Straight trippin' 

Making the breeders feel at home at Pride

Back in the not-so-distant past, Midtown was gay ground zero, the undisputed center of everything queer in the ATL. These days, the vista around Piedmont and 10th is still plenty nellie, but not nearly as light in the loafers as it used to be.

Straights have bought up bungalows in the former gay ghetto and trickled over from the new condos along Peachtree, making the neighborhood more of a melting pot. But this weekend when the Atlanta Pride Fest takes over Piedmont Park, gays from all across the Southeast will make their presence unmistakable. Hetero newcomers may wonder just where the hell they've landed.

For you breeders still trying to figure out what (if anything) your role in Pride should be, here's a quick rundown of what to catch, what to skip and how to be prepared for the queerest weekend of the year.

Find a good house party. Bois and girls all across Midtown use Pride as an excuse to party. As if they needed an excuse. Saturday night soirees usually start early, as folks don't want to be too hung over for the next morning's festivities.

On Sunday, the neighborhood is dotted with fabulous brunches (which equals a three-course meal of Mimosas, Boxcars and Bloody Marys). Parties along the parade route run extra rowdy, but you typically need to have slept with the host to get an invite.

Skip the Pride market. Unless you're shopping for a rainbow-beaded cock ring. Which you're not.

Befriend a lesbian. They almost always come with a tent and some free beer, both in demand during the late June heat.

Leave the young kids at home. Or better yet, find a sitter. An OTP relative, perhaps. Pride organizers may have banged the "family-friendly" gong in recent years, but Sunday's parade remains a distinctly PG-13 affair. Picture go-go boys in thongs (or less), topless grrls with duct-tape pasties and drag queens in God knows what. And that's just on the float for your friendly neighborhood mortgage broker.

Be prepared to get wet. A Saturday afternoon shower in the park may as well be listed as an official event, they happen so frequently. And on Sunday, don't be offended if a poofter with a power soaker targets your group for her watersports action.

Don't eat in Midtown. That three-hour wait for the patio at Einstein's just ain't worth it.

Catch the Starlight Cabaret. Sunday night's drag extravaganza is the festival's not-to-be-missed grand finale. See it once and you'll understand.

Relax. Any time you get a gaggle of queens together in one spot, attitudes are bound to flare. But the gays, for the most part, are a friendly lot, and they won't mind if you take a field trip into fairyland for the weekend. As one friend of mine always says, "I don't mind straights, as long as they act gay in public."



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