San Diego Pride 2012

A circuit party is an almost perfect distillation of everything that’s wrong with America: hyper-masculine, hyper-aggressive, hyper-sexual, warrior-worship, capitalism run amok, loud confrontational media, bright flashing lights, drunken groping and deliverance through chemical sedation. And that’s why it’s so much fun.

Ron and I decided to make 2012 our ‘social year.’ We’d been a bit sheltered from the surrounding world for the past four years or so and partly because of What Happened in Charlotte and also just because you get comfortable and in a rut and decide to not really work on moving outside your usual zone of comfort. Additionally it can be hard to find a posse of fun gay men to run with that aren’t completely up their own asses with vanity and drama. We seem to have attracted some gems.

We flew to San Diego on a Friday and as soon as we got the bags at baggage claim, Ron’s best friend Gilbert whisked us away to National City which is sort of like San Diego’s Daly City: little Manila. We went to several filipino markets and stores and ended up at a hole in the wall adobo joint called Tita’s where for a paltry $20 all three of us were stuffed to the gills with rice, adobo, kare kare and other stews from Ron’s homeland.

A recurring annoyance/hilarity of the weekend is all the plans and negotiations for timing and meeting and pickup and drop offs were done in Tagalog so I kept having to ask and ask again exactly what the hell was happening. Even then I’d only be told the plans for the next two hours and would have to wheedle to try and get a bit more of the evening’s overall trajectory. We got the hotel and relaxed for a bit. It was a Days Hotel which I don’t think Ron realized is part of the Days Inn chain of hotels. He’s used to four-star hotels (the requirement for flight attendants on layover) while I’m familiar with interstate crafts fairs and packing our family into a two-star hotel in Indianapolis in the driving rain. Everyone made their flights into the city. We went down to the massive block party happening somewhere in San Diego’s gay district. We didn’t go into the festivities since we were waiting for others to meet us for the witching hour that night. We were goign to that night’s opening night dance party at Spin Nightclub. We grabbed some tacos and lazed around. Met up with more people. Went to Starbucks to kill time. Met up with more people. Eventually it was time to make our way o the club and so we caravanned over. A couple of our attendees didn’t have tickets so they wanted to get to the venue as soon as it opened to be sure they could get a ticket – plus worries about finding parking spot.

So we were among the first people at the club which means we were going to have to stand around for quite awhile before it got fun. This is where I bite my tongue. I know I’m going to get crabby and I try to keep my mouth shut because I don’t want Ron to get annoyed with me getting annoyed. We stood outside the main dance floor as more and more people filed in. I was compulsively eating mints. The go-go boys arrived. One of them was adutl film star Adam Killian who evidently didn’t stretch before dancing because he tried to integrate leg stretches and yoga poses into his dancing during his tenure. Another go-go boy was dancing way too fancy and fast to last the entire night. Another one was just happy to shift his weight back and forth and consider that an effort. Eventually you realize they are all trying to dance and clench their torsos while trying to not asphyxiate themselves and fall off their pedestals.

The music was okay at the beginning. It got better. We eventually started dancing. It was a nice crowd. Not too packed. That was with all the dance events. It was crowded but never so packed you couldn’t make your way through the crowd.

We danced the night away and then came home and hit the hay.

We slept in and then had the boys drop Ron and I off at Karen and Rob’s place. Karen is one of my bestest of best friends from college and she and her husband just had a beautiful baby girl a couple weeks ago. Karen looked great and their daughter was a marvel to hold. Karen put her in my lap and I held little Alexandra Brooke as she slept, twisting ever so often as she slept. I hadn’t held a baby in a very very long time and I always get nervous that somehow I’m just going to drop the child on the floor even though I’m already sitting down with the baby secure in my arms. She was a tiny writhing warm blob with a ton of head-hair for a tiny baby. Karen recounted what sounded like a dream delivery – just a matter of hours but said that the thing she didn’t expected is how – after all the body parts align – the act of giving birth felt like elimination: ‘It was like pooping a giant bowling ball out my Jay.’ Her parents have since bought a place in San Diego and have moved from Cleveland to help out raising the child. I think Karen and Rob are going to be absolutely amazing parents.

I knew they didn’t want to take the baby out and I didn’t want to assume they should cook or us so we got Chicago-style pizza carryout and traded pleasantries while being hypnotized by the stunningly beautiful tiny baby. So we ate some pizza and chatted some more and then came back to the hotel to rest up for the evenings revels.

Saturday and Sunday night’s dance parties run together because they were at the same venue: 4th and B. A massive concert space with a mezzanine on one side and ‘box seats’ on another side. Hundreds and hundreds of shirtless man dancing the night away. The music overall was pretty fantastic.

A couple weirdnesses:

There was a cutie-pie asian guy with crutches standing in the middle of the dance floor. He said he was trying to not be too noticeable and I said, ‘Yeah that’s why you’re standing on he dance floor with crutches and your shirt off? You should be sitting at the bar getting sympathy drinks and phone numbers.’

In one instance a fart cleared a 10×10 swath of the dance floor instantly. So nasty.

The light design overall was fairly bright. In San Francisco there aren’t many moments of ‘OMG crow’s feet’ when you are out dancing. The light designers kept the overal venue little brighter than we were used to. It was odd.

People didn’t want to dance with people they didn’t know. There was a hot asian/white couple that kept appearing near Ron and I. We kept making eye contact and smiling but no one seemed to want to reach out. Another time, a white guy with chest tattoos was eyeing me as I danced with Ron and so I disengaged with Ron to dance near the guy. I oriented myself towards him and all he had to do was kinda step in for us to start dancing together. After three songs I gave up. No dice. Then later on he and his buddy were dancing in my peripheral vision for quite a while but I thought I’m not playing these dumb games. So strange.

The hottest moment of the trip was a white/latino couple dancing near us and we all gradually got closer and closer. Orbiting like 2 pairs of stars. We were smiling and making eye contact. ‘Don’t move. Stay here,’ ROn said to see if they’d come over and dance with us. The white guy suddenly seemed to push his latino boyfried into Ron and Ron put his hands on the guy’s hips and suddently both guys sorta skulked away. Maybe it’s a Los Angeles thing. I guess you have to be more overt and say things like ‘Do you want to trade dance partners?’ Who knows.

Met a couple nice guys from West Hollywood that I’m sure we’ll see in SF from time to time. As we laid in bed trying to go to sleep we could hear the music ringing in our ears. Or it was the hotel’s laundry room underneath us not sure. I did start hearing Rihanna’s ‘Where Have You Been’ in nearly every song for the next few days. And I’m still bowled over that Amber’s song ‘Sexual (Li Da Di)’ is back in rotation.

Monday afternoon we sat by the pool for a bit and then Gilbert came to pick everybody up and we had one final Filipino meal at Goldilocks and were back at the airport. The gate was mostly empty except for five minutes before boarding. IT’s like all the gay guys couldn’t possibly stand to be seen waiting at the gate so I guess they were all somewhere else waiting. Then suddenly all these haggard men with buzz cuts and tight t-shirts for boarding. Oh homos.

I’m glad that we’d bought the plane tickets and hotel before I got let go at work so we were ‘forced’ to go. We hadn’t really had a trip like that since going to Hawaii nearly five years ago. We had a great time and I’d definitely go again.

For me the most memorable moments will be Ron and I dancing together, rocking back and forth, holding each other while others look on in admiration, envy, annoyance, lust or indifference.






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