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Wearing pink shoes

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If you ever see me out in the world chances are I will be wearing pink shoes.  I started wearing them around seven years ago and whenever I wear out a pair I buy a new one.  I’ve probably owned close to twenty pairs over the years and I don’t see me stopping any time soon.  People often ask me why I wear pink shoes and there’s really no reason.  I just like my pink shoes.  They seem to put people at ease and this is often important in my work.  These ridiculous looking footwear has taught me more about life than I ever thought possible.

Because of the shoes I often have people asking me if I’m gay or tell me the shoes are giving off a definite gay vibe.  This doesn’t bother me in the least because I’m comfortable enough with my own sexuality to be my own person and not care what others think.  Also, my sexuality is so far down on the list of how I define myself that I hardly ever think about it.  I have never felt threatened by a person’s sexuality even if it’s different than my own.  If I have any type of homophobia it would be the fear that if I were gay, men would reject me as much as women do.

While I will never know what it is to be a homosexual, my shoes have given me two examples of what it might be like.  Interestingly both examples happened at the gym.

When you go to the gym at roughly the same time every day you start to recognize the familiar faces.  One gentleman who had been lifting at the same time of day as me for the past few weeks complimented me on my pink shoes and started up a brief conversation with me.  I love talking to people and do it whenever I can.

“I would love to take you to dinner sometime.”  The man said as we were wrapping up our workout.

“Wow.  That almost sounded like you asked me on a date.”  I laughed being completely oblivious to what was going on

“I was.”  The man said and then I caught up with things.  While I was flattered to be on somebody’s radar I told him I played for the other team.  That was when it happened.

In less than a second I saw this poor man run a gambit of emotions I will never experience.  He went from

  • I’m being rejected, to
  • I’ve made a mistake, to
  • This is embarrassing, to
  • Am I in danger?

All within the blink of an eye.  It was truly heartbreaking.

After I thought about the difficulties I have asking women out and it all seemed so trivial in comparison.  The worst case scenario for me is that a woman says ‘no’ and my feelings get hurt for a while then I leave a bag of flaming dog poop on her front porch and I move on.  The pain and suffering this man was experiencing was in a completely different league and while we eventually laughed it off, I will never forget what I saw in his eyes when he realized I wasn’t gay.

The second incident was a little more drastic and involved the police and a couple ambulances.

There were these four Tongan guys lifting in the gym.  The only reason I’m telling you their race is so you can understand how BIG they were.  These were the type of men who lift dumbbells the size of Volkswagens.  One of them had bought a protein shake in a little cardboard milk box from the pro shop and before he could even crack the seal, one of the other men dropped a dumbbell on it.  It sounded like a gunshot went off and chocolate protein was EVERYWHERE.  I took a pretty healthy splashing and then helped them clean things up.  The man was very apologetic but it was clearly a funny accident and soon we were all laughing about it as we carried our soaked gym towels to the garbage.

About a week later I’m lifting and wearing the pink shoes like always.  The shoes seemed to upset two gentlemen who I had never seen in the gym before.  They started throwing insults my way but I usually have an IPod going so it was easy to block out.  Then they became more aggressive, calling ‘fag’ and every other homophobic name you could think of.   It quickly became apparent they weren’t going to let me walk away peacefully and something was going to happen.  I started to head to the locker room because I figured it would probably be empty and there are no security cameras there that could be used in court at a later date.  Before any of this could happen though, there was a fortress of Tongan muscle surrounding these two creeps.

“Maybe the two of you should work out somewhere else.”  The man who never got his protein shake said.  The two men slunk away to another area of the gym but that wasn’t good enough.  “I meant another gym.  Get the @#*& out of here!”

Not being stupid the two men left.

About a month after this I missed my morning workout for some reason and had planned to sneak in an afternoon session.  As I’m walking across the parking lot I see these two men and they see me.  They attacked me right there in the parking lot.  I don’t like violence and have seen far too much of it in my lifetime.   Later that day I went home with a police case number and they went to the hospital, one with a fractured pelvis and the other with a punctured lung.  The ordeal was horribly embarrassing.  There were tons of witnesses, the whole thing was caught on a security camera, my gym was worried I might sue them in some way and a lot of people got to see a side of me I don’t like to show.  I just wanted the whole thing to go away.

A few days later I was in the gym at my normal time and my ginormous Tongan friend came over to me and whispered something in my ear.

“Just tell me you were wearing the pink shoes when it went down.”

I had been.

 

 

2 comments

  1. Amanda

    I had no idea you had so many fun stories. That’s kind of why I haven’t written in a while. I feel like I’ve turned stagnant and my days are always the same. I’m excited for the adventures to begin again.

    1. Darren Lamb

      I can’t wait to see what you write Amanda. I’m sure it will be amazing and inspiring.

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