HERE IT COMES! IT IS COMING AROUND THE CORNER! ALREADY FROM A DISTANCE YOU CAN HEAR THE NOISE OF — BILLY JOEL AND … THE BEATLES? SOMEWHAT STRENUOUSLY OUT OF TUNE? IS THAT STRAIGHT CULTURE, BEARING DOWN UPON US, AS IT WILL DO IN BOSTON ON AUG. 31? YES, IT IS!
And here come the floats!
The first float is a hot tub with two bros sitting in it, five feet apart, because they are not gay! They throw Charleston Chews to the assembled crowd. At one point their hands brush in the bucket of Charleston Chews and they both apologize, and then although there is more candy to throw, they stop throwing the candy and cease to make eye contact.
Next come hundreds of dads in flannel, furiously chopping wood because they are unsure how to connect with their sons about their feelings.
Next comes a bachelorette party that has gotten lost on its way to a gay bar to grope the patrons and talk about how welcome they feel in the space.
Next comes Twenty One Pilots.
Next comes Wearing a Hat And Thinking It’s a Personality.
The next float is an enormous ball and chain, 50 feet high. Beneath it is an enormous speaker that plays the muttered words, “Oh, you!”
The next float is a dad being disappointed at a gender reveal party, firing a pink cannon into the air and saying, “Darn.”
Seth Rogen is the marshal, even though he does not want to be.
Next comes a polka band.
Behind the music comes a battalion of women with matching haircuts demanding that a manager, somewhere, turn the music down.
The next float is Adam blaming Eve for being cast out of paradise. Many people follow this float handing out pamphlets, and only some of them look happy.
Then — covering a space of miles — come marching the women performing emotional labor without being consulted or thanked, and the little girls being told to be ladylike.
An enormous iron floats above them, made out of balloons. One pops, and every woman beneath it apologizes.
People along the parade route shout at these women to smile, and they smile, because this is what the gaze demands!
There is a drag race, but it is the kind with cars, and nobody in it is having any fun performing gender.
They are followed by a pair of khakis as high as a house.
Behind them is a sofa from a sitcom, on which a man of average intelligence and below-average looks sits next to a slender, elegant, witty goddess with no apparent dissonance.
Next, at the head of the couples section, marches Kermit the Frog (nude, fuzzy, a sock) accompanied by Miss Piggy (a karate master, an international diva, impeccably dressed).
They are followed by all your talented, accomplished, gorgeous friends and their collective boyfriend, Chazz, a hassock with teeth who wears hiking sandals and tells long, meandering stories with no narrative arcs.
They are screening all the rom-coms you have ever seen, and someone is shouting that “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie.
Santa Claus is there. Mrs. Claus is also there, and she is carrying a tray of cookies.
Everyone in the parade has seen exactly one musical, “The Lion King,” on tour.
Jared Leto is there, for some reason.
Next marches Phyllis Schlafly, the 1950s and an apron that says, “HE STOLE MY HEART SO I STOLE HIS LAST NAME.”
Several New York Times wedding announcements follow the band, which is playing John Philip Sousa.
And the parade goes on and on, out and out, past the city and into the suburbs, which are also marching in the parade. The parade goes from birth to death and, in between, detours through every unexamined space there is.
On the sidewalk, it is watched by couples holding hands who always get to hold hands, who never even think about getting to hold hands, to whom the media and the world hold up an enormous mirror at all times.
(It is sponsored by every corporation.)
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