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[The Final Straw] - A man I know tells me that his wife is thinking of inviting a lady from a sex shop over--he seems to feel compelled to bring up the subject because my mother had thrown a Tupperware party at their house some time ago--and I'm a bit thrown at first. "Oh, for a lingerie party?" I ask, and he says she'll bring toys and stuff, too. I laugh a little and pat him on the upper arm and say, "Okay, too much information," and half-turn to leave. He seems intent to have a conversation about this, though. I stay. It would seem rude not to.

He talks of dildos and beads and how he will be there to see how the lady from the sex shop does her job. He thinks that surely a man would be better suited? I say, half-mockingly, "Oh, because men can tell women what they look good in?" but he is still stuck on the toys, not the lingerie. Somehow, a man would be better at telling women how to use a dildo, wouldn't he. I find this hard to believe. I don't actually want to be having this conversation. I say, "I don't think I'd want a man there." He finds this hard to believe.

I tell him I'm not actually into guys all that much, and he asks what I have against men, and I say, I have nothing against men, just, well. He says, "Oh," and there's a little pause. There's a party going on all around us. He's hard-of-hearing, but almost everyone else here is Deaf. I'm not out among this group of people. Earlier I had told someone in signs, a woman I consider a close acquaintance, that I'm actually kind of looking for a woman, not a boyfriend. She's possibly the first person here I told this to; usually I just smile and try to change the subject as charmingly as possible. It was a reluctant admission, but it felt good, after, her reaction felt good. This though, this second coming-out of the night, feels ripped out of me.

He manages to rein in his surprise, says something like, "Oh, just wait until you're a little older, you'll appreciate men then." I'm twenty-eight. He might be a little bit drunk. I laugh and say, "I don't think so," and shortly after I manage to end the conversation. We half-hug goodbye. It's part of Deaf culture, hugging hello and goodbye. I don't think about it, it's just the thing to do. He says something like, "I hope you still like me," and I laugh again and say, "Oh, of course!" Like nothing of importance happened just now.

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