Yesterday, I was doing my typical routine, having escorted five senior pals (in two trips) grocery shopping. After bringing them back home and checking in with my fiance, I went out again … to the post office, bank, drug store, and grocery store again for something that I forgot to get earlier. Dressed comfortably in leather jeans, boots, and a leather jacket.
I try to make these personal trips (when I am alone) serve my exercise needs, too. I park at the far corner of the shopping center’s parking lot. That location requires a hike up quite a hill, and a longer hike between all the businesses that I had to go to.
After I parked my truck, I stopped to speak with a motorcop who was sitting in his cruiser (my home jurisdiction allows motorcops to use a cruiser instead of a police bike when the weather is cold). Cops frequently hang out in that parking lot keeping an eye on things. The cop and I spoke about the recent death of a motor officer in a neighboring county. This cop knew him from the local motorcycle police competition, and while I didn’t know him personally, I observed him ride. He was very skilled. The cop with whom I was speaking and I both expressed our remorse at the sudden line-of-duty death of our mutual acquaintance, having been involved in a crash while on his police motorcycle.
So there we are, on a bright, sunny, cold afternoon chit-chatting away. The cop always kept his eye on movements of vehicles and people. He remarked about how crazy people remain — driving all over and circling around just to get the closest parking place; abandoning shopping carts wherever they damn well please; driving aggressively inside a parking lot–ignoring the right-of-way of other drivers; parking in fire lanes (to use a bank’s ATM–and the cop would give each one a citation); and pedestrians ignoring crosswalks and walking whenever and wherever they please–right in front of traffic. Dumb stuff.
As we were talking, we both watched two guys sashaying along who demonstrated all — I mean all — of the behavioral stereotypes of gay men. Designer jeans and jacket, scarf tied “just so,” hair coiffed perfectly (not wearing a hat, either, despite the cold), upscale footwear, and their hands — oh gosh — how they flailed. Both were carrying shopping bags from a store that appeals to … well, let’s say that store does not appeal to masculine men. When these guys drew closer, you could hear each one speaking with a distinct sound that many people immediately classify as gay. I won’t fulfill stereotypes further, but you know what I mean.
The cop looked at me and rolled his eyes. I said, “hey, you know, all of us gay guys are different. Those guys are a bit more extreme than I am, but the gay community includes many kinds.”
It didn’t take a nanosecond for the cop to catch what I said, and he remarked, “you’re not gay! No way!”
From there, we had quite a conversation and I would say, I helped to educate him about the fact that gay men are not all the same. I am gay, I am in a stable monogamous long-term relationship to a man who I will marry soon, and yet I ride a Harley, wear leather, hate dancing, don’t give a damn about my hairstyle, and wouldn’t know designer clothing from off-the-rack stuff, and don’t care anyway.
It made for an interesting conversation for about another hour. Then the cop had to get moving and I had to get back home. We shook hands, and as we parted, he said, “thanks for briefing me about this stuff. I really didn’t know. I’ll be more open minded now.”
Life is short: education is the key to understanding.