I am back from Toronto with mixed emotions.
My time in Toronto was busy, I was stressed and tired, I did not get a lot of sleep and I am very sad it has come to an end. I had one of the most fun trips and weekends I can remember and I am now sad to be back to reality.
I will outline the highlights!
Gay Life Coach and Friends: They were wonderful! Canada day was spent at coaches place where his roommate and partner made us a flavorful and relaxing barbeque dinner to celebrate Canada Day. Everyone present was pleasant, fun and witty. The conversation was stimulating and I felt as if we had known each other for ages. To conclude the evening we walked to a park to watch the Toronto Fireworks from across Lake Ontario. It was a great way to kick off the trip.
Pride and Remembrance Run: I was surprised to arrive at the race start to find Toronto Olympic Club runners and Beth Whitman. I recognized one of the guys from university and was instantly inspired to beat the straight runners in the gay race. The pace went out pretty quick and I was a little worried as I had not trained hard for the 2 weeks prior. My foot felt great and I was able to hold strong in second place. At the 2.5 km mark I got annoyed with being in second and I decided to run hard and try to win. I was able to push hard through the last half of the race to win with a nice margin. I ran 15:37 which was a nice surprise. After the race the mood was festive and I chatted with the second place runners and one of my former teammates from McMaster. It turns out this guy is gay with a boyfriend who is also a runner and a member of the Toronto Olympic Club. How wonderful! We became instant friends and wound up partying together the next day. The race atmosphere was quite energetic and there was a great deal of support along the race course. I have never run into a finishing shoot with so many cheering and supportive people close by. I hope to attend this race again!
The Men: Oh my word! There were so many handsome and friendly gay men I thought I was going to seizure. Within the first two hours of arriving at my hotel I met a wonderful and attractive man who was very friendly. After feeling much like a total pariah within the Vancouver gay community I was surprised and amazed that within a few short hours of arriving in Toronto I would not only find a friendly gay but one who was super handsome. I sure hopes he manages to visit Vancouver some day. All weekend people were friendly and pleasant. I was going to take an eye contact tally but I lost count after my first night out. I am filled with confidence after this weekend. I no longer feel like an unattractive skinny runner. I feel like a stud!
Revival Party: This was the big and final party of pride and I had the time of my life! I have never had so much fun at a club. The venue itself was breathtaking. Normally when I go out I tend to feel a bit claustrophobic. The remedy to this situation was to go to the rooftop bar and listen to DJ Honey Dijon. The view was of the city and the CN tower lit in our rainbow colors. The music was out of this world. Honey Dijon was able to create buzz and energy in the crowd that I have never felt before. There was a flow to the music and a pulse that was captivating and energizing. The crowd itself was quite varied and very attractive. Most times when I go out in Vancouver the may be 1 or 2 people who I find attractive. At this event there were maybe 100 people who were out of this world hot. I have never seen so many gay men in my life! I managed to dance the night away with a bit of help from Redbull to finish with the Sunrise over Lake Ontario and the city. I was totally exhausted and exhillerated at the end of a very exciting and fun pride weekend.
Now that I am home again I feel like I have a bit of thinking ahead of me. Toronto Pride opened my eyes to a scene that I never felt part of. When I was there I felt like I finally belonged somewhere. I felt attractive and part of something fun. People checked me out in a good way and showed their appreciation. I am sad that Pride is over and I am back to reality tomorrow morning at 6:30. I need to find a way to bring the excitement and fun of pride into my every day life.
Looking forward I have several important legacies from pride. First is confidence. I have always had confidence in my ability to do things but not as an object of desire or as a gay man. This trip and experience may have awakened the gay man inside of me. Second is a willingness to let go and just go with the flow. I was not totally relaxed and I did maintain my boundaries but I was more flexible and let things go a bit. I was able to have fun without worrying what people would think. The last I will mention is Pride. I am actually really proud to be gay. I often waffle back and forth on this one but I think I have come to my conclusion. Gay men and women from the ages of 19 to 90 were out partying from dawn to dawn all weekend. The streets were filled with love and celebration of who we are. There were huge amounts of money raised for charity and some amazing parties that I will never forget. I met wonderful gays from every walk of life and have life long friendships as a result. I am proud to be gay.
Maybe the best and most exciting news is that my friend is getting married in Toronto next summer on June 30th. I am very excited for her wedding and to hit Pride 2011! I am going to change up my workout schedule for a few months to try and put on some muscle. If I was getting some great looks this year wait until I have some muscles on my skinny frame!