In my last blog, I had finally referred to myself as being gay. Before I continue I need to add that for me it was an iconic moment when I decided it was time to come out of the closet. I'm not talking about tippy-toeing around in nice fluffy slippers, I'm talking about standing tall and proud wearing my favorite clothes – jeans and a t-shirt - because I was normal like anyone else, I just happened to be gay.
It was October 2007. I was in Orlando staying at Disney World with male friend who didn’t know my horrible, deep, dark, spine tingling secret. We stayed in separate rooms and one morning I’m lying in bed thinking, “Here I am in a beautiful place and yet it’s all wrong!!! I should be here with my man and I don’t even know who he is. Certainly he's not my friend in the next room”. Now I knew it was time and I had to prepare to meet men! But how? Maybe I should create a questionnaire and start taking applications . . . I know! I’ll do something when I get home.
From that point on, I began to seek out other gay males on the World Wide Web… I’ll write about some of those experiences in a later blog . . . but for now, I still had to come out to my children.
My daughter, her husband and children live out of town and it’s a three hour drive to get there. My granddaughter was about 6 months old at the time when I decided to drive up and visit for the weekend. Previous to the visit, my daughter had been fishing around about my love life, but hadn’t come right out and asked the "Big Question". I didn’t think it would happen this particular weekend, so I felt somewhat comfortable.
I arrived late morning and my daughter wanted to go to lunch at the nearest discount retailer known as Zellers. Now I’m thinking this Zellers must be pretty darn good because there were lots and lots and lots of other options, but she wanted the Big Z! So I said, “OK, let’s go!”. We arrive at the cafeteria which may have had 15 tables in it. I did a double take because I’m thinking, “We could have gone anywhere . . . I’m sure I made that clear”.
She chose a table that happened to be smack dab in the middle of the eating area. The other tables were so close that not only could I hear the local gossip, but I could clearly see the quality of the food (or lack of it). Zeller lovers, don’t get me wrong, I collect those valuable Club Z points like anyone else, but this place was more than a little run down. Since I hadn’t seen my daughter in a couple of months, I would have sprung for lunch anywhere, regardless of price or location.
You have to appreciate that my daughter has a voice that carries. She can be unintentionally LOUD. So, imagine my surprise and discomfort - to the delight of the other patrons when she asked, in her LOUD voice, “SO, DAD, HOW’S YOUR LOVE LIFE”? To the other customers, this was better than a blue light special. They all stopped talking and focused their eyes and ears in our direction. Very discretely, I replied, “What love life?”
Now, I can honestly say I’ve never lied to my children. I’ve taught them that honesty is the best policy and with them, I’ve always practiced what I've preached. So when her next question was “WOULD YOU GO OUT WITH A WOMAN YOUNGER THAN YOU?” I honestly replied, “. . . no . . .” She wasn’t about to give up: “SO, WOULD YOU GO OUT WITH A WOMAN OLDER THAN YOU?” Again, I simply said, “. . . no . . .” . I knew what was coming next and so did everyone else in the vicinity as they leaned in to hear.
She started to ask, “WELL, WHAT KIND OF A WOMAN WOULD YOU – OH MY GOD, THE BABY HAS POOPED THROUGH HER DIAPER AND I’M OUT OF DIAPERS . . . WE’VE GOT TO FIND SOME . . . ”
She jumped up with the baby and headed towards the diaper section. As we’re hurrying along, she says “DON’T THINK I’M GOING TO LET THIS DROP” to which I finally said, “For God sakes, child, I don’t feel like discussing my love life in the middle of Zellers!”
She got the diapers, paid for them, changed the baby and then we headed back to her place. I think she was uncomfortable with my last response, so she let the subject drop. I didn’t think that was fair so I brought it up again, “My daughter, you have been skirting the issue about my personal life . . . ”.
She giggled and asked, “you’re gay, aren’t you?”, to which I said, “Yes”.
“I KNEW IT. I SAID TO MY HUSBAND, I THINK MY DAD’S GAY AND HE SAID (she lowers her voice to imitate the low masculine overly manly mannerisms that some jocks have) NO. NO. YOUR DAD’S NOT GAY.”
She told me she loved me and gave me a big hug, then proceeded with , “I’M GOING TO TELL ALL OF MY FRIENDS AND EVERYONE I KNOW: ‘MY DAD’S GAY AND I’M PROUD OF HIM!!!’”
“You know sweetheart you don’t have to do that, besides I still have to find the right way to tell your brother”. This in itself may take a blog or two . . .
We talked some more and I told her about the two things in the world you never want to know about: one was your parents sex life and the other was your children’s sex life. I reminded her of when she was 16 and we we’re having a huge father/daughter fight and she storms out of the room after yelling, ‘AND WHEN I HAVE SEX, I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO TELL YOU’ to which I shouted back, “GOOD BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!!”
I babysat for them that evening and before she left she says, “DAD, I HAVE THE PERFECT VIDEO FOR YOU TO WATCH WHILE WE’RE GONE”. The name of that Video? “ I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry ”