Thursday, December 08, 2005

Voices Carry (a Big Stick)

A few months ago Nathan posted a request on his blog for people to share their 'coming out' (and I don't mean debutantes) or stories of homophobia, etc. It gave me an idea to blog about something that's been happening to me for years.

First off, let me preface this by saying I don't necessarily believe in the term "homophobia." Defined as: an irrational fear of homosexuals. It's not "fear." It's sooo many other things: bigotry, ignorance and hatred. The first two words are interchangeable, but you get the gist.

So, on with my tale of woe. A few weeks ago I visited a nearby Taco Bell drive-thru late one night. I placed my order and when I got to the window the two donkey jockeys (too harsh?) manning the register apparently found my voice hilarious. So much so that they could barely stop braying long enough to tell me my total. Once they got my money and the window was closed, they huddled together, talking to each other, looking over at me and continued to die laughing. Obviously making fun of the mariposa (i.e. fag). The didn't have to actually SAY it, I'm not completely clueless.

Then, when they opened the window to hand me my order I said those 5 magic words: "What's the store number here?" Chuckles' face fell and she got all serious as she said "372." I flashed her my pearly whites and said "Thanks!," before driving away.

Okay, first off, I know that my asking for the store number, filling out the customer service survey online and complaining via their web site would get me nowhere. I have zero aspirations of receiving any form of customer service when it comes to these faceless corporations. HOWEVER, I do have that momentary happy tingle when I see the look on their face when I ask for the corporate phone # or store #. It's the little things, right?

Secondly, it's not like this is an altogether new experience. I've been forced to deal with this bullshit for decades. And though some may wish to write me off as being paranoid, trust me when I say I'm not. I'm verrry observant. I KNOW bullshit when I experience it. I should, like I said it's been going on for a lonnnng time. Here's some examples:

[1] Recently while at the State Fair with my friend Derik, he went up to a stand that served wine to see what kinds they had, while I stood behind him, waiting. There was a straight couple standing at the register to the right of him. When he asked the vendor what kind of wines they had, the woman in the aformentioned couple, head down, "covertly" looked over at him, then me, looked like she was gonna burst out laughing, then, head still lowered, turned to her boyfriend and whispered something. Then he "covertly" turned his head to look at me, only to see me staring him in the face with my arms crossed, giving him my "Problem?"-look (that's right, bitch, I won't hesitate to eat you!). He quickly lowered his eyes and turned away. When she turned to look (not realizing he'd been "caught") I gave her some ice as well. Naturally, Derik was oblivious. I guess I should be too, I'd probably be a lot happier. I am far too idealistic when it comes to everyone being treated fairly. I tend to dwell on this bullshit, which I know is pointless and ultimately hurts no one but myself, but try as I may, I can't help but get pissed off by this behaviour. I just can't wrap my mind around why people feel compelled to make a problem where there initially wasn't one.

And for the record, I am so not about coming off as some "bad-ass" that's gonna "go there" in a flash kickin' ass. Surprisingly, I've never been in a fight. Not even when I was in school...BUT I'm also not the type to turn the other cheek while someone thinks they're "getting away" with something.

[2] Note: Picture me delivering my side of the conversation with a completely stone face. Think Droopy. I call it my "I'm so over this shit"-voice.

For this story, refer to the bootylicious cashier in picture one. She works at Whataburger. Late one night I went through the drive-thru and placed my order. Upon arriving at the window:

Shequan: I thought you were a woman!
Me: okay.
Shequan: (looking puzzled...thinking) I thought you were a woman, so when I saw you at the window it scared me.
Me: um okay. are you going to be alright?
Shequan: Here's your drink.

Sigh. Why did she feel compelled to share that with me? What was the point? Again, another case of rampant retardery.

[3] While at the grocery store earlier this year, an old customer from the store I used to work at, recognized me. He had his kid in tow, carrying them. I normally try to avoid most people associated with past employments, but he tracked me down in the toilet paper aisle and said "Hi! How's it goin'?" I said hello AND THEN his little kid says "HE TALKS FUNNY!" The dad just laughed. I stared stone-faced. Then she chimes in again with "WHY DOES HE TALK LIKE THAT?!" He laughed again. I continued to stare blankly. He quietly slipped away.

Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking: "Well, Kirk, she's just a child. She doesn't know any better." Um okay then. Then by that reasoning I can take a dump in her Barbie Dreamhouse because I "didn't know any better." I didn't know! All better now. Or better yet me I'll exclaim in a doe-eyed fashion "God, why's your dick's so tiny?!"

Here's my point: I don't lisp. I don't float. I don't swish. I don't deliberately draw attention to myself. I'm very low-key. I treat everyone the same until they give me a reason not to, then the kid gloves come off. It's not my job to make excuses for something I have no control over. It's also not my job to educate your ignorant condomless night-o-passion (AKA "cum cherub"...."vag urchin") that you had to break up the monotony.

Thank goodness I'm such a goddamn people person.


Blogger Mariana said...

It's not the child's behaviour that's in question, it's the parent's -- he was supposed to shut him up. How convenient for him that he did nothing, and allowed the child to say what he was only thinking. This way it's not his fault, it's just a child, whatcha gonna do? Bastard.

I don't understand why people act this way. I totally understand you not being able to just ignore rude, cruel behaviour. On one hand, why should it be ok to only care about what's fair when it's someone else who is the victim? And on the other it's an old wound people keep poking.

I'm always amazed at people's lack of imagination. Why can't they figure that if they felt the urge to mock/laugh/whatever they're not all that original, and surely lots of others had the same stupid idea before they did? Assholes.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 4:07:00 AM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

Parents, as a rule, think that everything that comes out of their child's mouth is pure magic. It's all cute and funny to them. Ignorant pricks.

It still makes me mad, but then it depends on the way it's handled. I'm SO not bothered by being referred to as "ma'am" anymore, but it DOES piss me off when they see they've made a mistake and then compound the situation by making faq jokes/comments. The worst: The ones (usually men) who deliberately make their voices go up an octave (mimmicking how all 'fag' sound, natch) and continuing to wait on me. And trust me, asking for the manager doesn't help. People don't care. I can now list 5 places here alone that I will no longer patronize. Like I always say: People SUCK.

Thanks for commenting! :)

Thursday, December 08, 2005 4:24:00 AM  
Blogger Terri said...

Aaron has a very soft, low key voice also and (especially on the phone) sounds like a girl. People call him ma'am, ask if his mom is home (he says "yes she is, call her house in Massachusetts to talk to her, Asshole") but here's the gut clencher. When we got ANYWHERE, someone idiot inevitably calls him ma'am...ok, his hair is long, but he wears it pulled back and it's shaved underneath and HE HAS FACIAL HAIR....he says one day he's gonna drop trou. The hostess at Old Country Buffet has been calling us "hello ladies" for 5 doesn't have breasts, has facial hair, has a "boy" face, dresses like a's time to get over it. And believe me, you KNOW that I know that a "customer complaint" is completely meaningless. It's draining someimes. Sometimes? It's always draining to deal with these dumbasses.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 8:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Princess Wild Cow said...

My poor baby! I have one of those "manly" voices(gruff, deep, harsh) and for years have been called Sir, Mr. and Asshole to my face by people believing I peed standing up. You and me kid, let's take this show on the road...we can get a Winnebago with satellite tv and a shit load full of money and teach people they no longer have to "genderize" voices...

Let's go!

Thursday, December 08, 2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger mlndink said...

It's so infuriating that we live in Texas. On the one hand, there are lots of little ironies about residing here that I can recognize and have come to appreciate and enjoy. On the other hand the fact that Prop 2 passed with over 70% of the vote in the 21st century is sadly indicative that evolution moves at a screamingly slow pace and that (astoundingly!) the majority still measures out basic human rights based on race, sex, hell SEXUAL ORIENTATION--by now one would think WHO CARES, but apparently most Texans get their skivvies in a twist about such things. I live in the Castro of Houston, i.e. Montrose, so the majority to me re: Prop 2 was to vote against it--of course, it is a hateful, facist creed disguised as a constitutional amendment. And it passed. No wonder I'm a misanthrope.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Nathan said...

Thanks for sharing.

That really sucks. You always know how to add humor to a bad situation, but I know deep down how much it bothers you.

People are stupid. I am unisex, myself. Sometimes I am called sir, other times I am called ma'am. And sometimes it is in the same conversation. Like a customer service rep who can't make up their mind whether I am a man or a woman.

Yep, you and Princess Wild Cow should take your show on the road :)

Thursday, December 08, 2005 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Stephaine said...

The parent should have said something to the child, in front of you and again at home. Once my child made a comment about a woman looking like a clown. He was 5 and I told him that he shouldn't say things like that. If you don't nip it in the bud they grow up to be annoying co-workers and oxygen wasters that feel they can say and do what they want regardless of others feelings.

You know what gets me when people man or woman find out that someone is homosexual and they automatically think they are the object of that persons interest. Ignorant asses.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 7:27:00 PM  
Blogger nccountry said...

I guess some people wern't taught anybetter.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 8:23:00 PM  
Anonymous kris said...

I always love it when people mutter "dyke" within earshot. Is this supposed to offend? Should I applaud them at their astute observation? Sometimes I want to run up to them and give them a prize..."Congratulations! You've spotted the homo! Hey, Don Pardo, tell them what they've won!"

Friday, December 09, 2005 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger sugarfoot said...

I hope no one sees this as a stupid, thoughtless question, but rather a "transitional" heterosexual asking an awkward question in hopes of teaching her future cum cherubs or other tiny family members some goddamn manners (I can't believe someone would allow their child to act like that). And by transitional I mean someone who has been brought up in a home where, for instance, 'fags' and 'niggars' were common terms, but who detests ignorance, bigotry, hatred and wants to make sure my progeny or anyone I can influence treats all people equally.

So, now to the question: In that particular situation, how could the parent have corrected their child in front of you and it been as appropriate as it could be in such an awkward situation? If it was me, for instance, I would have told the child that he/she has been very rude to my friend and should apologize to them and promise Mama they'd never be so rude again. Would that suffice?

Again, I realize it's a stupid question...

Friday, December 09, 2005 2:28:00 PM  

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