They, the people of the village, felt they knew him and all he was. Yet, they, for the ignorance of human kind, did not know him at all and their assumption of the man was far beyond the reality. They knew him, but did not know him.
It’s funny how someone can think that they know you so well before you have a chance to clarify it for them. But it’s even funnier when they think that they know you down to a T, but in reality they don’t have the faintest idea of who you really are and what you are really like.
I was recently asked by a work colleague whether I lived at home with parents or in my own place with my girlfriend. I answered honestly and stated I was still at home but planned to move out sooner rather than later. But it struck me that he immediately assumed I was straight and had a girlfriend. But then again, I am not going into work with a rainbow flag badge and a typically gay lisp. I’ll leave that to some other queer.
It was just an expectation and I chose not to clarify it as my sexuality was none of his business. In his ignorance and defence, it is just the way we have all been bought up. We have learnt to just expect things or take certain things for granted. We all do it to one degree or another.
But sometimes an assumption can be completely way off and be construed as rude, and it is then that you have to stand up for yourself and educate the ones involved. Or simply put them in their place.
After coming out to a couple of friends in my usual nonchalance manner, I was struck at how they apparently knew that I was gay since the very first time they’d met me. I thought it was very self-assured snap response to meeting someone for the first time only 18 months earlier. For all they knew, I could have been a ‘metrosexual’ who knew his stuff.
I am neither camp nor blokey, but rather I see myself as a fairly average modern male. But according to some, I was as camp as a row of tents during Mardi Gras. I took offence that they immediately assumed that I was gay, just by the apparent way I acted. But as I thought about it, it became apparent they associated gay men with what their image of a gay man was and those they already knew to be gay (who coincidently, were camp). They had to change that perception of gay men.
As mentioned in an earlier post, assumption on the part of others has always been around and will indefinitely continue to be. But how can we avoid assuming that a person is everything we expect them to be and more when in reality they may only be a small part of what you expect? Can we avoid it? I guess we can’t and all we can do is continue in our ignorant ways until someone corrects us otherwise.