after a low-key friday night hanging out and watching “the wrestler” with kate and jenn (great movie, btw), i crashed at theirs and we woke up bright and early on a saturday morning (!) to go paint houses with give back cincinnati. because kate signed us all up through work, the three of us spent the day painting houses with a shedload of P&Gers in blue t-shirts. it was tiring, sweaty, paint-covered fun. george, one half of the elderly couple whose house we were painting, was really fun, and quite chatty, educating me on the fact that there were almost 2,000 different kinds of tomatoes (he was personally growing 11 different types in his garden), and how when he moved into his house 54 years ago (!), his street was made of cobblestone and a streetcar track was running down it. so, he stuck around with us, hanging outside and talking to us as we set ladders of various sizes up against the outside of their house and went to work with brushes and rollers. i certainly used a lot of muscles that i don’t normally use, which i noticed later that night and the next morning when i woke up. boo, sore muscles!
after getting back to their house and each of us taking much-needed showers, we took naps in preparation for the foam party down at the dock (may want to turn down your speakers for that link). i had never been, but kate and jenn have been telling me about the messy fun that ensues at the foam parties for several years, so i was looking forward to it. after waking up from naps, i was simply not feeling it. mostly, i was exhausted from the day, even after a nap, and didn’t think i was up for it. however, after some food, i was feeling better about shakin’ my groove thang in a giant dance floor filled with foam. then as luck would have it, kate started feeling not-so-great, so we ended up going back to their house and all passed out watching “a mighty wind” (also a great movie, don’t let the fact that we fell asleep watching it tell you otherwise). we had each only had one beer at dinner, so apparently, painting a house in 80-degree humidity for 8 hours can really take your energy levels down a notch. or ten.
this weekend was cincinnati gay pride weekend, and today was the pride parade. we had been invited to a big party in one of the many beautiful old homes on ludlow (on the parade route) with free food and an open bar. (woo!) i signed up for, and made a donation to, the human rights campaign, who had a table set up in the house, to lessen my guilty feelings about drinking alcohol that i didn’t pay for. (apparently i’m still in the process of shedding my deep-seated catholic guilt complex.) (but to my credit, i intended to sign up for HRC anyway.)
the parade was fantastic, and i got a lot of awesome photos…with kate’s camera. (unfortunately, i forgot to get them from her, so i can’t post them here.) suitably buzzed, we headed down to the festival in northside to perhaps have another drink or three with some friends we met up with at the party. we walked around for about 15 minutes before the sky broke open and it started pissing it down. we escaped to one of the tents set up for city beat, where dylan (who also moonlights as the lead vocalist for local band buckra) welcomed us and asked if we wanted to sign up for a drawing for a $100 gift card for area restaurants. we figured he was gracefully allowing us to squat under his tent, so we signed up. then…after already being soaked, the water got too heavy in the top of the tent, and it broke on top of us, waterlogging us even more than we already were. luckily, no one was hurt. and actually, it was pretty funny. (i laughed, anyway.)
what was most remarkable (and wonderful) about the event, at least for me, was seeing so many gay couples openly showing affection to each other. i had to remind myself that we were in a Safe Zone – and god, how i wish that the entire country were a Safe Zone. (hell, i’ll just take cincinnati when you get right down to it.) sometimes when i see gay couples showing affection in public, i worry, because i know that there are still a lot of people who aren’t as accepting of gay people. especially with the recent hate crime, i just want my friends to be careful because i don’t want anything bad to happen to them because of some Intolerant Asshole.
one really encouraging thing i’ve noticed in recent past, and more evident today, though, is the growing recognition of the bisexual population within the LBGTQ community. from my personal experience, being bisexual can be, well, marginalizing. even though i’d place myself at about a 1.5 on the kinsey scale, and mostly date men, i still self-identify as bisexual. i’d wager that when you say the word “bisexual,” most people tend to think purely in sexual terms, meaning “will have sex with anyone regardless of gender.” while for some bisexuals this might be the case, there are also some of us who are attracted to people of any gender identity, and can emotionally and sexually connect with them as well. some people think that we’re “confused” (indeed, my gynecologist once told me as much during my annual exam one year when i was dating a man, when the year previously i was seeing a woman), lesbians we date fear that we will leave them for a man, men we date think we’ll leave them for a woman, and most straight men think it’s “huh-huh HAWT huh-huh.” bleh.
i think that as we learn more about human sexuality, and the many variances in gender, gender identification and sexual orientation, the more that people are understanding of the fluidity of our natures and that some people’s (and perhaps all people’s) sexual identity is not written in stone. and maybe once we can all grasp and accept that concept, then the entire world can be a Safe Zone.