Sunday, June 10, 2007

Two Gay Pride Day encounters

The first was with a spare change guy (no, not that spare change guy) who greets me outside of a convenience store every morning on the way to work. He looks to be in his 50s, has a beard, and wears a leather jacket and jeans except on very warm days. “Watch out! It’s Gay Pride Day!” he said this morning, apparently not figuring out that was precisely why I was downtown on a Saturday mornng. “Yes, I know.” “I almost hit two of them so far.” “Hit them?” (At first, I thought he accidentally came close to hitting two people with his car, but I doubt he drives to his job.) “Well, they were bothering me.” I looked at him with mild shock and went in to get my Red Bull. On my way out, he accosted me again. “They don’t all bother me,” he said, seeming to sense that he got on my bad side. “Oh.” “But, you know, I don’t like a lot of things that they say and do,” he said, getting agitated again. “That’s too bad.” “I keep control of myself, though,” trying to bring himself back to civility. “Well, that’s good.” “But I just don’t like to be around them.” “Sorry!” I said. Maybe on Monday he’ll start to apologize, and I’ll run away before he can make things worse with the next sentence. The second encounter was with my barber, who has been driving me crazy for about seven years by coming close to, but never saying anything to confirm that he’s gay. He knows enough about Provincetown, dance club music, and local drag celebrities to converse with his mostly gay clientele (and he knows I’m gay), but his knowledge never seems connected to personal experience. Today I thought I had caught him. He started talking about a bartender in a Boston gay club who is less than ideally skilled in customer relations. We traded stories about the bartender’s rude behavior, and it seemed that my barber knew the establishment pretty well. Not so fast: He claimed that he learned of the bartender’s reputation by reading nasty comments posted about him on craigslist. If it were anyone else, I’d think he must be gay if he’s reading “men seeking men” message boards on the Internet. But I could really believe he’s simply doing research to keep up with his customers. The probablility of gayness has dipped below 50 percent in my book.

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