I had one of my best models (Scott) in town from Palm Springs this weekend. He arrived on Saturday and we spent most of Sunday shooting. Scott takes his pre-photo shoot diet very seriously — what that means is that I guess that he hadn’t eaten much for a few days before flying out here. And so the second I said that we got what we needed and the shoot was over, Scott smiled at me and asked if we could go get food.
We took him to one of our favorite restaurants, one of the best places downtown — I wanted to show Scott that Indiana has a few cosmopolitan places, after all.
Jay and Scott walked in to the restaurant first, and I came in about 30 seconds later. We went to our table, which was next to a table of about seven gay men. And while I didn’t know any of them, as soon as I sat down, Scott nudged me and pointed at the other table. And we watched them pass around a phone with my website pulled up on it — specifically, Scott’s photos on my website. They passed this phone around and talked about Scott for what felt like about 30 minutes. And while not one person from the other table made any attempt to acknowledge me, or Scott for that matter, they sat there talking about him as if he wasn’t there.
“He looks better without a baseball cap.”
“I think he’s too tan.”
“I thought he’d be taller.”
“I can’t believe how big he is.”
It was SO. Fucking. Tacky.
Scott looked at me. “You really don’t know any of them?”
I shook my head.
And then Scott said, “Do you get this all the time? Are you some kind of celebrity here?”
I laughed. “I don’t know about that, but people know me for my photography.”
“I can’t believe they’re sitting there talking about me like I can’t hear them,” Scott said. “Or they just don’t care.”
“Do you want me to say something to them?” I asked.
“No, I’m a big boy. I can handle it,” Scott laughed. “It’s just a little uncomfortable during dinner. I guess this is what I get for showing my junk on the Internet.”
And the queens kept talking. And passing the phone. And talking. At the end of the meal, someone asked Scott how he liked the place. He said, “I liked the restaurant and the food, but I could do without the gossipy homos.”
And here Jay and I were trying to show him that Indianapolis has an urbane side. So much for that.
Seriously, I kind of hope one day I recognize one of these guys having dinner with his mother. “I bet she was pretty when she was young.” “You’d think if she has a gay son, she’d dress better.” “She looks a little young to be a grandmother.” These are just three of the things I could think of saying (just within earshot).
And personally, I see no difference between that and what these guys did.
But it’s not my job to teach manners to people who are obviously clueless.
And since you suffered through my rant, here’s a preview photo of Scott, one of my favorite models — ever — and someone that I’m very happy to be developing a friendship with.
I’m glad he came to work with me, despite what some of the Indianapolis gay community showed him. At least I had two of my friends with us for dinner, so I don’t think Scott left thinking that we’re all socially awkward and impolite.