Threesome?: Adventures in Gender Presentation

Sometimes my girlfriend and I are guilty of joking around in public places, giggling and pointing out attractive men (the internet is another popular venue for these exploits), so last week we found attention from a male server quite hilarious.

The setting: A classy sandwich restaurant in Decatur, Georgia.

The characters: Me, my girlfriend, and a young, attractive, male server.

The story: Upon entering the restaurant holding my very femme-presenting girlfriend’s hand and wearing jeans, a white button up shirt, and a black blazer, it is probably clear to most people that we are a couple. The restaurant is relatively empty early on a Saturday afternoon, and we don’t have to wait long to be told to seat ourselves. We quickly choose the corner table for two.

Why, when our server hands us our menus and asks what we would like to drink, do his eyes dart furtively between us, waiting for our response? He kind of smiles and there is a weirdly intimate tension in the air. He seems especially attentive.

After we both order water and politely request more time before ordering food, he hesitates a moment before ducking away. What was that about, we wonder? Alarmed, we lock eyes and try not to giggle openly at his strange behavior.

When he comes back shortly to take our order, he stands close to the table, and lingers for a minute before leaving with our menus. My girlfriend and I speculate that maybe he is simply excited to have work to do, since it’s a slow day for business.

Minutes later he’s back again with our food and makes sure to ask if we need anything else. We don’t, thank you. Are we sure? Yes, this should do it. Again, there is that awkward tension while he hovers by our table a split second too long. This is getting weird. We’ve stopped trying not to giggle after he leaves.

Generous speculation has given way to heavy assumption. He doesn’t seem to be flirting with only my girlfriend… he’s been consistently looking at both of us. But I am presenting very masculine today, so we are pretty obviously a lesbian couple.

After checking in several more times with a half smile and unnecessarily urgent tone, he disappears for awhile. Later, when he stops by to give us our check, he takes one step onto the platform on which our table sits and leans forward, stretching out his arm to reach the table. It happens in a manner of seconds and then he pulls away and heads back to the kitchen, very clearly not in a hurry to tend to any other customers, as his body language might suggest. Why not just take another step and cross the full distance to the table? My suspicion is not that he is uncomfortable, but that he is trying not to betray his attraction to us as a couple. From my girlfriend’s eyes, I can tell she thinks the same.

After paying and parting ways with our dear server, we walk back to school laughing. Aloud, we wonder if he was imagining a threesome with us? How fascinating that two simple outfits could say so much and potentially alter his perception of us so entirely. If I had been dressed more feminine, we would have been assumed to be friends having lunch, instead of girlfriends, and it may have been a completely different experience!

Unlike with two people of the opposite sex, one can’t help but see a gay couple and imagine them in sexual situations together. As soon as you realize they are a couple, it’s almost inevitable. It comes with the territory. So who can blame our poor server for reacting?

Not our server, but a good example of the awkward smiles we received!

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