I had a busy day yesterday — beside the point, I know, but coming up with opening lines for blog posts is challenging, and we all have to start somewhere, right? The fact that yesterday, I went to the shops, took my dog for a run in the park, visited the pet shop and went to a different shop in the evening is neither here nor there — well, apart from one of those events. Don’t worry — you’ll find out which one in a moment, but first, allow me to inform you that the weather in southern England has returned to normal service once again after our LITERAL 5 Seconds of Summer.
In the park yesterday, something happened which has left me a little confused, and thoughtful. In reality, it’s perfectly common — not right, necessarily, but not abnormal. For whatever reason, it stuck in my head though, and made me think, and we all know what happens when L starts to think … he writes a blog post! Lucky you…
Yesterday was the first time that I’d taken my dog for a run in the park without my Guide Dog trainer; understandably, I think, I was a little nervous. My main worry was that my dog wouldn’t come back to me when I called; I’d blow my whistle, call her name, and no dog would materialise. My trainer told me that this wouldn’t be the case: the dogs come back to their owners if they want to, and my trainer was convinced that the dog and I have bonded well already.
I let her off the lead, and she went running, tail wagging, unbelievably happy that she could bounce her away around the park. I followed, equally delighted that my dog was so pleased, and feeling weirdly pleased when she came over, nudged my hand and then dashed off again from time to time, as if to remind me that she was still there.
Several minutes into the walk, we found some other dogs who were, thankfully, very friendly; they started to play with my dog, whilst I chatted with their owners. I explained that my dog was a guide dog, and that today was her ‘day off’; she could relax, and not have to work. They were interested and talkative, and we did that stereotypical dog-owner thing of talking about our dogs, in a way that would make you think we were obsessed.
The topic of my guide dog at school came up.
“How is she at school?” One of the women asked. I explained that I haven’t taken her to school yet; my first day back is Wednesday, and I’m not sure how it’ll go. As is usual, conversation moved on, and we talked about school a little bit. As I looked to head off with my dog, one of the women made one final remark.
“Well, you’ll have all the girls after you with your dog in toe.”
For one thing, this statement cannot be true; my school is a single-sex, all-boys school. But that wasn’t the point that I caught onto.
Why is it assumed that I’m straight? Why is it assumed that anyone is straight, that I would want ‘all the girls’ after me? It’s narrow-minded, yes, but I can hardly blame the individual in question who made the remark; society itself is to blame, I believe. I’m not labelling the comment as homophobic or anything like that: I doubt the woman in question even thought about sexual orientation when making the comment. But at the same time, it’s little things — little things like this — that hold society back. It’s these established stereotypes, that most people are straight, and that boys like girls and girls like boys — no exceptions.
But that just isn’t true: I’m bi, which I suppose is why I even noticed anything wrong with this comment. It makes me both angry and upset that these stereotypes still exist, and aren’t being stamped out. People who are unsure of their sexuality, for example, and aren’t confident as themselves may have been more affected by this comment, left wondering if they’re ‘normal’.
Maybe I’m being picky, maybe not. What do you think?