Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Raise Your Hand If You Been To P’town

My first encounter with Provincetown on Cape Cod in Massachusetts was back when I was about ten or twelve when my parents used to rent a cottage in North Truro on route 6A right on the water. They used to rent it for a week and our neighbor rented it for the next week so that us kids could have two weeks on the Cape and our parents had a week vacation away from the kids.

When we went to P’town my father used to call it an artist colony and I used to think it was because all the street artist but I think he called it that because of its bohemia atmosphere.

Then in 2000 I got to see P’town from another perspective… Fantasia Fair.
Equality Is Changing Provincetown's LGBTQ Scene
By E.J. Graff
June 20 2017

It was our special refuge, a private stretch of gorgeousness that straight people ignored: Provincetown's lesbian beach, and then another few hundred yards to the south, its gay men's beach. You found it only if someone told you about it, or more likely, brought you there. And once you did, you kept going—or at least I did—year after year after a friend first brought me in the 1980s, buying Herring Cove T-shirts as a little wink-wink that signaled when we said we were going to the "Cape" for vacation we really meant P-town. That was back when we had to be subtle, back when we didn't want to incur the wince of "hets" (as we sometimes called straight people) who hadn't yet guessed that our short hair and long stride meant we were… that way.
Now it's all changed. Like so many resort towns that were once refuges for outcasts, artists, and queers, Provincetown is expensive. It's too expensive for the young people; practically the only ones left on the beach are old folks like me, or lesbian and gay families with their kids, who started to appear somewhere in the late 1990s, putting a lid on the lasciviousness. No longer do the Smith College girls get jobs as servers for the summer, sharing a run-down house for Memorial Day (known as "baby dyke weekend"), roiled with romance and breakup drama. Now, the shops are staffed by Eastern Europeans here on J-1 visas—living God knows where—while the Smith girls take internships in career-track positions since, after all, they can flirt respectably anywhere now.
At Century, the mid-century modern store with sleek, pricey clocks, watches, jewelry, and high-end bags, I chatted with Brenda LeBlanc, a dark-haired, butch year-rounder of my generation whose brother owns the store. She told me that retail business is down because the bed-and-breakfast and rental prices have gone up, so that now there are vacancy signs almost every week, except for the popular times like July 4th, Carnival, Family Week, and Bear Week.
I have to agree with E.J., it is expensive but so is everywhere along the water, if it is within sight of the ocean add ,000 to the price. And yes, there are a lot Eastern Europeans but I don’t think they are taking jobs from us, those “Smith girls” are going to summer school or looking for a job that looks good on their resume.

Many of the smaller B&Bs have been gobbled up and converted into private residents and the prices have skyrocketed and many of the B&Bs left have a three or four day minimum stay during the summer.
We may have lost our haven, but now, everywhere else, it's OK to be gay. Maybe that's a decent trade
I don’t agree, in my opinion straight people are not taking over but rather rich gays and lesbians are.

When we were there at the end of May there was talk of Fisherman’s Wharf being sold and a 250 room upscale hotel to be built on the pier and also it is supposed to be up graded so that it can take cruise ships. A lot of the residents were complaining about the mobs when a cruise ship unloads a thousand passengers at once, while the merchants dream of thongs of shoppers invading their stores.

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As many of you know we are selling the family lake cottage in New Hampshire and I am thinking about buying a three season cottage on the tip of the Cape within walking distance of the bay.

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