BALTIMORE, MD— This time last year, American gays who could afford something better than Fire Island were already planning their Europe trips, ready to take selfies in Sitges and buy brass knobs at the Paris Flea market. But as the pandemic spread and travel bans were enforced, our gays had to adapt.
Cody St. Giles and his partner Tomothy Wick did just that one July day in Baltimore. St. Giles took his favorite Moschino fanny pack and put it over his shoulder as he hopped on the Rail Link, Baltimore’s Light Rail network. St. Giles remarked, “The combination of wearing a made-for-my-waist item over my shoulder and being on an above ground train really made me feel like I was in Europe”.
Wick, struggling to fit an iPhone into a similar bag, agreed; “If you ignore all of Baltimore’s crime it’s just like Berlin. And if you lean into the crime it’s just like Manchester. Either way, you’re basically in Europe”.
Another gay American, Robe Figgis, couldn’t make his annual pilgrimage to Rome this year due to quarantine restrictions. He too, had to adapt. Figgis’ favorite part of traveling to Europe is acting like the locals, which mostly means wearing a small backpack on the front of his body, not unlike carrying a stiff, lifeless baby.
When asked why he thinks Italians wear backpacks on the front, Figgis said, “Fashion obvi! Shut up!” In an attempt to rekindle some of that European magic, Figgis rode the streetcars of Boston, his backpack firmly on his front, while deepthroating gelato cones. He had a fine time but stated that it “just wasn’t the same”.
Boston and Baltimore weren’t the only U.S. cities welcoming gay Americans desperately seeking Europe during a global pandemic. Los Angeles native Brock Tannerman had been driving down to San Diego all summer to enjoy its light rail network. He would routinely hop on the trolley with a fluorescent Benetton bag purchased in Bratislava, not made for his broad American shoulders.
Tannerman stated the experience made him feel “instantly transported”. Tannerman made his European style summer even more authentic by refusing to put ice in water even on the hottest of days, and having dinner at 10pm. “Hopefully this summer I’ll be able to go back to Europe for real,” he said crying into a Ritter Sport.