Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Straight Assumptions

This past Sunday, I rode my Harley to lead and join a large motorcycle event held in Washington, DC. I was dressed in leather breeches and a pair of tall patrol boots, and my perforated H-D leather shirt. So yeah, I was wearing leather head-to-toe. Again. So what?

I forget. There are indeed those who notice. Most don't say anything, but two did. Here's what they said and my reply.

1. A retired DC cop who was on the ride with my group looked me up and down and said, "I know a couple bars around the corner where you would fit right in." He did not know that I knew that he was referring to the DC Eagle, which is the closest thing to a leather bar that there is in Washington, DC. There really isn't any other bar that is known as a "leather bar" in DC. The Green Lantern "turns leather" one weekend each year when Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL) is going on, but otherwise, it's as much of a twink bar as anywhere else.

My response: "Okay, you want to show me?" Honestly, I couldn't believe that I had the nerve to say something like that, but that is what fell out of my mouth. The cop just shook his head and I moved on.

It was obvious that he was making judgments based on what I was wearing, and probably was trying to be funny, not realizing with whom he was speaking. And you know what? Too bad. Or, "so what?" If he had made an issue out of it, I probably would have explained in clear terms, "yeah, I'm gay, I like leather, I have a partner who does, too!" But he didn't say anything else and neither did I.

It also demonstrates that this retired cop thought I was straight (I mean, there aren't any bikers who lead motorcycle rides and interact with cops and ride a big Harley who are gay, are there??? LOL!)

I spoke with him again as I was getting ready to leave. He asked me how my wife felt about being left alone on Mother's Day. I don't know where in the world he arrived at the assumption that I had a wife. We had not talked much... so he just assumed. I told him, "I'm sure there will be lots of chores waiting for me when I get home," but I deliberately didn't push the issue about the fact that my spouse-equivalent is a man. This guy was just plain oblivious, and I didn't have the time or energy to correct false assumptions all day.

2. Another guy looked at my belt buckle, which clearly says, "665" on it, and said, "one less than hell, huh?" Ooops, I didn't change it. The 665 Leather store gave it to me when they made my leather breeches. The guy who made a remark about the buckle understood what 665 means by the choice of its store name, "one number short of hell." I really didn't think much about it, but I agree, it gives a message that perhaps I didn't intend to give in a public gathering with families around. I was walking when that other guy said what he said to me, so I kept moving and didn't say anything.

When I got home and removed the breeches, I changed the belt buckle to something less ostentatious.

Oh well, these things happen when you have gay fetish gear that you mix up as biker leathers and ride with and attend straight biker events.

Life is short: keep your cool.


Anonymous said...

Reading this post makes me realize how much of what people know and understand is limited to a very small view of the world. Moreover, that limited understanding expects that others have exactly the same understanding and react in the same ways to events and circumstances. This retired cop believed you to be straight because although he was vaguely familiar with the leather bar and its patrons, his world view was probably influenced more by his perception of how gays are supposed to "behave" contrasted with how straights "behave". To him, their choice of clothing was more costuming than anything else. It's sad to realize that although we can work in fields that expose us to various aspects of life and different types of people, unless we make an effort to learn something from those encounters, our world views never change.


Booted Harleydude said...

Thanks, Kevin. I agree that people have limited world views, and do not seek opportunities to expand them, because they fear the unknown.

That's among the reasons why I had to blur the patches on my vest, because the world view of the license holder of the patches is narrow-minded to the point of being homophobic. They warned me that I could not show these patches on my blog because my blog, in their narrow opinion, is not "family friendly." Grrrr....