We went for ice cream. We drove out of our way to find a particular Temple Of Dairy Suicide. Seriously, I don’t know why I eat ice cream or cheese. Okay. I know exactly why. Ice cream and cheese are fucking yummy.
Anyway, there seemed to be a gathering of … motocycle enthusiasts? sprawled all over the parking lot. I say motorcycle enthusiasts and not bikers (although some were bikers) because there was an impressive variety of machinery to be admired. Harleys, Kawasakis, Honda Goldwings, even a BMW.
There was some short debate about whether we would brave the gauntlet in pursuit of our desserty deliciousness. My brain took a while to catch up. My dad is a biker-type; burly, hairy, huge and intimidating to all except the way-too-many-women in his life. It’s kind of like growing up with a pet pitbull - you lose the natural caution.
But creme glace is a powerful mistress, and her siren call was amplified by the fact that this was one of those places that mushes it up with extra treats on a slab of marble. We went in. No one paid us any attention.
I wish I could say that their apprehension was misplaced. A non-race-based racism. But even my Dad… there was an incident where a gay friend of the family brought his new little boyfriend to an event. My Dad did not appreciate all the ‘living out loud’ that was going on, and saw no parallel between that situation and any number of fifty-something old men who had paraded trophy wives/girlfriends around various events. He yelled at the guy about “people not wanting to see that” and they left. He still tells the story about how he was the only person with the guts to tell them off. It never occurs to him that not every other person was grossed out.
He would never attack anyone physically, and doesn’t consider himself a homophobe. He doesn’t even subscribe to don’t-ask-don’t-tell. But he triggers immediately if there is any overt affection.
The Blonde, who is cuddly beyond all reckoning in private, is stoic in public. It breaks my heart. I see Derby Girl, who is happily tactile with all her friends and aquaintances hug anyone who doesn’t dodge fast enough, without consequence. I think; this is what The Blonde would be like, if he could.
I kiss my Carpenter, knowing that some people don’t approve of PDA. But I also know that they will be quietly offended and leave me alone. We’re not hurting anyone. We love each other, have for over a decade, even went and got the piece of paper to prove it (still waiting for that stand mixer, though) and we’ll damn well kiss in public if we gotta.
But they can’t kiss. Someone like my Dad will always be around to ‘protect children’ or ‘speak for everyone’, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Just over two years ago someone burned down a bath house. Two men died. Sometimes when we’re driving The Blonde will point out bath houses. He has to. There is no signage.
But in the end it is a happy story. We ran a gauntlet of bikers for our ice cream, and emerged victorious, sated and best of all; ignored. You have to be pretty fucking gay to be prettier than a BMW motorcycle.