"OK, what are you wearing," beams Sexy Savannah from my Sunday-a.m. cell phone. And looking down at my canvas of ribs and razor stubble, the best I can come up with is "all white," which may or may not be a leftover Saturday-night slur of "all right."
"Great, I'll wear all white, too," she single white females. "Because we all know that white is the new black."
So, monochromatically, I'll spend the next hour annoyingly begging Alan to refer to me as an angelic Annie Lennox, sauntering through housewife situations like I mean to save the world. Because I just might.
Savannah and I have been asked to emcee the first October incarnation of the gay parade actually referred to as "Come Out With Pride Central Florida" but since they misspelled my name as "Maines" in the program, I will be crossing no T's. It's the gay parade and I'm the homecoming queen. Fuck all y'all, bitches.
But first the formalities. A champagne brunch is underway on the third floor of the History Center, and although we are suspiciously not invited, the promise of fake shrubbery with Christmas lights and watery, egg-like sustenance proves too much. Savannah pulls her Real Radio card while Alan and I do our best imitation of chopped liver, mostly because my own liver probably is. A few polite smiles and an event worker who reads my column later, and we're in with the shrubbery. Naturally, we're whores in church here, as most involved are quite serious.
"Are you guys looking for somewhere to sit?" nervously quizzes another event staffer. "Because I think there are three free chairs over at THAT table." You know, the one behind the giant pole.
"Thanks," snides Savannah, before leaning into me with an altogether more on-point "What if we don't want to sit at THAT table? I came here to be seen. I'll eat my eggs standing up, thank you."
Instead, we conga-line over to the Watermark table, thus casting ourselves into an unlikely media blender. It's right next to Buddy Dyer, after all, and I'm interested in monitoring the caloric intake of his neck, which is, I repeat, substantial. Me, I'm sticking with a chip of bacon and a mimosa to match my South Beach Diet dress.
"Dare me to go over to Buddy?" I cough up my chip of bacon.
"No," the world replies.
"No, go ahead, dare me. I can't do it unless somebody dares me."
"OK, I'll go with you," Savannah floats my apolitical boat.
And so we do. We head over to the coffee-serving table (where Dyer is nursing diuretics) for a quick, uneventful interlude with the mayor of Orlando, wherein Savannah discusses his awkward marriage with the awful Monsters of the Morning and I pretend to jiggle his neck with my pinkie.
"You just know he's hoping that you noticed how much weight he's lost," Savannah adds as we walk away.
"Yeah, I hear coffee makes you poop," etc.
Various speeches bland from the podium in typically self-congratulatory fashion. A couple of lesbians regurgitate the word "rrrrrally," which gives me and Watermark's Margaret Nolan a reason to laugh and make asses of ourselves, and Buddy soon excuses himself from the event, citing his kids' softball and lacrosse obligations as reasons not to celebrate anal sex atop a slow-rolling convertible.
"Just so you know, they don't schedule kids' sports on Sundays," Savannah mutters.
"He's just afraid he's gonna get drunk and get some," I out him. People stare at us, and we think it's because we're so very beautiful. That's how we get by.
Orlando police chief Michael McCoy mustaches his way over to our table, and I crouch down in my chair hoping that the mimosas on my breath aren't too close to my car keys.
"I understand that you work at the Weekly," he chiefs.
"Er, yeah." I don't really.
"I'd love to come down and talk to you guys. I'm interested in being more involved with the media," he says, a something that vaguely resembles nothing.
"I'll let my corps of editors know." I regain feeling in my fingers.
Fast-forward three hours later and I'm predictably surly. The organizers have set up an air-conditioned tent for us adjacent to the stage we're to spill wit from, and Savannah and I are rather repugnantly discussing the toils of small-town fame. I'm trying to imagine myself a sort of nadir-era Boy George with pancake makeup falling off my heroin face while Mr. T waits in the Porta-Potty, and then I realize that Boy George was arrested this weekend for cocaine and that some nadirs never go away. Then I start thinking that imagination is a narcotic and all bets are off.
Thankfully, my backtracked philosophical reverie is interrupted by duty. Savannah and I are introduced as "Orlando's new power couple," and we take the stage, deftly (and perhaps deafly) taking turns trying to talk into each of the four microphones that aren't on. The problem is quickly fixed just in time for us to start screaming "Yaaaaaaaaay" and "HEY! GAY PEOPLE!" at each of the organizations that roll-and-walk by.
Several professions of "peach is the new grape," American Idol castoffs, a life-size cutout of Jim Philips and grand marshal Pop Princess Amber (who?) later and I'm cheerleader-hoarse, my previously queer-tipped "yay!" diluted down to a lesbian-Muppet monotone. It's a little bit Crank Yankers and little bit rock & roll, but it's a surprisingly good time.
But I do hold a grudge. When the gay bar Pulse comes by in a Hummer limo, I pick sour grapes (the new peach, apparently) by saying, "Omigod! Pulse! I love you! You make the best $50 cocktails evah!" Yeah, they charged me $50 for a $2 cocktail. I haven't forgotten.
Still, it's a charming affair, and by all accounts a civically beneficial one. I take it up the ass … for this.