June 18, 2008

Why (Or, How Baseball Is Afraid of Lesbians)

Mia: Where did you go today?
Me: I went to work, sweetheart.
Mia: Why?
Me: Because that's what I do during the day.
Mia: Why?
Me: To make money.
Mia: Why?
Me: So we can buy the metric ton of strawberries you like to eat every week.
Mia: Why?
Me: Why do you eat a metric ton of strawberries each week? Because you like the way they taste.
Mia: Why?
Me: Because they're sweet and you like sweet things.
Mia: Why do they taste sweet?
Me: Because they have sugar in them.
Mia: Why?
Me: Because that's the way they grow.
Mia: Why?
Me: Because the baby jesus wanted strawberries and Strawberry Shortcake was brought to life and it was her job to pepper the holy land with strawberries and, lo, it was good and the people were happy.

Now, if I can handle the endless string of why questions that come from my daughter, surely I can handle the why were those two women kissing at the baseball game question that may come up if we were to visit a Seattle Mariners game. But apparently there are those who can't.

...from KATU, Seattle...
Most of the time, a kiss is just a kiss in the stands at Seattle Mariners games. The crowd hardly even pays attention when fans smooch. But then last week, a lesbian complained that an usher at Safeco Field asked her to stop kissing her date because it was making another fan uncomfortable.

As the Mariners played the Boston Red Sox on May 26, Sirbrina Guerrero and her date were approached in the third inning by an usher who told them their kissing was inappropriate, Guerrero said. The usher, Guerrero said, told them he had received a complaint from a woman nearby who said that there were kids in the crowd of nearly 36,000 and that parents would have to explain why two women were kissing.

There's more to the story and who knows what's accurate. Some say the two were making out. Others - and the couple - maintain that they were eating garlic fries and smooching casually (after garlic fries? really?). The Mariners are quick to point out that Safeco Field has a code of conduct which prohibits public displays of affection. Apparently we're all still in high school. Let's say the truth is somewhere in the middle. That doesn't change the fact that ushers never stop heterosexual couples. And there's the big gay double-standard - feel free to live your life as you please as long as it doesn't many anyone uncomfortable. God forbid.

Now, I may be more liberal than most but I need a sanity check.

- Is the way this played out acceptable?
- Is a code of conduct forbidding kissing at a baseball game acceptable?
- Is there a double-standard at play here?
- Are the Mariners playing it too safe?
- Are most parents really that freaked out about explaining something like this to their kids?

Posted by Chris at June 18, 2008 7:20 AM

How hard is to tell kids people kiss each other because they love them?

Explaining why they were kissing after eating garlic fries would be much harder.

And, Garlic Fries???????? ewwwwwwwww I hope that doesn't catch on here. :-)

Posted by: antikva at June 18, 2008 7:36 AM

imho i don't think young children have a problem with modest affection....if that is what it was. i myself don't like to see too much of that stuff from any couple when i'm out and about. a kiss or a hug is fine but all of that other stuff no matter who just makes my skin crawl. heheheheeh

Posted by: Zissy at June 18, 2008 7:50 AM

Public displays of affection ALWAYS make me uncomfortable, with the exception of the most chaste kisses or perhaps holding hands. It's just not the kind of person I am.

That said, if they're going to let people kiss in the stands, then being lesbians shouldn't matter. I would have no issue explaining that to my kids...but my guess is, as children, they wouldn't even notice. I mean, they're at a baseball game!

Posted by: Alissa at June 18, 2008 8:00 AM

Be it between, man and woman or men and men or woman and woman, I feel like I should look away.
You know I was at the beach with the twins (neighbors) the other day and two kids were making out. Sarah looked at them in all the disgust of a 6 year old and hollered, "Get a room!". Man did I laugh!

Posted by: Maribeth at June 18, 2008 8:06 AM

I think there is a huge double standard in play. While I understand the rules against PDA's, I think the "rule" is being used as an excuse- I've never heard of an instance when a hetero couple was asked to leave because they were getting too gropey in the stands. And even during their most inquisitive moments, none of my kids have asked why two people were kissing each other, so it's not as though kids get that fixated on the other fans at a baseball game.

Posted by: MamaKaren at June 18, 2008 8:09 AM

What? You mean people might actually have to explain stuff to their kids? I understand that you shouldn't need to deal with some things right away, but this is a general fact of human life.

Posted by: Hannah at June 18, 2008 8:10 AM

In regards to the Lesbos at Safeco Field...I think it is rather funny that many of the sporting events that I attend have was is referred to as the "kissing cam." I'm sure you know what I am talking about. Every time the kissing cam comes on, at some point, they show two guys sitting next to each other. And almost every time, guy oneplays along and acts like kissing the other guy while guy two fends him off. I am curious if Safeco uses the kissing cam.

Posted by: harrylips at June 18, 2008 8:12 AM

I kiss Dawg after eating garlic fries.

In a movie theater if two people are making out the usher will ask them to stop, so I guess I feel the rules should also apply to a fully lit ballgame.

But if this has anything to do with bias then it was completely inappropriate.

Posted by: Poppy at June 18, 2008 8:18 AM

I think the answer is yes, most parents probably are afraid of talking to their kids about it. I think, personally, that talking things out with your children will not only help them to understand this world but also cement a good, solid relationship with them.

And no, this is not all that inappropriate and I am pretty amazed that a baseball stadium has a code of conduct that forbids that. Maybe they all are still in high school over there...

Posted by: claire at June 18, 2008 8:28 AM

I'm not all that sure about what happened or why, but I do know that in St Louis, heterosexuals absolutely ARE interrupted if the ushers think they are not fitting the "family" atmosphere. It could be that they were innocently smooching, but if not, then it makes perfect sense that they were asked to stop.

Posted by: ktjrdn at June 18, 2008 8:47 AM

There very much is a double-standard in place. I got pretty irritated by that story in general. If they were all over each other and ripping their clothes off, then yeah, they should've been stopped. But I'd say the same for a het couple as well. I think it's fucking ridiculous that parents want a gay couple to stop kissing so that they don't have to explain to their children why two people of the same sex are kissing. Get the fuck over yourselves. Argh.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at June 18, 2008 8:59 AM

Inappropriate. Unless the usher's job description is to walk around the stadium all game doing hand checks. Seriously people. You gave birth, you have to explain shit to them. Like why people eat garlic fries!?!? The hardest conversation I have had with my oldest son so far was explaining racism/biggotry/homophobia. Even tougher than the sex talk.

Posted by: OS at June 18, 2008 9:10 AM

I will only be happy when ALL of the most gratuitous make out sessions are halted at all sporting events, all over the world. Including the Olympics. Just because the world has come together does NOT mean there should be make out sessions running rampant.

Honestly though, I can't stand PDA. Especially when it crosses that line form "get a room" into "seriously, this is not your room!" I'm sure there is a double standard at work here in Seattle, and for that I feel badly, but if it was truly an inappropriate display then the other fans had every right to complain. I would just hope that they would extend the same courtesy against Jack and Sue that thy do against Sue and Ann. You know?

Posted by: chatty cricket at June 18, 2008 9:17 AM

The woman who complained was jealous. I thought about the kiss cam too, and come to think about it, they never zero in on two women like they do on two guys. Because hot girls macking on each other is much more normalized now (thank you, girls gone wild). The woman who was offended probably was religious and her religion probably had some nice way to talk about the heathens to her kids.
Point being, get over it.

Posted by: Arwen at June 18, 2008 9:18 AM

We now counter the why questions with Why do you think? after one or two why's. Some times it stops him in his tracks and the answers can be quite humorous!

As for the two women kissing public ah get over yourselves people (meant to the people complaining...) People are people. Eventually your kid is going to see two people of the same sex kiss and well if you make a HUGE deal out of it then it will be a big deal. If you do not, it is not. In my opinion. The kid is more likely to say "what are those people over there doing?" (about making out) not "what are those two lesbians over there doing?" anyway!

Posted by: Christina at June 18, 2008 9:20 AM

Something like this happened a few years ago too but I'm not sure now which ball park and I don't want to guess and be wrong.

I do remember management using the same excuse and me ranting about it.

I've found that I have far fewer problems explaining affection than I do hatred and bigotry.

On the bright side, I was part of a small rally yesterday morning in this quite conservative central CA city. We were celebrating our friends being issued the first same sex marriage license in the county (and beginning work to defeat the Constitutional Amendment which will be on the November ballot). I'd expected problems but what we found, except for one guy, was support.

Posted by: Ann Adams at June 18, 2008 9:31 AM

Definitely a double standard going on. And it makes me sad.
Parents should have no problem explaining that people who love each other kiss. children don't generally make a big deal about if it is a same sex kiss or not. And a baseball stadium has a code of conduct...in that case I hope they are also telling the shirtless hairy guy with the beer belly to put a shirt on!

Posted by: Diane at June 18, 2008 9:44 AM

And garlic fries are delicious!

Posted by: diane at June 18, 2008 9:46 AM

1. Not acceptable.
2. Not acceptable.
3. Yes, double standard at play.
4. Definitely too safe.
5. Yes, they are too freaked out.
6. Two garlics cancel each other out :-)

Posted by: Maria at June 18, 2008 9:52 AM

A few years ago, at Skydome in Toronto, a couple of fans were doing a bit more than kissing. There's a hotel built in as part of the stadium, and some of the rooms have large windows overlooking the field inside the stadium. During one game, a couple of hotel guests were watching from their room and decided to have an, ummm double-header of their own. With the curtains open so that they could enjoy the game while enjoying each other's company. I guess they didn't realize that it was good old-fashioned glass, not one-way glass.

I imagine some parental explanation was needed that day.

Posted by: alison at June 18, 2008 9:59 AM

Sooo innappropriate of the lady and the usher. Nobody complains (at least, nobody places a formal complaint with an usher) when a straight couple kisses. Maybe she should keep her narrow-minded ass at home so she can keep her children sheltered?

Um, yeah--ditto to what a lot of others have said--a lot of the sporting events I attend actually encourage kissing, aka the kiss cam. Weird that the stadium actually went so far as to create a rule against it (and what exactly constitutes a PDA--are people not allowed to hold hands or hug, either? How far do they take it?). What if someone proposed on the jumbotron--are newly engaged couples not allowed to kiss??

Posted by: Liz at June 18, 2008 10:10 AM

If there was someone uncomfortable with it - it's their job - not the usher's - to say something. If you can't stand up for yourself and show your own homophobia outloud, then leave it alone, don't expect someone else to do it for you.

Posted by: k8 at June 18, 2008 10:11 AM

I am sure that the lesbian couple felt singled out that day but they kind of always will feel singled out because let's face it....they are a minority. It will always be easy for them to say this or that is happening to them because they are gay.

But parents are going to have to explain ALOT to their children as they grow up, they probabaly already have a classmate that has two dads ot two moms, whatever the case may be. I don't think that parents should just ignore everything around them that doesn't fall into their moral code or standards because their child will inevitably encounter it and then what? They have nothing to go by because it made Mommy uncomfortable to talk about it!?

I have no idea who's right or wrong in this instance but I do know that times well, they are a changin' and you can either let your children be informed enough to process and handle certain situations or you can hide from the world and get mad and offended everytime you see something you do not approve of.

Posted by: Kelly M. at June 18, 2008 10:20 AM

I spent a majority of my middle and high school years in a home with two (incredible) mothers. This is so silly and people should really be ashamed of themselves. I can def see this happening here at Turner Field, only because it is a healthy mix of rednecks and liberals (just add some beer and you gou youself a brawl ;) but Seattle?

I have really been crabby in my last two comments haven't I? I'll try and be more shiny. Puppy dogs. Kittens. Smiling toothless babies. See!

Posted by: Mymilabean at June 18, 2008 10:30 AM

I really hope it's not a double standard. I am all for gay marriage and equal rights. The day that no one blinks an eye at two men or two women kissing in a baseball stadium is the day we know equal rights have finally been recognized.
AND, the day that we don't blink an eye at someone saying something about making out in a stadium and assuming that it WAS a double standard is also the day that we know we have arrived.

Which brings me to my story.

I groaned inwardly at this story for so many reasons. One of my friends from college is a lesbian, and for a while our other friend and I had a serious issue to deal with: Lesbian friend and her girlfriend were making out everywhere. I mean EVERY WHERE. Game night at our friends house? They were on the couch, right next to another friend, acting like it was only the two of them in the room. This is the kind of making out that was unacceptable for anyone - straight or gay. There was heavy petting. There was all kinds of stuff. They would invite a friend over then disappear to the bedroom. Or worse, not disappear to the bedroom! It got to the point where we didn't want to hang out around it because it was so awkward. They didn't even want to socialize, they just wanted to make out.

Now, I normally have no problem saying something about this type of behavior. Especially with a good friend. We're pretty much call-it-as-we-see-it.

The problem? Their being Out was a somewhat sensitive (and for her girlfriend, recent) issue, and we didn't want to do anything to make them feel uncomfortable (ironic since they didn't seem to care of we were uncomfortable!) about it. My other friend and I discussed it a little, and I really struggled. If we want equal rights, we should treat them no differently than I would my other friends and their husbands with inaprope making out. If she and I are such good friends, it should be no problem to say something.

But I simply couldn't bring myself to do it. I didn't want to risk her thinking - on any level - that I had an issue with her orientation. I simply don't.

They have gotten better. I still struggle with this though. Shouldn't I have said something? Shouldn't I have treated it like I would have my heterosexual friends? But it wasn't that simple. And ultimately, it was more important to me that she feel like she could be herself - that we could be her safe haven - than feel like she had to censor herself with us too.

...even though it did make everyone else awkward for a time ;)
If you're reading this, what would you have done?

Chris, sorry for hijacking this comment. It just hits so close to home for me!!

Posted by: Caitlin at June 18, 2008 10:51 AM

I heard this girl on the radio a couple of weeks ago. She sounded very level-headed and not trashy.

Is the way this played out acceptable? It was wrong to be asked to leave.

Is a code of conduct forbidding kissing at a baseball game acceptable? No, but that's not what they have. They have a public display of affection rule so that people won't finger-bang each other at games.

Is there a double-standard at play here? Totally.

Are the Mariners playing it too safe? No, in fact I think they need a new relief pitcher who can really close out a game. jk.

Are most parents really that freaked out about explaining something like this to their kids? Yeah, they really are.

My mom tells the story of how I was a baby at the grocery store and noticed a black person for the very first time. I stared. I was a baby. All people had been white in my very limited existence. When the person noticed, my mom simply said, "He's never seen a person with brown skin before." or something to that effect. She didn't dance around it or lie. That was 31 years ago. I expect the same will happen to me and my kids with gay people. I'm prepared, but I can see how others may not be.

Posted by: Brad at June 18, 2008 11:00 AM

It all depends on what the actual story is. There is a time and place for everything and I'd have to say a baseball game isn't the place. Its common place so I'm not afraid to discuss it with my kids should they ask but I would feel the same way if it were a man and women doing the same...Time and place people and a baseball game isnt the place for a makeout session...

Posted by: Darren at June 18, 2008 11:00 AM

the "why" game is an Isabella favorite. drives me BATTY

Posted by: ali at June 18, 2008 11:00 AM

I'm sort of stuck on why the couple would point out that they were eating garlic fries. Unless... Unless they were using the garlic fries to point out that, hello? They weren't kissing *that* much. Garlic? Smelly? Yuck? Who wants to smooch a smelly person?

Posted by: GreenCanary at June 18, 2008 11:01 AM

Wow - that's NUTS! I agree with you completely!

First of all ... who doesn't take the time to explain to their kids IF they have a question regardless of what it is or who it's about? That's a part of life as a parent. See my post the other day about my 13 yr old asking me what KY was for - haha yeah that's life. (http://www.wheresmydamnanswer.com/WP02/?p=352)

Secondly - kissing? Come on ... how about the many other crazy things that kids MIGHT see at any public gathering - like why does that lady have her boobs hanging out ... or why does that man keep grabbing his crotch?

I think that some people are uncomfortable with anything that is different from THEIR norm - fine ... but keep it to yourself and work through it. I guarantee that your kids will be much happier and healthy by your willingness to step outside of your comfort zone.

Good entry :-D

Posted by: Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer at June 18, 2008 11:02 AM

Okay, the "why" game...we play that here and I was just going to blog the same thing. f.u.n.n.y. Unless of course, you get to play it all.the.time. Second, I live in Seattle and cannot believe they are making such a big, freaking deal about kissing when the Mariner's have enough to worry about already. Like how to win a game.

Posted by: Michele at June 18, 2008 11:15 AM

If the Mariners have a "no kissing" rule, then I think what they did was ok. However, if that rule is only enforced with gay couples, that's not ok.

I think you'd have to have been there.

Posted by: cassie-b at June 18, 2008 11:19 AM

Couldn't care less about the gay thing. Garlic and kissing don't go together whether you're gay or not.

The Why Questions...throw it back on Mia. Ask her "Why do YOU think?" You'll get some great answers, and also get a break. Win-win.

Posted by: jessica at June 18, 2008 11:22 AM

- No
- No
- Yes
- Yes
- Such parents should run to Target and buy a backbone, ASAP.

And I wonder if the fine people at Safeco Field defined the extent of PDA, i.e. hand-holding = yes, but fisting = no? Or vice versa?

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at June 18, 2008 11:34 AM

It's a double-standard and I feel a stupid one. This was at a baseball game where far too many fans attending these games get quite drunk and that's somehow acceptable as being part of the game. I have two lesbian friends and I thought we were moving beyond this kind of stuff.

I had no problem explaining these differences to my son when he was younger. He understands. For the record, my son doesn't like PDA. He doesn't appreciate even seeing his parents kissing, though holding hands is fine.

What bothers me the most about this story is that those that were bothered by the PDA didn't have the nerve to say something themselves and put an usher in the position of being the heavy.

Posted by: Diane at June 18, 2008 11:36 AM

Oh my God! You mean parents might have to explain that there are DIFFERENT people in the world??? Won't somebody put an end to the madness???

Posted by: Shannon at June 18, 2008 11:45 AM

As for the 'Why' thing, here's a little Louis CK for you. It's all good, but the 'Why' stuff starts at around ~7:00.


Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at June 18, 2008 11:48 AM

this whole thing was a mess. it was all anyone could talk about for a week here in seattle. it seems that one of the DJs on a radio station i listen to was actually there and corroborates stories that they weren't "making out and groping each other," much like the hetero couple a few rows forward. who the dj snapped a photo of (http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=589753) who weren't asked to stop by ushers. this has blown totally out of porportion and that usher gave Safeco field a problem it didn't need or deserve. and to be fair, it is plainly listed on their code of conduct: "Displays of affection not appropriate in a public, family setting." which i would argue the couple in the photo on the stranger are close to if not outright violating.

- way overreacting
- kissing, no harm or indeceny in that. drunkenly groping and slobbering all over each other's faces? yeah that might be a little much to sit in front of children. i can't imagine that any child would be harmed by seeing it.
- you betcha
- they're getting their asses dragged all over the field every game, they can't afford not to try and play this down
- only if they're living in the 50s

Posted by: Jared at June 18, 2008 11:52 AM

If this was some relatively innocent, first-base kissing, then I think it's ridiculous and repulsive that they were stopped. If they were rounding into second with some groping and the like, then I would hope that ANYONE would be stopped, not just a same-sex couple. Call me a prude, but I don't think that groping is appropriate for public places.

And garlic fries and kissing are only incompatible if only one person is eating them. The couple that eats garlic together is happy together, I say.

Posted by: heels at June 18, 2008 12:07 PM

Dude. That article is just another prime example of people being total 'tards.

I don't want to see people making out in public. A man and a woman, two women, two men, a man and his dog, whatever. But I don't feel the need to be "protected" from PDA. I never realized it was a threat to my safety and well being . . . huh.

But explaining it to my kids? Never a problem. "Those two girls are kissing because they like each other." "That guy and girl are groping each other and shoving their tongues down each other's throats because they like each other, have had WAY too much to drink, and are about it get it on like the lions on Wild Kingdom . . . look away. And remember how uncomfortable you feel seeing that and don't do it when you get older."

Of course, my 10 year old would pop off with "seeing that makes me tingle down there . . ."

Posted by: Mindy at June 18, 2008 12:42 PM

At every MLB game I have been to (and for some reason it is quite a few), they have a kissing camera where during some slow part of the game they focus on a couple and leave them on the big screen until they kiss.

I don't see a problem with a code of conduct rule for a park, but if it is going to be enforced for one couple, it needs to be for all.

My children are all at the age where any pda is gross and disgusting, but what a lame parent I would be if they didn't see it as a sign of affection between two people, no matter their gender.

Posted by: anna at June 18, 2008 1:00 PM

I think all of the Mariners fans should be kissing at the next game, gay AND straight. Make a statement.

Posted by: oakley at June 18, 2008 2:07 PM

Nothing about baseball makes me want to make out with anyone, so I guess that is where this story stumps me. Having said that, love is love. I guess I've been blessed to know all kinds of people, and have been fortunate to see that love comes in so many ways. It's not for me to judge. And it's not for my kids to judge. I guess the lesson to teach your kids is that they should find the kind of person that makes them happy - and if they ever do, they are lucky.

Posted by: sarah at June 18, 2008 2:28 PM

- Is the way this played out acceptable? No, it's not acceptable to me, unfortunately about 2/3 of America disagrees with me.

- Is a code of conduct forbidding kissing at a baseball game acceptable? No - unless it's applied in an unbiased manner, which obviously it's not. Granted I'd much rather explain to my 4 year old why two women are politely kissing at the game than explain why the drunk guy three rows down just blurted out a huge string of profanities at the pitcher.

- Is there a double-standard at play here? Yep.

- Are the Mariners playing it too safe? Who knows, I hate baseball. ;)

- Are most parents really that freaked out about explaining something like this to their kids? Yep, I think they are. The majority of folks don't have regular contact with openly gay people, which is a shame. If they did they'd quickly realize that their relationships are exactly the same as hetero ones aside from the one big but really insignificant difference. And as with everything, if you don't understand something freak out first and get more information later.

Posted by: Jen at June 18, 2008 2:48 PM

You know, I explain everything to my kids and have done from a very early age. I have promised them that they can ask me anything and I will give them as full and correct answer as I possibly can.

My kids are very informed. And they do ask questions. That being said, they still get all shy and embarassed when they see too much PDA from anyone.

If the couple was indeed singled out just because they were gay, I don't think it was right. But had I been sitting beside any couple making out, I would have asked them to cool it around the kids.

I was in Paris last month and there was a hetro couple getting it on in the little grassy park under the Eiffle Tower... I would not have wanted my kids to have to hang around and watch it.... Me? Well, I took a picture ;)

Posted by: Amber at June 18, 2008 5:45 PM

'mum, why are those two girls kissing each other?'

'because they like each other very much.'

'how you like daddy?'

'yes, I would have thought so.'

'but I thought only boys and girls kiss like that'

'well sometimes boys and girls like and love each other very much and kiss like that, and sometimes girls and girls and sometimes boys and boys.'.

'oh. can i have some more crisps?'

now maybe I'm being patronising seeing as I have five kids and have probably had all the embaressing-in-public questions there are (yes, including where do babies come from on a crowded bus) but just HOW difficult was that?!

Posted by: mamacrow at June 19, 2008 5:41 PM

Not acceptable.
Not acceptable either.
yep - Def. a double standard.
the Mariners aren't playing well at all this year.. Oh you mean about this..
I'm not freaked out by explaining this to them, however, I'm not ready to. until it comes up. When it does, I'll deal with it then.

Posted by: Molly at June 20, 2008 10:14 AM

I told you one day I'd get around to reading all of the old posts, and while I may not comment on them all, the combination of Jesus and Strawberry Shortcake made my previously annoyed ass crack the hell up.

Perfect timing, man. I'm so glad I waited to read that...

Posted by: Emily at June 23, 2008 10:47 PM