I hadn’t spent “quality time” with my girlfriend for a few weeks. I had an event after work every night for a week: a theater date, a Toshi Reagon concert, a reading at bluestockings, etc. Then she had her own stuff that kept her out late every night the next week and we both had our Saturday and Sunday packed. So, at the close of the weekend, in bed in a state of somnolence I said, “Let’s have a laundry date.”
“What?!” my girlfriend asked.
I said, “We need to get all our laundry done or I won’t have anything to wear the week of all the work-related holiday parties I am obligated to attend.”
Now, mind you, we both generally wear a uniform of an Old Navy T-shirt and jeans. We both prefer black tees, but I have strayed into the gray- and purple-heathered arena and my gal has a few gray and blue tees and sometimes wears khaki pants to her job. And, we have a mile high pile of all of this extremely functional middle-aged NYC dyke garb. It’s always overflowing our hampers, scattered in the bathroom, and my work clothes (a very slight variation on the theme that involves black pants) are strewn over the chair at my desk in our office.
“A laundry date,” I said again. “Like we take all of our clothes and put it in the washer, go have dinner and then one of us goes back to throw it in the dryer and then returns to finish dinner. Otherwise it’s a colossal waste of time.”
She laughed,” That’s a great idea, a laundry date; I like spending time with you and I wish we had more of it.”
As is turns out, my sweet girlfriend did the laundry herself this past Friday. She even put all the clothes away. So, I called her at home when I got out of the subway.” Wanna have dinner at Northeast Kingdom? I’m treating.”
“It’s too expensive,” she objected lightly
“Who cares, I just got paid,” I told her. “Meet me on the corner as soon as you can.
We both had burgers, hers vegetarian and mine 100% beef because I’ve been feeling a bit anemic of late. We talked and laughed, and afterward we walked around our neighborhood to see some of the new bars and such that have popped up in the past months. We walked toward our apartment and I suggested we walk through the park across from our building. It was a bit brisk and I wished I had had my gloves. I couldn’t hold my girl’s hand to warm mine, not in our neighborhood.
Though there is this one particular fresh young lesbian couple we see on the subway fairly often. They get on at our stop and sit together, hold hands and kiss; they caress each other and look deep into each other’s eyes. We once sat across from them while they were intensely engrossed their public display of affection that made me happy for their young love and lust, their unabashedly, unhesitating public exhibition of queerness on the L train. But, I also felt uneasy.
“I want to ask if they ever worry about getting gay-bashed,” I whispered to my girlfriend.”
“I know,” she responded.
“Are we just old fuddy-duddies stuck in a time-warp? Is our neighborhood getting gay-friendly or something?” My girlfriend has lived in our part of central Brooklyn for over a decade. I have been here only a year and a half.
“No,” she said, “It’s not safe, you’re not imaging it. But, they are coming of age in a different time. They are young, very conventionally attractive women of color and I think it might be different for them here.”
The fresh young-and-in-love lesbians didn’t even notice us, two white middle-aged women, dressed by Old Navy, sitting across from them and scrutinizing their free and easy—I would even say brazen, for Bushwick at least, PDA.
#love #lust #livewithoutfear