While I was in line to get my book signed at the The Art of Non-Conformity event last night I met Marc. The chat started off on a funny note. As the Borders employee was asking me who I wanted the book made out too, I said “Jeff and Will.” Marc said something to the effect of “Wow, that’s a long name.” When he got his Post-It Note made out to “Marc with a C” I noted that his name wasn’t exactly short either. That was the beginning of a 30 minutes chat. We talked about what we did for a living, why we liked what Chris had to say and random other things to fill the time.

At one point I was tweeting or emailing or something with my phone and he remarked on the color–it’s somewhere between mauve and eggplant. I explained that it wouldn’t have been a color I’d have picked if I’d seen it first. Sprint had said it was royal purple and that sounded good so I went with it. I would’ve have gone for something in a darker shade, something closer to what my iPod is. Then Marc added, “Something less gay?”

Granted I’d only known Marc for a few minutes, but I was surprised he said that. My response was “dude, remember who the book was made out to?” He stammered for a couple seconds and moved on. We ended up talking about Will for a few minutes before moving on to other topics.

I don’t think Marc, who I think is in his mid-20s, is homophobic. If he is he covered it well because after the moment of awkwardness we went right on chatting and shook hands as we departed the signing. I think he’s of a generation that think it’s okay to use phrases like “that’s so gay.” I personally don’t view these words as an attack. But I understand how, to someone who might be living in a closet, those words can reinforce their closet walls.

It’d be nice if phrases like “that’s so gay” could fade away, but that would happen overnight. Everyone should be a vigilant though. If you hear someone throw that, or something similar, around, remind them that it’s not okay because you never know who is around that you might be inadvertently hurting.