Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What are things coming to in Boystown?

Boystown used to be the gay mecca in Chicago. It was the area where all of the gay boys congregated, it was the Castro of the Midwest! I don't think you could be gay and not have lived in Boystown at one point or another, but recently the neighborhood has really been changing. I remember a time in the not so distant past when the only people that got on the El at Belmont were gay boys......now there's hardly any gay boys at that stop. There used to be a time when you couldn't throw a high heeled shoe without hitting a gay boy in Boystown....but not anymore. The bars are still there, but now there are a whole lot more straight bars, and families, and baby carriages. People moving into new construction next to a night club and then suing the night club because they play music late at night (I guess they didn't realize where they were moving to).

Even more so lately there are fewer and fewer gay boys in Boystown - it's still gay, all the bars are there and the Center on Halsted is there, and the Rainbow Pylons on there, but it's not the Boystown of years past.

A friend of mine sent me this email, and I had to share it with you because it just so puncuates what's happening to Boystown and what's happening to "our generation." I just have one question....what the fuck is wrong with people

Dear Michael,

My friend Paul and I were having dinner at Las Mañanitas last night. We sat next to a family of a man, a mother, another woman and four kids under 10. Now, it was Friday and busy, and I'm sure we waited 45 minutes for a table for two, so I can only imagine how long the group of 7 must have waited. It was at least 9:30, which is bed time, not dinner time, and the kids were tired, hungry, cranky and really unruly, none of which was their fault of course. It was just another case of unforgivably bad Generation X parenting.

Mom seemed okay with letting the kids run amok (out of their seats and running around, yelling to get her attention while she chatted with the other grown-ups at the table . . . I know you know the drill all too well and I'm sure you also know that there's just no room for that at Las Mañanitas), until the kids got to be too annoying and whiny for her to have a conversation. At first I thought for sure that the man who turned out to be the father was the gay uncle. He reminded a lot of my future ex-brother-in-law, Jim--cheesy metrosexual haircut and no damn help at all with the kids. When mom had had enough of one of the kids, she stood up and pushed her chair backwards and grabbed one of her kids by the arm and started yelling. She was so engaged in yelling at her daughter, that she didn't realize the chair had knocked a five-foot-tall potted palm over and onto a woman sitting at another table.

The woman's partner, let's call her "the sensitive dyke," after helping her partner get the palm tree off of her, said to the family, "thank you for ruining everyone's evening," which seemed a tad melodramatic to me, but I was elated that someone had dared to say something.

Mom stopped yelling at the girl long enough to challenge the sensitive dyke with, "Excuse me."

Sensitive dyke said it again and added, "you just knocked the palm tree onto my partner."

Mom had the gall to look around the room amused. She really didn't seem able to fathom that anyone would actually say anything to her. I'm sure she does this at the mall all the time. She never once apologized. Instead she chuckled and said something sarcastic to sensitive dyke. It was something like, "I think she'll live." And then she went on with something like, "Ooooh, I ruined everyone's night. Whaaaaatever."

Sensitive dyke tried to explain what the problem was calmly but was met with a caustic, sarcastic comment every time. Everyone who could see was watching and listening. The waitstaff had gathered and was moving the palm tree. Sensitive dyke gave up and sat down. Someone at another table yelled across the restaurant, "Jodie Foster is gay." I guess mom looked a little like Jodie Foster. I was thinking that it seemed like the straight family felt entitled to act like they were at the Olive Garden at Lincolnwood while they were in the gay restaurant in Boystown, and that this was a nice way to break the tension.

The non sequitur might have worked. Everyone kinda laughed, except the family, until mom yelled back, "that's probably why she stabbed herself."

I was really shocked, and it takes a lot for me. Now it was sensitive dyke's partner's turn to challenge mom with, " What did you just say?"

And mom started to repeat it, until a big hot guy from another table yelled, "Shut the fuck up!"

Mom started to say something back, but the same guy said, "No, bitch, you need to shut the fuck up and get your kids under control," and threw his balled up napkin at her. People in the restaurant applauded. Or maybe it was just me. Mom looked at gay dad, then gay dad stood up and said something intelligent like, "No, you shut up . . . I don't want to have to kick your ass."

Big hot guy said back, "No, you need to shut the fuck up too. You can't even control your kids." Metrosexual wimp dad was barking up the wrong tree with the big hot guy, but what else was a "straight" (ha ha) guy going to do when someone was throwing stuff at his wife and telling her to "shut the fuck up, bitch?" I knew queer-as-a-three-dollar-bill dad wasn't about to do anything. But the waiters all rushed over and quietly told the family they needed to settle down or they would have to leave. Way to go, Las Mañanitas!

Of course, seeing all this, the kids were very upset, which is the most unfortunate aspect. I really feel bad for the kids who got traumatized in public because their parents are assholes with poor parenting skills. To the family's credit, they went into doting parent mode, but it got turned into, "Noooo, nooooo, honey . . . it wasn't your fault . . . it was those mean gay people." The other woman with group (I don't know if it was a group marriage or what), and to a lesser extent metrosexual dad, tried pretty unsuccessfully to reason with mom about how she might not have been the victim here. Mom eventually sent a pitcher of margaritas to the table that had told her to shut up, but I never once heard the words, "I'm sorry," cross her lips.

I would be willing to bet my raise that she's telling this story today as how she was straight-bashed in Boystown last night.

Where does an old queen go for dinner?


Anonymous said...

The same thing is happening to Dupont Circle here in DC. Hipster breeders everywhere!


The Big Finn said...

The fact that a lot of parents can't/don't control their kids these days REALLY DRIVES ME FUCKING INSANE!!!

Ms Mac said...

Did Jodie Foster stab herself? Why? What for? When? How did I miss this?

Shane said...

This one of the things that really grates me too. I remember fully well that my sister and I would never have been allowed to act like those kids did. We knew that there would have been severe consequences if we had dared tried. It does amaze me at how parents these days seem to think that it's okay to let their kids run amok and interrupt everyone else's evening. My philosophy is, if you can't control your kids, don't take them out. If you can't go out without your kids (and you can't control them too), then you don't go out either.

Adam said...

I just spent a good part of the morning talking to one of my coworkers about this very topic. Parents today cannot control their children and seem to have a penchant for taking their children to places that are really for adults. If your kids can't handle a restaurant then leave them at home with a sitter. In my opinion I think it boils down to the fact that there is societal pressure for people to have children when they really don't want to have them and so they try to lead adult lives and when you have children that's just not possible and that is a sacrifice you have to be willing to make. If you can't then don't have kids.

Michael said...

Future Junkie - Well I'm glad to see it's just not Chicago!

TBF - I think you have it right, they don't "want" to control their kids.

Ms. Mac - I don't think Jodie Foster was stabbed/or stabbed someone, I think it was just a retort that only made sense to one person.

Shane - Amok Amok Amok (Hocus Pocus) You are absolutely correct, our parents NEVER would have allowed that kind of behavior.

Adam - I think you might be on to something there.

andy2boyz said...

I suspect that if me and my brother and sister had acted like those children, Mum would have quietly paid the bill and with very little fuss, took us all home to be murdered ;-)

John said...

My sister and I knew from a very early age that misbehaving in public would lead to VERY unhappy consequences.

I see this crap at grocery stores all the time, and it makes me nuts. I can't tell you how many kids I've almost run over with a grocery cart because Mom won't keep then in hand. I know it's not easy having kids - I'm remembering taking my nephew, 3 at the time, to a playground in SF and dealing with him when he didn't want to go home - but really, figure it out or don't breed.

What burns me up is that I can't take my dog - who is well behaved and obedient and ON A LEASH - to a patio cafe here in Houston (it's illegal) but people bring their loud, drooling, germ-spewing, badly behaved loinfruit to such places. My dog is less trouble and cuter to boot.

The Sour Kraut said...

I gotta offer my "counterpoint" here. I'm wondering how many of you have children of your own?

My husband and I have a strict, "don't leave your seat in a restaurant" rule for our kids as well as "restaurant manners" so we're doing our best. Our kids are both extremely challenging. One is hyperactive, the other stubborn beyond belief. We are consistent and don't tolerate the bad behavior, but there are certain things that are a daily battle.

I thought I had all the answers before I had kids. I never knew it would be as hard as it is.

I'm not excusing the mother at all. It's just that after reading the comments, I felt I had to mention that I think it's impossible for people without kids to understand how parent's may try their hardest and still, on occassion, kids will act up.

We are raising our kids in different times than our parent's did when we were young. It's much harder nowadays.

And, no matter if you're straight, gay, parent, single....some people are just rude and ignorant.

Just my opinion.

gomad.ch said...

Beware of breeders!

The Sour Kraut said...

Okay now I'm worried that my comment reads like I'm accusing the other commenters of being rude and ignorant when I really meant the lady in the restaurant.

Karen said...

Yikes! May I never be that kind of parent....