i work at a large, relatively conservative midwestern public university.

i run a residence hall, which means that part of my compensation is a dining hall meal plan, which i utilize most weekdays for lunch & dinner.

tonight I had dinner with a graduate student I supervise, and when we walked into the dining hall, i made eye contact with an exquisitely dressed (bow tie and vintage Malcolm X glasses) person I had never seen before.  Based on the look we shared later, and the nervous wave they gave me in the dish room, I’d say the person recognized me as being somehow like them.

I eked out an awkward “i like your tie” after they waved to me, and i wished i had been better dressed today (no tie, need a haircut), not because i want to be desirable to people on campus (i don’t) but because i want that person to know that i’m a bow tie wearing dandy too.  and maybe they’ve seen me before–i don’t know…because i do wear a bow tie most days to work, and i’m generally pretty visible on campus.  there are not a lot of butches hanging around this place.

so whoever you were– visitor?  upperclass student who rarely eats in the dining hall, or person who lives on the other side of campus who usually eats at the other dining hall, or maybe new transfer student?  grad student?  i hope you saw me–i think you did–and i’m glad i saw you too.  because it’s hard to be ourselves out here–in cincinnati, at this school.

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