Thursday, September 25, 2003

coming out, again (and again)
Last Sunday, while doing next to nothing at work, I noticed the cook looking past me, out the window. I quickly saw that he was gazing at a woman clear across the street. Seeing me seeing this, he said, "You like?" I simply said "naw." He replied with "You don't like ladies, why not?" "Oh, you know, just different" was my response. You see, while we get along just fine, his English is fairly basic restaurant-related stuff, and of course my Spanish is about 3 words: alado, cerveza, and, um, cerveza. So we never have lengthy or in-depth conversations. Anyway, after this exchange, I remarked to one of the waitresses, "I think I just came out to the cook." She asked what I meant, and laughed after I told her what has just transpired, and said, "I dunno". I mentioned that he sometimes calls me "sweetie" (an "in" joke at the restaurant) when my meals are ready, so I figured he, and eveyone else knew already. She said "just different" is just too subtle, especially for someone his age (he's at least several years older than me, which is ancient compared to most of my co-workers) and also said that the way I will be able to tell if he now "gets it" is if he stops calling me "sweetie."

Then I sat down, playing free cell on the computer, and started to get sorta sad. That would suck if he stopped calling me sweetie. It sounds silly, I guess. The first couple of times he did it, I thought it was a kinda ribbing about me being gay, but he's such a nice guy, that I figured even if that's true, that he didn't mean it in a mean way, but a familiar, 'we can laugh together' way. But now it makes me think that it would be a shame if knowing I'm gay would then make him less playful, less OK with automatically saying something which is, actually, rather sweet. (sigh)

Later, one of the young downstairs kitchen guys came up into the take-out side, and was talking to me and the delivery guy. Silly talk about tequila, weed, nonsense like that. The delivery guy left to do a delivery, and the two of us continued to talk. Then I noticed he had a video cassette in his hands, and I gestured for it. He handed it to me, and I saw the label: Barely Legal Latinas. I laughed and handed it back, he laughed and said, "You like?" I simply said "naw", to which he responded, "Why not?" I glanced at the cassette again, and said "Latinas means women, right?" He agreed, and I said "Latinos, sure", stressing the last sylable. For half a second he had a puzzled look on his face, then as his hand went to cover his mouth, he said "OHHHHHH!"; when I added "I like men", he smiled sweetly, then a quieter, 'it's no big deal' "oh". We continued to chat about drinking and nonsense, then he had to get back to work.