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November/December 2005 | Away With The Gays!

November/December 2005 | Away With The Gays!

My introduction to what would become one of my favorite pastimes

My introduction to what would become one of my favorite pastimes—the gay getaway—happened almost by accident. Cher had just announced her farewell tour—I believe Clinton was still in the White House—and one of my gays sent out an e-mail with the subject line “Vegas+Cher=Heaven!” Needless to say, I was in. It ended up being me; my husband, Matt; and 17 gays. Though Matt, bless his hetero heart, just counted the costume changes before he could leave and get back to his sports betting, I had several Cher-gasms, some of them multiple.

Since then, I’ve embarked on more getaways with my gays than I can count, to such sunny destinations as Puerto Vallarta, Palm Springs, and of course, Vegas. We always plan the Sin City jaunts around a concert by a favorite diva, like Kelly Clarkson, Bette Midler, or Céline at the Céline-atorium. Oh, and Clay Aiken, who outdivaed them all by giving me a shout-out from the stage. My favorite moment of any of these concerts is when one of the gay dancers spots me in the audience. Their faces light up, and they do what I like to call the “gay inhale,” but they don’t miss a step because they’re pros. For me, getting winked at by a chorus boy is the equivalent of my husband seeing his face on the scoreboard at a Yankees game. It just doesn’t get much better.

Oh, and speaking of validation, I have to say that the warmest and most enthusiastic crowds I ever play for are gay people trapped on boats. I’m like Britney Spears on a gay cruise. But not the current chain-smoking, dumb-as-a-box-of-hair-extensions Chaotic Britney, no. I’m the confident sex bomb “Slave 4 U” Britney. All I need is the python. Gay cruisers eat me up like I’m made of protein powder.

Speaking of eating, one of my few rules when it comes to gay getaways involves food. We’re going to be consuming a lot of it, fellas—Vegas is all about the french fries at Mon Ami Gabi and sandwich parties catered by Capriotti’s—and I don’t want to hear the word “carbs” unless you’re saying, “Pass the carbs, please.” And none of this “Let’s just get one dessert and five forks.” Leave that for the Desperate Housewives, assuming they’re still speaking.

Besides, there are lots of ways to burn off calories on a gay getaway—who can possibly keep from dancing when Céline bursts into Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” and sings about when she was “a nappy-headed boy?” I certainly can’t. And gay cruises have activities 24/7. There’s Buns Class With Darren, Dirty Ice Sculpture Carving With Fabrice, and of course, the unscheduled hot tub daisy chain that just happens spontaneously.

Perusing the photo area on a gay cruise can also be great fun, particularly if there was a big theme party the night before, like Foam-tasia ’05. I’ll never forget one shot I saw of a leather-clad bear—see, I know the lingo—sporting handcuffs, a rubber ball in his mouth, and a T-shirt that said, i’m shy. It kills me that I didn’t buy that photo when I had the chance. It would have made a great screen saver.

But my favorite thing about traveling with my gays is their unique perspective. They just have a fun, funny, fabulous take on things. During our last trip to Vegas, while touring the new Wynn hotel, my friend Tony remarked that the entryway to the nightclub—a tunnel-like passage done in bright gypsy-style colors and patterns—looked “like Bette Midler’s vagina.” I’m sorry, but straight people just don’t think that way.

But they can get into the spirit, if they just surrender. Even my husband is starting to come around. The last time we went to see Cher—yes, we went back for seconds—he was up half the night trying to crack the “Secret Password” so we could get the “Fans Only” online ticket offer. I love the image of him on the computer typing in every possible word he could think of. H-A-L-F-B-R-E-E-D? No. Damn! B-E-L-I-E-V-E? No again. Double damn! C-H-A-S-T-I-T-Y? B-A-G-E-L B-O-Y? C-O-L-L-A-G-E-N? No, no, and no.

Finally, he had the brilliant idea to go into a Cher chat room and ask fellow Cher-ophiles for the password. He was instantly rewarded with the correct F-A-R-E-W-E-L-L.

We ended up fifth row center. And yes, one of the dancers winked at me.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Kathy Griffin