It’s that time of year again here in Iceland. And by that, I don’t mean the usual whining about the blatantly obvious lack of sun. It’s time for the greatest LGBTQI party of the year, Reykjavik Pride, held between 5-10th of August. It’s an enormous event, Tuesday til Sunday, sometimes attracting up to a third of Iceland’s population. The lineup is varied, cultural events, family orientated events, sporting events, panel-discussions and some good old, camp fun.
Last but not least, there will be partying. Lots of dirty, sweaty, hard partying. So brace yourself. Us vikings have never been known for being subtle when letting our hair down. Here are a few helpful warnings to bear in mind when dipping your toes into that pool of homolicious madness.
Warning #1 Icelandic drinking is not for the faint-hearted.
Have a spare liver on ice – there will be a lot of drinking. By that, I don’t mean sipping. I mean gulping. Like fish. Big fish. Big, very thirsty, dehydrated fish. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Warning #2 Icelandic drink-prices are not for the faint-hearted either.
Drinking in Iceland is expensive, a pint in a bar being around 5 quid – so, unless you have a sugar daddy/sugar mommy with a fat Swiss bank account – stock up on booze from Rikið. Rikið (Vinbudin) is a government-run wine merchant (the only place apart from bars and restaurants where you can buy alcohol). The downtown one closes around 6PM, so if you don’t want to sell a kidney, stock up.
Warning #3 We’re a rowdy bunch.
Let’s face it. Us Icelanders are loud and brash people, which can be intimidating. Don’t be put off though, Icelanders are pretty open towards meeting and chatting to new people in bars and clubs. It’s easy to make new friends here if you just relax and dive in head first. If you end up making a fool of yourself with a crap Bjork impersonation, who the hell cares? These are people you’ll probably never meet again.
Warning #4 Prepare for no-nonsense mating rituals.
If you came to Reykjavik Pride to meet local gays/lesbians and hook up, odds are in your favour. Love is in the air during Pride, but our dating culture is pretty much nonexistent. Under a very thin veneer of cosmopolitan coolness we’re a bunch of direct country folk, so a no-nonsense approach is usually the best way to go about things.
Also, don’t be alarmed if someone starts to grind your leg on the dance floor. It’s pretty common practice here. If you’re interested, great, if not, just shake the perpetrator off in a friendly, yet direct way.
On the subject of grinding: there are of course different ways to meet local gay men, the quickest and most productive being the phone application Grindr. As per usual, the best gay bait is an Abercrombie T-shirt and an eight pack.
The lesbians are a trickier bunch, though, not as digitally available as the gay men, and also not as exclusively loyal to the actual gay bars. If you go out looking, don’t expect a Michelle Rodriguez act-alike contest. In Iceland, the so-called “lipstick lesbian” (an outdated but yet such a descriptive term) is alive and kicking.
Warning #5 Nocturnal habits.
If you’re attending a gay bar or dance during pride, don’t expect a crowd if you turn up too early. Icelanders are notoriously late when it comes to barhopping and clubbing. On a typical weekend night out, most people don’t go out to clubs until 2 am.
So don’t overreact and leave if the place is still empty as Satan’s heart just after midnight. The night is young, so pour some Red Bull into your glass of Vodka and relax. Saying that, if you’re planning on going to Kiki Queer Club on Pride Saturday, it might be a good idea to be there early to avoid the queue.
Have a crazy, fun-filled Pride week in Reykjavik no matter what (or who) you do!
Dance like no-one’s watching!
Live like there’s no tomorrow!
More info on festivities etc. at Reykjavik Pride’s official website.