Memoirs of a Pride Parade (or Just Because I Work at the Straight Doesn't Mean That I Am)

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      We were here, we were queer, and we're still recovering from it.

      After all the weeks of planning, the Pride parade went by in a flash. Or a flasher (and we did see many of them).

      Our stalwart troopers met early in the day on Sunday to decorate the Straightmobile and make it absolutely fabulous with streamers, stars, and reprints of gay-themed Straight covers. Sindy even cut out letters in rainbow colours to cover the Straight's white logo. After the gaytacular make-over that Melissa, Nav, Sindy, Shay, and Noy did, who needs the Fab Five of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"? Please.

      Each of us represented a different section of the paper, and we each wore banners (made by Annette and Melissa) with the name of what section we represented.

      Nubile Noy represented the Arts section in a barely-there tutu, bikini bra, and a purple wig. But she came out of the closet early in the game when she started flirting with the hunky firefighters driving the pink Schick Razor for Ladies firetruck that was parked behind us. (I guess it's progressive but cute straight firefighters should not be in a Pride parade unless they're willing to share. And anyhow, what are they doing flogging razors for women? Hmm, maybe that's how they get their chests and backs so hairless...)

      Pride Parade, August 2006

      Sultry Shay wore her own traditional African costume, a blonde afro wig, and a black feather boa. She represented Travel as well as the Support Group for Rejected Members of Destiny's Child. She said she'd never had so many people stare at her as if she was a freak. She liked it. Well hell, it's not like we're stopping her....

      Brazen girl that she is, she got some passing guy to flip up his sarong to show us his pubic slug that was so hefty, it made you want to throw salt on it to make it shrivel up. (Or throw rocks at it.) "Janet! Quick! Take a photo!" Shay exclaimed. "But I don't want to!" was Janet's equally hasty reply.

      Jubilant Janet M. was the epitome of downward-dogging Health in crotch-clinging yoga short shorts and a radioactive pink wig. She even screenprinted her own tanktop with the words "Namaste" and "Mind Body Soul" (in reference to our health magazine). You om, girl.

      Pride Parade, August 2006Pride Parade, August 2006

      Scintillating Sindy (who also painstakingly put together the music that was playing in the car) rocked out in a sexatotious black dominatrix dress, fishnet tights, a black feather boa in her hair, and a sparkly, sequined guitar that said “Sindy” (a gift from her ex, she said) to symbolize the Music (and Clubs) section in a saucy yet classy way. Sort of.

      Sporty Spice a.k.a. Amazing Annette rolled in on rollerblades, a hockey stick, a helmet, and a Canucks jersey. “We love the Canucks!” we heard girls scream””though I'm sure they loved what was under the jersey just as much.

      Mesmeric Melissa, representing Dining, sewed her own chef's hat, wore a white apron, strapped on a wooden ladle between her legs (it was well hung), and at the last minute taped on two purple, pointy martini shaker lids over her breasts. “How did your nipples get purple?” asked Nav. “It's from the heat,” replied Melissa. Eat your heart out, Bullet Bra Barbie.

      Pride Parade, August 2006Pride Parade, August 2006

      For the Movies section (I suffer for my art), I got into geisha get-up: my mother's kimono, my aunt's snap-on obi (waist sash), my own geta (sandals), a broad-rimmed Japanese wooden sun hat (I knew I was on the right track when I heard a guy scream out "Omigod! I LOVE your hat!"), and a fan with a sign on it that said “Memoirs of a Gay-sha” (that Janet M. made as a copy of the Memoirs of a Geisha logo). My mother, a former make-up artist, did my face. It was my way of bringing a litte bit of the Powell Street Festival to the parade.

      The geta weren't nearly as painful as I thought they would be. But I did end up chipping them quite a bit from all my jumping and flailing about in faux Japanese dancing mode. I tried to krump with my krumpin' pal Noy but alas, delicate blossom that I was, I had to be careful not to jostle the fragile petals of my costume too much. I lost my hat a few times (I'd already lost my sanity a while ago. Then again, I never really had it).

      A lot of people wanted to take their picture with me. I felt like one of those cardboard cut-outs that you stick your head through at tourist destinations. There were plenty of photo ops with ESL students. I wonder how many Asian blogs I'll end up appearing in with the English words "freak of nature" politely inserted somewhere into a string of Asian characters.

      It's only the second time I've cross-dressed (the first time was in the South Pacific for a cross-dressing party that all the straight guys got a bit TOO MUCH into) but I think every man should have to go through it at least once just to see how it feels for women. Wearing make-up makes you more sensitive and aware of the surface of your face. Janet M. kept asking me if I was okay, that she'd never seen me so serious, but because I was so afraid of wrecking my make-up, I was trying to keep a straight face (pardon the pun).

      Pride Parade, August 2006Pride Parade, August 2006

      Navigating Nav drove the car. We brought an extra Superman costume for him but he didn't want to wear it. Pah. What can you expect from a straight dude. But you have to hand it to him for at least being game enough to be in the parade. As our promotions guy, he coordinated and planned a lot of the technicalities. (How straight is that?)

      It was a scorchingly hot day, not to mention we were in noon-day sun. Luckily, it wasn't too humid, as it was cool in the shade. But by the time we reached Davie Street, I was starting to drip with sweat (“Not nearly as much as me,” said Soaken-Wet Sindy who was leaving puddles behind her) and my costume was starting to come undone. Like everything else.

      One of the downsides of being in the parade is that you don't get to see all the outrageous floats by all the other participants. We did catch sight of some of the gliterratti: g-stringed muscle boys, butch dykes in leather, a team all in shocking pink (they got so much done in a day), and I even saw a few half-naked friends bouncing about. The hosts of "What Not to Wear" would have been aghast. Then again, they were probably in there somewhere. (Gross.)

      Pride Parade, August 2006Pride Parade, August 2006

      We had plenty of freebies to give out: coloured beads, keychains (with condoms in them), martini shakers. People would scream because they wanted them, but Janet M. encouraged us to give the beads to little kids (they seemed stunned into comas by the shock of it all). There were a few greedy people out there (Janet M. got her camera sprayed by a guy who she didn't give some beads to””obviously that wanker does not know how to have a happy Pride), but we had to be careful to pace ourselves with our supplies because we had a long way to go. We did end up running out of beads but we at least had some stuff to give out at the end (the year before, they ran out only a few blocks into the parade).

      All of our wigs were supplied by Sindy (she issued a statement: “I have lots. Don't ask me why.” So we didn't. But that didn't stop us from worrying about her). Special thanks for supplies from Judson Young, Christiene Santic, Maryanne Belcher, Matt McLeod, and Calla Lily.

      Now why can't straight people come up with a parade as much fun as this one? At least our newspaper has the right name for it.

      For more photos of our good, wholesome fun, click here.

      Got some snaps you'd like us to post? Send them in with a comment.

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