I work at a rental video store.
I really enjoy it.
I like the company. I think they are a nice private business.
We get crazy customers. As every store, I’m sure, does.
I was helping a customer today. A very nice young lady. I helped her with her late fines and she was very appreciative and left.
The man next in line came to the counter with his videos and said
I’d love to go home with her
In one of those hushed bro-ey voices.
He then looked at me for a reassure head nod.
To which I returned with a smile.
In that moment a million things were going through my head.
I had three options for a reaction:
1. I could play straight. Agree with him. Smile. And nod. Act as thought, yeah, I’d love to go home with her and have sex with her. Why not? She’s attractive. I bet she’s good in bed. Yeah. I love women. Let me take her home. That’s totally normal.
2. I could tell him ‘You know what? I’m gay. So. Yeah. Whatever.’ Educate him. Make him learn that just because I look and act like a straight guy does not necessarily mean I am what he is. Just because we look the same does not mean that we are the same.
3. Dismiss his sexual remarks by letting him know that I’m sure this woman is also intelligent. Smart. Very kind. (Sometimes our late fee policy is cruel. She was very patient as I tried to help her in everywhere possible.) I could tell him that there is much more to her than her body. That she is also a mother of two girls who come into the store a lot. That she likes odd horror films. That she is really fucking funny. That she is a wonderful and kind
woman person. I could let him know that sexualizing someone is not an okay thing to do.
So what did I do?
I did what was easiest.
I played straight.
I agreed with him.
Nodded my head.
And now… hours and hours later…. It haunts me that I live in a world where it is easier to pretend I want to use someone for their body rather than be honest. That, as a gay man, it is safer to sexaulize women than to not.