Monday, May 15, 2006


Me and the wifular-object spent the weekend out on Fire Island. For those who don't know, it is a long, thin spit of sand that runs parallel to Long Island's south shore, acting as a significant barrier beach. It is, naturally, a place of second homes for wealthy New Yorkers, much like any stretch of shoreline within 500 miles of Manhattan winds up becoming.

To be precise, we spent our time in the small village of Cherry Grove -- which, along with its sister village The Pines, forms one of the oldest and most substantial gay communities in all the tri-state area. The wife has been visiting since the mid-1990s, and although I grew up only a few miles north from there, I never laid eyes on it until three years ago. Now, we spend a week there every June. I've always been amazed that such a place -- a gay place -- existed so close to the redneckly intolerant expanse of suburban Long Island, with its predominantly white, Irish-Italian Catholic/Jewish populace.

It's great to feel at home in a place where our straight coupling is the sexual minority -- without exaggeration, we're the only man-woman pair to be found in all of town in the heat of summer. And yet, we're welcomed with smiles and hugs everywhere. I daresay that the opposite example wouldn't be found in too many other places.

On the way out of town, the citygoers tend to make their way back to New York via a complex transit combination of ferry, coach, train, and subway. I fell in with the crush Sunday afternoon, standing on the Long Island railroad platform in the town of Sayville, waiting for that train... and I started to notice something. Every man on that platform was carrying either a Prada bag or rolling Louis Vuitton luggage. Everyone.

It's like, "I GET IT -- you're gay. Message received. It's not like I missed the point on the island the last week or so -- I was the only one with a spare tire and no nipple rings." The amount of conspicuous consumption was a little much of a muchness.