A couple weekends ago, the Girl and I went to a roller derby match. The audience at these matches are definitely “our kind” of people. By this, I mean they are more alternative, and for lack of better terms, they are less hetero WASP-y and more… Tattooed and dyed. They’re great. They’re nice people and all the girls there either look gay or are gay, and so as a lesbian couple, the Girl and I feel very safe.
The celebratory party was being held at a bar near the big college campus. But, being vaguely adventurous and good-natured people, we decided to go. I mean really, how weird could this be for us? We’re just people going to an establishment that serves alcohol, right?
Wrong. So, SO wrong.
We walked into the end of a basketball game being broadcast onto at least three dozen TVs in the bar. This wouldn’t have been a problem, but the team FROM the college in this town was playing, and it was that ridiculous March Madness season which is kind of a big deal for basketball. Everywhere we turned there were clones wandering about, most clad alike – red shirts, dark denim jeans, white shoes. The males were at least seven feet tall (and most were blonde, which I thought was bizarre). There were backwards baseball caps EVERYWHERE. The resemblance to Cro-Magnon men and Neanderthals was amazing! Brows furrowed in concentration, they would hoop and holler at every point scored by the home team.
And then… The women. Leggings, first of all, are NOT PANTS. They aren’t. They’re like thick tights, and unless you’re Lady Gaga you are NOT to wear them on their own. I don’t want to see the curvature of your ass; I don’t care how good you think it looks. Your t-shirt is NOT long enough to make it okay, and you look stupid. This is all beside the point, of course. These girls were all about five feet tall (I’m 5’8″, for reference), and many were hanging off numerous things, be it the bar, a stool, one of the tall collegiate Neanderthals, or each other. Everyone was drinking shitty beer. Everyone. SO MUCH BUDWEISER AND MILLER LITE. It was astonishing.
The Girl and I were the first of the roller derby bunch to get there, and we ordered drinks and tried not to bump into anyone (or get bumped into). It was a really uncomfortable twenty minutes of my life, and I’m sure it was for my companion. After about that much time, people started to trickle in (most of whom looked to have similar reactions to me upon entry – if I’d had a camera I’d show you all the “WTF IS THIS?” faces.) Eventually the game was over and the roller derby partiers were more numerous.
This whole experience, though, got me thinking: Why go somewhere you don’t feel safe? Do girls enjoy it? After speaking with the Girl, she told me that the only reason she felt okay being somewhere like that, where we are clearly fish out of water, was because I was with her. This was at once flattering and sad. So tell me, ladies and gents, what do YOU do to make sure your companion is having a good time AND feeling safe? Do you even consider it? I realize that I’m a little different – I like being different than others, and I’m pretty open and proud. Can this get me in trouble? Yes. Has it? Yes. However, I refuse to live under a rock, only going to places where I will be one of the many. I don’t like “fitting in” all the time; sometimes it’s good for you, and your relationship, to do things and go places and spend time with/around people who are unfamiliar.
That’s all I have for you today. Be careful, pay attention when someone says they don’t feel safe for whatever reason, but try to have new experiences. It’s not bravery, and it’s not stupidity. I think it’s just plain old open-mindedness. You don’t have to put on a macho “I can take care of you in this uncomfortable situation” air, but suggesting different things can help keep your life, and your relationship, interesting.