gaydar works both ways. After talking to "Ryan" for a few minutes, he looked me right in the eye and said "You're straight. I can tell." This was quickly followed up with "But don't worry, it's a good straight." Thanks for the, uh, compliment.
...people like drinking and smoking and ingesting who-knows-what-else to get a good buzz going. Everywhere you looked , you saw people passing bottles, bumming cigarettes, tapping kegs, mixing cocktails, lining up for the bars, raiding the liquor stores, and on and on and on.
...people also like making out. I'm pretty sure this isn't news but there must have been something in the air that afternoon that got people moving. Men kissing women kissing women kissing men kissing men kissing...you get the idea. Maybe it was the party atmosphere, maybe it was the nice neighborhood, maybe it was the drinkables and smokables doing their job. The whole scene was like a better-dressed version of Mardi Gras.
...men, by and large, have the worst pick-up lines. Ever. I'm not going to say I'm some expert in this department, but I know clumsiness when I see it. When person A goes up to person B and says "You know, you really look great in that shirt," it's sweet. When the next thing out of person A's mouth is "So you wanna go back to my place?" it's just cheap. Commendably bold, but definitely cheap. Come on guys, not everyone wants to be treated like a whore.
...everyone wants what they can't have. At one of the parties we went to, a guy was coming on to me pretty aggressively. I asked him if he knew I didn't swing that way and he said yes. I told him that was good, because far be it from me to be a tease at a stranger's party. His response was "no honey, it just makes you forbidden fruit and you know everyone's going to want a taste." Unbelievable.
...getting hit on by gay men, despite the cheesiness or cheapness, is flattering. There, I said it. Yes, I do work out. Yes, this shirt does fit me nicely. No, no one ever told me I have nice eyes. Thank you, random gay men of Chicago, for telling me the things that you, random straight women of Chicago, don't.
...straight men in straight communities are not in an enviable position. We're under a lot of pressure to act a certain way, to carry ourselves a certain way, to check off a list of things we're done with our lives. Straight women, you're not much better off, and you can look no further than the images and products thrown at you all day, every day. Be thinner, look younger, get taller, eat less, and so on. It's a rough world out there when you have to worry about what the opposite sex is thinking.
Boystown, you throw a hell of a party and I say thank you for inviting everyone.
And to those hatemongering protesters on Halsted: get a life. If the world is going to hell, I can assure you it's for things far greater than who likes waking up next to who. We're all adults here.