I did not chicken out. I went to the Pride Festival in Uptown Charlotte. They blocked off several blocks of South Tryon St. and had a big frakking party. It looked to me a lot like any street festival you might see anywhere. There was a stretch with food vendors. On the far end, was a stage where live music was being played. In the middle, there was a plaza with another stage, that was playing dance music with assorted drag queens lip syncing to the music.
I really did take this picture of that middle plaza. As you can see there was a lot of people. Most everyone was fully dressed. There were a handful of guys walking around without shirts (and some of them were even nice to look at). I saw a handful of people with WAY too many tattoos and facial piercings, but I really did not see to much that was crazy. Well, there was one guy dressed head to toe in a bright green spandex body suit. I told K about it and she informed me that it's called a "morph suit". I told her I called in a "yikes suit". She laughed. (LOL!!)
Since I was there alone, I was largely unnoticed. As a middle aged, overweight balding guy, there were not too many people checking me out. If there were, I didn't notice. Anyway, as I walked though the crowd, I began to notice some things.
- Very few people seemed to be there alone.
- People seemed to know others people where ever they went.
- Even the people that appeared to be coupled, seemed to be there with a large circle of friends.
- There were not a lot of kids, but more than I expected. (The event was kid friendly, but I think it was probably kid boring.)
- There were not a lot of people who looked like me.
I started to feel very alone. I was wishing T was there with me. I was feeling like I wanted to leave. I was starting to wish I had not bothered to go at all. Like it was a mistake.
I simply to not have it within my personality to walk up to strangers and start a conversation. I just can't. I know that paralyzes my chanced of making friends, but it's just how I am and I do not think I will be able to conquer that.
I walked to the end of the blocked off area. I walked back. I walked slowly so people could pass me. My goal was not to finish quickly. My goal (as T put it) was to see what gay people were like. I found out they are a lot like me, except younger and better looking. But I kept going. I made it back to where I started. I thought about leaving, but then I decided to walk it again.
I'm glad I did.
I came across a group known as "Prime Timers" who say they are a social group of older gay and bisexual men. They are open to anyone who is 21 or older but the guys I saw all seemed to me my age or older. Since I am not looking for a twinkie to get into bed, I thought I might as well talk to these guys. But I kept walking. I took a few steps and turned around again and walked up to the table. There were several guys there.
I struck up a conversation while trying to take a flyer off the table. I was pretty windy this afternoon. Anyway in the short conversation I was able to find out that have about 100 dues paying members ($30/year). They meet several times a month at restaurants, movies, and other places. They even plan weekends away. The guys who were there were friendly and made me feel comfortable (well more comfortable anyway.) I took the flyer and told them I needed to meet new people, and would be looking them up.
The encounter only lasted about 5 minutes, but it made me glad I have gone to the event. I walked around for another 20 minutes or so and then left. Now I can say I have attended a Pride event.
After leaving I met with with T at a large mall. He was looking for something to wear to a singing engagement he has tomorrow. He really does have the most beautiful voice. Anyway, he was looking for some stylish and young looking clothes. Boy did he find them.
After I stopped drooling over my boyfriend in the fitting room, we walked around the mall a little more and then left.
I had not eaten yet, so T and I went to, kind of an open air market. It was really nice to be walking through it with T. We were not holding hands or anything but I felt like we were there as a couple so it was nice.
After dinner we want back to his house, where we were able to have some alone time, that we have definitely been wanting. We snuggled on his couch in a way that really made me happy, and him too.
After a couple of hours, not enough, I left for home.
On a side note, tomorrow (Sunday, 8/28) is the 18 Anniversary of K and I getting married. With the divorce set to be final in the next 60 days, it will be the last.