Break out the glitter and don your rainbow boas, people - pride is finally here! It won't be long now and we will all be cutting loose, dancing like fiends, chasing tail. However, Pride can also be an endurance test.
The pace of partying gets pretty intense and if you're not realistic about your limits, you could end up a wreck by the time you make it back to your front door.
If it's your first time going to pride or you could use a little advice on how to make it through in one piece, you're definitely going to want to read these tips for having a safe, enjoyable experience at this year's Pride.
Here's what you need to know to get the most out of your Pride excursion:
1. Not All Pride Celebrations Are Created Equal
Different cities celebrate Pride in different ways. The vibe of the celebration can vary from one town to the next, and part of having a good time is partying with people of a like-mind. If you're looking for a huge blowout with all the bells and whistles, you'll probably want to avoid choosing a place like Key West as your destination. Key West throws a much smaller, more intimate party when compared to the raucous carnaval-like atmosphere of Rio or massive street parties of NYC.
Take the time to research the vibe of a city's celebration and take into account the general atmosphere of the city year-round. Choosing the right party for you is one of the best ways to ensure you have a Pride experience to remember.
If you'd like a little help, take a look at this article to give you a good idea of what is happening in some of the most popular Pride destinations in North America.
2. Take A Vacation From Your Body Image Issues
It's no secret that there are some pretty unrealistic body image expectations in the LGBTQA+ community, especially among the men. This often leads to people developing some pretty twisted concepts about the nature of their bodies, and more than a few self-esteem issues.
Pride is supposed to be about being proud of what you are, and your body is no exception. The great thing about Pride celebrations is that there are so many different people with so many ideas about what they find attractive that no matter who you are or how you look, you're bound to find someone who's into you for exactly what you are- Probably a whole group of them. Why waste time feeling self-conscious when there is someone out there looking for exactly the kind of snazzamatazz only you can provide.
If you internalize and live by the notion that there are "different strokes for different folks", you'll be in a better mindset to find someone who'd love nothing more than to offload some of those different strokes on you!
3. Purge Before You Binge
"Pride is a marathon, not a sprint" is a phrase that has become more than a little cliche by now. The funny thing about cliches, though, is they tend to be cliche for a reason- This is definitely one of those cases.
Pride celebrations can get pretty damn boozy, so it's a good idea to prepare for that if you intend to do some heavy imbibing. I like to take a few weeks off from drinking ahead of the big event for a couple of reasons.
The first being that my liver will be fighting-fit when it comes time to throw down, and the second being that it lowers my tolerance to alcohol a bit. Basically, it makes me a much cheaper date when the time rolls around to start buying rounds and having a fresh liver helps take the edge off of the hangovers, which can be absolutely monstrous.
It's also important to pace yourself during the event. Pride can be a great opportunity to meet new friends or friends with benefits, but that can be pretty difficult if you can't string two coherent sentences together. Have fun, by all means, just try not to get too shit-housed or you might regret it.
4. Always Be Prepared
Making sure you have everything you need is essential to having the best time possible. Getting out to the parade and realizing you forgot to bring sunscreen or water is a huge bummer. Even worse, meeting some hunky guy who's game for a little slap and tickle only to realize that you forgot to bring condoms.
If you're the type of person who likes to dress flamboyantly or barely dress at all, be sure to pack some sensible, everyday clothes if you plan on doing some sightseeing that is unrelated to Pride. Rainbow-sequined chaps might fly at the parade, but they will probably get you some unwanted attention at the art museum!
Make sure you have everything you need to have a safe, enjoyable time before you head out to avoid a less-than-stellar time down the road. If you're not sure what to bring, take a look at this complete packing guide to give you some ideas of what you'll want to bring along.
5. Introverts Beware
LGBTQA+ Pride festivals are celebrations with a minority community at their core. This means that the people around you are part of a tightly knit group where many people will have at least a passing familiarity with huge swathes of the celebrants, and will definitely recognize new faces in the crowd.
If you're new to the local celebration, you're bound to draw some friendly attention to yourselves, so introverts will have to prepare for this eventuality. Roll with it! Take the opportunity to come out of your shell and mix it up a bit. Pride isn't just about celebrating who you are, it's also a celebration of who we are.
6. Take The Road Less-Traveled
It can be easy to get caught up in the spectacle and glitz of the major Pride events. Corporate interests have thrown a lot of money at these festivals to make sure people get the biggest show for their corporate advertising dollar. But, some of the most cherished memories that I have of my times at Pride are of those times I went left where I'd normally go right and found myself on the outskirts of the celebration.
This is where I always find the most interesting people, the tastiest food, and the most beautiful forms of expression. Take the time to slip away from the crowds and explore. You might be surprised at what you find!
~Final Thoughts ~
If you take the time to temper your expectations, pace yourself, and head out to the party well-prepared, you should have no trouble coming out of Pride with some fabulous stories to tell, a slight hangover and, hopefully, more than a few phone numbers! Play safe out there, guys!