The truth be known, I am not a very well travelled gay. That was certainly the case when I was packing up my flat in Bushwick and preparing to head back to LA after finishing up my two-year, postgraduate stint in NY. At the time I was forty-six and still had yet to embark on any number of the more stereotypical Queer pilgrimages: Mykonos, London, Rio, Miami, and New Orleans among others. In addition, I had never attended an actual circuit party. For those unfamiliar, circuit parties – at their best – are highly produced, specifically themed, drug infused, alcohol drenched, backbeat pounding, bare-chested, sweat soaked gay soirees that are erected in fabulous venues all over the globe. At least that is what I hear tell they are – I still speak with no first-hand knowledge. Be that as it may, it was with this personal dearth of homosexual excursions in mind that I was inspired to give myself a well-deserved, hair down weekend in Provincetown as a graduation gift before returning to the rest of my life.
Provincetown is most definitely a standard on any self-respecting gay traveler’s ‘gotta go gurl’ list. According to Wikipedia, Provincetown – or P-town as it is commonly known – has the highest concentration of same-sex couple households of any zip code in the United States. It is a small east coast burg that sits off the coast of Massachusetts on the far tip of the crescent shaped peninsula that is Cape Cod. If you look at a view of the original New England colonies from above, it looks like Plymouth has reached a strong arm out into the Atlantic Ocean and flexed a bicep to warn England of its new world intentions. With that visual in mind, P-town is in Plymouth’s fist; and the particular weekend that I chose to visit for the first time it happened to be a fist full of baby dykes. You see, unbeknownst to me when I booked my self-congratulatory trip, Memorial Day is traditionally the weekend that P-town is invaded by young lesbians.
I would like to say that the fact that I had unintentionally landed in the gay mecca on Baby Dyke Weekend was partially responsible for my lack of social interaction while I was there, but the truth is that I have never considered myself to be very socially limber. In addition, I had just spent the better part of two years hole up alone, in a small room, in front of my computer; so my already underdeveloped party muscle had now become somewhat atrophied from lack of use. In retrospect it was just as well, because the isolation I wallowed in for most of my days in P-town gave me time to consider where I had been, where I was, and, most importantly, where I was headed. You see if I am to be unabashedly honest, even now I have yet to clearly analyze or fully understand my reasons for spending all that money and the two years at NYU. I know that part of my motivation was to prove to myself, and to others, that I was strong, smart, and capable enough. It turns out that I was. I’m still not wholly sure, however, just how that applies. That is to say – I am not sure that the remedy of achievement will ever fully heal the disease of self-doubt. It certainly feels far less aggressive though; perhaps in a kind of remission for the time being. There is something to be said for that, I suppose.
In retrospect, my self-imposed solitude among the young female loving females that weekend was possibly the last occasion in my life when I will truly be at a crossroads – no, more aptly – in a port. After all, having taken the ferry from Boston, as most people do, to get to the gay fist, I was physically, and in many ways emotionally, on the far edge of the only soil that I had ever called home.
If ever I’d wanted to jump on a ship and escape from everything, that would have been my opportunity. My ex-partner was caring for Honey and the cats. My sister and her fiancé were already mostly shouldering the weight of the upside-down house. I had no job, or even any solid leads waiting for me. I was determined that the Hunk that I had said goodbye to in Manhattan would not become a serious romance. I had actually looked into the logistics of joining the Peace Corps a few times over the previous couple of years. So what was there to really stop me from shedding all responsibility and donning the visage of a vagabond? Like a wayward character in a play by Eugene O’Neill, I could sever all ties and set sail. I could spend months, or years even, discovering the world, swooping in on far-flung circuit parties, and writing reams about adventures unimaginable. Carefree. I could live on bread, and cheese, and gumption. I could have chosen, at that moment, in that port, to become the most well traveled gay of all time.
I could have, except for two things. First, HIV. The drugs that keep my virus at bay are readily available in places like LA and NY, but probably a little harder to come by in destinations more exotic or remote. Second, and more importantly, possibility. The offer of fatherhood was still on the horizon, and the thought of heading in any direction other than toward that was unthinkable. So, when my vacation in P-town came to an end, a boatload of baby dykes and I headed back west toward Boston. And after a couple of days there, I headed home to the rest of my life. And now in the pre-dawn hours on nights like this, with the Hunk asleep in the next room, and the baby monitor filling the air around me with the muffled crash of ocean waves being carried in from the sound machine in the nursery, I sit. Grateful and happy. Still not a very well traveled gay. Writing reams about adventures unimaginable.