About a year ago we joined some good friends of ours for dinner in their home. They had other guests also and we had a great time getting to know some new people. Daniel and I love acquainting ourselves with people of varied backgrounds, making our lives more interesting and diversified.
On this occasion we met a young man and his father. The father was a University Professor of English and was on the quiet side. The son, however, made up for his father's shyness. He was not loud or obnoxious, but he did extrapolate rather extensively about his college major of theater arts. He spoke of the various plays he had done, was working on, and asked us more than once to attend one of his performances. He was gracious in every aspect of his demeanor; his words and gestures were eloquent and deliberate. The most outstanding characteristic of this young man was his outward love for his father. I have never witnessed anyone, male or female, demonstrate such affection for a parent as he did so unashamedly in front of people. It was not an embarrassing sort of affection, but more of an arm placed casually around his father's shoulder on several occasions, asking if he needed anything. He also spent time massaging his father's shoulders. When his father left, he hugged him long and kissed his cheek lovingly assuring him that he would call him later.
I was overwhelmed by this man and I decided then that he must be gay. Since I am both color and “sexually-oriented blind”, I continued to have a wonderful evening.
About a month ago our friends informed us that they were attending this man's wedding...to a woman. Out of embarrassment, I did not voice my faux pas to them. To me though, I had been a hypocrite in the true meaning of the word. Here I had led my life believing I was completely open minded and yet I myself had pigeon-holed this man as being gay based simply on a few observations from one evening.
On another occasion we were having dinner with more new friends. All the members at the table were single except for Daniel and I. The conversation turned to rollerblading and one single male informed us that he would love to go with us. I immediately said that he might meet a young woman there. He turned to his friend and said, “Well that won't do me much good.” Because I am so adept at inserting my foot into my mouth I shot back, “Why, are you gay?” Everyone starting hallowing and I was the one with egg on my face again.
I don't know what makes me do these things. By my age I should be able to think before speaking. I should know that you cannot under any circumstances judge a book by it's cover, and I should just keep my opinions to myself and never assume anything, thereby saving myself much self induced grief.
© Christine Geery 2011