May 31, 2002
Last week I was enjoying one of the rarest
of new father pleasures - a night out with a buddy for a beer.
Oh sure, at three months of age our little
tax deduction is by far the best looking and smartest child ever
born in captivity, but that doesn't mean you have to spend every
evening at home staring into the crib waiting for his first word.
So I got the night off and my friend and I
went downtown in search of a beer. The streets were buzzing, since
the temperature finally cracked ten degrees and every bar in the
neighbourhood already had their patio open. Plus the hockey game was
on, and people were crowded underneath sports bar TVs.
As my friend and I walked down the crowded
sidewalk in search of a place to wet our whistles, he recognized
someone walking towards us. It was someone we had been to college
with twenty years ago. I didn't recognize him, but then my friend
was a lot more social than I was.
Amid the small talk about what everyone was
doing now, I noticed a funny thing. It seemed like my friend was
going to great lengths to let them know that we were not a gay
Not that there's anything wrong with that,
to quote that great 20th century philosopher. I've had a few gay
friends, and have never seen what the fuss is about. My love life
isn't any else's business, so I don't see why theirs should be any
concern of mine. As far as I'm concerned, the world would be a
better place with a lot more "live and let live" in it.
Like all that media circus about the guy who
wanted to take his boyfriend to his high school prom. You'd think
the Catholic Church has enough on its plate at the moment. Not to
mention that "throwing the first stone" thing. Besides,
twenty years ago I went to a prom and a dozen guys showed up with
their same sex dates and it mostly got a big yawn. Of course that
was 1980, and I still hadn't figured out that Queen's Freddie
Mercury was gay.
Still, I'm not sure why my friend felt he
had to drop hints as to our apparently not so obvious
heterosexuality. Things like telling them I lived in the
neighbourhood, but he lived in another part of town. "With his
girlfriend" was hastily added.
Maybe it was because I said we were looking
for a place to have a drink, but didn't want to sit in a sports bar
where you can't hear yourself think. Not watching the hockey
playoffs apparently makes you highly suspect. When they suggested we
try a "cozy" little coffee house down the road, I think he
I've tried to figure out what caused the
misconception in the first place. Maybe it's the fact we weren't
wearing baseball caps or sweatpants. Perhaps after being best
friends for more than twenty years we're actually starting to look
like a couple, although we always maintain a manly distance from
each other, and at Christmas we restrict our present-giving to very
heterosexual pocket knives and flashlights.
Whatever it was, I'm not sure he convinced
them, but I thought his offer to send them pictures of him and his
female date at his high school prom was going a little too far.