On Going to Pride: Outsiders and Disrupters

Let me introduce myself.

I’m a divorced woman.

I’m a poet and writer.

I’m a dog owner.

I’m a mother.

I’m a book reader.

I’m a sister.

I’m a broccoli-disliker and a nacho-lover.

I’m a music listener.

I’m a college graduate.

I’m a cat owner.

I’m an aunt.

I’m an educator.

I’m a traveler.

I’m a daughter.

I’m a TV watcher.

I’m a car driver.

I’m an exercise avoider, but I try to do it anyway.

I’m a grandma-to-be.

I’m straight.

I’m going to Pride today.

To the LGBTQ+ community: I am attending your event because I support everyone on their path – in love, life, career, safety, and community. Pride is not about me nor is it for me per se. I get that. To be really honest, I probably would not come out today on my own. My middle school son is gay, and he wants to come. So, I’m there to support him. I have college-age son who is gay, and so I’m there because I want him to be safe everywhere: on campus, in a club, walking down a street.

I read a couple of articles this week that suggested that because I’m straight, I do not understand what it is to be gay. Right. That’s true. As is the reverse. Being whoever you are is unique to you; we are lucky or blessed to find communities in which we can be ourselves and feel safe in doing so. And, for LGBTQ+ persons, that experience is rare, especially inside a society that finds it easier to look on those who are “other” as some kind of zoo exhibit. I am there (and I’m sure there are others) as a straight person who cares about the kind of world we have now and for the future.

To the would-be protesters and disrupters: Stay the fuck home. I would be willing to bet that the last community event that was held for a group you are a part of, no one protested or disrupted. When was the last time a group of anyone bounced into your gathering with mean-spirited signs, rude gestures, and yelling? I’d be willing to bet it was never. My mother and grandmother used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  And, yeah, I get the tiredness of that cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less.

You are protesting who someone is. Think about that for a minute. No, really. Pause and think about it. You have actively sought out people in order to protest who they are. Your intent is what? To intimidate them into being who they are not? To drive them underground? To assuage some sort of undefined fear you have? How about I seek you out and protest that fact that you are heterosexual? Shall I throw epithets at you because you have brown hair? How’d you like threatening signage to greet you in your community because your family is third generation from Norway? Think about it. Stay home.

To everyone: if you have read this post, you realize that I am not digging into the myriad of serious issues around Pride and the LGBTQ+ community. I do not have authenticity of voice to do that. Sure, I could spend some sentences whining about how I’m an ally and now I read that the LGBTQ+ community objects to my being at Pride or wants to devalue me in some way or even downright doesn’t want me at Pride.  Wait, so if I feel marginalized and not included for who I am and how I’m living . . . whoa, did I just have a second of actually walking in someone else’s shoes?

Look back at my introductory list, you will find that whoever you are, you probably have more in common with me than you think.

Regardless of sexual identity, we all have things in common. And, if we can start with the things we all love and care about, I want to hope that the differences will fall away like so much dross at the end of the day.

Let’s try at least. Love.

Happy Pride to everyone.




Gone to the Dogs

I did it again. I briefly ventured into the morass that is online dating. Interestingly, I saw many of the same faces, narrated by the same demands as I saw last year.

I read a good number of alarming sentences. “I spend a lot of time thinking about: the the-online-dating-ecosystem_50290b8d29fb4_w1500supper girl of my dreams.” No thanks, Hannibal.  There’s the vacuous: “I’m really good at: being with like-minded people.” No shit, Sherlock. How about Mr. Run-on: “Hi,my name is T, I’m divorced and am looking for a woman that will complete me,I enjoy the outdoors, fishing,I have a kawasaki 4×4 side by side to play in.” Paging Warriner’s First Edition. How about boring sexual innuendo man: “I’m really good at: wouldn’t u like to know?” No, no I would not.

Then, there’s the guy who messaged me who said he’s dominant, married, and just wants to chat with someone. When I told him to go chat with his wife he took umbrage to that. Still, he messaged me two more times; he was just begging to be blocked. There’s a host of scammers who can be spotted a mile away by anyone who took Linguistics 101 in college. And of course, those who use the same message for every email they send “Wasup?”; these guys occasionally get inventive: “Wasup? U dtf?”

Then, we have the screen names! Oh, the screen names! JoedaBoss. No, I was married to two of those. How about fordtuff? Nope, I’m looking for a date, not a car. Interested in papadan? I said date not dad. Niceguycr? If you have to say you’re a nice guy, I’m going to bet that you’re not.

image6So, yeah. The landscape is not that different than twelve or eighteen months ago. I closed the laptop and took my dog to the dog park. I walked around and Jasper frolicked with a boxer mix, two poodles of questionable parentage, a basset hound, and a host of mutts. Dogs of all sizes, shapes, abilities, and personalities sniffed each other, shared a water bowl, and ran around. They made friends. They grouped up and then dispersed. They were all happy. Oh sure, an occasional growl, but nothing that the breeze didn’t blow away.

Then it hit me.

We should take all the online dating sites offline and make dating parks in exactly the same model as dog parks. Large spaces to move around, sniff each other, and then move on or hang out a bit. We could walk around alone, in a pair, or in a group. We would all be required to bring a handler: you know, someone responsible to pick up our shit, make sure we behave, and put us on the leash if we act up. These handlers could walk a third of a mile track while the rest of us tried to make friends.

I know what you’re thinking: that’s a bar. Nope. This is outside. And only water allowed. If we have good handlers, they might bring training treats to give us if we come when we are called. And, at the end of the outing, everyone has to go home with their handler. No hookups allowed. Oh sure, you can exchange numbers or whatever, but that initial meeting is just that: a meeting. No overly contrived profiles. No screen names. No ridiculous cliches. No lists of demands. No promises of pampering.

Just people.

Meeting people.