Toronto Pride weekend is now over and it was the best Pride I had ever been to. In past Prides I have never gone downtown if I had to work the Saturday. Since I was off this past Saturday, and since it was so hot out, I decided to cycle to Toronto. I wanted to attend my first Dyke March, which was a women-only, pro-lesbian parade in downtown Toronto. I also saw two free concerts, by Canadian band Dragonette and then a full 17-song set by Cyndi Lauper. It was a packed house for Cyndi, and I was lucky to have been in the fourth row for her 90-minute show. Her first ten songs were blues numbers from her latest album, Memphis Blues, which disappointed a lot of the crowd who expected her to do a show full of eighties hits. She even had harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite perform with her on stage. Cyndi didn’t get the eighties rolling until the first of three encores. Cyndi performed “Who Let in the Rain”, “Change of Heart” (one of my favourite Cyndi songs) and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, which she performed in two parts. The first part followed the familiar version from She’s So Unusual; the second half was as “Hey Now (Girls Just Want to Have Fun)”, her rerecording of the song from 1994. Cyndi rapped exceptionally well to the lines rapped by Patra in the single version. Another blues number followed, plus two eighties hits in the second and third encores: “Time After Time” and “True Colors”.
Sunday was Pride Day itself and Mark and I watched the parade from the roof of Glad Day Bookshop, after Mark ran into a friend at the Y earlier that day who invited us to watch it from three storeys up. It was my first parade where I watched it not at street level, and it was the first time I had the guts and bravery like many men (and some women) and go shirtless. It was 32°C, boiling and humid, and I finally just did it. I always chicken out when it comes to taking my shirt off. I have wildly varying degrees of body image which is a topic I have never shared here before. It is a whole entry unto itself but I wonder how I can sometimes be confident enough to post certain photos yet not have the bravery to walk down the streets of downtown Toronto without a shirt–on Pride Day no less.
Every year (every year since I had started working out, that is, but then, there have always been plenty of shirtless waifs on Pride Day so why am I so self-conscious?) I have wanted to walk down there and be shirtless with Mark, but I always chicken out. I don’t have any problem with being shirtless in context; for example I spent every day by the many pools at the Phoenix Nationals in 2006 and then at the Orlando Nationals in 2008. However, even at the Y when I am in the changeroom of all places, I face a corner when I take off my work shirt and then again when I change into it when I go home. I don’t reveal myself to anybody if I can help it. My gosh–how have I ended up highjacking my own post into an psychoanalysis of my own body-image insecurities?
Mark and I got our photo taken for free and many couples, families, friends and just single people were in line. We had a bit of a wait for our photo. I liked to hang out at the Toronto Gay Hockey Association information tent. I was pimping for them, chatting up people who walked by and even though I do not play hockey, I consider myself a “hockey wife” and I could answer enquiries about league play just as well as anyone who did play. Mark played a game in his summer hockey league that night and they won 9-1. Mark is known to be a bruiser on the ice yet he had no penalties yesterday. It was a perfect ending to my best Pride weekend ever. And what a good omen since Mark, I am always so proud to trumpet, will be representing Canada in ice hockey at the Gay Games coming up in August in Cologne, Germany!