ohBy Brooke Cartus

Ah, July in Ohio.

The weather is warm, patio season is in full swing, and everyone is taking long weekends to get the most out of our brief but radiant summer.

It’s the month of red, white and blue tank tops, sparklers, hot dogs, and third-degree burns. Also the month where the caked-on glitter on your Pride swag that was once so shimmery begins to dull. The high from seeing all your friends and chosen family for weeks on end at multiple events per day fades, and you ask yourself…

What was the point of it all?

Pride is over. What’s a gay to do? No one wants to go to gay bars, no one wants to go to a parade, and no one wants to book a gay comedian! (Wait, is that just me?)

Your straight friends cannot IMAGINE going to see Cher at the State Fair this year because you burned them all out with your Cher remix playlist you used for the last three months to prep for Pride. But fear not, fellow queers! There’s a silver lining to that purple spandex romper you put away on July 1.

Here are some tips to avoid post-Pride depression with flair. Not just boring, normal, buttons-on-suspenders flair. Like, Eliza Doolittle-at-the-horse-race flair.

1. Go Hang Out With the Straights!

July 4 is Straight Pride. Everyone gets wasted, there are multiple parades everywhere you look, and it is almost guaranteed that one of your friends will be taken to the hospital for a minor concussion or fireworks mishap.

Sure, maybe sometimes you roll your eyes at how tacky the decorations are, but this year, embrace it!

Throw on a creepy Uncle Sam mask, spf 30 and some jorts and see how the other sexual orientation lives! Maybe you will realize… we aren’t all that different. (Except our Jell-O shots are better. It’s just science.)

Plus, who doesn’t love any excuse to be on a boat?!

2. Go on a Date That Doesn’t Involve an Eight-Hour Extravaganza of Brunch, a Parade, a Drag Show and a Dance Party All in One

Pride month is crazy. There are a million shows, events, happy hours, parties… maybe you have a significant other, maybe you met someone at Pride and had a “Pride Night Stand” as I call it. Maybe you just want to take a good friend out! Whatever your relationship status, do something that doesn’t involve a marathon of events where you don’t even get to see your person.

Did you know there are 88 counties in Ohio? Do some googling, take a mini road trip and check out something weird and quirky outside your own city limits. It’s how I’ve found some of the best ice cream in the world. (I’m looking at YOU, Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl in Zanesville.)

What makes Ohio amazing is that you can leave any major city and be in the beautiful countryside within 20 minutes. Skip the 14th networking brunch you’ve been to in the last month and do something new. Your body will thank you (especially if ice cream is involved).

3. Go to Other Pride Festivals!

Not in the mood to go hiking? No worries. Because there are a MILLION more Pride festivals you can go to!

Cleveland Pride, Toledo Pride and Akron’s Flair Fest are in August. Youngstown Pride and Mansfield Pride are in July. If you’re willing to venture outside of Ohio, there are a ton of Pride fests throughout the summer. I know what you are going to say next. “But Brooke, when is Fargo Pride?” Don’t worry. You didn’t miss it! It’s Aug. 18-21. Mark your calendars! (But seriously, I really want to go. Who’s in for a road trip?)

Remember: Pride doesn’t have to end just because it’s July. Dust off the glitter accessories and fishnets and get yourself ready for a night on the town any ol’ month. We still need Pride month, but I like to think that those who came before us worked hard to help us earn the right to be proud all year round.

(Besides, you only have to make it to October. That’s LGBT History Month. And then the pre-Pride activities start right after December. YAY!)

Brooke Cartus is a Chapstick lesbian with a law degree. You can find more of her writing on her blog, Size L for Lady, at brookecartus.com. Look for Dyke Like Me every month in Outlook.

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