Guess what! I’m gay. Ok, if this does not surprise you, congratulations, you’ve been paying attention. Give yourself a pat on the back. Or a cookie, whichever floats your boat. I’m getting to the point where I’m pretty open about my sexuality. Open, but not necessarily lewd; I’m only lewd when the situation calls for it.
I’m also pretty open about this fact to my immediate co-workers as well. Mind you, I did not exactly wander into the room my first day and say, “Hello, bitches, I’m a lesbian. Deal with it.” Instead, I kept myself pretty deep in the closet for as long as I could. But by the end of that first year, most of them had me figured out.
I cleared up any remaining misconceptions this year, but again, only with my immediate coworkers, not to any other staff members, students or their parents. I’m sure several staff members outside the SLC groups have either heard things or simply guessed correctly, but nothing has been said. Whatever, I don’t really care what people think or say.
Except for when someone who KNOWS I’m gay goes and says something really, REALLY stupid like, “oh, that’s so gay.”
On Tuesday, one of my dear co-workers mentioned a business a few blocks from the school, where the baristas are clad in a little bit of fabric and a lot of imagination. The rest of them chimed in and while I let them have their rants, I mentally countered most of them. However, I kept my opinions to myself; I wasn’t sure where the issue was going to go, so I held my tongue. I didn’t feel like putting myself in a situation where I’d have to shoot my way out.
I even managed to keep silent while one misinformed gal blustered on about how elementary school students “have to walk past one of those places just to go to and from school every day.”
She’s wrong. That particular business is on a very busy road. Having been a member of the district’s Safe Walking Committee, I happen to know that the road where the business is located, despite having sidewalks, is NOT considered a safe walking zone and none of those kids should be anywhere near that road. Or that business. Besides, you can’t see much when you walk by; you have to get up to the damn window to see anything. I know this for a fact. I also know that particular stand has some of the worst coffee in the city, but I digress.
They all moaned and tore their hair at how “those poor girls” were ogled by men and that was “the only reason anyone stopped by those places.”
Um, those “poor girls” get an average of 300 dollars in tips every day. They enjoy their jobs, it’s part time so they can go to school and still afford to pay their bills They’re not on state assistance, and they contribute to the economy. It’s not a forever job, and they’re not forced to work there. I had a nice long chat with one bikini-clad barista during a slow time at the coffee stand. Very informative, and entertaining.
Anyway, my coworkers spent the next 15 minutes ranting about the evils of these coffee stands, tossing a few facts in with their emotions and jumping to conclusions. Someone even said, “We need to get a petition going to get rid of them.”
Now, I’m all for getting rid of bad coffee, but I’m fine with whatever the baristas choose to wear.
Then came the coup de grace, or more like the gaff o’ the day…I honestly wonder if she’s truly an idiot or just too young and thoughtless to STFU when she should. But she said, (and this is a direct quote) “Only men and lesbians go to those places.” It got kind of quiet after that. The discussion stumbled to a halt and awkward glances were cast my way. I said nothing, I just smiled sweetly.
Yes, I’ve been to “those places” and I’ve had a good look and gone away feeling pretty damn good. They’re polite, sexy, and they’ll even flirt with a fat, old lesbian who doesn’t tip all that well. Who wouldn’t feel good after that? It’s all in fun. It’s only a little more intimate and much less intrusive than striking up a conversation with someone sunbathing in a park. Sunbathers are generally not very communicative because you might be blocking their rays.
I also happen to know of several straight women who patronize the bikini coffee shops. As one of them puts it, “the baristas are nice, the coffee is good, and the owner is awesome.”
I believe in the right of women to work in whatever profession they choose, providing it is legal in the state where they live. They should be able to work as bikini baristas without being judged as misguided or pathetic, or worse.
This is, after all, America. You know, the “land of the free, home of the brave,” “justice for all,” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” place. You don’t have to agree with everyone, you don’t even have to like everyone, but we all need to share this lovely country, this beautiful world. A healthy dose of tolerance and acceptance would go a long way to making things a lot better.