With Chicago’s Pride Parade coming up this Sunday, I felt the need to do a public service announcement for my heterosexual male readers. You see, Pride is one of the most fun days of the year in this city and I’m saying that as a bonafide red-meat-eating, whiskey-drinking, hair-on-the-chest, straight-as-an-arrow, male. I had to preface this little topic with that sentence because I’m sure there are dudes out there that would rather drop dead than show their faces at Pride. Granted, some of those men might be anti-gay but their opinion is wrong even though they’re entitled to it. I’m talking to the guys out there that are on the fence about going because they’re too cool for it. This one’s for you guys.
You see, I was one of those guys I just talked about. I wasn’t against the LGBT community mind you, and I certainly didn’t think it was wrong but in my head I was just simply too macho to go. I was in the mindset that parades in general were dumb let alone one filled with rainbows and techno music. Besides, why would I want to celebrate people who are having more sex than me? Still, I have family members, friends, and coworkers who I laugh with every day who are gay. So one year I swallowed my pride (phrasing) and decided to support those I love.
Pride is a bit of a culture shock if you’re a straight male. You walk into the gates and your senses are immediately overloaded. All you see is color. All you smell is food. All you hear is loud ass thumping music. All you feel is uncomfortable. Uncomfortable because you’re heterosexual and there are dudes walking around almost naked. Order a beer? Dude in a Speed-O. Get some nachos? Dude in a Speed-O. Over there to your right? Dudes in Speed-Os. It’s natural at this point to feel a little uncomfortableness but it’s ok, it will pass.
For the first hour or so at one of the bars, I tried to remain a wallflower and as unnoticeable as possible. Soon, a gay friend of mine wanted to have a talk. “Tim, you see all of these half naked sweaty men with bodies like Adonis?” he said, ”They’re gay. You’re wearing a Chicago Bears shirt with cargo shorts while drinking Miller Lite. They know you’re not gay. No one is going to try to nail you in the bathroom. No one is going to try to turn you. Just have fun.” And with that, I put my macho shit aside and had a blast.
Pride is one of the least threatening places on Earth gentlemen. It’s a place where you can bring your girlfriend and you’ll never have to worry about getting into a fight. It’s a place where if you don’t have a girlfriend, it’s super easy to find one. Yeah, straight women love their gay friends. And they wear little tutus and are looking for a man who has his shit together and is comfortable enough in his own skin to go to a gay bar. (Mind blown right?) Pride is a place where you might get complimented by another man, and it just might be an ego boost.
I learned a lot at my first Pride experience. I learned that telling a gay guy to “fist you” instead of “fist bump you” will result in hilarity. I learned that Roscoe’s sells 10 dollar pitchers of “Pink Lemonade”. I learned that it’s not lemonade at all and if you’re sitting down drinking three pitchers of it, you might not stand up on the first try. I learned that wearing a lion costume to a Pride parade and saying you thought it was something completely different is super funny. Most of all, I learned that being a manly douche is a choice. Being gay is not.
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