Tuesday, November 11, 2008

First Lessons in Urban Life

by Andrew

A week ago, as we wandered down Collins Avenue in South Beach, we passed a slew of young men whose sex was not a slam dunk, at least for a seven-year-old. Some wore dresses, some wore make-up, some wore almost nothing at all. All would have won the Miss Exmore competition without a single pirouette. As each one passed, Katharine turned to Louise and whispered: "Was that a man or a woman?"

And so we had the urban equivalent of the birds-and-the-bees conversation, otherwise known as the drones-and-drakes dialogue. Oh, it may be old hat to you folks who live in New York or San Francisco, but for a child whose closest encounter with homosexuality was a Pekin duck and his Appalachian son, this was big stuff. I must announce that Katharine no longer sees the world as Sarah Palin does.

On our first evening in Buenos Aires, Katharine appraised her surroundings with the cool eyes of someone who's been there and done that. No longer a country rube, she knows how to recognize the tell-tale signs of homosexuality: handsome men, show tunes, and escalating real-estate prices.

As we sat at dinner, a group of men congregated on the sidewalk in front of us. They were obviously a soccer team, gathering for a beer at the cafe. In greeting, the men hugged and kissed each other on the cheek. Our little veteran from South Beach didn't miss a thing. Eyes aglitter, she leaned in to the table and whispered urgently: "Are there a lot of G-A-Ys here?"

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