Although the majority of Utah's residents are still members of the LDS Church (estimates generally range from 60%-70%, although the percentage of practicing members is lower), Salt Lake City itself is less than half Mormon, with some areas (especially areas dominated by ethnic minorities or more artsy areas such as the lower Avenues and Sugarhouse) being lower still. Salt Lake City has recently developed a tradition of even being one of the most gay-friendly cities in the country (the Utah Pride Festival draws about 20,000 people annually) and has a recent tradition of zealously liberal mayors (most notably Rocky Anderson, who organized protests against President Bush both times he visited the city). Utah and Salt Lake City often has a sharp and sometimes bitter divide between the Mormon and non-Mormon populations. The state's position as being the state in the country with the highest proportion of residents adhering to a single religion, and also possessing one of the highest atheist populations in the country, creates a unique situation, and there's generally a fairly sharp divide between the Mormon and non-Mormon populations and cultures. (Salt Lake City, WikiTravel)It looks, from some maps, like Sugarhouse, which generally gets the nod for being the more artsy/funky neighborhood (and therefore, more likely to have gay bars), is about 1 - 2 miles south of the fancy hotel my employers are putting me up in.
This is gonna be surreal. I'm going to be flying, getting driven, staying, eating, existing on my employer's dime for 4 days/3 nights. I'll be at a big fancy conference for surgical educators wearing my only business suit and acting all pro-feh-shun-al; handing out and receiving business cards like the scribbled upon matchbooks of my past. After the long days of showing computer illiterate surgeons how to navigate the online curriculum I've helped create, I'll go to the king sized suite with the view of the mountains, kick of my stockings and relax before venturing out to the more homey places of the city where the graffiti sneaks on walls, the drinks aren't fresh squeezed, and the dance moves cover over all our insecurities. I wish I could bring friends to crash with me in the room just so I don't feel so alien.
They could all sleep in the giant bed with me, in a tangle of sheets, arms and knees, and in the morning they'd all keep snoozing while I quietly shake my dreams off in the shower, put my business suit back on, and step over the kid-on-the-floor to the networking breakfast downstairs. It'd feel more like home and me. All of this reminds me of my favorite description of Aquarian women in a book called, Sextrology. The gist of the lines I'm thinking of are, You can bet Aqua woman keeps some pretty racy afterhours hobbies, despite her indelible work ethic on the job. I love that book, it's eerily spot-on for my "sextrology" and personality.
I'll be working my way through the 18 firefox tabs in my browser window today, to see all I can about SLC and its more "apt" recreations. In the meantime, if you know anyone I should meet in the city, leave a comment. New friends are always welcome.