So this weird thing happened last night.
I took the girls and one of their friends (tweens three) to the Chinese Buffet. Because it’s quick, there’s something for everyone, and it’s cheap. And MSG isn’t bad for you any more.
The girls are gossiping about this guy and that girl, and that girl and this other girl, and did you see what Nayimi did to Worthington after Dirigible kissed Lycra’s boyfriend? Friend is talking about her current girlfriend and how she dissed Lloyd in the Malibu or some such.
So, feeling like I needed to connect with the youngsters today, I said, “When I was y’all’s age, if a boy told anyone he was gay, he’d a got killed, and then he’d get a swirlie. Y’all don’t know how great it is that any one a y’ze in middle school can say you’re gay or whatever, and it’s all cool.”
They look at me like I farted on their crab Rangoon and promptly went on yammering in tongues. I got into the conversation a few more times, sometimes on the topic of the L, G, B, and/or T, and also about Pokèmon and what we’re going to wear for DragonCon this year.
I should mention here that I feel the need to go out of my way and show support for the LGBTs, because when I was middle school, I might have been one of those kids giving a gay kid’s corpse a swirlie… If I weren’t already dealing with keeping the racists from giving me a pink-belly.
My girls–and all their friends who they let me talk to–could care less if a boy likes another boy, or some kid who was a boy in second grade is a girl in sixth grade. I could not be happier that they feel this way.
It took me a long time to get to this point: I had to equate the hatred against gays and such with the racial hatred I experienced and witnessed as a child. That, and I have so many friends and family members who are gay, and their sheer humanity could not be ignored.
So the weird thing that happened was this: As I’m getting up to pay the check, this elderly woman at the next booth says, “Excuse me, sir.”
I turn around, thinking she’s going to tell me I have a chow foon noodle stuck to my ass, but instead she says, “I really like the way you talk to your girls!”
I resist the urge to blurt “Dafuq?” as I can’t for the life of me figure out what she’s talking about. Was it the firm but gentle way I said, “No more banana pudding. You’ll puke,” to Prima or the way I put an ironic spin on “I’m sure you can get more shrimp yourself, yo,” to Segunda?
So I say, “Uh… Thank you, ma’am,” and herd the youngsters out.
It wasn’t until much later–when the girls had gone to bed and my brain was mostly out of Default-Dad-Fight-or-Flight mode–that I realized that what the kindly oldster was talking about was most likely the way I talked about the gays like they were human beings.
So all this is not to brag that I’m a friend to the LGBTs, or that I’m some kind of Super Dad (I did take them to Chinese Buffet, and only the crappy dads do that), but to express optimism about the future. In one evening, members of three generations expressed positive feelings that–a generation ago–would’ve earned one a wedgie, pink belly, or curb-stomping.
Despite Trump, Cruz, and Beiber, this is a good time to be alive.