Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~Dr. Seuss
This weekend, my family took a much needed break from unpacking, cleaning, and organizing to celebrate Market Days on Halsted Street in Chicago.
If you don’t know, neighboring Wrigleyville to the east is a little place affectionately known as “Boys Town.” Boys Town has the same great walk-up style architectural as the rest of Lakeview, is even closer to the Lake, and is walkable to any kind of food or drink you could imagine. It has the added benefit of progressive bars & restaurants (Love SideTrack’s Showtunes!) that proudly showcase rainbow flags, risque art, and a menagerie of staff and clientele who make it a vivacious, exciting place to live and people-watch.
Market Days 2010 didn’t disappoint.
I haven’t been to the festival in years because of travel or conflicts or new-baby-having-syndrome or whatever. Unlike Pride, Market Days is much more of a street festival than a showcase. You’ll still see your occasional hot-pink bikini briefed boy-tow or tanned and oiled leather-daddy but most of the patrons look like any other street fest, except there are more same-sex couples and much better tshirt slogans.*
We took Claudia as a matter of course. One of the things we are so excited about is that our daughter will grow up surrounded by diversity, that she will ask questions and be challenged by answers, that she will experience the richness of life in all its colorful splendor. My favorite quote of the day was from a bartender at one of the many booths that served champagne or champagne-based drinks and using plastic flutes. When I commented that at least they were using appropriate plastic-ware, he replied, “Well duh, what are we? Barbarians?”
One of our fellow fest-goers appropriately dubbed her the “Queen of Market Days” as she high-fived and gave knuckles to every person reaching out to her as she walked along on Daddy’s shoulders. Claudia ‘won’ a pink duckie that she got to pick from the Affinia Hotel’s duck pond giveaway. An apparent rough-rider in leather straps and chaps, winked and melted as my red-headed girl danced to the music. She won gold beads from him. Our pnut stopped to watch the hot-pant wearing jugglers and clapped appreciatively when one completed a successful round. It was brilliant! She laughed and smiled and danced. I think it was her wicked dance moves that drew the most affection though everyone who smiled her way seemed to comment on her ginger locks.
What I took away from the experience was a sense of happiness and fun that carried with me through the rest of the weekend. I wish I could have danced along with my daughter and toasted our fellow party-goers through the night but bedtime is strictly enforced in our house and we were all home and quiet by 8:00p. My only regret is that I opted out of a fan-photo because I’m so self-conscious about my size. I hope to see hub and bub on the fan page, though!
Our neighbors continued to rage on until the wee hours. They will do the same tonight. And what I honor in them and in all of us is a sense of joy and an appreciation for life. I won’t pretend that homosexuality immunizes you from any of the human drama. Unfortunately, I think all of us are subject to heartbreak, death, disappointment, ambition, infatuation, vanity and so on. What I appreciated about our experience at Market Days, however, was an approachability, an eagerness to be known, and a fearlessness of showing and speaking one’s truth.
Those lessons are worth sharing, I venture. And worth teaching to my peanut.
What do you think?
* Favorites included one for a No-Kill shelter that read “Stray Pride”, one with the face of Christ saying “Jesus thinks you need to lighten up,” and “Sorry, Girls. I **** Boys.”