Heroine’s PRIDE Survival Guide
Pride Month is in full swing throughout the city of Toronto. It’s a special time of year when corporations throw their logos on rainbow flags in an attempt to attract the pink dollar and show they’re “supportive” of the community. It’s a time when people who are just “seeing each other” need to decide where they stand to avoid public fights if one’s eyes wonder over the glitter filled weekend. It’s also a time when drag queens unintentionally achieve a dewy glow look by profusely sweating under their layers of foundation.
Heading into my 11th year of celebrating Pride, I’ve compiled a list of Do’s, Don’ts and Tips to get you through the chaos and ensure you have a fun and safe weekend celebrating your queerness. For this entry, I’ve decided to crack open a $16.95 bottle of Muskoka Lakes Cranberry Wine. It’s extra fruity like me, plus cranberry is great for curing UTIs. Lets begin before Doug Ford tries to cancel the parade!
DO: Drink a lot of water and the occasional Gatorade for electrolytes. I really can’t stress this one enough. June is always a scorcher, and if the current weather is any indication for what’s to come, we are in for a sizzling weekend! Most people walk around Church Street carrying plastic bottles, but rarely are they filled with water. Use those bottles for their intended purpose. If you plan on entering a bar, security will make you dump it out anyways. Watching vodka splattered on pavement always brings a tear to my eye.
DON’T: Don’t live off booze all weekend. Just because it’s called “russian water” doesn’t mean vodka is a substitute for the real thing. At least add some orange juice to make it a morning beverage and get some Vitamin C. Pace yourself with your alcohol intake. Don’t go so hard Friday night that by Sunday you can’t tolerate sunlight. Make sure you know your limits. Nothing ruins a buzz faster than someone yelling “GURL DOWN!” and realizing they’re referring to you.
TIP: Here is a fun way to walk around with a refreshing cocktail without having to conceal it in a bottle
What You’ll Need:
Popsicle mold kit from Canadian Tire, plastic wrap, a ladle, a funnel, scissors, elastic bands, the ingredients for your cocktail of choice.
- Step 1: Mix your poison. Decide what cocktail you’re craving and add your ingredients into a large bowl. Be as generous as you wish with the ounces, but know your limits. It’s Pride! You do you, boo.
- Step 2: Line your Popsicle molds with the plastic wrap and then cut it, leaving a few extra inches. I don’t think anyone will say no to a few extra inches this weekend.
- Step 3: Place the funnel into the mold. Using the ladle, pour in your drink. Do not fill it all the way to the top. Just like with a clingy partner, you’ll need some space.
- Step 4: Insert the Popsicle stick into the mold. Try your best to place it in the centre. Like walking a straight line in front of a police officer, be as precise as possible.
- Step 5: Grab the end of the plastic wrap and pull it close to the Popsicle stick. Take an elastic band and wrap it around both. Make sure it’s tight like a burrito, or my dress after a weekend of binge eating burritos.
- Step 6: Repeat as many times as you desire and then place your treats in the freezer. While you wait, think about that one awkward social encounter you had and replay it over and over again in your mind. How could it have gone better? Why are you like this? This should kill a few hours.
Once completely frozen, you’ll have a tasty drink you can suck dry as you peruse the many sights and vendors along Church Street! These will help you get a buzz, stay cool, and ensure your water bottle is being used for H20. If these melt before you can enjoy them, at least now you’ll have an instant shot you can drink from the plastic wrap baggie. For those of the homosexual variety, these may also satisfy your oral fixation and possibly prevent you from doing things with a random you’ll probably regret the next day.
No matter where you go this Pride, you’re bound to run into a drag performer. If you do, apologize and help them up. With the success of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the art form is at its height of popularity and good queens are in high demand. Others are just high. Please remember that for many drag queens, like myself, this is a job. We are not doing this for the free drinks or compliments (although those are nice perks of the job). Pride is a time for us to make money and have our creativity, abilities, and human jukebox talents presented in front of a large audience.
- Tip your queens. If you are able to, show the queens some love and appreciation with a bill. Their feet probably hurt, they’re sweating under their make up, and they’re internally heating up from having to wear padding and layers of tights. They’re like a mascot at Disney World minutes away from heat stroke. For most of us, we are spending the entire day in drag, rushing back and forth from bookings. Drag isn’t cheap, even if we may look like it at times. The amount of money I’ve spent on my career in the past ten years could have been a sizable down payment on property. A tip is always a nice gesture to show you appreciate the moments of entertainment we provide.
- If you can’t afford to tip, compliment a queen. We spend time preparing looks and applying make up. Hearing we look fabulous (even if we are sweating or our eyebrows look like distant cousins more than twins) is always a positive boost.
- Do not tell a queen she looks like ____________ from RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s not a compliment to hear that the look we prepared doesn’t come across as original. In addition, local queens get the shaft during Pride compared to the treatment the Ru Girls receive. We are dancing for nickels compared to their thousands of dollars in performance fees. As Canadians, we are not allowed to even apply for the show without a working Visa and several sponsors. We don’t need the reminder, random stranger. We are well aware we’ll never have the instant platform and reach like they do.
- If a queen is clearly in a rush, don’t stop her to ask for a photo. I understand you have a gay friend at work and you want to show him Monday at the office that you’re “fun” and “accepting”, but navigating through the hordes of people to get to your next gig is hard enough, Susan.
TIP: If you see a queen with a suitcase rushing down the street, make a pathway and GET THE F#%K OUT OF THE WAY!
Bartenders have one of the most difficult jobs during Pride. They’re missing out on a lot of the festivities in order to serve you and your friends and ensure you have a fabulous weekend. The high volume of people they encounter in a night means they’ll have to pour faster, prepare several drinks at once, all the while assessing whether you’ve had enough and if water is your best option.
- Tip your bartenders. One of the upsides to bar tending long hours during Pride is tips. Show some love to the people who are sacrificing their time to party so you can. Be sure to thank them as well before you turn to leave their service area.
- Know what you want to drink before reaching the front of the line. This isn’t Starbucks, Becky. Pride service is fast paced. No one has time for you to ‘umm’ and cut into people’s drinking time. Get it together, gurl!
- Use cash. Most bars have an ATM you can use, and having cash in hand, ready to go, is your best bet for getting a drink faster.
- This isn’t an episode of Oprah. Keep the chit chat light and quick with your bartenders. They have a lot of thirsty patrons waiting for a beverage and don’t have time for a long, drawn out conversation about how you’re day has been so far.
- Don’t argue if a bartender offers you water before they can serve you. Bartenders are trained to spot signs of intoxication; they’re just looking out for your best interests. No one wants to see or smell what you ate last.
Spread Love, Don’t Judge
This one is simple.
DON’T: be an asshole. Smile. Show love. Everyone is coming to have a good time and let loose. If someone wants to walk around in nothing but a jock strap or free their nipples and breasts, that’s their choice. Don’t point, laugh, or stare at strangers. People express themselves and show their Pride differently. Leave the gavel at home and let people do their thing.
Have Fun & Play Safe
Sex, much like a 3am McDonald’s visit, is a given during Pride. Whether it’s with a partner, fuck buddy, friend, or stranger whose name you didn’t quite catch, your best bet to having a good time is by playing safe.
- Get consent. If someone says no to your advances, take a hint, Harvey. ‘No’ isn’t an invitation to keep asking or force yourself upon them.
- Once consent is established: Condoms, Rose! CONDOMS, CONDOMS, CONDOMS! As Sue Johanson once said: “Sex will be sweeter if you wrap your Peter.” Do you really want to wake up with burnt meat?
- Use lube! Sex shouldn’t be as dry as the Sahara desert. Spit is unreliable and Gatorade isn’t a suitable alternative.
- If you’re hosting an orgy this Pride, provide snacks and refreshments for your guests. Use the opportunity to show off your party hosting skills. You might get a nice Yelp review out of it.
TIP: Visit the Stag Shop booth on Church Street and pick up some free condoms and lube at their goodies table while supplies last.
- Avoid singing The Weekend’s “I Feel It Coming” as you’re about to climax. No one finds that funny.
- During sex, refrain from holding up your partner’s legs and saying “Look, I’m skiing.” Don’t ask me how I know this, but it never gets a laugh.
And there you have it! Heroine’s quick and easy PRIDE Survival Guide. I hope you found some of these to be helpful!