Bus Stop

“Who are you?” asked the girl next to me at the bus stop. We’d just missed the bus by 2 minutes and I’d commented on that, making it OK to talk to me.

Bus Stop

Bus Stop

I told her my name and she told me hers, Noga. Meeting her was touching. I know you don’t spell Noga with an Ayen, but she is the kind of person who is just touching to meet.

“You aren’t coming from the peace festival, are you?” she asked, “I mean you don’t look like one of us.” She was wearing a sun dress, open sandals and earrings. I was wearing a sun dress, open sandals and huge peace earrings. “I mean, except for your earrings,” she said.

“I guess you can’t hide who you are no matter what you wear,” I said, making some comment about how I’d had a meeting in the morning and that’s why I was wearing such a formal dress. I said I was a business person but that when peace comes, we’ll all benefit.

(This blog post has no point, it’s just a nice story.)

She told me she’s on summer vacation and I asked where she went to school, and she said “Here,” pointing with her elbow. We were at Kfar Hayarok, next to the high school for gifted students.

“Oh, so you’re an outstanding student,” I said.

“Yea, I feel a little weird at the festivals, with all those high-school drop-outs,” she said, and told me her grade average to the 2nd decimal point. That’s how close it was to 100.

It’s funny, I noted. Because I’m a business person and I was at the Peace Festival too. There isn’t really such at thing as where we belong. I know that now. I’m not in high school.

“What are you studying?”

“Music and Machshevet,” she said. “Machshevet is Jewish philosophy.” That’s a much better explanation than my kids gave me. They said it was like Toshba (Jewish culture) which made me wonder why they have both. I still wonder why they have both, but at least now I know the difference. I told her that.

We talked about philosophy and literature and manifesting catching the bus instead of manifesting missing it by 2 minutes. Business people don’t talk about manifesting bus schedules. People who attend Peace Festivals do. They are really big earrings.

(It’s not even really that great a story, but I tell it well.)

She seemed much more well-read than I am. She also seemed much prettier than I ever was. If I were in high school with her, she would be my best friend. I would tell myself she’s prettier and smarter than I am and she would tell herself it’s good that there is someone like me who is as weird as her and doesn’t fit in. I’ve always been pretty and smart and she looks like she fits in just fine.

“I’ve never met someone who doesn’t know Hanoch Levin,” she said, and described his plays to me. It didn’t make me want to see them. She had to send a few texts while we were talking but much fewer than the average teenager. She didn’t have a fancy smartphone. She goes to a fancy school, though. I bet there’s a good story behind that.

We talked about teen literature, which she doesn’t read but I do. She’s grown out of it and I read it because my daughter is almost her age, and that’s what my daughter reads. I didn’t talk to her as if she was someone’s daughter. I didn’t wonder what her parents were like. I just talked to her as if she were exactly like me, just someone on the bus. Someone who would be my best friend if some kind of time warp were to happen. We talked about scifi. Neither of us read much scifi.

I gave her my card. She doesn’t have a card. I said, Facebook me or something. She got off the bus. I went up front to sit with a friend of mine who I saw when we got on the bus, but he was half-asleep then.

(Maybe it has a point. Maybe it has a few. But you’ll have to find them for yourself.)

After I got off the bus, I thought, I bet she has parents and I bet I’d like them. But I didn’t really care about that.

What I really thought was, I hope she adds me on Facebook. One day I won’t be that much older than she. Maybe I’m not that much older now. Friends can be any age. You know it when you find one.


Gratuitously Gay

Nobody is “openly black,” as George Carlin pointed out. Nobody is openly Oriental or openly female or any other type of sociological categorization. The only thing you can be “openly” is gay. Come to think of it, I have never even heard someone say “she’s openly lesbian.” Or bi.gayyoutube

Homosexuality is also the one category people feel irresistibly compelled to point out. “Wow, he’s is looking great today,” I said about someone in a course I was taking. “He’s gay, you know,” said the other person. I knew, but why did they feel they had to tell me? If I’d said that about someone married, would they have felt obliged to tell me he’s married? If he were Italian, would they say “He’s Italian, you know. From Milano. That’s why he always looks so fab.”?

If it’s not obvious already, I believe in equal rights for everyone of every sociological categorization, including LGBT.  This article is not about equal rights. It’s about the sexualization of the media and of our society.

Open gayness is huge these days. Every TV show seems to need a token gay as well as a token black or two. Some of the hottest youtubers are not just openly gay, but play their gayness up to a level that can only be described as stereotyping. It’s kind of degrading, don’t you think? If someone non-gay were portraying gays like that, it would definitely be offensive. (Apparently if you make fun of yourself, it falls into the “If you are black you can say the N word” category.)

I get it. You’re gay. I’m middle-aged. It’s not a fashion statement. It’s just what I am. (I wish being middle-aged were a fashion statement! Who is with me on starting middle-agedness as the new trend?)

I call this gratuitous gayness because it’s simply the latest in the media’s ongoing sexualization of everything. It’s no different than ultra-skimpy fashion, high-heeled shoes for 5-year-olds, and heroes whose shirts fly off before they transform into their more powerful form.

I’d say I’d expect more from a community of people who has fought so hard for respect and equality. I’d expect them to act in a respectful way instead of making it seem like sex is the most important thing about their identities. But why would I expect that?

The honor badge of today’s society is to wear your genitals on your sleeve. Why should the newly-acceptable gay community accept anything less than to be objectified and sexualized just like any other celebrity?

So congratulations to the LGBT community. In my teenage daughter’s infamous words:

“Don’t you know, mommy? Gay is the new straight.”