Oh no! I’m one of “those” gays 😱

While washing my hands the other day, I noticed the walls of the men’s restroom were painted a dark grey color. I never noticed the color of the walls before, and as I was scrubbing my hands, I corrected my initial observation that the color was merely grey. It was charcoal grey.

I instantly stopped my scrubbing and took a long, horrified look at myself in the mirror. I had the sudden realization that I’m one of those gays who knows the specific names of colors! 

As I finished rinsing my hands, I asked myself: How could this happen!?

While struggling to make the automatic paper towel dispenser, dispense a couple towels I thought:

I don’t even care about colors. When someone asks me what my favorite color is, I have to think about it for a long time because I don’t have a favorite. I just tell people grey is my favorite because it’s in between black & white.

I finally got a couple paper towels from the stingy machine, and continued thinking about colors while drying my hands.

I guess if I had to pick a normal color, I’d choose dark green. But, that “oxidized avocado” colored shirt I have is hideous. I only keep it because it-

Dammit! I did it again!

Why is this happening? I hate colors!

I used the damp towels to open the restroom door and tossed them in the trash bin as I left the room. I continued my mental tirade as I walked back to my desk.

If I had my way, I’d never paint or repaint the walls of my home because changing the color is the worst investment of time and money. Why bother? I won’t notice the color after the paint has dried, unless someone comments about it.

I was about halfway back to my desk when I remembered I had spent about 30 minutes helping the family look for a list of paint-chips at Home Depot recently. I felt a wave of relief because it makes perfect sense that I’d still have those weird color names rattling around in my head[1].

Before then, I had no idea different shades and hues of colors actually had names. The isle littered with a collage of colors was an abstract location in the store, and I don’t normally need anything from that section. The last time I noticed the name of a different shade of color was when I had to pick a color to differentiate my comments in a group email. The color I picked was: Dark Blue, Text 2, Darker 25%.

Now, I’m keenly aware stores sell colors named: Charcoal Grey, Thudercloud (greyish blue), Glacier Pearl (dark blue), Beavertail Brown, Shiitake Mushroom, or Dove (off-white) … and the list goes on.

***

I’d like to preempt any misconceptions, by explaining that I am proud of being a gay man and I enjoy all aspects of gay culture. “I’m not one of ‘those’ gays.” “We’re not ‘those’ kind of gays.” Are phrases which may pop into a conversation in or out of the gay community. It’s said as a description of oneself to inform the other party that the stereotype does not apply to us.

I’ve certainly seen many people who fit the gay stereotype, including a few straight men. I don’t particularly think there’s anything wrong with the stereotype, or anything is wrong about being the embodiment of it. I just tend to see myself as an average guy who happens to like other men, including those who fit into the gay stereotype.


[1] I think I invented the color “Oxidized Avocado”.

How we must look while using self-service checkouts

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

By now, pretty much everyone in America has either used or seen a self-service checkout. We’ve all heard[1] the annoying instructions commanding us to “Please place the item in the bagging area” if we don’t immediately bruise our potatoes by slamming them into the bagging area. We’ve looked at the weights of our produce with surprise as we’re charged about $0.83 for 3 bananas. Or looked at the weight suspiciously as we see how much the Whole Foods salad bar costs and can’t believe that lighter-than-air salad weighs more than a pound. How the hell?!

Have you considered how funny we must look to staff or other customers while we use these kiosks?

We tend to have a look of disappointment when something doesn’t ring up the way it should. Some of us will have a worried look as we try to figure out how I’m going to get this fixed and get the sale I saw?

Some of us may get nervous and fear being judged by those behind us because we’re holding up the line after ringing up that bottle of wine and the kiosk says, “Approval needed.” And then some of us get slightly offended when the attendant approves the purchase without glancing at ID. I’m not that old!

Sometimes the packaging will have 3 different bar codes and we accidentally scan the wrong one. An error message normally pops up requiring the assistance of the attendant. Then we scan again, but the dang barcodes are so close together we scanned the wrong code again. Ugh! We experience a creeping sense of shame that it’s been proven we’re incapable of completing this simple task and have to watch as the attendant scans the item for us. This feeling can be made worse if the attendant uses a scan-gun which was already at the kiosk, but was invisible until this moment. 😀

Sometimes we’re scanning our merchandise and then one of the items doesn’t scan before we place it in the bag. We could swear the machine beeped, but the machine chastises us for trying to steal the item by saying: “Unexpected item in bagging area. Remove this item before continuing.” We quickly take the last item out of the bag and try scanning it before the attendant comes over to see what happened.

Or my personal favorite, the bar code doesn’t scan at all. When this happens, we tend to go through the same routine:

  • Wave the item horizontally over the scanner toward the bags, and wave it back.
  • Wave it upward and back down.
  • Check that nothing is covering the barcode (like fingers), and wave it past in a circular motion.
  • Finally give up and call for assistance or walk defeatedly to a cashier who must have seen that awkward dance we just had with the machine.

This happened to me again this morning. I had the grocery store all to myself, and the cashiers were standing around chit-chatting. I was listening to an audiobook and didn’t want to pause it, so I went to the self-checkout lane. I tried scanning my breakfast taco, but nothing happened. I did the normal scan-dance routine. This time, however, I made it more entertaining for the idle cashiers…

I elaborately bowed and waved at the machine a couple times as though I was worshiping it. After which, I placed the taco on the scanner and exclaimed, “I offer this as a sacrifice to the Cash Register God! I pray my humble sacrifice brings you eternal profits.”  📈

The cashiers giggled as they waved me over to their registers so they can help me.

It’s good to be generally aware of how others may see you as you go about your daily routine. We may never know that our reactions are the bit of humor which brightens an employee’s day. I certainly was the highlight of the day for those cashiers this morning.


[1] I apologize in advance to the hearing impaired.

The Lie we tell Teens

When I first started middle school, I started to get puss-filled bumps all over my face… acne. My parents told me this was cause by all the changes my body was going through and said the acne would go away when I became an adult.

That’s a lie!

I’ve been an adult for over a decade and still have problems with acne. It’s not as bad as it was back in my teens, but it’s still a major problem I have with my skin.

What the hell is causing it?!

My parents told me to stop touching my face when I was a teen. It’ll all clear up if you wash with Dial soap, and don’t touch your face. Washing is easy, but not touching your face is next to impossible for a teen. I had a huge head I was trying to balance on my thin neck. I needed to use my hands to prop my head up, if only to get myself through the boring classes I sat through all day.

I tried propping my head up by only touching places where my hair grew. I thought the zits would appear in my hair and nobody would notice. It didn’t work, and I still got acne in areas I knew, for a fact, I didn’t touch.

Surprisingly, I didn’t get any zits in my hair. :-/

Fast-forward to adulthood, and I’m still battling the blemishes. I don’t think my face has been clear for longer than a week. As soon as one zit goes away, another takes its place. I’ve even had some zits crop up on one cheek, only to reappear on the opposite cheek, at almost the same exact location. Some of these zits develop deep under the skin and become week-long growths before finally getting pushed to the skin’s surface.

Gross!!!

It’s been a constant battle trying to keep my skin clear. I’ve tried everything I can think of in my losing war against acne.

  • I never touch my face, not even to scratch an itch.
  • I sleep on my back, so my pores don’t get clogged while I sleep.
  • I’ve avoided various foods I heard supposedly cause acne and didn’t see any noticeable improvement. I avoided alcohol as well with similar results.
  • I’ve tried many different soaps, some specifically designed to help with acne.
  • I used over the counter creams without much success.
  • My doctor prescribed me a few creams, which seemed to work at times, but I’d still suffer flare ups.
  • I’ve considered asking my doctor about a pill I heard about to treat severe cases of acne. The guy who used it said it caused his skin to shed all over his body, but it helped him with his acne problem.
  • I even broke up with a regular fling after a month or so because he had a nasty habit of wanting to pet me and touch my face. That guy was making me break out, so I had to break it off.

I tried everything I can think of to ward off acne over the years. I’m not quite at the point I need that skin-shedding pill, but it sure seems like it sometimes. I’m at the stage where I’ve learned to cope with acne as a regular part of life and am treating it to speed my recovery when a zit rears its ugly head.

My story is a living example that acne is not a skin condition experienced during adolescence, and then magically goes away in adulthood. That’s a fable we tell kids to make them feel a little better about the changes they’re experiencing. We should tell them the truth instead, or at least try to avoid promising it’ll go away one day.