Dinner Across the Ditch: “He said don’t go. So I was like, we’re definitely going to go ‘| Life and style
Alex, 32, Isle of Wight
Occupation Social worker
Register of votes Usually Work, Occasionally Green
Have fun mouth When Alex was a child she once appeared on CBeebies’ Teletubbies
Robert, 70, Isle of Wight
Occupation Artist, freelance journalist
Register of votes Workforce
Have fun mouth Robert used to keep rats as pets
Robert Alex arrived later than me. I was waiting in an extraordinarily high chair, which, with my small legs, was a bit of a challenge.
Alexis I was outside with the photographer. I joked that he held us up but was inside the whole time.
Robert We shared a seafood lobster platter. The biggest gap was generational. We are both middle class people, relatively well educated and quite intelligent. The chances of us falling to the ground and fighting over the head with a croissant weren’t great.
Alexis Robert had never eaten lobster. I couldn’t tell if he was a little anxious at first, or if he was bored. He didn’t ask me a lot of questions, but in general I think he has a really warm heart.
Robert I am used to dealing with politically engaged people. Subjects arose on which she really had no opinion. I thought I would find a subject of controversy on the Palestinian question, but she said to me: “You should inform me about this. This is unusual in the circles where I work.
The big beef
Alexis He said, “Don’t go with trans,” so I was like, we’re definitely going to go then. I was brought up in a very open household – my mother had been in a relationship with a woman for many years. I have a lot of gay and transgender friends. He said when he was a boy boys were boys and girls were girls.
Robert It is a phenomenon that I do not understand. It doesn’t mean that I am not sympathetic. I’m just ignorant on the subject of trans issues. I have known three or four people who have changed their sex; one that was quite old, and his lifelong stuttering was gone.
Alexis He wasn’t talking about his own sexuality. He said things that were a bit ‘old fashioned’ – something about having had a lot of sex. I think he said he would like to have more. I said, “Okay, I don’t think we’re here to discuss it. ” He is not married ; he could be gay, but I don’t think it’s that easy.
Robert I’m as gay as a bunch of gibbons.
Plate to share
Alexis He really challenged my take on the vaccine. I think those who want to get vaccinated should be: I am. But I hate the media right now to persecute anyone who is not vaccinated. I understand that some people are anxious about this and don’t think they should be labeled as conspiracy theorists. Then Robert said, “Do you think all caregivers working with the most vulnerable people should be vaccinated? And I thought, “Oh my God, I think so, and I don’t want to.”
For the after
Robert I am proud of the institution of the royal family. I expected her to say that they should be elected, but that was the feeling of privilege she opposed.
Alexis They are so far removed from anything I am aware of – there is nothing like it. My husband grew up in the Netherlands, where the king was a pilot for the airline KLM, and the Dutch are so proud of it.
Take away food
Alexis I certainly won’t go into conversations with 70-year-olds thinking that they will automatically have different points of view from me. Based on age, I thought we would be a lot more different than we were, and I think it was ageist.
Robert Even though there was a 40-year age difference, it didn’t really matter. There were things that she didn’t know and that I knew, and there were certainly things that she knew that I didn’t know. People often have fixed vision, but our conversation was more interactive than that. Neither of us was standing on a soapbox… although the chairs we were sitting on looked like it.
Additional reporting: Rachel Obordo
Alex and Robert ate at Steaming lobster, Cowes
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