After L and I had a near-fiasco with the train at way-too-early AM, we wandered through the feeble snowfall in Paris and into the warmth of a café. The waiter kept shooting us dirty looks, so we eventually returned to Gare du Nord to wait for two more assistants, J and A. (While we were waiting, I unexpectedly spotted Ag. Small world.)
We had a much better café experience, with a waitress who was beyond relieved that we spoke French and weren’t drunk Scotsmen. Around 12:15, the four of us went our separate ways; I walked over to Hotel Luxia to drop off my backpack and meet Ae, the first of 7 more wonderful queer assistants I’d get to know that afternoon.
Before Ae and I went off in search of food, we had to leave the keys with the dude at the front desk, who seemed very confused when we told him that no boys, only girls, would be joining us. (Pfft, if only he knew.) C joined us at the restaurant, and the three of us wandered into a few shops on our way back to the hotel. There, amongst snacks, drinks, and good cheer, we met the rest of the assistants as they trickled in—M, G, Sa, O, Se, and Sr (same name as me, but different spelling!)—who’d all gathered together in a hotel room at the base of the Sacré-Cœur for a very important purpose: attending a Tegan and Sara concert (and meeting other gay assistants…and sharing salt about men and straight people).
Doors to the Elysée-Montmartre opened at 6:30, and the line was a hella lot longer than we expected (so that’s where all the queer French people have been hiding), but we still ended up a decent distance from the stage. Ria Mae opened at 7:30, and then there may or may not have been tears involved from some assistants when Tegan and Sara finally appeared on stage at 8:40.
After an incredible concert, there’s nothing like sharing “how/when you realized you were gay” stories at 11pm in the middle of a pizza restaurant. Just being able to hang out and talk to other queer girls was one of the most incredible bonding experiences of my life. My closest R-MC friends were basically all gay, and leaving them for a small northern French town in the middle of nowhere has taught me that being around straight people (okay, ngl, and racist white people) 24/7 gets exhausting.
Somehow, within the span of six hours, we managed to offend the hotel receptionist and the pizza shop owner—maybe they sensed that we were a threat to their male privilege and heteronormativity. Who knows? Sadly, we eventually had to hug each other goodbye, though hopefully this experience has given us a night to hang on to.