Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Tale of Two Towns

Back from a beautiful relaxing week in Provincetown, Cape Cod.

It was my first time to P-town and I loved it. In many respects, New Hope in Bucks County is a little similar in that lots of artists, writers and gay and lesbians live there and it's a 'live and let live' community. But P-town has the upper hand because of the great beaches, bay and ocean where the water is ice-cold when you first get in but delicious after you're fully immersed.

The local people are exceptionally friendly--whether gay or straight--and visitors flock like seagulls from the Eastern seaboard, Canada and Europe mainly. (We had a seagull spend a few hours on the balcony of our condo and Larry even hand-fed him pieces of bread.)

Of course, having been to Rehoboth, it was inevitable I'd start to make comparisons in my mind between the beach towns. While Rehoboth has some charms--the beach is good and ocean pretty--it has many strip malls on the approach to the town center which render it chaotic and somewhat unappealing. I also think its fair to say P-town is more sophisticated and architecturally elegant. Admittedly, our friends now own a pretty home outside the town so we don't go into Rehoboth very much and instead visit Lewes, a much more elegant nearby village.

The straight visitors to Rehoboth Beach and P-town are very different. The vast majority of P-town's straight visitors and their kids are educated, friendly and possess the manners to be respectful and know how to conduct themselves on another territory that's welcoming and different to their own. That said, P-town does open its arms to a small number of ill-informed visitors arriving by hydrofoil from Boston to eat ice-cream and gawk at the gays and lesbians. Thankfully, they don't stay to dine in the fine restaurants and rush back to the boat dock at dusk where they again set sail for the Boston burbs, their hearts full of thanks that their beloved little 'buddies' and 'princesses' aren't that way, their minds brimming with sights of kissing homosexuals, nipple rings and other bizarreness to recount at the next PTA or fire station spaghetti dinner fundraiser.

No such luck for Rehoboth residents: they have Hooters and a variety of cheap restaurants where the out-of-towners congregate to continue their hostile looks and naked sense of superiority. I found more than enough such visitors to the Rohoboth Beach boardwalk to consider it a phenomenon. That said, one begins to comprehend but NOT sanction why this is so when one understands Rehoboth Beach lies in the south where there's an Evangelical or Southern Baptist church on every street corner and gun-toting rednecks reared on a diet of squirrels and shucked corn in the back woods.

One bonus for us was it was P-town's annual Carnival--what a sight at the Gay Bingo evening (won nothing, but came close) and later, on Thursday, as a legion of drag queens took to the sun-beaten Commercial Street in garish, hilarious array.

In ending, I have to admit I did buy a T-shirt. An elegant one, mind you. And a sweatshirt as well. Also elegant. Vintage in style, as if it's already ten years old.


Anonymous said...

My daughter teaches second grade in Ptown and just rented an incredible condo on Commercial Street, right on the bay. I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time there in the fall!

Patry (blogger wasn't accepting my password tonight...)

rainyday said...

I enjoyed that. Have you read Richard Russo's new novel,That Old Cape Magic? I think you might like it.