749. Same Ol’ Situation

[TW: Racism.]
I’ve been here before. I had that thought repeatedly at Lakewood Amphitheater. The loading dock was familiar. The men’s room was familiar. A particular part of concrete hallway was familiar.

Over there was where Jonathan kissed me. And there was the spot where Courtney tore Dave a new one. But most of all I was haunted by the image of a bandaged, fragile Ziggy here, there, and everywhere. We’d almost cancelled this show, I remembered.

I remembered having to put antibiotic drops in my eye and being unable to take a proper shower because of the need to keep the bandages dry.

Jeezus, let’s hope we never have to go through something like that again.

I didn’t have Court’s phone number where she was staying in New York so I left a message with Carynne who probably did. Just a “hey, I’m in Atlanta and I miss you guys, pass it on” kind of message.

I again brought everyone to the stage with a random song. Another old fave: “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin. Once everyone was there, I said, “Who’s doing a lounge act? Clarice and Fran?”

They gave me the single-nod-in-unison and went to their mics. They proceeded to sing an acapella version of “Stop! In The Name of Love” by The Supremes except instead of the regular lyrics they did a somewhat X-rated parody version in which the female singer exhorts her lover not to give it to her up the ass. (I can’t recreate the lyrics but I do remember “fart” rhymed with “heart.” “Haven’t I been sweet to you? Think it oh-oh-verrrr.”) As you can imagine this was a massive hit with the band and crew (and me) and established a very high (low?) bar for the next act to follow.

“Any takers? Any takers for tomorrow’s lounge act?” I called when the raucous laughter and clapping died down. (The horn section had practically pissed themselves they were laughing so hard.)

Alan spoke up. “We might have something. If not tomorrow, next day for sure.” He and his brother exchanged meaningful looks.

Day after. That meant they were going to actually rehearse for it. I felt a huge grin inside me but I kept it cool on the outside. “All right. We’ll see who steps up tomorrow. Reem, what song do you actually want to do now, though?”

He chuckled. “Right.” He exchanged a couple of words and some hand signals with the sound crew and we did a little of “Widowmaker” and then we both changed guitars and did most of “Riptide,” which was the current single starting to catch on radio-wise.

Remo was still chuckling to himself when we finished with that. He lost the mirth immediately, though, on catching sight of Melissa and some of her family standing just off the edge of the stage. Ford was nowhere in sight–presumably in the bus or backstage with someone because a soundcheck was considered too loud for infant ears–but Melissa looked ripshit about something.

Happy Occident started setting up and as the band dispersed I should’ve hightailed it somewhere but I guess out of curiosity or masochism or something I hung back a little and heard her tear into him.

“Did you think that was funny? That was not funny.” When that didn’t get a rise out of him she went on. “That was not appropriate for my mother to hear!”

You know there’s no winning an argument like this, right? Remo didn’t, or had forgotten, or was trying to change that. “‘Scuse me? Mel, your mother isn’t exactly living in a convent.”

“What are you implying about my mother!”

“What? Nothing! Just that she’s an adult, not a five-year-old–”

“And this obviously is not a family environment!”

“No, it sure as hell is not,” he said, reasonably but I could hear the steam rising under his collar. “It’s a rock band, Mel. Did you forget that?”

“You.” She pointed at me. “You’re his godfather. How can you condone filthy language around your godson?”

Her finger was like a laser stabbing me. “Me?” Silly me, I tried to win the argument, too. “Mel, Ford doesn’t even understand words yet and even if he did I’ve told you before to keep him away from the noise.”

“Nonetheless. Anal sex is a disgusting topic I won’t have discussed in front of my child.”

Remo tried to help? I think? “I guess we’ll wait until he’s eighteen to tell him Daron’s gay, then.”

I know, I know, I know, this fight was going every kind of wrong. I was still trying to deal with Mel being an irrational nut about propriety in an environment where propriety was never going to fly so I hadn’t even gotten to being potentially offended about the fact that underneath it all she might have been equating me being gay with anal sex and therefore disgusting, and instead Remo made the gay-equals-buttsex leap instead… Argh. Everyone’s blood pressure was through the roof, basically.

Anyway. Melissa looked at me like I had poo smeared on my jeans, looked at Remo like she expected him to spray me with Clorox, and took a deep breath like she was preparing to launch into a full diatribe when her own mother cleared her throat from behind the Marshall stack.

“Mel,” she said, not super-sharply but with that kind of Mom-putting-her-foot-down tone that was intensified by the fact she was a chain-smoker whose voice had degenerated to a rough bark anyway. “Give it a rest.”

Melissa clenched her fists, turned on her heel, and marched away. Her mom pulled on her cigarette, shrugged at us and shook her head. “You try to raise ’em with some common sense but what can you do?” So that part endeared me to her. What she said after that put me on the defensive again. “You tell those darkies I liked their sense of humor just fine.”

I didn’t trust my voice to say anything so I just nodded and walked away.

Holy shit, did she just call Fran and Clarice “darkies”? I didn’t even know what to say. Did she think she was being polite by not using the N-word? I was too stunned to even know how to react. Did she think I wouldn’t be offended? Did I have a right to be offended? I was more offended about that than I was about Melissa equating my sex life with shit.

I went straight to Fran and Clarice to tell them how fantastic they were; their lounge act had in fact been the perfect thing. Then I tried to pretend like all I wanted to do was my vocal exercises (which I’d skipped on our day off) but they were having none of it. “You’re vibrating, Daron,” Fran pointed out. “You’re livid. Something happen?”

“No,” I lied. I’m such a coward. I modified it to the truth: “Nothing I can explain, anyway.”

They respected that and we tried to go through the exercises but it was like my voice literally quavered from the adrenaline still running through my system.

So I had a beer. Just one. Alcohol is a sedative. It’s calming.

And then we tried the exercises again, and got through them. But at the end, Clarice said, “You know, your pitch gets off when you drink.”

My blood ran cold. “You’re kidding.”

“I’m not,” she said with a very sad shake of her head. “Messes up the inner ear somehow. You’re not off by a lot but just a little-little bit.”

A little-little bit was too much so far as I was concerned. I mean, fuck, pitch was a kind of orthodoxy with me, remember? I’d rather have true pitch than a pure soul any day. Fuck fuck fuck.

I consoled myself with the thought that when we left Atlanta we were leaving Melissa, Ford, and family behind and so stress level should go down. We were going to get through it. I promised myself I would talk to Flip about easing me back to my old old rules about not drinking at all until after a show. It was too late for today but next show, next one. Or maybe the one after that. Nashville and Memphis were coming up. One of those.

One of those.

(Folks, we’re coming up on the end of July. Last chance to make a donation to one of three designated charities in order to get an upcoming bonus story about Ziggy! Full deets on this post here: https://daron.ceciliatan.com/archives/5507. The three charities are: Equality Florida, The Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, and Rock The Vote. After you make your donation of any amount, even just $5, email a copy of your receipt/confirmation (either a screencap or a PDF or your paypal confirmation) to daron.moondog @ gmail along with your mailing address, and I’ll email you back the bonus story as soon as it’s done. For $25 or more I’ll send some DGC stickers/tattoos (send me your mailing address). $50 or more a DGC red notebook. -ctan)


  • G says:

    You know what, Daron? Your assessment of Mel’s mom was probably right. She probably thinks she was being complimentary and assumed you would understand that, even though it’s stupid to think that. Righteous anger will just stress you out without changing the mind of the person who made you angry – especially if they truly don’t get why it was wrong. As a light-skinned, green eyed Black person, I’ve had to learn to think about the difference between ignorance and intolerance – all races are capable of both. (Especially in 1988 after School Daze by Spike Lee came out. Life sucked for a long while.) Being ignorant doesn’t make what she said right, but it makes it a little easier to let it roll of your back. I bet Fran and Clarice wouldn’t have gotten bent out of shape. They may even have had a good come back to put her in her place without causing tempers to flare.

    Mel, however, has some real problems going on with Remo. Leaving the family behind will just make the huge blow up happen later. Hopefully you won’t be there when that happens. I didn’t take too kindly to her attitude about you, though. True feelings come out when you’re mad, and she let some stuff go that she’s going to have to answer for later.

    • s says:

      I agree. I don’t think Mel’s mom was trying to be offensive. Does intent make a difference?

      Mel’s wound a little too tight. I wonder what her issue is. Is she just being prudish or is there a real issue here that needs to be addressed?

      • marktreble says:

        Agree that Mom wasn’t trying to be offensive to the singers. In 1991 “darkies” was a common term in the Old Confederacy, and its users thought they were being enlightened. They will learn. Maynard Jackson had already served eight years as Mayor of Atlanta, to high praise. After a sabbatical he returned in 1990, highly-admired, and was the Mayor of Atlanta while Mom was demonstrating her enlightenment. She is out of time to fix her ignorance about race.

        Mel’s attitude towrd you, though, didn’t so much reflect ignorance as it did stupidity. You can fix ignorant. You can’t fix stupid.

        Homophobia often hurts the homophobe as much as the target of the anger. You’re the engine in the band, which is her husband’s life-work and livelihood. She will likely slowly or never come around on the homophobia.

        Mel is angry with Remo because he pays more attention to Ford than to her. That’s what a parent of either sex is supposed to do. A wild guess (not really) she’s also angry at anything else (Daron and Nomad) that takes Remo’s attention away from her. A view sourced “ex rectum extractus,” I think she’s got a problem with a mother who is difficult to please.

        So, there are reasons and excuses for every DGC character’s actions. We can sympathize with them (except Digger), but their actions are the results of their own choices; the consequences are theirs to bear.

        Daron, stop the drinking in Nashville. Far too much astounding music there to discover. And, Memphis isn’t far behind. Rock and Blues (and Bach) are the soul of rock and roll.

        • s says:

          See I didn’t take it as definite homophobia from Mel. I think there’s a chance she could just be freaked out by talking about anal sex in general but even more so in front of her mom and kid. You know, kinda like thinking about your sweet little old grandmother as a wild horny teenager. Nope. Many people aren’t comfortable talking about sex at all. She even enlisted Daron to help with the argument. The homophobe tries to get the gay man on her side? Idk. She may be but that’s not clear here. We need more information before we condemn her.

          • daron says:

            When I try to be charitable I think she’s just another crazy mixed up kid (although a lot older than me she’s still like 15-20 years younger than Remo). But if I can get my shit together and not nuke the people around me with my toxic bullshit I kinda expect other people to do be able to do that same.

        • daron says:

          I don’t even think Mel was trying to attack me personally, either. She’s just lashing out at anything that doesn’t fit some perfect idea in her head. I’m glad I’m only getting the fringes of the fallout from her meltdowns, though. Remo’s getting the full on radioactive brunt of it.

      • daron says:

        Mel’s got various issues to be worked out that I can’t begin to fathom, I’m sure. I actually think she’s worse when her family’s around but maybe it’s just the more time I spend with her the worse my impression gets?

        The thing about Mel’s mom is I think to myself if she had said “I like the way you play guitar, you queen,” wouldn’t you have been ripshit on my behalf? She might not mean to offend me, she might even be trying to be nice & complimentary, but… really? I didn’t give her permission to talk to me or about me that way, did I? Or did she think she has that permission merely by existing? That’s what gets me. Who gave her the right? She gave it to herself. (Or maybe society gave it to her. Same thing. Ick.)

    • daron says:

      I dunno. I almost feel like the ignorant or unwitting stuff is worse? I mean, when idiots start a riot and burst into a room asking “which of you faggots want a piece of me” I feel perfectly justified beating their faces in (for example) even if I did disappoint myself a little for breaking my vow of non-violence. (I wasn’t going to let that guy hit me or anyone else though.) Okay maybe it’s not “worse” but I just don’t know how to fight it, I guess.

      • sanders says:

        I don’t know if I’d say “worse”, but it’s more annoying and often harder to pin down. Like, okay, are you *trying* to be offensive or are you just dumb and did you *really* just say what I think you did? The gymnastics of trying to decide whether to confront it or excuse the ignorance is exhausting, and then you have to actually speak up. From my experience, the people who are or believe they are acting from ignorance are more soul-sucking than any straight up, blatant racist or homophobe I’ve dealt with precisely because they want to argue intention and then apologize with “I’m sorry IF I offended you, BUT…” Well, obviously you did or we wouldn’t be talking about this, and if you were actually sorry, you wouldn’t attach a clause to claim you were being misunderstood or imply you’re actually the one who’s been harmed.

        Rebecca found a great thing today that I plan to use called ‘White Nonsense Roundup’, where there are basically white folks on-call to step in and educate other white folks showing their asses in racist ways. I’m kind of in love with the idea.


        • daron says:

          Ooo. We need Straight People Roundup, too.

          • s says:

            What Mel’s mom said was wrong. No one is disputing that. She could’ve just said ‘those ladies’ (or ‘them’ if she wanted to be sensitive to gender neutrality). She doesn’t think that way and it’s sad and wrong.

            As for Mel’s comments, I think you should try to be charitable, Daron. She’s a new mom trying to show her parents that her considerably older husband is a good guy. I have no issues with her not wanting people to talk about sex in front of her young child. She shouldn’t have brought him to that environment and hopefully learned a lesson. She also needs to learn when, where, and how to fight with her husband. Her expectations were ridiculous and she has lots of stuff to work out.

            BUT anyone who sees homophobia based on what she said/did in this scene just wants to see homophobia. Anal sex is not exclusive to gay men. Her argument was about the topic. She didn’t even imply homophobia. Was she gearing up to? Maybe. Maybe she was just pissed off because no one took her side. Maybe she was freaking out because, unlike us, talking about sex makes her uncomfortable. Personally, if I had to endure an anal sex talk in front of my dad I would want the earth to open up and swallow me whole.

            She’s young, immature and wants people to think she knows what she’s doing and is a good mom. She has problems but I’m ready to say homophobia is one of them.

            • s says:

              *not ready
              Was late for work or probably would have said more.

            • marktreble says:

              Maybe. Daron’s narrative indicates Mel was ready to go off the deep end when Remo said Daron was gay. I suspect the immediate cause of her anger is that Nomad takes away Remo’s attention from her, and if she views Nomad as a separate entity from Remo, then Daron is its face.

              At his age Ford will be far more upset by Mommy and Daddy being angry with one another than by any specific words used around him. We were age-appropriately open with our girls about sex. By about twelve there were no more topics off-limit. At that age I encouraged both to go on birth control rather than risk an unwanted pregnancy, and encouraged in the strongest possible words that, if they became sexually active, they insist on use of a condom. No glove, no love.

              I talked openly to my eleven-year-old’s Sunday School class about conditional love, and related it to sex. “Sex feels great, it’s a lot of fun, and someone who says I’ll love you if you have sex with me doesn’t love you because that’s conditional love. No such thing exists.”

              Predictably, the Sunday School Supervisor walked past our room and it was the only thing he heard. He expressed some displeasure later.

              • s says:

                I talk openly with my daughter too, but there’s a lot of people that don’t feel comfortable with it. It’s a shame and leads to a lot of problems.

                Mel was ready to go off the deep end but I’m not willing to say for sure that our known unreliable narrator interpreted her intentions correctly. If she is mad about the band and not feeling important to Remo, homophobia is not the cause, which supports my point, so thanks. 🙂

            • sanders says:

              The kid’s an infant. The discussion of anal sex was coming from a queer female couple and being followed up on in front of a gay man, in the early nineties where anal was very, very much associated primarily with queers despite the fact anyone with the right parts was likely trying it. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of just wanting to see homophobia. It’s a justified question in light of predominant attitudes about sex at the time.

              • sanders says:

                Also, let’s remember just how many rock songs were blatantly about hetero sex at the time. Likely some of those were by Nomad, and she’s not objecting to them. She’s objecting specifically to anal sex as a “filthy” topic.

                • s says:

                  I’m not saying it’s not a justifiable question. I even said that she may very well have been about to spew a homophobic rant. What I am saying is that we don’t have enough information to judge the situation.

                  Yes the kid is an infant. The mother is not. There are plenty of people in this world that are not homophobic but don’t want to have a conversation about anal sex or think it’s disgusting. Who started the topic is irrelevant, other than it was hilarious coming from them, but Mel apparently didn’t agree with that.

                  She handled the situation poorly, but I don’t think we have any more right to judge her feelings on anal sex than we do to judge anyone else for what they do with their partner(s).

                  • sanders says:

                    It absolutely matters that it was Fran and Clarice, both for their relationship, and that Melissa went apeshit about it when I seriously doubt she’s had the same reaction to any perceived-as-straight male singer singing about sex in any form. It raises a ton of questions for me about whether she’d have had the same reaction for it coming from Remo or Daron or any of the white dudes or straight dudes on the tour who were more typical of rock and roll.

                    Mel’s mother is a grown-up with agency who is, as we saw, quite capable of speaking up for herself without needing her daughter to defend her delicate sensibilities. Mel needs to own her issues.

                    I don’t think questioning her is the same as judging her. I also think there’s a difference between judging someone for what they do with their partners and ranting about an act being too filthy to be discussed. It was effectively an A-and-B conversation among the band that she wasn’t meant to be part of so she really could C her way out instead of trying to censor them.

                  • daron says:

                    For all we know Remo likes anal sex better than she does and that’s why the song set her off.

                    Oh jeez i cannot believe I just typed that but the point stands

  • marktreble says:

    *country*, not rock. God I’m stupid.

  • s says:

    Apparently we hit the limit on the above thread (maybe I should take a hint from that, but much like Daron and Remo, I just can’t right now).

    I don’t think it matters that it was Fran and Clarice because we don’t know if Mel even knows about them. Beyond that, I still don’t think it matters. Why would singing a parody of a song and making it about anal sex be important for their relationship? You lost me there.

    Here’s a question: Would it be offensive if I, as a straight white woman, sang those same lyrics (other than the fact I can’t sing a lick)? If so, why? Because I’m straight? Because I’m white? Because there’s a double standard for everything in this country? I’m not trying to pick a fight, I really just don’t understand why it matters.

    My whole issue with this is everyone keeps saying ‘I don’t think’ or ‘I doubt’ or ‘for all we know’ which, btw, is more support for my point. We don’t know what her issue is. We don’t have enough information to know what she is freaking out about. I completely agree she handled it poorly, and maybe being around the band isn’t the best idea for her, but that still doesn’t mean her rant was homophobic, which is the point I’ve been trying to make. If/when she spews off some actual homophobic bullshit, I’ll be ready to bitch-slap her just like the rest of you. Until then, this jury member is going to require some more evidence before she’s willing to convict the woman.

    • daron says:

      I don’t think Mel knows Fran and Clarice are a couple. And the song was a “hetero” song, but that doesn’t mean that part of what upped her anxiety level is that she’s actually a little flipped out about Remo having picked a gay godfather for her kid and her mind’s making that leap. Remo certainly thought she was making that leap (anal sex=gay) which was why HE made that leap and if anything I’m kinda more upset at him for that because if it *wasn’t* about that before, he made sure it would be.

      Which just goes to show even people who love you can still be weirded out by your being gay. And maybe they don’t even realize they’re expressing their inner discomfort, but they are.

      • s says:

        Yes I absolutely agree with that. Remo jumped to a conclusion but that doesn’t mean it was the right conclusion.

        I know this is a touchy subject and something you all have to deal with far too often, and I’m really sorry that’s how our world still is in 2016. Tbh it’s a touchy subject for me, too. I have been known to flip my shit and go off on people, or have an actual conversation if they are willing, or throw a scathing look and walk away if they are too stupid or immature to deal with, and not just over homophobia but any kind of discrimination. If there’s anything that I truly hate, it’s that. I don’t tolerate it. I’m not perfect but I try my best to be.

        But I also don’t think it’s fair to put words in Melissa’s mouth. She didn’t say it and I don’t know if she was thinking it. We don’t know what she was going to say, which is good because yelling at your SO in front of his band is embarrassing and uncomfortable for everyone. I just think there are too many variables to draw a conclusion here. Yet.

        I’ve already mentioned several plausible explanations for why she flipped out, but I’ll throw one more at you. Did she know, before the moment Remo said it, that you are gay? If not, is it not entirely possible that she was just surprised to find out that information? She wouldn’t be the first person to be surprised by it. Could she have been gearing up to tell Remo off for jumping to his conclusion and making her look bad?

        One other thing to think about: maybe Remo’s response didn’t stem from discomfort, but indignation on your behalf?

        Miscommunication is easy.

        I’m the outsider in this group, I know that. I bring a different perspective. That doesn’t mean I’m right, but it doesn’t mean I’m wrong either. I’ve had my words misinterpreted, on here even, and that’s not a good feeling. All I’m saying is I just need more information.

        • sanders says:

          Re: Fran & Clarice, I question if part of Mel’s issue is the queer black women talking about anal sex, if any of those three identities were part of her reaction. You know, “good” girls don’t talk about sex. “Good” white folks don’t talk about “filthy” sex; there’s about 200 years of sexualization and degradation of black women’s bodies fueling my question, along with knowing just how raunchy rock and roll while being excused if it comes from white dudes in a hetero way. Think about how Prince flipped everyone the fuck out for being a black man singing bluntly about sex.

          Framing it as “I question”, “I think”, “I don’t know if” is because I don’t know and I’m speculating and throwing out theories, just like you and I have about so many other things, and just like you and I have taken Bill and others to task for ignoring and stating things in absolutes instead of making them their opinions.

          I don’t know what it is about this conversation that’s got you so defensive, because we’re all saying we need more information and taking guesses at what might be happening, just like we have a thousand times before.

          I do know that, for myself, it’s feeling really screwed up to have you pulling the insider-outsider card, claiming those of us who see potential discrimination are just looking to be offended, and linking it to there being a double standard for things after asking if gender or race matter. Those are all of the places people go when they want to tell someone with a marginalized identity that they’re just imagining their marginalization.

          • s says:

            I guess I got defensive because it felt like a witchhunt in the making.

            Re: Fran and Clarice, what I saw when I read the chapter was two cool people I’d like to hang out with being their usual awesome selves. I didn’t think about race or gender or sexuality because those things don’t matter to me.

            As for your last paragraph, I’m not touching that with a 10′ pole. I love and respect you and there is no way going there will end well.

            If you are not too irritated with me, I’m free for brunch tomorrow. I have fresh corn for you and tomatoes for your mom. I can’t remember if you wanted cucumbers or not.

            • ctan says:

              Oh oh oh this is where I have to jump in. s, you hit a nail on the head here maybe without realizing you did:

              “Re: Fran and Clarice, what I saw when I read the chapter was two cool people I’d like to hang out with being their usual awesome selves. I didn’t think about race or gender or sexuality because those things don’t matter to me.

              This is not a criticism of you or a call-out. But I want to point out that the reason those things can “not matter to you” is because you’re in a position where race, gender, and sexuality don’t *have to* matter. I know you mean it as “these things don’t make me judge a person differently” (highly laudable) but I want you to see it means more than that: it means you literally have the privilege to CHOOSE whether to let those things matter or not.

              Those who aren’t in the privileged position don’t get to choose. We have no choice. When you’re not black, not non-gender-conforming, and not gay you can imagine a platform where these things truly do not matter. But those of us who are any of the nonconforming literally can’t live in a “colorblind” or “whatever-blind” world because it’s thrown in our faces every day, every moment, how we’re “different.”

              And this is why sometimes when a person insists race/etc “don’t matter” to them it feels to us like a reinforcement of that privilege instead of that person breaking down the wall and being on equal footing with us. I know it wasn’t meant that way: it’s meant to be a statement toward equality, but even when it’s said with love it can end up coming out the opposite because of how different it looks from the other side.

              And this is Daron’s point about Remo. Even when he’s trying to be on Daron’s side, sometimes he steps on Daron’s toes in the process and what hurts isn’t the toe-stepping so much as the fact that he isn’t even aware that he’s stepping on Daron’s toes in the first place. I’m sure if Daron tells Remo he feels stepped on, Remo is going to react defensively, and Daron fears that’ll make a rift. Daron fears his only choice is to put up with it and suffer in silence, or call it out and have a fight. I don’t believe those are the only two choices: one of the themes of the story is that suffering in silence is never the answer! But Daron has to learn to confront the people and things in his life that keep him from being happy–Ziggy’s behavior, etc–and come all the way through to making it work, not making it blow up.

              I’m hoping that’s the lesson we can all learn, too. We’ve all got blind spots. Every one of us. But we have to find a way to see what we’re missing so we can understand and love each other. I’m hoping I’ve helped rather than hurt. I hope I’ve helped you (and everyone) see a teeny bit why even the best intentions can be misread and how privilege can blind.

              • s says:

                It’s not that I’m blind to racism or homophobia or sexism (which I deal with all the time because apparently having a dick makes one a better doctor). I’ve seen racism first hand and, believe me, it goes both ways. I’ve been threatened for walking down the sidewalk in Louisville. I lived in central Alabama for 4 years in a town with about 300 people and 275 were black. We got the stink-eye often. But the only real issue we had was someone (idk who) broke into our house twice. My kids were the only white kids in their school/daycare. My husband worked as a janitor at my son’s elementary school. The ladies there called him the other white meat, which we still find hilarious. Overall I wouldn’t change that experience for anything.

                On the flip side of that, the administrator at my school tried to talk me out of living there because we’d be the only white people (there were a few Mexicans as well). I told her we’d be just fine, thank you.

                You can’t look/go anywhere these days without seeing some form of LGBT discrimination. Spend 5 minutes on the internet and you’ll see plenty.

                I know that doesn’t compare with what you all have to deal with, I’m just saying I do see it and it bothers me. I choose not to behave that way because I don’t think I’m better than any of you. As far as I’m concerned we’re all equals.

                I don’t really know what else I can do but keep reaching my hand out even if it gets bitten from time to time.

                • ctan says:

                  And please realize I’m not saying you’re blind to racism. Or sexism. Or homophobia.

                  I’m saying you *did* expose the way that you *are* blind, though, the thing you’re not seeing.

                  That’s literally why you’re not seeing eye-to-eye with sanders or me. Even the most race-conscious/oppression-conscious person is going to hit a blind spot and you just hit yours.

                  The point of my comment was that I’m hoping I can get you to see why we can feel attacked by things you say (which are not attacks from your POV), and why you can feel attacked by things we say (which are not attacks from our POV). If you can’t see why your defensiveness about Mel comes across as hurtful to some of us even though that wasn’t your intent, that’s your blind spot. Like I said, this isn’t a criticism or a call-out: I’m trying to actually get you see it so maybe it won’t be a blind spot anymore.

        • daron says:

          s I think you’re coming off as defensive because you identify most closely with Mel this time around. It’s ok. Don’t want you to feel like bc we’re down on Mel, we’re down on you. it’s ok to sympathize with Mel, really it is. (It’s ok to sympathize with anyone in my story, actually, bc they’re all humans and everyone deserves consideration. no really)

          This is the thing about it being Fran and Clarice: If Alan and Alex had sung a dirty song, Mel might’ve held her tongue just because people are less likely to attack something done by someone “above” them and are more likely to attack someone “below.” She knows A&A are longtime close friends of Remo’s, blood brothers really, whereas two black backup singers are a “safe target” for a lot of reasons, incl. unconscious reasons. I’m sure she didn’t consciously think of them that way but if she was really consciously thinking about any of this she probably wouldn’t have a flipout to begin with.

          “One other thing to think about: maybe Remo’s response didn’t stem from discomfort, but indignation on your behalf?”

          Oh it definitely stemmed from indignation on my behalf! Which is why it was painful that it came with a side order of discomfort. I know he was trying to defend me but that’s exactly why it was such a weird feeling to know that he automatically equates me being gay with what I do in bed. Granted, I used to equate it myself and it’s taken me years to start to feel like I’m something more than where I want to stick my dick. I know Remo means well but he’s got to get past that, too. (And I’m still working on it myself. Unconscious societal training it hard to undo.)

          “Miscommunication is easy.” I’m getting that put on shirts for the whole band. It can say that on the front and “Family shit is complicated shit” on the back.

          • s says:

            Damn it, Daron, I’d finally quit crying. Fuck.

            Maybe it did feel personal. Maybe I could try to explain why but I’d probably mess it up and I don’t see what good it would do anyway.

            I want one of those shirts.

            • daron says:

              Hugs. I know it feels personal. It’s why I started telling my story in the first place. It goes deep. When I say it’s ok I really mean it. You’re human and I’m honored you’re taking this life journey with me. <3

  • marktreble says:

    I have to go mostly with s on this. We need to suspend judgment awaiting more information. Mel’s readiness to go off the deep end once Remo told her Daron was gay tells me the “gay” part was one of her motivations.

    Scenario: Mel is upset that Remo does not give her the attention she believes is appropriate. Ford is a rival for “her man.” And so is Nomad. And Daron IS Nomad in her eyes. Now she’s faced with a gay man trying to steal her husband away. Come to think of it, I might have flipped out, too.

    If I were still practicing psychiatry I’d tell Mel to take two shots of bourbon and call me in the morning.

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