It wasn’t always this way. A hot-ticket night out used to be just that – a whirligig of wide-eyed spontaneity laced with the pixie dust of giggle fits and carefree crescendos – and it usually ended with something said, forgotten and buried facedown in the blackout pillow next to a broken-toothed smile. Lately, though, it seems that every invitation to enjoyment is just another reason to break out the barnacle suit and roll around on everybody else’s good time. I’ve become a laceration waiting to happen, and it’s doing me no good.
“I have an idea,” I crack a light bulb as Tony and I pile into my car. “What do you say that we don’t reflexively spit hate from our nostrils at every given taste obstacle. What if we just let it ride and have a good time? You know, like everybody we hate does!”
“Omigod!” Tony’s eyebrows muster a half-inch raise, implying a valiant attempt at something he probably doesn’t much care for. “I am so excited!”
We’ve hit Florida’s mid-shaft scar, I-4, to head west toward the giant, glib pit of nonironic homosexuality known as the True Colors Tour in Clearwater. In order to make certain that our manufactured mood of generous acceptance doesn’t falter, I’ve packed a sack of tainted juice boxes. Tainted juice boxes are the key to prolonged excitement, and completely legal as long as they are only referred to as tainted juice boxes. One swig in, the fun is already almost too much to bear.
“Did you see that sign?” I hiccup. “It said Kathleen/Lakeland. Do you think there’s really a town called Kathleen, or is she just really popular in a manner that requires arrowed highway-sign notification?”
“She’s clearly a whore,” Tony maintains. “Or a rich white lady with plantation leanings.”
We cruise past such Florida tourism roadkill as Fantasy of Flight (which is funny because flight isn’t really such a fantasy, is it?) and Dinosaur World (which we both decide would be a fantastic place to trespass on drugs, if only it were 20 years ago), and so far the tone of the afternoon is one of whizzing, snowballing banter; so gay, in fact, that it hurts. Arriving at the real Dinosaur World – a term that can be applied in equal measure to the town of Clearwater, the Ruth Eckerd Hall and the fact that tonight’s headliners, Cyndi Lauper and the B-52s, are not so far from being subjects of an archeological dig themselves – I’m taken by how accidentally tainted I’ve become.
And here it is. By some odd circumstance led by other arriving friends, John and Greg, we’ve been transported into the tailgating back seat of an SUV with a drag queen in its driver’s seat. April Fresh, a noted Cyndi-phile with the wig to prove it, is playing picture time with her digital camera. Mostly, it’s just fun pictures of s/him with Cyndi, but he promises an unexpected treat just around the digital corner.
“First you’ll see a picture of hands with paint on them,” s/he guides. “And then you should see it: the Mexican fellatio.”
There’s a blond wig with a pink splotch, a slightly open mouth of lipstickery, and within it about half of a modest-sized brown penis. Ew. I am having so much fun.
Inside the venue, the bear brigade is oil-and-watering with its Sapphic opposition in a chorus of anticipation. Tony, John, Greg and I grab drinks and head outside to a smoking deck, where an obligatory husk of lesbian acoustic crowing is bellowing her sleeveless mating call. There are gay people everywhere, some even from Orlando. Jason Lambert – or “Orlando,” as we both call ourselves when drunk and self-important – arrived by special, environmentally sound means.
“Are you the one in the Hummer limo?” I splash myself with ethanol. He is, and yet I can’t help but grimace a little at how much less fun a Hummer in limousine form is than Mexican fellatio. Tonight is literally a blow job. Or at least it’s about to be.
John, hip to my ridiculous need to shamelessly insert myself into the mouth of pseudo-celebrity, has rather resourcefully secured meet-and-greet armbands for Tony and me, an act that causes both of our tainted carcasses to jump up and down like Ritalin tweens.
“Should I bring up the old story about the cocaine party gone wrong wherein somebody sat on my cell phone and it accidentally called Cyndi at 4 a.m., and then she called back, and then I apologized and screamed at the same time, and then she told me it was OK but to never do it again?” I splatter tainted juice-box bullets into the surrounding pandemonium.
“No,” the world answers.
Instead, Tony and I just crack unfettered smiles that threaten to eat our entire heads and choreograph ourselves into some sort of arm-twist embrace with Cyndi. Some hot guy from the Human Rights Campaign (tonight’s presenters) tells us how to retrieve our pictures online before whisking us off of her to some place presumably far, far away so that we might combust elsewhere. We’ve totally done it! And we haven’t even hated anybody! That’s the trick, really. Let them hate you instead.
We carry on with our made-for-annoyance extroversion throughout the remainder of the evening, cackling at the surprisingly moving Rosie O’Donnell and her tales of gay, gay, Madonna, The View and gay, and then dancing and flailing all of the taint from our bodies through amazing sets from both the B-52s and Cyndi. Shamelessness becomes us, apparently; by the time our wet, hot gayness combines into a giant pogo through “Money Changes Everything,” everybody in the vicinity is pointing and laughing. We are blithering fools in love with everything and so excited about it.
“You go, boy!” a lesbian cheers me on my dismount back into the real world of hate.
Thank you. I firstname.lastname@example.org