Friday, June 20, 2008

Conservative

I had the oddest conversation the other day.

First, sorry for being such a recalcitrant blogger. I've been talking to myself about it and while I know I haven't been feeling like writing, I can't figure out why that is. I know that when I actually sit down to write, I enjoy it, but getting started can be hard. Especially when I'm not already sitting in front of the computer for six to eight hours. The other reason, and it seems ridiculous, is that I'm a bit overwhelmed by my French class. That's what's in my head and that's what gets what little focus I have. Maybe I won't be any better at writing when class is over, but I don't think so.

Anyway, I have 20 minutes to write, so that's what I'm doing--instead of getting ready to leave the house--what I need to be doing. Priorities, where are you?

The odd conversation was on the telephone with the second guy I met via my craig's list posting. I took the posting down after getting an email suggesting I join a man and his wife for some intimate touching. Dude, what part of "strictly platonic" do you not get? I didn't write to him, though, because then he'd have my email.

Anyway, this guy is Fred, from the US via the Ivory Coast. He has a "French" accent and speaks French and English fluently. Handy! We met for dinner on Wednesday and had talked and emailed a little before.

Again, I got the vibe from him but I wasn't interested. No good reason: he's my age, attractive and friendly. (One wonders: what am I looking for?)

He is a Seventh Day Adventist and he thinks we have something in common because we both celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. Hmm. No. He asked me over dinner if I were a believer and I said I wasn't sure. He said, "It's a yes or no question!" I said, "I'm agnostic." He looked puzzled. I said, "It's not the same as atheist."

He said, "Oh? What does it mean?"

I said, "It means you haven't made up your mind." Dude.

Anyway, we had that dinner, we did speak some French but then I got to talking about my brother in Israel and that's rather hard to do in French, so there was plenty of English.

He called last night because we're planning to go to Jewish services tonight. That's fine. He's worried that he won't be welcome as a black man. I assured him it wasn't an issue.

That wasn't the strange part of the conversation. The strange part was when I said something about being Reform and he said, "But you're really conservative."

I said, "Um. No, I'm really a Reform Jew because I believe in the principles of the Reform Movement."

But that's not what he meant. He meant that I am conservative in the way I live my life. I said, "Well, I'm conservative about my money." That got a laugh. Then I said, "I'm really not conservative."

"You don't cuss."

"Well, I do, but not too much and I don't know you well, so I wouldn't want to offend you. But, I think gay people should be able to get married, that premarital sex is fine, that it's fine for babies to be born out of wedlock. I believe all (or most) drugs should be legalized and I've used some drugs, occasionally smoke cigarettes and I drink. Also, I consider myself a socialist. And I'm not married and I'm not a virgin." I didn't mention free and open access to birth control, abortion, true full civil rights--I guess I didn't have to trot out my anti-racist credentials, since, as a black man he'd already figured out I'm not a rascist.

I added, "It must be the glasses."

He sort of laughed and didn't say much. We moved on to other topics.

But, what, if I don't swear, show a lot of cleavage, don't wear make up and do wear glasses, and can speak intelligently and non-offensively about religion, I'm "conservative"?

Gotta run. Services should be interesting.

Grateful for: perspective.

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