oxymoron67: (Gay Army)
[personal profile] oxymoron67

Like most LGBT folks, I’ve had to explain terms to my heterosexual friends, things like “bears”, “leather daddies”, “glory holes” and “rentboys”* and even non-queer specific things like “watersports”**.

*This one has always bothered me because I think allusion to prostitution is fairly obvious. Alas, no. One of my friends, someone who I think is intelligent, said, “Well, I figured you rented them for things like yard work or painting the house.”

**On this topic, I have actually had to say, “No, jet skis aren’t involved.”

This ignorance of all things queer comes in handy sometimes, though, such as in this tale from grad school.

One day, I received an e-mail that went something like this:

I am so angry with you right now that I cannot talk to you. YOU LIED TO ME! I was only asking honest, straightforward questions and you lied to me! You lied about all of it: the truck, the appetizers, the music. HOW DARE YOU? You clearly have no respect for me. People like you call me all sorts of names, but you’re the biggest bigots of all. I am going to pray for you. I am going to pray for you SO MUCH because you need God’s light and understanding in your evil, sinful life.


I’m working from memory here, and even so, this is a highly edited version of the real thing. The actual e-mail was roughly ten times as long, in one single paragraph, and roughly 0.00003% as coherent. I wish I had saved it because it was a blazing comet of crazy.

Why did I receive this e-mail? Well… a few days earlier, I was going up to my meet my boyfriend in his office in the French Department. My day was pretty much done, but he was finishing up some research and had run off to the library to pick up something.

I was left alone with one of his office mates: a nice woman, who, once she finished her Master’s degree was planning on working in refugee camps in Francophone West Africa. Oh, and she was VERY socially conservative. Let’s call her Sally.

Sally started a conversation with me:

Sally: I’ve always wanted to ask you… when did you decide to become gay?

Okay… just about every queer person I know has had this conversation at least once. It never goes well. I can only do the “I didn’t choose to be gay, I just am gay”/ “But you HAD to choose it sometime” exchange so many times before I lose my temper and some bigot’s feelings get badly hurt. Nothing is accomplished.

Knowing this, I went a different direction: to see how far I could push before her sense of disbelief kicked in. Thank God that I can deadpan well.

Me: Well, it happened when I was a freshman in college.
Sally: Really?
Me: Yes. I had just gotten out of a really bad relationship with a girl who lived in my dorm…
Sally: I’m sorry.
Me: Thank you. Well, I was out one night, when I saw these guys in leather pants and really tight t-shirts. They were out by this van, and blasting really great music on their boombox.
Sally: So you went over.
Me: Of course. And then they plied me with alcohol and poppers.
Sally (confused): You mean… like… appetizers?
Me: …
Sally: Jalapeño poppers, right?
Me: … Yyyyyyes. Yes. … And other appetizers, too. Buffalo wings… pot stickers… it was a nice spread.
Sally: I can see how that would be tempting.
Me: They lured me into the van, and next thing I knew, I was in this gay bar, gyrating on the dance floor, with a beer in one hand and some poppers in the other.
Sally: Those poppers must have been really good.
Me: They were DELICIOUS. Then, the smoke machine kicked in and the disco ball started spinning…
Sally: That must have been awful.
Me: Honestly, it’s all a blur. I was so disoriented. Then, at midnight, I was told that I was ready for initiation into the gay lifestyle.
Sally: Really?
Me: One of the guys from the van was chosen to take me.
Sally: They CHOSE for you? Terrible.
Me: I got to choose the music, though. I mean, there were only four selections: Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Cher or a medley of Sondheim tunes, but still…
Sally: Which one did you choose?
Me: Well, I eliminated Sondheim almost immediately. I mean, I was about to have my first gay experience, and “Send in the Clowns” would have just been inappropriate. I settled on Judy Garland. To this day, “The Trolley Song” still make me smile. He took me right there, on the dance floor, and ever since, I’ve been as queer as a three dollar bill.
Sally: Huh. Interesting. Thank you sharing this with me. It was so informative. Normally, you people get so upset when I ask about this.
Me: Glad to help.

Around that time, my boyfriend returned and we left. Over dinner, I told him what had transpired and he was appalled. According to him, I should have just argued with her, like he did. He said that what I did would just reinforce her beliefs.

I pointed out that his arguing with her didn’t make her change her mind, either, and, at least I could laugh about it this way. Also, if she brought this conversation up to others, talking about the van and the appetizers and all, she’d get the ridicule she so richly deserved. He remained unconvinced.

My boyfriend told her the truth the next time he saw her.

He was a real killjoy sometimes.

Sally never really spoke to me again. I mean, we’d say hello in the hallway or when I was in the office she shared with the boyfriend, but we never had another conversation. Which suited me fine.

Date: 2013-07-13 08:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartlines.livejournal.com
Wait, that exchange really happened? Wow, that blows my mind. Maybe I have been really lucky to grow up in a part of the world without quite such bigoted people but I can't believe anyone would be that naive o_O

Date: 2013-07-13 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Bigotry and ignorance go hand in hand. She didn't know anything about us LGBT folks, and wanted so much to have one of validate her bigotry that I could get away with saying whatever I wanted.

I mean, I expected her to call me out on what I was saying at least two or three times, but she didn't.

Date: 2013-07-13 09:32 pm (UTC)
jocosa: (Blinkin' Baby)
From: [personal profile] jocosa
Awkward situation but hilarious conversation. I never could have done that with a straight face. I was laughing as I read it, and the poppers part was genius.

Date: 2013-07-14 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Honestly, I thought she had me at the poppers there for a second.

But, no. She kept on buying it.

Date: 2013-07-13 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] queenthesixth.livejournal.com
When my cousin told me he was gay, I asked him if he was one of the situations where he'd tell me something, I'd believe it and later he'd tell me that he was only joking and that I was very gullible. He's been doing it since we were kids that over the years I began to take any of the more unexpected things he might tell me with a pinch of salt. It's his sense of humour and I was an easy target growing up because I wanted to believe unexpected things because they'd be more interesting than what was actually going on around me, if that makes sense.

Anyway, he said he wasn't joking, I said all right then and that was it.

So if you'd told me that story, Oxy, I'd have been side eyeing you severely. And then I'd have been disappointed that it wasn't true because dammit that is quite the story and I like Stories! Life is always letting me down like that. Poor me, etc.

Date: 2013-07-14 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
There;s a difference. I wouldn't have told you this story.

One of the big reasons that anti-LGBT rights people here give for their beliefs is that what we do isn't natural, therefore we must have chosen to be this way. Since we CHOSE this, we can choose to be straight and therefore do not deserve the same rights as heteros.

Logic is not a thing for these people.

So, whenever someone asks that question, we hear, "I'm a bigot and there is nothing you can do about it."

I reserve the right to screw with bigots.

Date: 2013-07-14 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] michikatinski.livejournal.com
You are utterly priceless.

Sounds like Sally got just what she deserved.

Also, very much liked the way you set this up, with your memory of the e-mail first and the exchange between the two of you second. Sets up the anticipation nicely. I almost felt sorry for Sally, watching her get undone as she participated in the conversation without the faintest clue about what was going on. Almost.

Date: 2013-07-14 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Aw, thank you. *blushes*

Thank you for the comments. I worked on this one. It;s the first time I've told this story, and I felt I needed do it properly.

Date: 2013-07-14 03:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinetimore.livejournal.com
Sorry, but I have to disagree with your boyfriend on this one. I've done the "string 'em along because I'm sick of repeating my arguments" thing myself. You, sir, are fucking awesome. "Poppers." When she guessed jalepeno poppers, I'm not sure I could have kept it up like you, I'd be too busy staring slackjawed as my brain melted down.

Date: 2013-07-14 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Honestly, I hesitated for a second there when she guessed jalapeno poppers. I thought for sure she had caught me.
Edited Date: 2013-07-14 05:00 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-07-14 12:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mac-arthur-park.livejournal.com
That. Was. AWESOME.

Date: 2013-07-14 12:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adoptedwriter.livejournal.com
This is priceless! LOL
AW

Date: 2013-07-14 02:42 pm (UTC)
ext_224364: (Default)
From: [identity profile] x-disturbed-x.livejournal.com
I do get quite sick of saying: I didn't choose to be gay. I think your response was very clever. Next time I should try to make a joke out of it so I can laugh later.

Date: 2013-07-14 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
It's frustrating because no matter how often you say "No, I did not choose to be gay", they don't listen.

So, since we're not going to change their minds anyway, we might as well screw with them. At worst, they'll have the "But I was being polite..." reaction, which, of course, is crap. Bigotry is wrong, regardless of how it is expressed.

Preaching to the choir, I know.

Date: 2013-07-14 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] warriorsavant.livejournal.com
So.... when did you choose to be a conniving, story-telling, yarn-spinning, b***shit artist? Clearly it must have been choice for you, because no one is born with such unnatural and sinful proclivities. (Jalapeno poppers? I would have lost it right there.)

Date: 2013-07-14 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Ah, the storytelling is a family thing.

I'm just better at it than they are.

Date: 2013-07-16 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] recklessblues.livejournal.com
:') Beautiful.

Date: 2013-07-16 05:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
And here I thought nobody could possibly be so stupid as to ask a question like that.

I was only asking honest, straightforward questions
That were incredibly rude, accusatory, and none of her business.

She deserved every bit of that yarn, and you're right-- it was probably all to the best that she never spoke to you again! That would save some grief.

Date: 2013-07-16 05:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] majesticarky.livejournal.com
LOL you're such a troll :3. I almost feel sorry for Sally

Date: 2013-07-16 03:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kajel.livejournal.com
That was priceless. I can't believe people are so incredibly rude!

Date: 2013-07-17 04:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashgaelsonaria.livejournal.com
You must be a gamer.
People who role play (as I do) go with the sarcastic response to the fuddies comments about demons and rpg's all the time.

Date: 2013-07-17 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Yes. And I've had those conversations, too.

Date: 2013-07-17 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashgaelsonaria.livejournal.com
I figured as much from the story.
We are a twisted bunch and it can be so fun messing with those people.

Date: 2013-07-17 07:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] porn-this-way.livejournal.com
LMAO this was amazing.

Yyyyyyes. Yes. … And other appetizers, too. Buffalo wings… pot stickers… it was a nice spread.

...And here's where I lost it. Also, "Blazing comet of crazy" is a FANTASTIC phrase.

Sometimes, you just have to fuck with the 'phobes. It is the ONLY way to stay sane. I've found that asking "when did you decide to be straight?" usually shuts this particular line of questioning down pretty effectively, but sometimes it's just more fun to do something like this, because sometimes....ya just gotta fuck with the 'phobes.

Date: 2013-07-17 05:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
I honestly thought I was caught when she questioned the poppers.

But, no... she didn't bat an eye.

Date: 2013-07-17 07:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] porn-this-way.livejournal.com
Also, I'm just now realizing that, due to the way the polls were set up and the alphabetical proximity of our usernames, we seem to have done back-to-back "fun ways to tell off stupid homophobes" posts this week. Epic high five!

(Sorry for the re-post. Hit the wrong reply button. Durrr.)

Date: 2013-07-17 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
I just saw that myself!

High five!

Date: 2013-07-18 05:42 am (UTC)
ext_80205: a pink haired girl holding a guitar with a broken string (feminist pop culture analysis)
From: [identity profile] meepalicious.livejournal.com
This is great.

I think I'll have to start telling people I became a lesbian to get into a women's college…

Date: 2013-07-19 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cheshire23.livejournal.com
Poppers. LMFAO. This is awesome.

Date: 2013-07-19 04:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roina-arwen.livejournal.com
Wow. That's one heck of a story, LOL. Sally got what she deserved!

Date: 2013-07-19 11:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] favoritebean.livejournal.com
Good on you for how you handled Sally. I love the yarn you spun in response to her questions. She deserved it. Sorry your boyfriend was a buzz kill about it.

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