We've all found them in our mail from time to time. Those coupon books tailored to your neighborhood, with great savings on everything from meals at local restaurants and eyeglasses at the neighborhood optometrist to a coupon for a free fifth oil change at Larry's Lube House.
A few days ago, I found once such coupon book in my mail. I didn't think much of it. It was going to become more landfill, just like all the rest of my junk mail. On closer inspection though, this coupon book seemed to be different. What was it? I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me like a bolt from the blue. Take a look at the picture below. Can you figure out what it is?
If you guessed that it features a rather amorous, dough-eyed, same-sex couple, you win! I began wondering, how did two gay men end up on the cover of a neighborhood coupon book? It could be one of several things:
c) gay guys are thrifty and love clipping coupons
a) gay guys love to pose and show off
b) the cover is purple, and gay guys just love purple (actually, they'd call it "plum" or maybe "eggplant", but i digress...)
Actually the answer is none of the above. The answer lies in the neighborhood, Edgewater, itself. As my friend Brian says jokingly, leave it to a bunch of gay guys to move in, fix things up and run up the property values! And that is exactly the answer. Over the last five years or so, gay men have been moving to the Edgewater neighborhood, buying property, fixing it up and creating a nicer, safer, more livable neighborhood. And the coupon book? It's a wise and practical nod by the publisher to the fact that gay men in general have more disposable income, and that their spending power is as legitimate as everyone else's. And most importantly, that the time has come to recognize same-sex relations for exactly what they are, loving, committed relations between two people who work hard and want for themselves the things that everyone else wants. It may only be a silly little coupon book, but it's an enormous leap forward. Three cheers for Neighborhood Direct!
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