Friday, May 02, 2008

Ex-Classmates Meet-Up Tonight ... Some Thoughts, Some Good News

Dinner with the ex-classmates went pretty well. The place we originally arranged to have dinner actually closed down. So, we made contingency plans on the spot and stuck with them. We are not good planners but we are good at spontaneity. Maybe it's better when we are not allowed sufficient time to waver and second guess.

Notes to Self: Next meet-up, we do it last minute. No planning. Do not allow anyone to change their mind.

We moved on to coffee after dinner. Ted left soon after -- not before we talked about the next meet-up: which is supposed to be at Ted's new home. He moved into a snazzy new pad last year but the man absolutely refuses to invite us to his place. It's like we are vampires. But finally, the man relents, so coming June, we're going over to Ted's Place for "Movie Night."

After Ted left, we started talking about Ted, and how he was suddenly willing to invite us to his place. We wondered if it was because he was finally at ease enough with his homosexuality -- and with us -- to allow us into his private space. While Ted had not denied outright that he was gay, he had been evasive. Once, at a friend's wedding, Ted was so drunk, Cindy decided to ask him directly if he was gay. He replied, "You really want to know?"

Everytime we meet up, The Lawyer would try to rattle Ted with gay innuendos. Some are funny, but sometimes they can also be pretty below the belt. Ted had always dodged the verbal attacks with his wits and good cheer -- but I suspect even he has his limits. Maybe that is why Ted limits the time he spends with us -- so that he would never have to be too emotionally invested in us, in case we prove disappointing. I can't speak for Ted, of course. I just wonder.

After Ted left, we collectively told The Lawyer that his gay cracks at Ted are discriminatory and downright bigoted. You do not call your friend an "ass bandit" and get to laugh it off as a joke. It is not funny. Just because Ted chooses not to acknowledge these derogatory remarks, doesn't mean it's permitted.

"The minorities have no right!" The Lawyer insisted. Oh, and he just happened to be pointing at our Muslim friend, Nabs, when he said that. The Lawyer is a real charmer, oh yes. In less than 3 seconds, he manages to insult both the gay man and the Muslim man in the group. At least The Lawyer had the decency to look sheepish for a few seconds. He pointed at me instead -- the vegetarian -- as an example of a minority that has no rights.

So, it's okay to insult the Salad-Eaters now?

I know I'm not making The Lawyer look good in this post. In his defense, I have to point out that he is a good friend, the loyal, steadfast sort who will drive down to a neighbouring country to bail a friend out. He has never failed to help a friend in need. He is capable of immense compassion, especially with children. He is all sound and fury, but he has never really laid a hand on people. He is a good man at heart. He just has all these issues.

I'm trying to reconcile these mixed feelings: I know The Lawyer, and I love him like my brother -- but I hate it that he behaves like a bigoted, racist, homophobic asshole. I also know, if I am ever in any serious trouble, he is one of the first people I will turn to.

It would be easy to dislike The Lawyer for all his very obvious flaws -- but I can't overlook all his goodness and kindness, so evident to me through the years I have known him. That would not be fair. He is the sum of all his parts. You have to take him as he is.

We talked a little more about Ted, and his taciturn about his love life. I reminded our friends that in Singapore, sex between men is still illegal. So if Ted wishes to stay in the closet, he's just being prudent. We all know about Ted, but we have all openly acknowledged our acceptance of Ted as who he is. If he still feels uncomfortable coming out to us, perhaps the only thing we can do as friends, is to just respect his privacy.

Somewhere along the way, the conversation drifted to children. That so many of our friends have children. Then I was asked if I wanted children. I have to confess, I don't feel any powerful maternal instinct in me.

Then we asked Alice and Wilkie if they wanted children. Alice just off-handedly remarked they are expecting their first baby this December. It took us a while before we caught on: Alice is 2 months pregnant.



Anonymous said...

People like the Lawyer are so difficult. They are good people with big flaws and you want to love them but yet, but yet. It is a lesson in acceptance--how to love the friend but also love them enough not to let them get away with being bigoted.

And what a nice baby surprise from your other friends.

Ana S. said...

"He is the sum of all his parts. You have to take him as he is." it is with all of us.

"If he still feels uncomfortable coming out to us, perhaps the only thing we can do as friends, is to just respect his privacy"

That is often the only thing we can do.

I have very weak maternal instincts too, but that's happy news for your friend :)

darkorpheus said...

Stefanie The "but yet" sentiment is right. There were times when I really wanted to poke chopsticks through his eyeballs.

This is one of the things about human relationships, isn't it? As we learn to live with others, others learn to live with us. *sigh*

That said, I'm happy about the baby news too. Well, thankfully it's not mine. But still, Alice and Wilkie and nice people. Wonder how their kid will turn out.

Nymeth Our friends test us. That's the truth. I guess we deserves the kind of friends we can live with.

I love the good news about the baby too. But - also sighing in relief I don't have to go through the morning sickness like Alice.

How do you behave around babies? I can change their diapers, feed them and burp them just fine -- the mechanics I can deal. It's the baby talk and the excessive cuddling that I can't deal.