Check. Check. Maybe one day.
Well, that day is soon to be here!
That’s right. Your favorite Serial Blonde is packing his weaves, eyelashes, and the smoke and mirrors that make his illusion complete and hauling his big ass to the West Coast, more specifically San Francisco, for a long overdue holiday (selling sex toys during the day and being everyone’s blonde darling at night is simply exhausting!).
This trip actually serves a few purposes really.
My BFF moved out West about a year and a half ago and I can’t wait to see him. Life without your Bestie right by your side is a challenge I don’t highly recommend. In fact, if your closest friend ever decides to move, I strongly suggest packing yourself in a box next to the other belongings they’ll be taking. Surely if they can take a toaster, they can take you too. Hanging with him is going to be tres cool.
As Director of Store Operations at Outlandish, Rochester’s premiere LGBT gift/video store (you’ve just been plugged ... you’re welcome), it’s important to stay in tune with the latest trends and keep tabs on what’s happening in the world of gay retail. What better way to do that than to visit the gayest place on the planet (okay, second gayest. Sadly, Cher is not touring this fall). My boss and Co-Manager agree and will be coming out to tour the city later that week. Our timing just so happens to coincide with the legendary Folsom Street Fair, the culminating event of San Francisco’s Leather Pride Week, which we will be attending. Can you ever really spend enough time with half naked men and women running around in leather/fetish apparel in public? I think not. Bring on the harnesses and cock rings!
But I digress. Wanting to visit San Francisco, though, actually predates my friendship or my association with my job (though they sweeten the deal). As I mentioned earlier, there are three things I dreamed of doing in my queer life. Thanks to Susan Jordan, editor and chief of The Empty Closet, my funny side and voice have a home in a column featured in that publication. My friend Bethe Mae surprised me one Christmas with tickets to see Bette Midler, who is the most fabulous entertainer EVER! And now I would have the opportunity to visit Armistead Maupin’s “Barbary Lane”, something I have longed to do for the last 18 years.
If you’ve been a longtime reader of my column, you might know that it was Mr. Maupin’s books that got me through my teen years which were filled with self-doubt and insecurity about my sexuality. Now this was back in the days before gay/straight alliances were commonplace in schools and gay representation in the media was extremely limited. There was no here! or Logo. There wasn’t even Queer as Folk or Will & Grace. But I did discover this amazing series of books about a group of friends navigating life and love in San Francisco in the 1970’s (you can read more about how I discovered them here.). These characters were as diverse as the colors of the rainbow. Straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, male, female, transgender, black, white, older and younger. But their differences united them in interesting ways. And even though I was not an adult living in San Francisco in the 1970s, these characters became like friends to me and their stories resonated with me deeply. They gave me hope of what my future could be if I surrounded myself with the same kind of individuals and made me realize that there was nothing abnormal or wrong with me. Yes. Books can do that! And as I got older, I promised to pay that forward by writing about my own experiences with the intention that maybe something I’ve written is giving someone out there solace or a sense of belonging. So to be able to stand on Macondray Lane (the real life location that Tales's Barbary Lane is based on) is a full circle moment for me.
The realization of a long time dream, mingling with thousands of leather bound daddies (and ladies!), touring the gayest city on the planet with friends, and spending time with my best friend again sounds like the best vacation EVER.
Now what to pack...
P.S. If by chance Mr, Maupin ever reads this, I want to thank him for giving a screwed up kid from the Midwest something to aspire to and for sharing his gift with the world.
Now that I've had my say, let's hear yours! Post a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!