Friday, August 14, 2009

Kissing and competition

"We both believe that there's not enough love and affection in the world, because most people are afraid to show it. We should never be afraid of brief, unimposing displays of affection. There is nothing wrong with a hug, a kiss on the mouth, a kiss on the cheek."--David Badash and David Mailloux, organizers of the Great Nationwide Kiss-In

I'm still astonished by this, and so is everyone else I know. No doubt y'all remember the small plane and the helicopter crashing over the Hudson River last weekend. I was working in Manhattan when it happened. I didn't see it, but I did hear it. The air traffic controller was too busy talking to his girlfriend or girl who's a friend or whatever on the phone. I'm all for silliness at work and conversations with friends and lovers, but...damn. Just, damn.

I saw the Time Traveler's Wife tonight. Only watch it if you really love Eric Bana (hi, Ange!) and/or Rachel McAdams. If you don't, read the book. Hell, read the book no matter what, particularly if you don't mind crying and/or suspending disbelief. I hope District 9 will be better.

Tomorrow's going to bring an absolutely delightful protest that I can't attend because I have to finish up my interior decorating job!!!! I have to repeat five of my favorite words in the English language to myself: "On time and under budget." I'm going to be mature and think about my referrals. But damn, I really wanted to spend the day kissing on L'Ailee! Yes, August 15th is the Great Nationwide Kiss-In. Everyone's supposed to be synchronized at 2 pm EDT. While people of all gender identities and sexual orientations are welcome to participate in whatever combination, it is a protest against recent attempts to punish same-sex couples for expressing affection in public. I'd like to think I'm way better at kissing than making posters. Some people, such as Peter LaBarbera (a/k/a "Porno Pete") from the ironically-named Americans for Truth, are very much against even kissing, just kissing, by same-sex couples. They want to shield "the children" from it. That's really a good reason to do it, I think.

L'Ailee and I are pretty ladylike, sticking to hand-holding and little pecks in public. It's easier to be ladylike now--we did have our moments at airports in our long-distance days. We know it's still a bit of a statement to hold hands at NASCAR races and hockey games, events where same-sex couples don't often express affection, so we do it anyway. (At least we don't deep-kiss to celebrate one of our drivers being up front or a goal by a member of one of our teams, like we do at home!) We have kissed in public just to make a point before, several times. The point is always this: "Don't you *ever* fucking think you have the fucking self-declared authority to tell us, two fellow adult citizens, your legal *equals*, that we aren't fucking *allowed* be ourselves within your line of vision." My favorite of these incidents happened shortly after I moved into L'Ailee's place for good. We exchanged a quick little kiss on her--oops, our--front stoop before parting. A Muslim woman in a chador came up to us and ranted about how we were "showing off our sinfulness" in front of her children. Always the children. *sighs*

I tried to engage the woman in a civil debate. I did that more often then, before I started to lose my appetite for trying to plead my case to people who had made up their minds about me and mine already. L'Ailee never had any patience for that sort of thing. She's far less verbal and far more into direct action than I am. My hair, then as now, reached the middle of my back. She bent me so far back that the ends of my hair brushed the ground, took off my glasses, and proceeded to deep-kiss me like she was going off to war! When we finally came up for air, we found we had some spectators. The Muslimah wasn't among them. I kinda wish she'd come back. Porno Pete is also welcome in my neighborhood. ;-)

Going in another direction....I have mentioned before that my wife is absurdly competitive. L'Ailee nearly got thrown off her high school field hockey team more than once for her on-field demeanor, and was only allowed to stay because she, um, won games for them. Even today, a casual game of chess or preference (a Russian card game that's similar to bridge) will find her trash-talking her friends, possibly sweeping everything off the table if she loses. I have only played anything against her a handful of times in our many years together--Mortal Kombat once, checkers once, and street hockey twice. I don't like to do it often. It sets her teeth on edge when a NASCAR driver expresses hope that he finishes in the top 15 (out of 43) before a race. "He should hope to *win*," L'Ailee says. "He should have his car taken away and given to a real driver who will try to win. I'm sure there are many on those small dirt tracks." Those kinds of drivers get one of her deepest insults, "useless," quite a bit.

Her best friend A. dated L'Ailee when they were teenagers, before she came out as lesbian. A. is doomed to spend his life surrounded by competitive women. His ex-wife is one, too, though her arenas have been academic and professional rather than athletic. His "almost nine year old" daughter is turning out to be another. She was both a star and a holy terror on her youth hockey team last season, and sees no reason why she can't become the first woman to win the Stanley Cup. (Neither does her father.) Her mother put her on a kids' bowling league this summer. She wanted to practice on the sidewalk when she wasn't playing. She trash-talked members of both older and younger teams. She quite vocally refused a "participation" certificate, calling it....wait for it...."useless." Even getting second place hit her a bit hard. It took everything L'Ailee and I had not to die laughing at one incident. She made a boy on her team cry. He was, in her words, "dragging us all down." So she informed him that "if you aren't here to win, you're just taking up space." It fell to A., then to me, to try to explain why she needed to be much nicer to that boy and others like him. It did take, in the sense that she was permitted to complete her season in that bowling league.

So of course I thought of those ladies when I got this in my e-mail from yesterday, and wanted to share.

The Top 5 Signs Your Recreational Sports League Has Gotten Too Competitive

5> Little Timmy refuses to bat because the pitcher's mom is holding his dog at gunpoint.

4> The CEO of your aerospace engineering company just traded you to Chuck E. Cheese for a future draft pick.

3> Your volleyball coach doesn't consider it a successful kill shot unless it's followed by a homicide investigation.

2> Motto of your med school hoops league: "No autopsy, no foul."

1> Penalty kicks don't even involve a ball any more.



Casdok said...

Lol - very good!
I feel for you in trying to engage people in a civil debate. As you say people have already made thier minds up. I get it a lot with C when we are out and about.
Hope you get your decorating finished.
x - for the kiss in!

DaisyDeadhead said...

Have a great time at the Kiss-in; it sounds like so much fun! If I was there, I'd definitely find SOMEONE to kiss!

BostonPobble said...

Oooo! Smooches. I love an excuse for smooches. Don't need one but love one. :)

And I'm only competitive with people I don't like. If I don't know you or like you or are indifferent to you ~ eh. I could care. But if you are one of the people I actively dislike, then my competitive streak comes out. Oddly enough, I am incredibly competitive on my friends' behalf though. "What do you mean he thinks he's a better helicopter pilot/writer/lawyer/chef than you are???? Go kick her ass and prove them wrong!" lol

Snooker said...

The Kiss-in is a great idea. Sorry you couldn't participate, but it sounds like you do this in your daily life, and sometimes that is more important.

Berlin had something similar recently. An ice cream parlor had located in the gay neighborhood. Soon the owner started kicking gays and lesbians out for public show of affection because it was "against his belief system" - not straights, just gays. There were two events arranged, each with several hundred couples all standing outside his shop. He called the police the first time but since kissing isn't illegal the cops told him to deal with it on his own. He's long gone now... good way to deal with it.

Christopher said...

I love the kiss-in idea. And I hadn’t heard before that the air traffic controller was talking to his girlfriend or whatever on the phone, but it reminded me of a short story called Love & Hydrogen by Jim Shepard about two gay engineers on the Hindenburg. They weren’t responsible at all for the terrible crash, but they had to keep their love secret because they knew that, among other things, they’d be blamed for it. Sadly I think something similar might still happen today.

Queers United said...

Without all the gays kissing porno pete would be out of a job.

Seda said...

lol! Love it.

Guess I lack that killer instinct. I've been known to intentionally throw chess games to ease a guy's humiliation at being beat by a girl!

Love the Kiss-In. And the Public Displays of Affection. Y'all did exactly the right thing for that woman. Kids learn from adults - and one thing they need to learn is to express affection!

MoonRaven said...

As I come up for air from recent job changes, I'm going to try to comment rather belatedly on last weeks 'Kiss-In'.

On one hand, I am all about love and affection and letting people know you care; on the other, I know PDAs make people uncomfortable (whether same-gender, opposite-gender, or multi-gender)--they even make me uncomfortable. I often feel like I am intruding on someone's private space.

Still, I like L'Ailee's approach to the woman who was complaining about the 'little kiss' you exchanged. Sounds like the two of you put on quite the show.

Anyway, I do hope the Kiss-In was a success.

alan said...

Was hoping to swing by and find out you'd been out surfing...