It’s a simple question that has a huge effect. While, I can understand this being asked out of pure confusion and uncertainty. I cannot fathom it a question necessary when two people are so clearly together.
One difference I have noticed is the preparing to leave a restaurant. When we have asked for the check our waiters and waitresses have very rarely if never asked, “Together or separate?”
It doesn’t seem like much does it? But it is. When I had dated men in the past I guess it was clear in the South that we were a couple. When I came out dating women in the South we were asked this question on a regular basis. Every time my girlfriend and I would go out to eat we’d get asked that question. It was clear that they were flat out denying the possibility that we were a couple.
Yes. I’d like to think the waiter or waitress were being pre-cautious for their own struggles with having to adjust the bill if we were separate. Or were they afraid of offending one of the gals she’s serving?
Would it be such an offense to assume two women sitting at a table were paying together? Friends cover each others’ meals all the time. Or would one be so afraid to think there were lesbians in their comfortable little restaurant. So backwards. That was the South. I didn’t think much of it until I moved. I, like my lezzie waitress friends, assumed it was simply to spare the struggles of adjusting the check.
Was that my own denial? Where it was better if not more comfortable living in the city. It still had some narrow minds wandering the sidewalk.
It’s not to say that my girlfriend and I were making out at the table. “Hey waitress. Do you notice now? We’re together!”
But, you know. The usual googley eyes, hand holding, looking at each other. The typical couple out on a date thing. You’d think a ring on the left hand was enough. Nope. I might be considered a straight woman cheating on her husband with this butch lesbian before actually being in a relationship with her.
I wish I were lying.
However, there has been that monumental difference here. When going out it is assumed we are together. When we go to restaurants the only time we’ve been asked, “Together or separate?” Is while we are out with friends. I’ve yet to be hit on by a dude at the bar while out with Crush. No staring eyes when we go to a different area of the city. It’s all over, really. The comfort. The lack of stares and denial from other people. I don’t think I would have ever realized this if I hadn’t left Houston. Or the South.
And while everyone can marry now. I’m not oblivious to the fact the mental shift will evolve slowly. See Kentucky clerk all over your newsfeed. 😛
Just a little observation that I recognized in the South but ignored. I enjoy this difference. Small yet monumental. Like, oh! You get it. Not that I needed you to believe it. But, it’s appreciated. That you recognize this is a legit relationship. That I love this woman and she loves me. And we have a life together.