This year marked the 20th anniversary of Gay Days and my fifth year attending. This was a different year for me because, sadly, Dustin got very sick and wasn't able to participate fully, but we made the best of it. Dustin managed to attend the daytime activities, but wasn't feeling up to going out on Friday night and Saturday night, so I went alone. Well, as alone as you ever are in a gay club.
As the events came to a close, I realized that this Gay Days reminded me of my old self. Anyone who has been in a couple for very long can relate to this. Dustin and I have been together for 6 and a half years. We do almost everything together. We like many of the same things and never tire of spending time with each other, but couples get into patterns very easily. Dustin takes care of me when we go out. He always drives. He typically goes to the bar and gets me drinks. He saves me, on occasion, from getting into bar fights with straights girls. He lets men flirt with me, dance with me, make out with me, but makes sure I don't get into trouble. I know without a doubt he will make sure I am okay and that I make it home safe. This is a nice pattern, but one I've come to rely on.
This past weekend I didn't have that, and, in some ways, it was a nice reminder that I can take care of myself, and that once upon a time I was a very independent person. I'm not saying I am co-dependent now, but I do specific things for Dustin and he does specific things for me and we both get comfortable with that. Sometimes it is nice to know that you can survive, if you had to, on your own.
I met Dustin when I was 20 going on 21. I had never been to a gay club and nor had he (remember we are from Indiana). My first gay club experience was with Dustin. We went to Connections in Louisville, Kentucky. We were nervous and excited. It was Halloween and we were wearing ridiculous things we had bought from the little kids section of Wal-Mart. I'm sure we looked like fools, but we were young, in love, and didn't care. Since moving to Florida five years ago, I've spent a lot of time in gay clubs, so it's funny to think that this past weekend was my first time ever going without Dustin.
I survived both nights (with a little help from my friends). I bought my own drinks. Made my own decisions about what I wanted to do. I hung out with great people (thanks to Mark, Josh, Gail, Josh, and Christian), and danced with strangers (one very cute boy on Friday night who only looked under 21 but wasn't, I checked his wristband). I missed Dustin, but I also reveled in the independence (you guys can all argue if this makes me a bad boyfriend or not).
All in all, I had a good Gay Days. The Magic Kingdom day was fun as always. This year I brought two of my friends from work. They both enjoyed it, and it was nice to share that experience with both of them. At Parliament House I got my picture with a very hot porn star and purchased some 3-D porn (yes, you read that correctly). It was everything Gay Days should be, and it reminded me how lucky I am to be a part of the gay community (especially here in Orlando). If it wasn't for all the great people and gay places in this city, I would probably not still be here.
Gay Days 2010 might be over, but in my apartment everyday is a gay day.