Growing up on the east coast, I went to Provincetown with my family every summer, a decision my parents have no doubt come to regret. It had been years though, and all I remember from those trips was my frequent tendency to “accidentally” wander into head shops and sex shops every time my parents were distracted by some discount tunics or shrieking drag queens.
This year I flew to Boston and took the ferry, which is definitely the way to go. No offense to the wood-paneled station wagon of my youth, but you could swim to Provincetown in less time than it takes to get over the bridge and onto the Cape.
Provincetown has a number of theme weeks and long weekends throughout the summer, such as Bear Week, Women of Color Weekend, Carnival Week, and in October, when it’s freezing, the longstanding Women’s Week.
Largely thanks to the public outcry that the women have the yuckiest week of all, a new long-weekend event has popped up in July called “Girl Splash,” which is a Dinah Shore-type party featuring endless debauchery and whale watching.
Sounds awesome! But if you want to know all about it, you’ll have to ask someone with more foresight, because I inadvertently showed up just in time for Family Week! Who knew the GLBT community was single-handedly raising seven billion children? And here they all were, in the gayest place on earth.
It actually worked out well because typically Provincetown is teeming with men who are taller than me. Children are usually not, so they don’t interfere with my view.
Also, children go to bed around eight. I do not. So, it was very easy to get dinner reservations.
Provincetown is a little village of gayness. Most of the people who live and vacation there are gay, probably a higher percentage of GLBT people than anywhere else in the U.S. There are straight tourists as well but the culture is completely gay and gay friendly. There are very few cars, so everyone strolls around in the narrow taffy/ice cream/bong shop lined streets without fear of being run over.
The best idea is to get a bicycle, which I did, and head off to the lesbian beach at Herring Cove.
The beaches on the Cape are absolutely gorgeous and the waves don’t pummel you senseless like they do in the Pacific. More importantly, people wear normal swimsuits, not pieces of twine like in Los Angeles. Which meant I could wear a swimsuit, not a piece of burlap like I do in Los Angeles.
During Family Week (yippee), of course, it was mostly lesbians and their micromanaged offspring who arrived with extensive gear including, but not limited to, full-on tents, lest little Delilah and Sylvester encounter sunlight. Wish I’d made those names up, but sadly those were my beach neighbors.
Los Angeles-based comedian Jennie McNulty wandered by giving out flyers for her summer-long show. The performers were no doubt bummed out by family week. Hopefully some of the parents were able to escape their kids and go see some fun drag shows or inappropriate comedy.
Not bogged down by responsibility or integrity myself, I headed off to the lesbian bar The Pied.
Unlike most waterfront places, the giant patio at The Pied actually extends way out into the bay, so you are sitting not just at, but over, the water. I can’t believe the lesbians scored this kind of real estate!
For most of the week The Pied was shockingly empty, but as soon as family week was over, it was packed. Most of the large P-Town bars hold big afternoon parties, called Tea Dances, and The Pied hosts an “After Tea T-Dance” every day starting at 6:30.
There I met one group of gals that consisted of a young woman who was there partying with her mom and her mom’s girlfriend — which is awesome and would make a much better reality show than the ones about people that birth litters of children.
If you or your mom aren’t big partiers, there is still plenty to do. You can always eat. Amazing lobster, clam chowder, and other sea critters are the specialty. Or you can subsist entirely on fudge and ice cream as I did.
A ton of great lesbian comediennes perform nightly. I saw Jessica Kirson do a hilarious set. Kate Clinton performs there all summer as well.
If all else fails, there’s plenty of whale watching.