I went to Corpus Christi with my girlfriend last weekend. Just a quick overnight trip. The plan was to hang out with some friends, sleep, have breakfast and head home. I was excited.
We went to a dive bar called Cheers. Not like the TV show, at all. But a friendly, laid back place where everyone was welcome.
Or so it would seem.
Let me preface this by saying two things:
1) I am an affectionate person. Touch is my love language. I love touching the person I love. I literally cannot stop myself. I just really love touch. I am tactile. I like to touch and be touched. I also suffer from Basorexia…the overwhelming desire to kiss.
2) I have spent most of my life living as a heterosexual. The lesbians I know tell me that I am bit unusual in my willingness to show affection for my lover in public. They tell me that it’s new for them. They tell me they are careful in public because people can be offended by two women showing affection for each other. I think this is bullshit and I have often said I won’t live by those silly rules. I have also been told that it’s common for women who come out later in life to struggle with accepting the “new rules” of public affection. If you suddenly join a “fringe” group, it can be difficult to accept the rules. The rules are dumb, why should I accept them?
So we went out to Cheers.
We sang. We were silly. Talking. Laughing.
At some point I noticed my lady and I were getting a lot of attention. She pointed it out, that it was making her uncomfortable. I ignored it.
But as the night wore on, I found myself getting uncomfortable too. We were getting a lot of attention. And not the good kind, not the kind that says,
“Oh look, two people in love, that’s so sweet.”
But the other kind. The kind of surprised looks, double takes, negative glances.
What? We are in a dive bar in Corpus. Who cares? This is a place filled with tattoos and oddballs. The gays must be welcomed here, right?
And then this:
My lady and I were dancing. Two men approach and ask to join us.
Who does that? Who approaches a couple and asks to join them? Are we in a swingers club?
We say no thank you.
They push harder.
We say no thank you, three more times. It was like they just couldn’t understand it.
“Guys, we are together, we are a couple, monogamous. In other words, fuck off.”
I couldn’t figure out what was happening.
And then this:
“Did you two just kiss? Like kiss, kiss?” -says highly intoxicated barely dressed girl
“Yes?” – I respond
“OMG, that’s so hot. I think that’s so hot.”
And then I wondered…why is this happening right now?
What is it about this moment, this couple that’s drawing this level of attention. This isn’t my first girlfriend. I have never had this reaction before to showing affection in public.
I asked the rest of the group what was happening.
“It’s because you are both hot.”
But I have dated attractive women before.
“It’s because you are both hot and you don’t look gay.”
Oh, we don’t look gay. What does gay look like?
Short haired butch women?
Feminine petite men?
Gay comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s an equal opportunity thing, gay.
And then I knew I wanted to get the hell out of there and go to a place where we weren’t on display, where our kissing didn’t appear to be an invitation to join; as though our love were simply a porno the viewer was getting the pleasure of seeing live.
As we stood up to leave, I kissed my beautiful, amazing, perfectly wonderful girlfriend on the lips one last time. And as I did so a man brushed past us and said loudly.
“Holy shit, lesbians. I am so glad I came downtown so I could see all the weirdos.”
I am a weirdo. Like I am an actual weirdo.
For the first time since I came out two years ago, I understood why my lesbian friends shy away from public affection. It’s not just that it can be dangerous. With actual hate crimes happening, still happening in our world. It can be taken away from you and turned into something weird, or ugly, or pornographic.
And I am not ok with that.
I don’t want to be anyone’s entertainment.
I imagine a world where no one gives a shit who you love. Men with men, women and men, women and women…who cares? I want to live in a world where we are judged by our character and not by our sexual orientation…the tiniest piece of who we are. Yeah, I am getting all Martin Luther King Jr.
So we got the hell out of there and headed to the one place where everyone is welcome in Corpus Christi:
PS: This blog post could have been titled: Welcome to Anywhere in the United States. It just happened to be in Corpus. Which is a great town. I am not dissing Corpus. Just humans, I am dissing some of the humans in the world. Stop being jerks, humans.