At one point in your life you may very well find yourself attending a dinner party surrounded by guests with different political affiliations and religious beliefs than you. They’ll be about 20-30 years older than you, and finding common ground for polite conversation can be tricky. But ultimately, this is an okay situation to be in.
At one point, it’s possible, that you may meet a guest who wants to tell you all about how he used to work in commercial arts. If your partner asks what commercial arts is, and you respond with, “it’s like graphic design,” then be prepared to hear a long-winded speech about kids today with their Photoshop and how nobody appreciates T-Squares like they used to.
When he inquires about what you do, if you respond with anything having to do with the internet he will only be capable of hearing “I design websites,” even if that is not at all what you do. You can tell him all about content management, editorial, social media, community management, what have you, and he will inevitably steer the conversation back to telling you why you need to learn how to use Dreamweaver because if you can use Microsoft Publisher than you can design a website using Dreamweaver and you can learn all about how to do HTML on the web.
Do not bother telling him about how you’re more likely to hire a professional developer. In this man’s mind, the entirety of the web is built on the HTML of the 90s and nothing more. At this point you should nod and smile.
After an adequate amount of nodding and smiling, he’ll tell you a joke about Dennis Rodman. The joke will likely only be an attack on Rodman’s ego, but he’s telling the joke to test the waters and see how you feel about The Blacks and The Gays. It doesn’t matter that Dennis Rodman is straight. The wedding gown stunt was questionable enough to make him one of The Gays in this man’s eyes. It also doesn’t matter that Dennis Rodman retired from the NBA 12 years ago (see Dreamweaver.) But don’t fret! You can use this as an opportunity to tactfully declare your point of view without having to tell him he’s a racist homophobe and cause a scene.
Say something along the lines of, “I kind of miss Dennis Rodman. Sure, when he cross-dressed it was all for the shock value and media attention, but can you imagine if an actual trans person played in the NBA?”
If you’re lucky, the dinner guest might respond by saying something like, “well that raises all kinds of questions! Does this person play in the NBA or the WNBA?”
From here, you’re golden with an enthusiastic “I know, right?”
You’ll be grinning. He’ll look perplexed, maybe even stressed. But the implied, nonverbal message is that you think the differences that make some people uncomfortable are fan-fucking-tastic. You no longer need to worry about trying to make conversation with him. He’ll make a new friend and warn them about that liberal weirdo that so-and-so’s daughter brought to the party. That weirdo is you. Cheers to you.