I don’t know how many times I’ve seen opposite gender (heterosexual) loving couples publicly kissing. I’ve seen it in the movies (cinema), theatres, at the beach, in the supermarket, walking down the street, in the park, etc. It has happened to often that I can’t count the number of times or the number of places where it has occurred. Every time I see it, I think to myself: “Sweet. They’re in love.” I’m happy for them and myself, also.
There just isn’t enough love in this world as it is. Why should I begrudge another couple their happiness? Especially now that I am a happily married man with a husband of my own. Love is love and one of the ways that we express our love is with a kiss. If it is fine and acceptable for a man and a woman to kiss in public, then why isn’t the same true for a man and a man or a woman and a woman?
Aaron, my husband, and I were eating dinner in a local restaurant several weeks ago. It was just the two of us celebrating a special occasion as both of our birthdays are in the month of April (same month but different dates). When our server brought our deserts to the table, we both leaned in together and shared a kiss. Nothing passionate or suggestive, just a simple kiss.
It was the type of kiss that couples, regardless of their gender makeup, share in public all the time. It was the sort of kiss that we’re seen other couples exchange in this same restaurant before. An innocent display of affection and devotion. We were not on stage and not featured on any closed-circuit screen for others to view.
We both assumed that we kiss we shared was private. Evidently, we were seriously mistaken.
Before we even took the first bite of our desert, the restaurant manager was beside our table. He was clearly upset. He immediately began complaining to Aaron, who began translating into American Sign Language (ASL) for me. He’d observed our kiss as our server was presenting our deserts to us. He considered our “behavior” both offensive and rude.
By the time Aaron relayed this information to me, I was completely incensed and offended by his rudeness and thoughtlessness. I immediately stood up and in doing so, inadvertently knocked over my chair and spilled my glass of champagne.
The manager misinterpreted my actions as aggressively hostile and belligerent. He informed Aaron that we should leave immediately or else he would call the police to remove us. He then left our table, still very angry. Of course, by this time, other diners in the restaurant were staring at us or else visually following the manager as he was storming off.
In retrospect, I know I shouldn’t have lost my temper. Once Aaron had started interpreting the manager’s conversation, I responded by furiously and rapidly signing my retorts which only escalated the tension and did nothing to help calm the situation.
Aaron afterwards told me that he’s never felt truly comfortable in that particular restaurant. He noticed that the employees always stared at him whenever we ate there. He compared it to someone seeing a Black person for the very first time – they just weren’t sure how to act around him. He didn’t mention this to me earlier because he knew how much I liked the food there – as did he.
It goes without saying that we’ll never eat at that particular restaurant ever again. The manager on duty that evening is also the owner, so there’s no recourse for complaining. Aaron did file a complaint with our local Better Business Bureau. However, if and when anyone asks, that eatery will never get our recommendation – ever!
I guess romantic sentiment isn’t available for two men.