being seen

Apologies to my dear readers—life got a bit busy, but I promise I do have a nice update on the progress of my tie-tying skills. Which may or may not contain a photo, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer for that.

A few days ago K. and I stopped at a little country market on the way back from visiting my parents…which is to say, in the middle of nowhere. New England is like that. You might only be forty minutes away from a college town, but that doesn’t mean there are streetlights. Some people (Action Girl, you there?) would argue that forty minutes still makes us more civilized, but I grew up in this area and I know when to be cautious–our proximity to the college towns give us a certain buffer from the typical redneck homophobia, but I know what this place is like behind the facade of tolerance. I don’t like going into the country, and I try to keep a respectable distance from her when we’re there. But we go anyways because, well, even the supermarket doesn’t sell squash for 50c/lb.

We’re in line, surrounded by leaf-shaped candies and coolers of kielbasa and bacon (you can almost smell the pigs from which they came), trying to decide whether to keep the celery we’d put in the cart. I hate the stuff, K. loves it, and it was *very* on sale.

The check-out girl, though? Was offering recipes left and right. She sided with K. on the subject of celery soup, and in general made herself more helpful than was necessary. I started to feel uncomfortable, until I looked at her face: this girl was SUCH a dyke. And so obviously pleased to see us. And who can blame her? She’s bagging squash for Polish Catholic grandmothers all day long. So I put my hand on the back of K.’s neck and fixed her collar, just a bit, just to say, “yes, we see you too.” Because it really is nice to be seen.

5 Responses to being seen

  1. dylan says:

    I grew up in a town just outside NYC and it was so homophobic and far away from the big city progressive attitudes… every now and then a fellow queer would cross paths with me, young and insecure at that time, and she/they would do something like your own gesture and it would make my week. It was salvation in the darkness. Thank you for being that person.

  2. Miss Avarice says:

    That’s very special.

  3. backlist says:

    we’re always careful to do something similar. especially as a thank you to someone doing that for us. there’s a lovely older couple (70s?) at the dog park we go to and once or twice I’ve made a point to touch D’s hand as a thank you to them. after all, by being who they are they’re opening the doors for us.

  4. actiongirl says:

    Mmmm. This is nice to read about.

    While I probably wouldn’t share your caution in that particular location–undercurrents of homophobia still aren’t, as you say, “your typical redneck” variety–I’ve certainly had moments like that in places where I *was* cautious/mostly invisible, and it’s one of the loveliest feelings I know.

    (Of course, sometimes there’s something flat-out unsubtle to see, which also makes me awfully happy. My new city is a pretty queer-friendly place, but it’s not as intensively so as downtown is at home . . . so I enjoyed the sight of two women kissing briefly on the subway station escalator this evening.)

  5. i just love that sort of thing. gay people make me happy (especially couples…but i love sweet couples, straight or gay – pda make me smile) and it’s just the more so in “unexpected” places.

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