Seems like the McGreevey rant made me have to catch my breath. Also, work life and the "married" life have proven very rewarding, yet time-consuming. I'm also trying to reestablish my exercise routine and Peter and I still strive finish the small nit-picky things around the house.
Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, is home to a small, but largely undercover queer population. Asheville, NC, home to the fantastic and historic Oak Grove lodge, and about two hours away, is reportedly one the nation's most gay-friendly cities and I've heard good things about the environment at UNC Greensboro, about an hour away. Charlotte, is by and large, a pretty quiet city and is comprised, like Atlanta, of many close suburbs and towns with very definite personalities. And although a queer presence is obvious to the trained or even semi-trained eye, it seems many of the city's denizens are still thrown for a loop or strongly curious to see two out men together and being/acting like a couple.
Peter and I generally refrain from many overt romantic or affectionate gestures in public, although certainly they do happen. But we act like a couple - at the grocery store we discuss what we want for dinner over the course of the week or argue over which flavor of ice cream to buy (usually ending up with both) - at a restaurant we might share some food or kid about who is going to pay -at home, I think we appear more than just roommates, often sharing a ride, or taking out the garbage together, and such. I hope that in all of these and other situations, it is obvious that we are together. But this togetherness does bring some stares.
People carefully trying to look like they're not looking fail pitifully as the follow us around or crane their neck as we go the other way down an aisle. These are looks I used to get going to places with black female friends. That "are they what I think they are" kind of look (no to the black woman, yes to the man on my arm). Granted we live in a smaller, quieter suburb, but we're not the only queers around here either. And other gay couples can be sighted time to time. Now, while this angered Pat the angry Lowe's Hardware lesbian, I'm rather quite happy with it.
I hope people can see us and say "oh look those fags aren't trying to molest children, entice upright Christian men, or sell us skin care products, maybe we were wrong about denying them civil rights."
Pat, as I'm sure you're wondering, is a woman we met on a home-improvement outing. I kid about lesbian rage, but she was full of it. The woman was incensed about being lied to about the availability of pineapple for her Hawaiian pizza. They told her they had the pineapple in stock, but, no, she saw that they actually had to run out and get the pineapple from a store. They were out and they lied about it. Also, she asserted, they singled her out by putting their bruschetta on a paper plate, while breeder received fine plasticware. I mean, serving an appetizer on a paper plate is a major faux pas, but it's hardly anything to carry a grudge about. You just don't invite those people over for your fabulous dinner parties. Also, Pat(named change to protect the incensed) was mad she couldn't get any privacy. People dared to recognize her and her "friend's" car that she would drive occasionally.
The saying goes that "familiarity breeds contempt." I hope that, in this case, familiarity will breed tolerance, maybe even acceptance. There's much political fodder in trying to show straight people that we are just like they are - that's not always a good thing. But straight people do need to realize that we aren't corrupters of innocent children and the American Way either. Plus, we throw fabulous dinner parties.