It's shocking to realize that an entire decade has passed since my first San Francisco Pride celebration in 2004. I was just barely legal and back at home for the summer after my first year of college. Elyse, the first girl to ever ask me if I wanted to 69, announced that we were going to take a Greyhound bus north to San Francisco for the Pride festivities. As a primarily pussy-motivated teenager, I was ready to follow a girl to the ends of the earth if I thought it meant she might take her pants off; the prospect of being surrounded by hundreds of women who also might want to take their pants off with me sounded like heaven.
We stayed in a hostel in the Mission District and spent the first part of our day seeking out adults who would buy us alcohol. Once we had successfully acquired a bottle of tequila from a nice young man who had recently immigrated to the U.S. with a fake passport that he was happy to utilize for the purchase, we made our way to the corner of Castro and Market streets. It was exactly the heaven I had imagined: There were topless women hanging out of windows while a sea of even more women writhed beneath them, dancing and making out with each other.
I dived in and before long a freckle-faced ginger with a lip piercing had locked me in her gaze.
“I like your mohawk,” she said, biting her bottom lip. My head exploded.
“I like your lip ring,” I started to say, but before I could get all the words out, her tongue was inside my mouth.
It was Pink Saturday, the giant street party hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Some cities have Shriners or Elks club members as community leaders; in San Francisco we have the Sisters — drag queen nuns who put on huge events like Pink Saturday in order to give money to local nonprofits like the sex worker medical clinic, St. James Infirmary.
Pride weekend is about celebration and activism. It's the largest gathering of LGBT folks in the nation, and since 1997, donations from the festivities have funded more than $2 million in grant money to local organizations that serve queer communities. But if we're being honest, Pride is also about participating in the proud San Francisco tradition of the Pride Hookup by belligerently hooking up on the dancefloor with a stranger. So after 10 years of hooking up, I give you a few suggestions on how to make your Pride hookup a successful one.
Pack light, but be prepared!
No one wants to carry around a cumbersome backpack or a giant tote bag all weekend long, but when the time comes to get busy, you don't want to be caught without supplies. Courtney Trouble, host of the Sunday dance party Queerly Beloved, suggests stashing your lube, gloves, and condoms in a sunglass case so you don't have to rummage around too much when the time comes. Also, find a way to bring an extra layer with you so once that fog rolls in and the temperature drops you won't be caught out in the cold. Note: Thigh-high stockings totally count as pants this weekend, and fanny packs are completely acceptable for all occasions.
Hooking up requires fluids. Water needs to be in your body if you are going to kiss, spit, or come on (or with) anyone. So drink up! (Cosmos don't count.)
When you assume, you make an ass of you and me. So ask! Consent is not some kind of spontaneity killer. Consent sounds like: “Can I kiss you?” “Do you want to suck my cock?” and “I'm really into being spanked, so if that's going to freak you out maybe you should go home with someone else.” Trust me, it's important.
No matter how awesome the chemistry is, remember to do your own thing and don't get too attached. While there is certainly a possibility that the babe you end up grinding with on the dancefloor could be your future husband, it is far more likely that you will never see your Pride hookup again. Don't be the Awkward Annie who lingers in the morning for brunch when she's not invited.
Your top priority this weekend is to have the time of your life, and no hookup should make or break your magical Pride experience.