Last night we went out to my wife’s favorite little Italian place that we frequent. The food there is first rate and it has a genuine neighborhood feel. The restaurant is family owned and has been for decades. They have a fantastic lasagna and baked mostaccioli.
The hostess seated us at a center table in full view of the entire restaurant. My wife’s hands are still bandaged from surgery, so I sat beside her to help her eat.
About half-way through our Caesar salads, I felt the burning stares of people around us. To our right was an elderly couple. The lady with her tight, silver hair-do would cast us unsavory glances every little while which she attempted to keep discreet. The couple behind them turned to watch too.
I looked forward to see a table of four adults; one man glared at us with no shame. It wasn’t out of curiosity, based on the indignant grimace on his face.
It’s very difficult for me to admit that for the briefest of moments I was embarrassed. The disapproving glances made me feel, I don’t know, somehow less-than. I paused to consider us for a moment. My wife is obviously injured with her bandaged hands. I am bringing a fork to her mouth so she can eat. What is wrong with that? Our daughter is the best-behaved kid you will find in any restaurant. If I could step outside and look at us, I would see a strong, happy family having a meal together. I could come to only one conclusion: it’s because we are a same-sex couple.
Embarrassment gave way to irritation. I picked up the fork and continued to feed my wife with a smile. We are doing nothing wrong and no pinched-face bigot is going to spoil the dinner that we came to enjoy. We relaxed and laughed, and took our sweet time. We even ordered dessert.
When I was boxing up the leftovers to take home, I noticed that the table of four was still there and the man was still glaring at us. I gave a quick nod to my wife to bring it to her attention. She stopped talking in the middle of our conversation, turned her chair toward him and glared back without breaking eye contact. He turned back around with a sudden interest in his own table.
We enjoyed a hug and a good laugh and paid the check.