Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.
Mike Albo

The New York Times contributor takes on splitting the bill after a group dinner and other infractions of daily life.


Hello, Lambda Legal Lawyers! Wow! How thrilling to be a guest writer in this magazine. I am so grateful to all you legal eagles fighting for our LGBT civil rights! Now that I have your attention, I wanted to offer some suggestions of very important policy pursuits I think someone should consider taking on. Super sorry to add to your workload, but I really believe these crucial changes could be worked through the system, reach Supreme Court level, transform into law, and add greatly to America’s quality of life. Or at least mine. Thanks!

A ban on group dinner birthday celebrations in restaurants. You got all of us to go out on a Tuesday night to celebrate your birth on an insignificant year like 38 or 46. And even if you suggest we go to that “so-bad-it’s-great” gay Mexican restaurant called “Flautas,” we will all politely insist that we pay for you and split the bill which somehow ends up being an eye-popping $180 dollars each. This should be considered a crime.
Charge: Embezzlement with Nachos.

Infractions for kissy-poo couples. The other day I was in a bar, peacefully enjoying my $7 happy hour Pinot Grigio when a couple came in, sat across from me, and proceeded to touch, caress and make out with each other like this bar was suddenly The Notebook and they were Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. As they ate each other’s faces off, I could hear their saliva smacking around in their mouths. I felt assaulted, but any visible sign that this annoyed me would just make me look like a bitter old man who HATES LOVE. So, I was also instantly filled with self-hatred, which led to emotional distress and a sour stomach from the eight-plus glasses of white wine I drank to compensate for these feelings.
Charge: Refusing to Get a Room.

Public prohibition of those toerunning shoes. I don’t care if they are better for your feet. They look awful and ruin my day when I see them. I would rather you run in anything else—even orange crocs—that’s how creepy they are.
Charge: Reckless Disregard for the Laws of Basic Podiatric Fashion.

A public injunction on hairflipping. You are on the subway, trying to read your US Weekly in peace, when someone in front of you flips an abundant head of hair and it goes into your face and mouth. Everyone knows how criminally annoying man-spreading is on the subway, but this is an under-reported, version that is equally as egregious. It must stop.
Charge: Assault with a Deadly Blowout.

A $100 fine for guys in open relationships who don’t tell you they are in open relationships but still shamelessly flirt with you online. You are chatting with an age-appropriate guy who shows you photos of his incredible body while also opening up to you about his hopes and dreams. Eighteen messages into your conversation, just when you are thinking you have possibly met your future husband, he surprises you by suddenly using “we” in a sentence. Examples: “I would love to meet you tonight, but WE just got back from visiting the in-laws.” Or “You’re in Saugerties? WE have third home near there in Malden!”
Charge: Stud Fraud.

A moratorium on that call and response protest chant “Show me what democracy looks like? This is what democracy looks like!” It’s just so clunky and boring and makes no sense and has zero wit or flair. And it’s been around since I started protesting way back in the late 80s—like bad “oonce oonce” dance music, you can’t believe it’s still around. I believe the only way to rid ourselves of this terrible chant is to ban it, and then perhaps in its absence, someone will come up with a zingy alternative.
Charge: Uncreative Protest Leading to Desire to Be Politically Apathetic.