THE SAN FRANCISCO OF THE EAST?
to celebrate our first anniversary, tim and i decided to go to provincetown. i had never been there before, but i had heard vague rumors about this p-town — “it’s the san francisco of the east!” — and despite this dire warning, in early november, 2006, we loaded up the truck and headed east towards the ocean. once there, we made a left.
we arrived and got ourselves set up at this very sweet little bed and breakfast. during the whole checking-in-and-chatting-with-the-very-nice-gay-owner process, a slow realization began to occur. although it was well into autumn — and therefore the off-season for provincetown — there was apparently some big event happening that very same weekend. what event? oh you know, the meet your man in provincetown weekend; the one where all these single guys from all over the eastern seaboard come to p-town in the hopes of finding the perfect one-night-stand and/or marriage proposal.
i don’t know what your reaction to this bit of news might be, but my own response might have been accurately described as non-plussed. to spend our first anniversary in a charming, gay-friendly town perched at the end of a terminal moraine is one thing. to spend it on a gay singles cruise is quite another. but what can one do? one has paid for the room and one has already learned and forgotten the names of not only the hosteler but two other guests. it is past the point of equivocation.
rather than go into long and dreary detail about the various things that happened during the meet your man in provincetown/wichland-inocencio anniversary weekend 2006, allow me to summarize my findings re: provincetown, ma.
what i learned about provincetown on my first anniversary:
- mostly, it’s a lot of older white guys ~ if older white guys are your thing, you can’t do much better than p-town. it’s like palm springs, only wetter.
- some of you might say, now whoah, they can’t all be older white guys. aren’t there also younger white guys? ~ to which i say, yes i suppose but how useful is that distinction really?
- it is a very charming place ~ there are plenty of places to get organic, local coffee, dogs are welcome almost everywhere, and there are more tchotchke shops and art galleries than you could possibly want to enter, much less browse. let’s say you wanted a little embroidered patch, about the size of your thumbnail, shaped like the state of new mexico. i’m 100% sure you can find it in provincetown.
- it is NOT the san francisco of the east ~ it is the ogunquit of the south.
- it closes early ~ bars start kicking people out at about 12:45am, so if you’re going to meet cute with someone, you better work fast. no dilly dallying with things like conversation. just take off your shirt and start licking.
- the best thing about provincetown ~ being with tim. honestly. several people figured out this closely guarded secret and tried to be with tim too. poor thing.
i willingly cop to any perceived negativity in the above summary. for those of you who know me, well you know; for those of you who don’t, oh well! i’m sure there are plenty of folks who think provincetown is the bees knees and the best thing since sliced bread. i myself am slightly uncomfortable there and this colors my perceptions. why uncomfortable? hmmm. maybe i’ll get into that another time. oh, one more important finding:
provincetown is NOT cape cod ~ there are lots of wonderful things in provincetown. there are even more wonderful things tucked away in the secret corners and hidden folds of cape cod. one of the best things about visiting provincetown is leaving provincetown.
almost 4 years later, tim and i found ourselves in provincetown once again. having been there once before, i felt better prepared than i had been during my first visit. this time around it was halloween, and the powers that be had decided that the most appropriate theme would be…wait for it…harry potter! hmmm.
this meant that tucked in amongst the folks dressed like bedbugs, chilean miners (there were veritable troupes of these guys), smurfs, drag queens, gladiators, cops, cowboys, zombie bedbugs, zombie chilean miners, zombie smurfs, zombie drag queens, zombie gladiators, zombie cops, and zombie cowboys were maybe 6 people dressed like characters from the harry potter movies. i counted 1 ron weasley, 1 hermione granger, 3 harry potters and 1 member of hogwart’s faculty. and they were pissed. one gentleman with long white beard and star-covered robe wandered past us and, giddy, i hollered, “professor dumbledore!”
“finally!” he shrieked “everyone fucking thinks i’m fucking santa claus! this is supposed to be a harry potter themed event, assholes!”
“whoah,” said tim, “that guy’s pissed.”
we closed out the night at the atlantic house, the best place to go dancing in p-town. the music was good, the folks were friendly, and until the shirts started coming off and the underwear contest started, i was more than content to just stand around and watch the gays grappling with their gayness. after that, i was pretty much ready to head back to the quiet autumn chill of our almost abandoned campground, a wonderful 10 miles away from this, the beating heart of gay new england.
if you’ve never been, here are some 360-degree quicktime vrs that capture some of the magic, charm and absurdity of provincetown. if you have been, here’s a reminder of the things you love/hate about our p-town. (just click on the large squares to get started.)
portuguese square ~ provincetown, ma (click on the above square to load a 360-degree qtvr. you can click and hold to rotate; click the +/- to zoom in and out)
pilgrims monument ~ provincetown, ma (click on the above square to load a 360-degree qtvr. you can click and hold to rotate; click the +/- to zoom in and out)
ross’ grill on halloween ~ provincetown, ma (click on the above square to load a 360-degree qtvr. you can click and hold to rotate; click the +/- to zoom in and out)
one last sad little story: as the meet your man in provincetown/wichland-inocencio anniversary 2006 came to a close, tim and i found ourselves tucked into our cozy room. we had abandoned the clubs early and wandered the moonlit streets of p-town, happy and in love, until we found our way back to the aerie house. we had no idea what time it was until our neighbor, a single guy, banged his way up the stairs, down the hallway, and crashed heavily into his room.
he turned on the television, flipped through a few channels and then popped in a dvd. in a few moments, the melancholy strains of the soundtrack to brokeback mountain began to thread their way into our room. this was followed by the sound of our neighbor, who had decidedly NOT met his man in provincetown, sobbing.
apparently, my friend, it gets better. let’s hope so for all of our sakes.