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Dance Dance Social Revolution

July 13, 2008

There are a number of things to talk about in the gay rights world, like the excellent book I recently read on gay/civil/human rights, how Massachusetts may repeal the law barring non-residents from marrying, or how gay couples in Wisconsin can be fined and/or jailed for getting married in California. Posts on at least some of the above topics are forthcoming, but for now I’d like to talk about something a little closer to home, and a little less doom-and-gloom.

Last night we went out for a night on the town, but this being the Hudson Valley, that meant getting ice cream at the ever-wonderful King Kone, shopping at the mall, and checking out the arcade (Fun Central, which is a lot more fun than its site makes it look). I suppose we could have gotten trashed at the bars along FIshkill’s main drag instead, but that’s not really our thing.

We entered the mall through it’s Target, chatting away, and as we walked down the main aisle among a fair number of people I realized that we were the only ones talking. It seemed like everyone else had paused their conversations to gawk at us, or at least take stock of us. I suppose I’m pretty desensitized by now, because the only thing that bothered me was the eerie silence.

While I waited for my boyfriend to get his hair cut, I took a jaunt over to American Eagle and was amazed to find clothing I actually liked. (My last venture to the mall had been no hit, all miss.) The woman working by the fitting rooms was very friendly, and when she asked me if she could put anything back after I had tried three shirts on, I told her I’d need to get my boyfriend’s opinion before buying anything. She laughed, and said, “That’s what boyfriends are for!”

When I brought him back 10 minutes later, she exclaimed, “This must be him!” and lamented that she didn’t have a boyfriend who would check out her wardrobe selections. (At least she gets a discount.) I said, “Well, this is what our kind of people do, right?”, referring to him and me. The cashier was also very pleasant to us, and she and the guy chatted about music.

I wasn’t terribly shocked to get nice treatment at a clothing store, since as I joked above gay men are kind of in their element at such establishments. (We all have to make light of stereotypes now and then!) The male cashiers at Express in particular are almost always very keen to help us, and in most cases come off a bit creepy for it. In fact, I can think of three specific examples of this off the top of my head, but that’s for another time.

At Fun Central, we played a few intense games of air hockey (I won two out of three) and shot up some invading aliens in some Playstation 1-era game. We also went for a round of Dance Dance Revolution Extreme, in which he kept his own quite competently and I realized I hadn’t entirely forgotten how to play. We must have looked at least somewhat impressive, because in the middle of our final song – which was pushing my limits – I heard someone behind us commentating.

I wasn’t sure if it was in reference to us or the game behind us, but just before the song ended a woman dropped some tokens at the machine and told us to keep playing. Our eyes glued to the screen, we didn’t really see her clearly, and when we finished 30 seconds later she was gone. We called out our thanks, but no one was behind us anymore, and we never figured out if she was just hiding or had left. Either way, it was a nice testament to the fact that there’s plenty of homofriendliness to go around in the world, and to the idea that two men can look good dancing together. Or versus each other.

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