Honest, honest, honest, this is hacked out devoid of homophobia. It's supposed to be presented in good humor, cherios all around. I'm using the situation in a hearty, playful, gutsy sort of manor.
The event so named 'Men's Parade,' named by me, and fessed of free will, was moving and humanizing, as well as traumatic, so I'm going to let the true name for it shine, let it shine... More than a statement about the Pittsburgh gay community, in 1991, there was one night a month upon which a billion gay men would march through Oakland in a dazzling show of solidarity. Intimating that I'm a straight man, only slightly to the left of Jack Webb in Dragnet, one unique night etched the parade on my indellible yellow legal pad of life experience.
It was probably in September. I'm not that meticulous about dates, such as when I bought the leather trench coat at a Goodwill store. It cost five skinny dollars, fit immaculately, was of wonderful quality, and was identical to the coat Richard Roundtree wore in the original movie 'Shaft.' It draped properly, praise God. This was twenty years ago, at which time I had great hair. Since I'm working up to some sort of point, I'm the tall, willowy, nervous type, thus people have been calling me a fag since I was nine. I'm not. I'm straight. Willowy. Nervous. Wearing a leather trench coat that choir directors and synchronised swimmers would die for.
The power and glory of it all was that for no reason what ever, I decided to wear my new coat to Chief's bar, which was normally a semi-styling dive bar full of diverse mottled hipsters. But one day a month it filled like an aquarium with male homosexuals dressed to the nines. Honest to whom or what ever, I am just a silly straight fellow who hadn't been livng in Pittsburgh for very long.
I had no idea it was Men's Parade on that evening I wore that beguiling leather trench coat, walking more than a mile along the very route the men marched, together, joyous and overwhelming.
This all hapened at the very time at which simple new relationships had been forming. I had been making a lot of new friends in Chief's bar. Up until that catastrophic parade, there, as far as I knew, were no arch questions being asked about my character, background or groin yearnings. It was pure coincindence that I entered Chief's along with a thick stream of men all coming into Chief's Bar, all dressed fantasticly and all in rare form. I was not in rare form, though. I was almost my usual self, but a little off my graze from the mile walk in the jubillant, stunningly dressed, queer throngs.
I was not marching with the gay men. I was walking, to Chief's bar, alone, a male molecule encapsulated in the leather trench coat like the one Shaft wore in the original movie. But all the straight friend's, and gay one's as well, that I'd met thus far at Chief's all at once thought that I had dressed up special to share in the mass celebration of male gayness. In fact, they all, at once, assumed that I was gay. At the same time judgement was being passed among the bar flies I had come to see as friends, total strangers were taking a fancy to me. Guys were putting their hands on me. Making overtures. Striking up conversations, by the cock hairs of Zeus. There was no place to sit and took forever to get a beer because the dump was so crowded. I was getting groped. Then the walk home was the mirror image of the walk there, the streets and sidewalks a dense and random parade in celebration of men, men, men. All of whom thought I had dressed up special for Men's Parade. I was getting groped. Guys were making passes.