Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
December 14, 2009
I am... annoyed.
Category: Travels

So, first things first -- for those of you in the NYC area, I'll be in town this Saturday (that is, December 19) if you'd like to catch up. My tentative plan is to explore the shops during the day before grabbing a sushi dinner at Bamboo 52... and then from there I have no idea. My bus out of there won't leave until roughly 4 AM Sunday morning, so I will definitely be available to hang out with any of you night owls or vampires. 😛

Speaking of night owls and vampires, I actually went out to one of our local goth spots -- DC Midnight -- this past Saturday to see Xuberx play. It was a little disappointing, since I primarily went to see Liebchen perform and apparently she's no longer with the band, but it wasn't an entirely unpleasant experience. If nothing else, the Meeting Place (the bar where Midnight is held) serves great turkey burgers.

That said, I will say that I don't especially like going to Midnight -- which is probably why I go there very rarely (I was last there in May; before that was probably sometime in 2007) and generally only to see certain acts. That's not necessarily saying much, since as a rule I'm not terribly fond of social gatherings, but I have a particular issue with Midnight... or rather with certain attendees. Nearly every time I have shown up at Midnight, someone has asked me, "What are you?"

I fucking hate that question. I hate it when people ask it with respect to one's ethnic background; I hate it when it's asked concerning one's political affiliation. I hate it when children ask it and I have no idea what they mean. And I certainly hate it when people ask it about one's sexual orientation, which is what they've meant the multiple times this question has been broached at Midnight.

I suppose the question in all contexts isn't quite as annoying if it is part of a greater discussion in which the asking party understands that the answer itself doesn't necessarily mean much. For instance, as long as one understands that being a member of X political party doesn't entail that an individual supports a particular candidate or policy -- and has no intention of making any serious inferences or judgments or criticisms of the individual for his/her political affiliation or failure to support certain candidates or policies simply because of it -- I think it's acceptable to ask about that. Actually, I think the question is generally less offensive with respect to politics, if only because it presumably deals with one's actual beliefs and views as opposed to largely irrelevant stuff.

Regarding sexuality, however, I maintain that the answer to "what are you?" doesn't tell one anything important or useful about a person. I don't even think the question really makes sense. Even if sexual orientation is so cut and dry in some or even most cases that those people can effectively be defined as "straight," "gay," and so on, I don't think that these are properly states of being. The question is meaningless.

Moreover, while it could just be because I find the question incredibly rude and can't think of another reason they'd be asking (unless they're tallying up the sexual demographics of the club for whatever reason), I get the impression that the guys who have asked me that question -- only guys have ever asked me that question -- are looking for an "in" with me, which makes me really uncomfortable and irritated. If that's their intention, I sort of wish they'd just ask what they really want to know.

"Hey," they might say, "would you be interested in going on a date with me sometime?" -- or, "Hey, how would you like to join me in the restroom stall in about fifteen minutes for some anal sex?" And I'd say, "Sorry, I would not be interested in that at all -- but I do very much appreciate your frankness." With that out of the way, the conversation could either continue about whatever or the guy could go off to seek more receptive company.

When the guy asked, "What are you?" on Saturday, I pretended as if I didn't hear him at first and kept drinking my whiskey and cranberry juice (really awful stuff, but the bartender put enough whiskey in it that it was the last drink I felt I needed to order). He persisted, which prompted me to ask him to clarify his meaning -- though I was relatively sure I knew what he meant. He confirmed my suspicion by clarifying that he wanted to know whether I am straight, gay, bi, et cetera. I told him that I suppose I am straight, but that I don't think things are ever quite that simple.

He said, matter-of-factly, "That's what I thought."

At this point I was really annoyed, though I responded with a laugh. "Oh?" I said, raising an eyebrow. "What did you think?"

"That you go both ways," he said -- again with certainty and without humor.

"I see," I said. Then I spoke in resolute tones: "Well, by your definition, I would probably be asexual."

-posted by Wes | 4:29 pm | Comments (2)
  • the Jax says:

    That does sound annoying. A less common preliminary to the usual bar activity of selecting parties with whom to conduct carnal interludes. If you were a female you'd hear a lot of similar harassment in almost any bar, though perhaps more creative and less offensive.

    • Wes says:

      Yeah, women do probably have it way worse in that respect. I'm sure I've never asked a woman if she were a lesbian, though! Possibly because they tend to volunteer that information freely... though perhaps they're just saying it to deter me. 😐

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