The format of the workshop was simple, but ultimately very, very powerful. We all took off our clothes at the beginning and then stood up in a circle looking at one another. We took turns being the center of attention but stayed in the circle formation. The person whose turn it was would tell the group their name, and what they love about their body and what they struggled with. Then the group would go around and each person in turn would give a specific compliment to the person about their body. Then we would move on to the next person.
After the debacle that was our trip to Atlantic City, when Cougar and I decided to skip town for a couple of days for her birthday (9/11, never forget) I suggested we go gay. Fire Island was a possibility but with room rates hovering at $120 and above we thought we could get a better bargain someplace else.
It occurred to me I’d never been to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, despite wanting to go for over a decade. When I lived in Philly my fellow queers went often, I think it is similar to the relationship New Yorkers have with Fire Island–daytrippable and hella gay.
So we packed up the car and departed for our near-four hour journey South. It was an easy drive down the turnpike but the tolls were pretty killer–all told we spent $43 round trip. Though of course the journey is sometimes the destination and I like road trips. We had no traffic but I did get pulled over by a cop just outside Rehoboth for touching my phone (to check the GPS, I swear!) but got off with just a warning.* We debated her gayness vis a vis being let off with a warning but I think she was just being nice to us because we were tourists looking for our motel.
We checked into our motel, the Crosswinds Motel. It was cute, very low amenities (no pool, no king size beds) but nice touches like a Keurig machine in the room instead of crappy hotel coffee maker, an ipod dock alarm clock, earth-friendly toiletries and full basic cable.
Dinner for Cougar’s birthday was diligently researched via Facebook poll and we chose Nage. Super unpretentious but classy bistro with amazing food. They were really accommodating about us sharing dishes and we enjoyed the truffle mac and cheese, filet mignon (prepared perfectly), and a butternut squash risotto that was too sweet for my taste. All told it was a decadent meal and a great value for the money. No sales tax at restaurants!
We spent our evening walking the boardwalk, though it appears in this sleepy beach town the sidewalks roll-up around ten. We managed to sneak into the classic arcade just before it closed. I got in a game of two of my favorites–Ms. Pacman and Big Buck Hunter.
Mostly though we stood on the beach looking at the full moon on the water and the sandpipers running after the nibbles left at low tide. I am so into the ocean as a site of reflection and spirituality.
The next day we decided to do some shopping so we walked around the downtown area. There were a lot of cute beach stores, a great skate and surf shop, and it was such an unexpectedly beautiful day we ended up going out on the beach and laying out. One of those moments where the surf was so enticing Cougar lept into the water in her clothes (forgetting sunscreen, though I am hyper-vigilant about my use of SPF 3,000) and I lay under a piece of clothing listening to the surf and meditating.
Cougar is very into candy stores and although I don’t love candy I do love salt water taffy so I decided to do a taste test. I would buy a few pieces of salt water taffies (I prefer honey, chocolate, molasses, peanut butter, or cinnamon flavors) in each candy location we visited to try out on the ride home. Candy Kitchen was open late the night before but I didn’t love their taffy. Dolle’s was really good and by far the freshest and the coolest boardwalk aesthetic.
Snyder’s had a great selection (four kinds of salt water taffy) though none was made on site. But the Taffy Town taffy Snyder’s sells was seriously the best taffy I have ever had. The cinnamon bun flavor tasted like cinnabon frosting, buttery and delicious. Plus Snyder’s was a super gay store with lots of Wizard of Oz kitsch.
Cougar was craving cupcakes and we went out of our way to find the cupcake store. Meanwhile I was commenting that I wanted a snack but I didn’t want it to be a crazy sugar fest. Right next door to the cupcake bakery was this place called Annie’s Bannanies and it really changed my life. A bannanie is this frozen banana put through a processor that spits it out like soft serve ice cream. All the toppings are made with agave syrup. It was totally delicious. I wish they had a bannanie stand in Brooklyn.
We made a stop at Out Wear to support the gay businesses and both of us ended up buying gay souvenirs (Cougar got some bear colored suspenders and I got a gay rainbow decal in the shape of the continental united states). I was actually surprised at how few gay Americans I saw in Rehoboth. We saw a few couples and groups but mostly it was hetero-appearing families. But the gay presence was enough that I didn’t feel like we stood out at all being in our Femme/Fag duo, and a lot of shop keepers smiled at us in recognition.
Before we left town we hit a couple of outlets. Primary on my list was the QVC outlet. I love QVC, though I do not have cable. For a long time when I did I would DVR the Quacker Factory shows because I really love bedazzled and blinged out sportswear and Jeanne Bice, the designer and creator, was absolutely entertaining to watch. Quacker Factory is a thing–if you see someone wearing Quacker designs you say “quack quack” to them.
I’ll never make the mistake again of not checking the hours before a visit to a store–they closed at 6 on Mondays! We made it there at 5:58, shocked to see them closing. I did manage to sweet talk my way in and got my mitts on a Quacker Factory faux layer twin-set bedazzled on both front and back (Jeanne never scrimped on bedazzling) for Christmas. I felt like the Goddess and the spirit of the recently departed Jeanne Bice herself were looking over me in that moment, leading me to find the perfect item for 50% off in under 2 minutes. I may wear this piece every Monday in December.
Before leaving town we decided to hit the beach one last time to watch the sunset at Cape Henlopen State Park. Usually an $8 per out of state car entrance fee but free at sunset time. It was gorgeous and I had a great time looking at the sand for shells and stones.
As we were passing through the Northern part of Delaware on Route 13 we spotted a Ross Dress For Less that was open until 10PM! We stopped and I bought some Delta Burke undies at deep discount prices–one of our favorite Designing Women makes some great plus size lingerie.
No sales tax in Delaware makes it a really great shopping destination, the soft sands on the beaches make it a really fun place to hang out, the gays make it a friendly and welcoming place for the gender blenders. I’ll definitely put it on my list of places I’d like to rent a house for a week.
P.S. Cougar is going to be featured in Curve magazine in October with her Breast Cancer book project, CHAMPION: My Photo Journey With Breast Cancer. I’m so proud! I think my lesbianism is rubbing off on her, since she’s in a lesbian magazine now.
*Thus marks my second cop interaction around touching my “pink cellphone” in the car and herein lies a problem with my flamboyant accessories. Also I need a blue tooth device of some kind.