Friday, August 07, 2015

THE HATE THAT'S STILL OK. BUT NOT TO ME.


An open letter to somebody who used to be my friend.

Dear A...

When we were friends in New York, what kind of fat jokes did you tell about me?

I'm curious, because your Facebook posts reflect a real hatred for bigotry, hypocrisy and oppression for everything, except weight. You tear public figures to shreds over their hatred of gays, immigrants, women and religious beliefs. Chris Christie gets fat jokes. Really? Despite all your posturing of being a social liberal and a lover of all people, you still believe it is okay to publicly ridicule people because of their appearance.

While I am disappointed in you, I am not surprised. Weight is the one remaining socially acceptable bigotry. People will lose friendships, jobs and political offices over remarks about blacks, women, religion and disabilities. But say something offensive about a fat person and they get a standing ovation. It is still cool to hate fat people.

Of course the hatred is encouraged. You can’t watch television without seeing six commercials an hour for weight loss products. Celebrities are paid handsome sums to tell the world that fat people are disgusting, unloved and worthless. And people like you follow along.

I lost a friendship with a famous political satirist because I got tired of seeing him on stage and on television making points with fat jokes. I finally asked him, if Chris Christie looked like Tom Cruise, would he embrace his politics? He told me of course not. Then, I asked him, why does everybody else get skewered on politics, but Christie gets fat jokes? And he said, because they’re funny.

He also defended himself by saying fat people could change if they wanted to. Gee. Where I have I heard THAT before? Yes. Fat people can lose weight. You have no idea how many times I have shed the equivalent of a whole person from my frame. But there is something in a fat person that is different, and can’t win the battle to keep it off. In terms you might understand, it isn’t much different than a gay man deciding to go straight by sleeping with women. Can we discuss how that usually plays out?

The gay community is particularly unforgiving of weight. Waif like bodies and abs of steel are the accepted and expected normal condition for a gay man. The majority of the gay community treats overweight men the same way the Westboro Baptist Church treats the gay pride parade. The only thing worse than being gay and fat is being gay, old and fat.

You had your picture taken as part of the NO H8 campaign. You have posted it repeatedly, as have many of our mutual friends. It is your sign to the world that you are part of the campaign to wipe out hatred. Yet every time you make or post a fat joke, you are showing the world that hate is is still perfectly acceptable when it’s aimed at people who are overweight.

So let’s end this where we began it. With politics. I have no love for Chris Christie. Attack his politics, his hypocrisy, his failed financial policies, stupid transportation policies or how he has abandoned the people of New Jersey. Hate his bully tactics and love of cronyism. But hating him because of his weight is no different than people who hate Obama because he is black.

Every time you make a fat joke, you are punching your overweight friends in the face. Every time you ridicule a politician, celebrity or tourist based on their weight, you are telling anybody you know who is fighting that fight that, deep down, you think they are worthless.

At one time I valued your friendship. I thought you were smart, funny, opinionated and a joy to know. But I’m coming to realize that underneath lays the same hatred and bigotry that fuels bullies on the playground and gay bashers in the Village. I can’t respect that. And I’m not going to be quiet about it anymore. You are entitled to your opinions, and I doubt they will change. But please delete the NO H8 picture and knock off the impassioned essays about acceptance and tolerance. They’re just not true.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Straight Couples Are Killing Marriage

Ten years after Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage, and with marriage equality now the law in 19 states, hate, mistrust and bigotry are still as alive and well now as they were a decade, generation and century ago. I used to think I would not see marriage equality in my lifetime. Now that it is here, I wonder if it is acceptance I might not see. Given the nation's record on continuing racial hatred, I'm not sure I should be optimistic.

As I read the stories of states continuing their fights to protect bigotry and justify intolerance and hatred, I search for some logic or reasoning. It eludes me. But here is one thing I do believe. If there is a threat to marriage, it is not same-sex matrimony. The real threat to the future of marriage would be heterosexual couples who have never had to fight for the right to get married.

I did a quick Google search and found that the rate of divorce among same sex couples is about 1% per year. That's half of the 2% rate for straight couples. That means, about 1% of all same-sex marriages and 2% of all straight marriages will end each year. And overall, we already know that about half of all straight marriages will eventually end in divorce.

Same-sex marriage is still too new for researchers to have a real handle on why gay couples are divorcing less than straight couples. But I have my own unscientific theory.

Gay couples have had to wait so long, work so hard and endure so much trauma to be able to get married, that they take it more seriously, appreciate it more, and are more sure of what they are doing by the time they get to do it.

Straight couples have had centuries of taking marriage for granted. What the hell. Go to the courthouse or Vegas, sober or drunk, maybe on a whim, and get married. If it works, great. If it doesn't, end it as quickly as possible and move on. Straight couples treat marriage like a Walgreen's ball point pen. It's cheap, easy, and if it breaks just throw it out and get a new one. No thought needed. Or respect.

Gay couples, on the other hand, have had to fight for generations for basic equal rights, acceptance and then the right to marry. Gays understand the importance of marriage, respect the commitment and understand the love it takes to make the fight worthwhile and necessary.

I wonder how many straight couples in America would take on the same struggle for the right to get married. I think it is worth asking each man and woman who are planning a wedding if their commitment to each other is strong enough to endure what gay couples endure, just for the simple right to be married.

I'm not sure that's a question most straight couples would know how to answer. Or would want to answer.

While there is no research to support my theory, there are new, very real statistics that show the majority of American women are now having at least one child before they get married. And a growing number of mothers never get married. So, while gay men and women are fighting every day for the right to marry, straight people don't seem to really care.

Conservative politicians, preachers and talk-show hosts spew hate-riddled rhetoric deriding same-sex marriage for no reason, other than bigotry and hatred. It has nothing to do with them, yet they can't seem to think about anything else. Church leaders spew venom from the pulpit in their fight against same-sex marriage, but ignore the decay of marriages in their own congregations.

Who is re-defining marriage? It is straight couples who have turned it into an opportunity to justify lavish spending, outrageous gift demands and drunken debacles that may or may not last a year or two. It is straight couples who have decided that marriage is just what they do because their families expect it. It is straight couples who don't really care whether they'll still be married in 10 or 20 years. 

So, back to the 1% and 2%. Will same-sex couples be better at making their marriages work? Will they succeed where straight couples failed? I would like to think so. I would like to believe that gays appreciate and understand the struggle, and respect the rights we are slowly winning. And will same-sex marriages eventually be the law in every state? Again, I hope so. But even when that happens, the fight for equality will continue. Small minded people will always find ways to hate people who look, think or love differently than they do. 

In the end, the fight will continue to make gay men and women stronger, because our fight is for survival and acceptance. I also believe the real concept of marriage and its survival lies with the same-sex couples who love each other enough to fight against all odds for the right to marry. They understand the love and hard work that it takes to make marriage succeed. But marriage as a tradition will not survive if "traditional" is the only kind allowed.



Sunday, January 05, 2014

Just Add Nuts

It's harder to be Liberal than to be Conservative. Liberals have to think. Conservatives just have to hate.

I've spent no small amount of time recently trying to figure out when America started going crazy. I think I'm beginning to realize that this is not a new phenomenon. I think the homophobes and tea partiers and hate mongers in the headlines are not necessarily new nutcases... they're just coming out of their shells, so to speak. I think, for a long time, I felt insulated from the crazies because I lived in a liberal city, worked in a progressive environment, and try not to surround myself with people who have aluminum hats in their wardrobe (to keep out the government's probing satellite rays, of course).

I have long believed that they are a loud-mouthed group of playground bullies who think volume equals being smart or right or even lucid. I still believe they are nothing more than that. But what is becoming increasingly worrisome is their ability to make smart people think stupid things.

They say you can't shout fire in a crowded theater, but the reality is that people can and will do it. And when they do, 500 people who know better will still run in panic, trampling all in their path.

The same with the political crazies. Now, I have no love of the Republican party. But I have believed that even the most vociferous Republican had a degree of common sense, practicality and respect for other people. That apparently is no longer the case in Texas, the Carolinas and other states and communities where Republican lawmakers have adopted platforms laced with paranoia, hatred, bigotry and plain old insanity. Where were the voices of reason? Drowned out by the screamers who envision an all-white, all straight, all protestant, all gun toting, non-tax paying nation, where nobody needs to responsible to or for anything. They forget that it's been tried before. In Germany, in 1939. It didn't work then either.

I listen to people I thought I knew, who are allowing the hate speak to creep into their conversations. I read letters to editors that are laced with paranoia and buzz words that suggest that anger, hatred and distrust will fix the economy, fund our schools and keep mass transit moving.

I don't for a moment believe that the crazies are in the majority. I don't for a moment believe that the loud-mouths who claim to speak for a majority of any community actually do or ever will. But I do believe there is a real danger that the crazies can and will force intelligent, well-meaning and thoughtful people into submission... that smart people will be rendered dumb... and that too many people who know better will keep quiet... giving tacit approval to the idiots.

We are seeing more and more of a gang mentality. Gangs are made up of small groups of cowards who believe they can take an entire community hostage, using fear to force them into submission. The right-wing crazies in tea-party rallies are no different than thugs roaming the streets. And unless we recognize that gang mentality and face them down, we're going to allow them to turn their insanity into our reality.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

The 411 On Leaving The 212

It's been seven months since I left New York, which is about the amount of time it takes to adjust to New York life when you first move there. Except for the way New York wraps itself up for Christmas, I haven't particularly missed the city. I do miss my friends and am very grateful for the ability to stay in touch with many of them. I've been asked the question by friends and family if I would go back to New York to live or work. In the days right after I left, the answer was a resounding "No". That has softened a little to "Probably not", or "I doubt that would happen".

I shared my thoughts on living in New York and leaving with an understanding friend recently. I hope he won't mind me sharing some of them here as well. I told him...

"I think I have always been in love with the possibilities New York holds. But after living there twice, few of those possibilities turned into realities. The frustrations and disappointment just wore me down and wore me out. I need to remind myself that many of New York's so-called promises are like underwear models and go-go boys. ...Admire from afar and fantasize about them, but no more than that. Look, but no touch". *

Don't get me wrong. I can say I made it in New York. Work was successful. I made many friends and had many good times. But making it there and making it mean something are not always the same thing. New Yorkers can be very angry at those who leave and then bad mouth the city or refuse to be suicidal at being gone. I would never bad mouth New York. I loved it for a long time, and then I didn't anymore. I wanted to, but something was gone. The city changed and I changed, but we didn't change in the same direction. I tell people I needed to leave New York while I still cared about it. I did not want to hate a place I had once loved so much.

(* For the record, I know a few people who can and do make the go-go boy fantasies real. Good for them. You know who you are. I salute you.)

Living in New York is not like vacationing in New York. Your world is not restricted to Midtown. There are concessions and compromises every day in where and how you live, how you commute, how you shop and how you unwind. You make those compromises every day because they are the price you pay for living in New York. You wear the badge of sacrifice proudly. (And yes. They are sacrifices.) You share your stories of sacrifice with others who know and "get it".

And then one day, you realize everything is harder than it needs to be. It isn't about the expense. That's a battle nobody wins. It's the things that just make life difficult when they shouldn't have to.
  • The trains and buses that are permanently a little more overcrowded than they used to be. 
  • Streets are more pitted with potholes and damage. 
  • Even a diner lunch means a trip to a cash machine first. 
  • Neighborhood shops are closing because of skyrocketing rents and the stores sit empty for months or even years. 
  • Having a mattress delivered requires faxed insurance documents and e-mail negotiations just to get the delivery guys permission to come into your building. 
  • Other tenants on your floor dumping trash bags on the floor of the trash room because they can't be bothered to throw them down the trash chute. 
  • Paying a storage place $132 a month for a locker that holds about 25 boxes.
  • The difficulty in finding a little quiet.
No one single thing will do it. But enough of them together will take you to the tipping point. Kind of like a dripping faucet will wear down an iceberg.

For the record, New York is not unique. I used to say the same thing about Miami and have been saying the same thing about Hawaii. Living here is very different than being on vacation here. Considering my next destination, that's an ironic statement.

I will ask the indulgence of those who might be offended that I am not wringing my hands about being an ex-New Yorker. I did it twice. I thought I would be there forever. It didn't happen. Just like the couple that decides to split up after spending 25 years together, sometimes the only way to save the friendship is to end the relationship. And I promise, when I do come back to visit, at least I will know proper sidewalk etiquette.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Found Family

Hello 2014.

I want to begin the year, and hopefully a new dedication to this blog, by telling you about "Found Family". It is not a term I came up with it. I first heard it from Steven, one of my closest friends and one of the bravest people I know.

Found Family describes those friends who enter your life and take a special position alongside blood relatives. Sometimes they become more important to you than blood relatives. Some people call them "extended family". I used to use that phrase too, but I never really liked it. I never thought it said enough or told the whole story.

Extended family sounds like an extension cord. It's that thing that runs along the ground to get you from one place to another, or closes a gap of of inconvenience. Describing people as extended family lacks depth, importance or uniqueness.

Found Family, on the other hand, tells a marvelous story in just two words. In most cases, something we find is unexpected, a treat or revelation, hard to describe and impossible to replace. It's like a hidden treasure, a long lost letter or piece of jewelry or a sudden answer to one of life's mysteries. Found Family are people you never knew you were looking for, never knew you wanted or needed in your life, and make your life better just by being who they are. There are no limits and no expectations. There is no baggage, no drama to dredge up on holidays and no resentments to recollect at any opportunity. Found Family is there for you without any expectations. They know what you are thinking and feeling, because they think and feel it themselves. Pain and joy are shared and understood. Arms are open wide and ears are there to listen, and not just to hear.

I love my Found Family. I can count on them no matter what. I hope they know they can count on me as well. We are on a journey together, and while relatives might pop up here and there along the road, Found Family is always riding shotgun.

I could spend time and column space ticking off my own family issues and drama. But that serves no real purpose right now. Oh, you can count on reading some stories later on. But for now, I am just grateful for my Found Family.

I hope you have a Found Family. I hope you can experience the joy they bring into your life, and appreciate the support they give you when life just sucks. And remember... while ancestry charts are drawn with straight lines from top to bottom, Found Family is a circle. No patriarchs and no kids table. Just one circle of love shared, expanding out and welcoming others in.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2013 Reboot

Well, that was an interesting three year break.

A lot has happened since my last blog post. Not the least of which is that President Obama is finally on board with marriage equality. The credit for that, in my opinion, goes to the changing tide of public opinion, the acceptance of marriage equality in more states, and the hard work of local and regional action groups to get the message across.

Note: That does not include the HRC. They're still too busy drafting fundraising letters to organize rallies and community outreach. Still, they're never too busy to accept credit for the hard work of other people.

Some of the real heroes in the marriage equality fight are the people of Broadway Impact. (http://broadwayimpact.com/) This amazing group of men and women from New York's theater community deserve an enormous amount of credit for building the groundswell of public support that brought state legislators to their senses, and made marriage equality real. I believe New York also started a real wave of support that is rolling across the country. And they did it all with a minimum amount of money. And while they were making history, they were still performing eight shows a week. I am a real fan of Broadway Impact. 

Then there was work stuff and personal stuff and other stuff. Much of that can wait. 

Right now, I am enrolled in the Political Management Program at George Washington University, starting work on my master's degree. Distance learning while (temporarily) living in Hawaii. Expect to see posts about politics and online education in the coming months. Also, I have some thoughts about living in Hawaii and comparisons to living in New York. Those will be coming. And I'll still have opinions about other life stuff. Oh... and some thoughts on the New York mayoral race, even though I don't live there anymore.

For now, I'm probably talking to myself. I hope to bring some readers back, and attract some new ones. 

So, thank you for your patience. 
Here we go again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Which of the President's Two Faces Do I Believe?

Dear President Obama:

Rumor has it that you get angry about being heckled about Don't Ask Don't Tell. Rumor has it that you think gay Americans don't understand the complexities involved in reversing unfair and bigoted policies that sanction legalized discrimination in the United States. Rumor has it that you don't understand why gay Americans think you haven't just let us down: you have stabbed us in the back. Over and over again.

Like most American political rumor, that last one is more fact than fiction. And here's another one for you. Don't count on a groundswell of support in 2012 from many in the nation's LGBT community.

I am not empowered to speak for the tens of millions in the LGBT community, so I will speak only for myself.

In the early campaign season of 2008, I was not an Obama supporter. My support went to Hillary Clinton. While far from perfect and with her own political baggage, I believed she was honest and truthful, even when she said things people didn't always want to hear. I will believe and trust that person far more than someone who seems to have the ideal answer for everything and rarely draws a critical concern from their base camp. You fell into that second group.

I voted for Hillary in the primary, even though it was obvious by then which way the tide was turning. But, when the ticket was decided and Barack Obama was the candidate, you got my support and my vote. And in the 22 months since your nomination, you continued to have my support. I defended your decisions and administration because I believe that change doesn't happen overnight and that true progress involves hard decisions.

Many of your positions will not help me, and, in fact, some will not be in my best interest. Your health care plan will not improve my health care options; your tax plans will probably do me more harm than good; your Social Security decisions will have an impact on retirement decisions I will have to make soon. But I understand the big picture and the greater good. I am better off than many. So, even if I am personally harmed by your changes, if a stronger nation and healthier population is the result, I am a supporter.

But, President Obama, you are quickly losing me. I'm no longer sure which of your two faces I should be listening to. You tell us you believe in LGBT equality but you oppose marriage equality. You claim you oppose the Defense of Marriage Act, yet you are allowing your administration to appeal the federal court ruling that found DOMA unconstitutional.

You claim you oppose Don't Ask Don't Tell. Yet you are allowing your administration to appeal the federal court ruling that found DADT unconstitutional. Here, your administration rationalizes this insanity by saying the end of DADT must happen legislatively and not judiciously, to allow the military an orderly transition.

What a load of crap. This can and should be a no-brainer. The military stops persecuting its gay enlistees. Period. Orderly transition accomplished. If the nation followed your "orderly transition" logic, then Rosa Parks would have been ordered to sit in the back of that bus for another 40 years while the Montgomery bus line wrote a new rule book.

It is beyond all sane logic and reason that this nation continues to debate the basic civil rights of 10% of its population. It is beyond all sane logic and reason that your administration doesn't just allow it; your administration encourages it. In my opinion, your administration is far more dangerous to the LGBT community than any Republican administration in the last 30 years. Why? Because we knew they hated us, and in their hatred, we found unity and activism. We became a force.

But the Obama administration's false claims of support and inclusion hypnotized our community, and lulled it into a false sense of security. Fortunately, our community is now awaking from that haze and becoming aware that we have no true friend in the Oval Office. We are realizing that we have been betrayed, and that there is no end to the lies and betrayal.

So, President Obama, while I know I cannot trust your promises, you can indeed trust mine. Unless things change, you will not have my support in the 2012 campaign. No money and no defense of your administration. My money and my support will go to good Democratic House, Senate, and local candidates who are honorable and will work toward equality. I will support those men and women who have courage and speak with one message.

Here's the bigger issue: What do I do about my vote for president? I don't vote for Republicans because I could never support a candidate or incumbent who sanctions hate and discrimination as U.S. policy. But... how different is the Obama presidency? Your administration, in its benign neglect and callous disregard for the concept of equality contributes and sanctions the hatred and discrimination that still endure. Leaders make right decisions even when they are unpopular. Unfortunately President Obama, you do not make that cut.


In a national mood that is dark and distrustful, you are alienating your friends even faster than your enemies. People are angry that little has changed since George Bush occupied the White House. What federal strides and protections can the LGBT community point to, as a result of the Obama administration? What advancements are ahead that we can count on?

I don't worry about our advances on the state level. Our state leaders have a better understanding of human rights and progress than our federal leaders. And those who have disappointed us are finding themselves on the outside looking in. We have a better chance of kept promises on the state and local level. That's where my support will go. While Washington continues its long history of working only in Washington's interest, our states and our cities are winning the war on discrimination.

So, President Obama... do you want to see real anger? Start really listening to the men and women in the LGBT community. If you don't the silence that will follow will be deafening.


Monday, August 23, 2010

SHOW TARGET YOU ARE SHOPPING ELSEWHERE

Here's how.
Collect your receipts from merchandise you are buying at other stores that you could have gone to Target for.
Bundle them together.
Open the file for the TARGET LETTER. Print it out and complete it.
Clip the receipts to it and mail it to:

TARGET CORPORATION
Beth M. Jacob
Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer
1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Do this again and again. Make sure you do it for your Halloween purchases as well.
If necessary, carry it through Christmas.

Show Target that the dollars not being spent at Target are indeed being spent elsewhere.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE TARGET LETTER



Sunday, August 01, 2010

HRC: LESS TALKIN'; MORE WALKIN'

I should make this clear right off the bat. I am not a fan of the HRC (Human Rights Campaign).

It isn't that I don't believe in their mission or what they claim they are here to do. Good God, I'm gay. Of course I believe in it. But, as I have said before, I don't believe the HRC knows how to get the job done. The HRC is all about writing letters and issuing press releases. And raising money. My God, do those people love to raise money. If there were a Nobel Prize for fund-raising, it would have to go to the HRC. (With GLAAD a close second, but they are for another time.).

Right now, American gays are uber-pissed at Target and Best Buy for their corporate political contributions to MN Forward, a Minnesota PAC established primarily to support Tom Emmer, a conservative candidate for governor who, among other things, doesn't support equal rights.

The HRC has decided to lead the charge of chagrin and has deployed as its primary weapon, an open letter to Target (the link is below) that has all the anger and disdain of a Fifth Avenue matron who has discovered a tea stain on her doily.

Among the more outraged passages:
  • "With these contributions, you have severely damaged those carefully cultivated reputations and violated the spirit of the gold standards bestowed on you."
  • "What may have sounded like a “good business decision” in the board room turns out to be a horribly short-sighted business decision when millions of consumers lose respect for your companies."
  • "Your foray into this uncharted water has proved choppy and should serve as a warning to other corporations mindful of the perceptions of LGBT and allied consumers."
I'm sure Target executives are quivering.

But the most telling line is the last one:
"We’re watching and we’re waiting."

Yes... that's what the HRC does best. They watch. They wait. They watch some more. They wait longer. They will watch any progress our community has made in the last 25 years slip away, waiting for somebody somewhere to do something. The HRC wants Target and best Buy and everyone else to do the right thing. I hope the HRC, and the rest of us, are prepared to wait a long time.

The HRC is content to play diplomats in an arena where human rights are a blood sport. Our opponents are not polite. They don't write neatly spaced letters posted on optimistic websites. Our opponents raise hell. They rally people into demonstrations, carrying signs, demanding press and swaying public opinion. Our opponents are loud and obnoxious and they are very good at getting their way. The fact that their campaigns are based on lies and hatred cannot hide the fact that they are effective.

Do I advocate lies and hate speech? No. Do I think it is time for the fight for equality to move into the streets? Hell yes! Equal rights in this country have never been won by the printed word alone. Whether it was civil rights in the 60's, women's rights in the 70's or ACT-UP in the 80's, the struggles that mattered were in the streets. Progress came through protests, demonstrations and, when necessary, non-violent civil disobedience.

The HRC has the strength and the reach to organize the community into meaningful public displays of anger. The HRC could find a way to take this beyond the equality question, and to show that Target & Best Buy are funding a candidate who doesn't just hate gays.
  • Tom Emmer believes federal laws don't apply to the individual states and supports a Minnesota constitutional amendment allowing the state to ignore federal laws;
  • Tom Emmer believes restaurant employees should be forced to take wage cuts because they receive tips;
  • Tom Emmer supports legislation that would allow pharmacists to deny contraception to anyone they believe is unfit. Just the insanity of this position alone is mind-boggling. A pharmacist could decide someone is unfit for contraception, therefore they should have children. Excuse me?
The HRC needs to understand that our cause alone is not necessarily enough to raise widespread public outrage over the Target and Best Buy contributions. But the HRC won't. It is a group where nearsightedness is epidemic. It is an organization mired in the same inside-the-beltway bureaucracy it once hoped to cut through. And even in the fight for equality, the HRC has no balls and no teeth. Local community groups such as Broadway Impact, Fight Back New York and Marriage Equality New York are fighting and winning battles that the HRC has either abandoned or ignored.

The clock is running out. If the HRC doesn't have the stomach for the fight, then it should fold up it's very pretty website, get the hell out of the way, and let people who really care about equality lead the fight.

(The HRC letter to Target & Best Buy)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Come Fly Away

So... here's the situation.

It's a quarter of seven on a Wednesday night. I'm walking down 8th Avenue at 45th Street, and I see a guy coming toward me. His fly is down. Do I tell him? Or not?

Now, New Yorkers know what 8th Avenue in the Theater District is like at 6:45PM on a Wednesday. For non-New Yorkers, imagine the North and the South in the battle of Gettysburg, meeting head on at Cemetery Hill. No matter how many people you know are coming up behind you, there are even more coming right at you.

So, what do you do? Tell him or not?

In the split second I had to decide, three scenarios went through my mind:
  • He would be grateful and then try to find some way to quickly zip up in the middle of the matinee hordes leaving and the evening crowds descending;
  • He would glare at me and demand to know why I was looking at his crotch;
  • He would say that he knows it's open and ask if I'd like to see what's inside (Hey, just because they've cleaned up Times Square doesn't mean you can't still find a good time).
The only one that really concerned me was the second, but given the crush of people, I shouldn't have been concerned, because before he could do anything about it, we'd be half a block away from each other.

As it turns out, I opted for the "keep moving" approach, and said nothing. Perhaps somebody in the next block said something. Or perhaps right now he's sitting in the orchestra section at "Rock of Ages" with his rolling stones hanging out.

I suppose I have become one of those "mind your own business" New Yorkers. I will still consider offering direction assistance to tourists standing on a street corner with a map or tour book open to the wrong neighborhood... or assistance to somebody standing on the 14th Street subway platform on a Saturday, wondering why instead of a downtown #2 train, there's an uptown #1 train. But the tourists always grab their cameras and purses and in a frightened voice mumble "no thanks"... the result of too many Law & Order episodes. Then they'll blindly head off in the wrong direction.

And don't get me wrong. While not quite my type, the fly-guy had a cute quality about him. But, in the end, it was more important to me to get to the bus stop and get the hell out of the theater crowd, then to worry about the cute guy's zipper.

That is just wrong on so many levels.