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Sept. 16, 2016: Dive Bar Duo

September 16, 2016

Mara was invited to sit in with a blues band on harmonica last Saturday night. It was at a dive bar tucked away in a semi-rural neighborhood. Kinda cool. The people were friendly, the place was homey, and everyone loved Mara’s playing. Mara and I didn’t get all gussied up, but we were wearing make-up and “nice” jeans and tops. Nothing tight or revealing. So it was a bit of a surprise that we both drew attention from some of the guys there.

One guy, who had had a few drinks, started up a conversation with me when Mara was onstage and I was sitting alone. I talked with him a bit but didn’t give him any personal information, even though he was digging around. But I did make sure my wedding ring was clearly in his sightlines. Not sure he got the message, but his friend finally came over and started talking to him; and they both retreated.

Later, when Mara came back to our table, another guy asked her to dance. She politely declined. And when we left, two guys at the bar stared us down — like wolves stalking prey.

First, I was surprised that middle-aged (and older) men still prowl the bars at night. (C’mon, we’re not twenty-something. I was so over that scene by the time I was 30.) Second, being in a transgender relationship is different than being in a heterosexual relationship, especially in not-so-urban areas, where the gender binary is more strictly adhered to. So we didn’t feel comfortable telling these men that we’re married to each other. And we didn’t hold hands or engage in other types of PDA (public displays of affection). You just never know when someone might react negatively — or even violently.

It’s unlikely we’ll go to that bar (or any other place that’s out in the boonies) anytime soon. We’ll stick to places that are closer to city centers, where no one seems to care who we are, and no one (at least no one our age) is looking for a pick-up.

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