While our children ran up and down the aisles shrieking with joy, I asked the salesperson at the appliance superstore which of the three silver dishwashers she showed us was the most durable. She said:
"Durability is not a consideration with these dishwashers. They all last 5-15 years. You want to pick the dishwasher with the features that match your lifestyle."
She thinned her eyes at me then, on that word lifestyle.
What was she implying—we gays have some kinky way we like to wash our dishes that require special dishwashers? I was thrown back to Memorial Day weekend several years ago, when after someone spray-painted Queer House on our garbage cans, two gigantic detectives sat in our living room trying to figure out their motive. Apparently, stupidity and bigotry were not options.
"Do you have enemies?" one detective asked.
No enemies. They shook their heads. Puzzling.
"Do you guys make out on your way from your car to your front door?" the other asked, with not a hint of irony.
Now here I was in the appliance store, my lifestyle in question again.
"What do you mean by lifestyle?" I said.
"For instance, this one has the silverware rack in the door. This one does not. Which feature you prefer depends on your lifestyle."
"What other features are there?"
"Noise. You may want a quieter one, depending on your lifestyle."
She wafted away to allow us to ponder our lifestyle.
"I don't get this lifestyle thing."
"I do," my partner said. "Let's say we lived in a mansion on the North Shore and we wanted a quiet dishwasher with a short dry cycle to match our luxurious lifestyle."
Don't the maids run the dishwashers in mansions, I thought, but decided to let it go, remembering the sloshing, groaning noises our now dead dishwasher made, as if Charybdis were in there trying to escape.
"So no matter which one we select," I said to the salesperson on her return, "it will last as long as any other one?"
"We'll take the cheapest one, then."
There was my lifestyle.