The morning before my recent vacation, I had brunch with a visiting Parisian. “We’re going to Provincetown,” I told her, then sensing that its fame hadn’t yet reached Europe, I explained, “It’s a gay resort on Cape Cod.” This seemed to shock her. (Relatedly, is there any greater thrill than shocking a French person?) “Can straight people go there?” she asked. I laughed. “Of course! It’s full of straight people.” I left it at that, but now I wish I had added one more thought. “It’s full of straight people, but the default setting is gay.”
There are other places with a similar orientation—Fire Island, New York, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Asbury Park, New Jersey, to name a few on the East Coast—but in the era of marriage equality and assimilation, do gay people still need seaside refuges?