And—though we had never had The Roller Coaster Talk—we abandoned our grouting project, filled our baggy cargo shorts with emergency sunscreen and headed north (which is mysteriously called “west” on 90/94) for a day of big gay fun.
Gay Days at Six Flags used to be nothing more than a barely noticeable demographic shift—a few additional adult gay men wearing modest shirts and baggy cargo shorts filled with emergency sunscreen, all traveling unobtrusively from ride to ride in small, well-groomed groups. You know: the predatory child molesters that homo-obsessives like Jerry “Finally Dead” Falwell warned you about.
But somewhere along the way—maybe when the priests started getting caught buying season passes to Little Boy Land, maybe when conservatives’ breathless the-world-is-ending predictions at the dawn of Massachusetts’ legalized gay marriages failed to come true, maybe when Ted Haggard got caught crystal mething in the arms
Because Gay Days on Monday was an endless parade of gay kids. And not “kids” in the sense that I’m almost 40 and everyone looks young and irritating to me—these were actual high-school and college kids traveling in we-don’t-care-if-you-know-we’re-gay groups, casually draped all over each other to the unfazed disinterest of their heterosexual friends.
That’s not to say they weren’t irritating. While I have serious reservations about the way these kids were dressing and behaving in public—wholly unlike the respectful, mature way kids dressed and behaved in my day—I have to say I was impressed. And heartened. And more than a little jealous. I spent three years scouring my high school for a single gay friend without finding one. On Monday, we waited in line (for over an hour for a roller coaster that gave me a headache*) behind a group of five affectionate lesbian couples who all looked too young to vote against Mitt Romney. Granted, they were mostly dressed in black on a hot summer day and they had more holes in their faces than Romney has in his campaign speeches, so I’m not saying they were totally living the dream. But they’d found each other and they were happy and they weren’t forced to grow up alone and terrified of being outed in Jerry Falwell’s world of Gay People Are Evil And Deserve To Be Abandoned By Their Parents And Die Alone Of AIDS Just Like It Says In The Bible Praise The Loving Lord.
* I must be too old for thrill rides. If they’re not noisy as all hell, they jostle me around and bang my head painfully against the padded things that are supposed to offer protection. But I’m not afraid of them, which is more than I can say for the boyfriend. To his credit, he rode every ride I dragged him on, but the poor boy looked positively ashen through every seatbelt check, twist, loop and plummet. Which was actually adorable, but a little shocking to discover for the first time the moment we climbed into our first coaster. So with my headaches and his abject fear, I guess we’re in a roller-coaster-concordant** relationship. But not for the usual reasons.
** Boys and girls (and boys and boys and girls and girls)! Make sure you have The Roller Coaster Talk before you start to get serious with each other. The same applies to The Good Decorating Taste Talk and The Pleated Vs. Flat Front Talk and The Mitt Romney Drinks The Blood Of Puppies Talk. Mixed marriages are nothing but heartache.
Why you should always carry a firearm in a theme park:
Reason No. 54: Gaggles of junior-high girls. They travel in packs. They sit right in front of you on the scary rides. They scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream.
And then the ride starts.
Reason No. 72: Glamour Smurfs. They show up in discount couture, gravity-defying hair and cologne. They carry backpacks filled to bursting with what one can only assume is more discount couture. They stand in front of you in long lines and they keep hitting you with their backpacks every time they spin around to exclaim ohmyGODyouguys! to their friends.
Reason No. 105: Ted Haggard. You never know when he’s gonna pop up and demand a bump of meth and a fingerbang.