This isn't even the half of it.
This year, at least for my group of Pride-goers, the parade was all about the swag. It started coming even before we left the house. A friend lives on Kipling near Woodhead, in the neighborhood where all the floats are set up, and we sat on his porch watching all the action. OutSmart magazine’s float was parked out front, and whenever participants had to go to the bathroom, they knocked on the door bearing T-shirts that say “Pink Sheep of the Family.”
When it was time for the actual parade, we walked up Woodhead and watched from the very first viewing point at the corner of Westheimer. For people who want loot, this is the perfect location. The mayor kicked things off; then, as float after float turned the corner, the fired-up guys and girls couldn’t wait to start tossing beads, neon necklaces, flashing rings, condom and lube packages, key chains, visors, glow sticks and those Livestrong-inspired bracelets -- from the Young Democrats, the AIDS Foundation Houston, Carmen’s Boutique and (my new fave accessory) AARP. We were literally being pelted with stuff. At one point, I swear, someone threw a necklace and it landed around my neck.
It was a feel-good event, although there was one aggressive woman who tainted things a bit. Dripping in shiny plastic, she was literally racing up the floats and grabbing stuff out of surprised-looking people’s hands. But the best – or the worst, really – was when she and a young boy ran for the same necklace. She grabbed it from him and, walking away, said, “Fuckin’ kid!” Nice work, lady.
As for the floats, the best one came courtesy of the venerable Montrose Mining Company, which featured a construction truck helmed by a bunch of hot shirtless men. The general feeling, though, was that there was less half-naked gyrating than in years past. There were plenty of church floats, though; one (wish I could remember which) threw those little neon things that you chew on at after-hours clubs – awesome.
We only saw a few thongs and such, but maybe we were just in the wrong spot. For that, we probably would have had to sacrifice the beads and walk down to Montrose. – Cathy Matusow
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