Let me set the scene for you. I’m out with some friends of mine at a hipster new place in the gayborhood. [For you locals: I happen to like this place a lot. It’s called 100 Wines and I have been there a couple of times.] There’s a 45 minute wait. It’s got low lighting, craft beers, lots of wines, small plates, cool French modern looking decor. You got it?
At some point in the meal, I excuse myself to go to the restroom. No worries. First, it’s a single ladies room – so there’s no stress of being inside the restroom and someone freaking out as I come in. Second, I’m in the gayborhood. There are lots of gays here. Tons. Safe. Right? Wrong.
Coming out of the restroom, relaxed and refreshed, I was not on the defensive. Not prepared, as it were, which I normally would be. I open the door and exit the restroom. There’s two women waiting outside. I hear one say as I round the door to walk away, “That’s a man obviously, right?” Stop. Whirl on my heel, I walk back to her very quickly, place my hand on her upper arm for her attention and reply staring her in the eyes, “No, and I can hear you.”
Without waiting for any reply, I whirl around again and stride off standing as tall as I possibly can. I was shocked. Who the hell does she think she is? Where the hell does she think she is? I mean literally, most of the patrons here are gay. It’s not like I was the only butch in there. WTF?!?
I slip back into my seat and spill the story to my boys immediately. It comes out in one gush. They listen supportively, appropriately shocked and indignant along with me. Bless their hearts, they share similar embarrassing stories. You have to love good friends.
During this, and quickly after my return, the manager who had been near the two women, comes up beside me. She is mortified and apologetic. “We try so hard to make sure all are welcome here,” she says. “I’m so sorry that woman treated you that way.” I explain that I hardly ever say anything when it happens and that I thought I might’ve been a little rough. No, no! She assures me that I handled it gracefully and with class. More apologies and well-wishes and she leaves us to what’s left of our trendy, hip dinner in the gayborhood.
Getting confused or sir’d happens to me almost daily. I am used to it. I just returned from an attempted trip back east (I say “attempted” because Hurricane Sandy had other plans) where I had stops in Charlotte and Dallas. I expect to be sir’d in these places. In fact, I basically passed as a dude during the entire trip. No problem. And, no offense taken when I did get sir’d.
But put me in my own office, or my gayborhood and you better watch-the-fuck-out if you accuse me loudly of using the wrong bathroom, and think I can’t hear you when you practically scream it. I guess it really is all about location.
It’s butch to not punch an insensitive (and rude) straight woman in the face in the gayborhood. Be butch.