The Amazon Trail: What Gays Do … On Vacation

By Lee Lynch
© 2012 Diversity Rules Magazine and Lee Lynch.  All Rights Reserved.

lynchLee Lynch wrote the classic novels The Swashbuckler and Toothpick House. The most recent of her 14 books, Sweet Creek and Beggar of Love, were published by Bold Strokes Books. She lives in rural Florida with her wife and their furry ruffians.

I love my uber-friendly dentist’s office.  They are totally moderne and pain-free in every way.  The doctor loads up his iPod with cool tunes and docks it in his sound system.  He could have a show on a west coast public radio station with his eclectic mix of rock, folk, blues and jazz.  The receptionist/scheduler looks like a pleasant straight church lady, and probably is, but she gushes with pleasantries and stories when I arrive.  It almost doesn’t hurt to give her my credit card.

This visit, she told me about her summer vacation. She and her husband planned to visit family back in Ohio, but she had an intuition, a funny feeling that something would go wrong.  She didn’t know if the car would break down, or an accident would happen. So she stayed home, caught up on house work and tackled overdo projects. Midway through the staycation, the day before the Fourth of July, she got a call from her mom.  The family had been without power for three days, the heat was killing them and the neighborhood was flooded by the line of storms we all read about in the news.  She was bubbly with excitement about dodging that bullet and enjoying her safe stay-at-home vacation.

The hygienist had not cancelled her trip to the mountains of North Carolina and reported that the temperature reached 111 degrees, hotter than home in Florida. Gosh, I thought, it’s too bad there aren’t het vacation meccas for them to enjoy. Of course, hets have the whole world to choose from, but my gay superiority complex knows that we get the best vacations.

I’m thinking of the long weekend my sweetheart and I just took up to Minneapolis. Well, not exactly the city, which I had hoped to see, but we were at the Golden Crown Literary Conference <> and it was so exhilarating I was happy right where I was. Where else can you go on vacation to hang out with Jewelle Gomez, Ellen Hart, Lori Lake, K.G. McGregor, Susan Meagher, Karen Kallmaker, Elizabeth Sims, Lynne Ames and all sorts of other lesbian writers.  Not to mention passionate readers.  And we got to dance, go to a fifties sock hop, pay homage to one another and buy dyke books galore. The Doubletree by Hilton staff treated us like we were the biggest show in town plus they serve hot chocolate chip cookies on arrival—total seduction. It was a do-it-yourself lesbian vacation mecca.

In the fall we’ll take our other week and go to Provincetown.  It’s Women’s Week for us.  What’s to do in Ptown? Be ourselves! While lesbians have come a long way (like Bears, singles and gay families who each have their own week), there would be nothing comfortable about flaunting our gender preferences in Ohio or in North Carolina, where the non-gay voters don’t want to share the institution of marriage with us. Of course, by flaunting, I mean walking down the street arm in arm, gathering in rowdy groups at the Post Office or Lobster Pot restaurants; laughing ourselves silly at lesbian comedienne performances.

Heck, we’re so special, we even have our own jewelry and clothing to flaunt. Guaranteed, I’ll buy at least one item of rainbow clothing or an accessory. I’ll wear it all week, then put it in a drawer for the rest of the year because it’s not safe to display where I live. Next year I’ll forget to bring it and buy something new: a rainbow baseball cap, a rainbow car sticker, a rainbow t-shirt.  To tell the truth I’ve learned, after all these vacations, that it’s more sensible to buy a t-shirt from Womancrafts—they sell a different classy design every year—and to shop at the Human Rights Campaign store. I’m not afraid to wear their products even to the dentist’s office.

Which, by the way, is one of the few places around here I could wear them.  The hygienist, with a sharp instrument at my gums, had just confessed to being a Diet Coke addict. I gabbled that my partner was too and the hygienist laughed and said, “Oh, is she?” I’d plumb forgotten that I was out at the dentist’s office and that they treat me like they do everyone else.

But only because they don’t know our summer vacations are better than theirs.

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