A new Roaring ‘20s awaits at pandemic’s end

We’re all at home. We’re all bored. And we’re sitting on a giant, gay spring. And on top of that, it’s cold out. Pretty tough for a people that basically emerge from the womb wearing a tank top. But now that the vaccine rollout has been upgraded from sputtering to a slow churning, we are all wondering what this summer, and indeed the rest of the year will look like. 

Will it resemble anything close to normal? Will it be a new normal? Whatever it might be, and if history is any clue, it’s going to be wild. It’s no wonder that following World War I and the Spanish Flu epidemic, some 100 years ago, that the Roaring Twenties came along. Not to go too far down the history hole, but I think we all know what those days looked like. Or at least we’ve all read, or saw anyway, “The Great Gatsby.”

And I think we got a glimpse of this last summer. Rehoboth Beach for last year’s Labor Day weekend was completely insane. The beach was packed and the weather was beautiful. And more Jazz Age than I think we’d like, secret parties were scattered all over town. One party I guess I can talk about was the giant beach bonfire party that the city itself put on. I hope that continues post-COVID. Whatever the next summer will look like, I think there will certainly be a new gay psychology around not only celebrating mobility but life more generally. 

Then there’s Pride, the District’s largest celebration. It’s already been postponed again. And we all saw that coming, I guess. But fall should yield something. And let’s face it, wouldn’t fall be a better time of year for a large outdoor party? June in D.C. borders on sweltering, with humidity approaching 100%, and a thunderstorm about to blow through. A fall Pride would just be more, well, civilized. Plus Mayor Bowser is rolling out new plans for outdoor alcohol zones, large public spaces where public consumption of alcohol would be allowed. And while I don’t think anyone wants us to be another New Orleans, the pandemic did teach us that folks like congregating outside, and while there, to drink. It’s just who we are. Just drive by Logan Circle anytime of day when the weather is nice and you’ll see what I mean.

And then there’s our gay city more broadly. Certainly I’m no economist. But one positive thing about the last year is that it sparked some innovation, or at least folks finding some talents or even passions they didn’t even know they had. I mean, how many of my friends are bakers now? And with that and a clearinghouse of cheap commercial spaces, perhaps we will see a wave of new gay eateries and bars and all sorts of new things. One can hope. 

And then there’s the friendships we’ve lost along the way. D.C. is a social town for sure. And the pandemic cost us all sorts of levels of friendships that we took for granted. And we all learned fairly quickly that Zoom calls can only provide so much. I’m not sure the end of the pandemic will change exactly how we relate to each other. Regarding any new group psychology celebrating gay life, maybe that brings us to appreciate each other a little more.

These are just some predictions anyway. It’s going to be a long winter for sure. But damn if it doesn’t look a little brighter already. So, where will you be roaring this summer? Rehoboth Beach? Fire Island? The Green Lantern? With friends you forgot you had, or at least you hadn’t roared with in a while? 

Whatever it might look like, it’s going to be wild. And I can’t wait. 

Brock Thompson is a D.C.-based writer who contributes regularly to the Blade.

Published at Fri, 12 Feb 2021 22:01:21 +0000

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