Pad Thai and the Patriarchy

When Jen and I go out to eat, we like to eavesdrop on the other patron’s of the restaurant. Then in the car on the way home, we discuss the couple and what we think their personal dynamic is all about, and how they can work through whatever issues they have. This is a totally random thing to tell you because Jen was at work during this incident.

But I took P to dinner at the local Cambodian place. There was a cute couple of girls one table over. One looked like a young, slender boy and the other was a femme. So of course I wanted to know what they were up too. But as I listened to their conversation, I became increasingly annoyed. They discussed spending their summers in Guadalupe and going back to Haiti. They spoke very carefully.  They talked about gender politics, and how women are objectified, and how difficult it is to reclaim your sexuality.

I wondered, “Why is this annoying me so much?” Because, this was me 10 years ago. I loved talking about the construction of gender. It was the way I flirted. If I whispered “post-structuralist interpretation of femininity” what I was really saying was, “please, let me bite your bottom lip.” I wanted to send a note over there telling them to just go home and ravish each other, since this was so obviously what this was about.

But then their conversation went south. The boyish one (the butch!) said something about her boyfriend. Her boyfriend!?! One table over, I audibly scoffed. Now I felt like sending a different note.

“Listen, girly girl who likes to tromp through beautiful downtown Port-au-Prince during the summer, I know what you are thinking.  She looks like Robert Pattinson, and she knows the difference between Katha Pollitt and Carol Gilligan. She probably is a dyke. But, please, please, watch your heart. Because if you are wrong, this is going to get messy.”

And then P threw a perfectly good piece of chicken Satay across the room, and the Cambodian waitress ran her fingers through his hair, and we left.


9 thoughts on “Pad Thai and the Patriarchy

  1. Boi-friend, maybe? I’m on the Board of the local LGBT center and our little baby dyke intern has has a “boi-friend”. I was really confused until she explained that the label “butch” is not appropriate if you are genderqueer (or something to that effect). She looked at me like I was just so hopelessly old and out of touch.

  2. Gender politics talk is lesbian flirting? Why didn’t you tell me this before? This explains so much of the trouble I get into. Also, I don’t know who Pattinson, Pollitt, Or Gilligan are–which bothers me immensely. When did I become so out of the loop? If you want to keep being my gay, you’ll have to do a better job of keeping me up to speed.

  3. inlocoparentis – I think you are onto something there. Maybe it was a boi. Thank-god I didn’t say something. Because I would have shown myself to be old and an eavesdropper. Also, learning that you are not suppose to say “butch” brings back deja vu from when Virgin told me that I am not supposed to say Hispanic. The world keeps shifting under my feet.

    Virgin – if you want to keep up to speed, talk to inlocoparentis. I obviously don’t know what is going on. Maybe I need my own gay.

  4. Googie! It’s been a bazillion years since we were supposed to meet up in JP with the kids. I have since finished school (I know you know how that goes!) and am rejoining the rest of the free world. It’s going to take me a long time to catch up on your blog, but I definitely plan to work through it 🙂 Hope you and Jen and P are well!

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