Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Passive-Aggressive Sexuality

(Wait, that title sounds wrong. But yet it's so much fun I'm going to keep it.)

As longtime readers of this blog know, I'm not out to my parents, even though most of my extended family has figured out this big "secret" already. Sometimes I feel like it's a cruel joke we're all playing on my clueless parents: the only two people in the world who don't know who I sleep with are the two people whose DNA make me who I am. But that's beside the point.

Over the years I've decided that my parents simply don't want to know, because by now they certainly should have figured it out. (By the way, this is the approach I take with most everyone regarding my sexuality: I don't announce it, but I don't shy away from it, and after being with me for long enough, it's really not that tough to figure out.)

Evidence that my parents aren't homo-friendly:

1. My mother once explicitly told me, in her one moment of tender-loving advice-giving to make up for the (at the time) 27 years of not-so-tender-or-loving-advice-giving, that, seriously, in a million years, don't... be gay. (It loses a little in the translation, but that really is exactly what she told me.)

2. When gay marriages were the big news story in Hawai'i, my father made a remarkably disparging noise at the image of two men at an alter during the ten o'clock news. I was sitting right next to him at the time. I think I cringed inwardly.

I have given up ever trying to change my parents' minds about anything, so their preconceived notions of gays and homosexuality is yet another thing that I've not going to talk to them about. As long as we're content not talking about it, we should be fine.

The thing is, I watch all of these coming-out movies and testimonials on television and stuff, and usually it's all about some kid who goes on and on about how he doesn't want to live his life when his parents "don't know him" or the gay kid's anguish at having to "hide a part of his life from his family." Me, I have no such qualms. You don't know my family. We're not that close. Even if I were dating a woman, I probably wouldn't feel the need to tell my parents all about it.

So this Christmas, I was wildly delinquent in putting the tchotchkes I bought for the 'rents in the mail to them. (A DVD, plus two sets of cute little Asian-inspired figurine sets, all reasonably priced.) I'm planning on getting them to the post office tomorrow.

I just looked over the card I had picked out for them, and in retrospect, it's a pretty awful card to send to one's parents on (the occasion of) Christmas:

We all know that
there's no such thing
as perfect parents.
But children don't need "perfect."
They just need love --
love that shelters them...
love that lets them make a few mistakes...
love that says,
"You really matter."
Love is all it takes to make good parents...
and that's exactly what you are.

Oy! The card I'm about to send out actually says, "You're not perfect, but hey, Merry Christmas!" Actually, when I bought it, I intended it as a passive-aggressive comment on the fact that my mother has not yet gotten to the point where she will let me make my own mistakes. She still gets incensed when she gives me advice on things that I fail to heed, for whatever reason. That's the line that grabbed me. So off it's going, in with the gifts.

And as cushioning material for the box to make sure nothing gets overly jostled during transit? I'm going to use a few (clean) pages from the Washington Blade.


luggage princess said...

Well...while looking for blogs that had a topic about bags and luggages which I'm found off, I came across yours instead, While I don't know why you called your blog More Than My Luggage, I say I find your blog fascinating to read from a point of view of a gay man. I feel sad for you that your parents can't accept you for what you are. It reminds me of what my Uncle went through. His Father is a Military man and up to now he is in denial mode. I don't think of My Uncle as a lesser being as long if his happy with his lifestyle--so be it! Keep writing!

Reya Mellicker said...

What a great post. Thank you.

The whole process of coming out is just WEIRD - having to explain to your parents that you're a sexual being is ... well ... ewww! ... no matter what your preferences are. But I like to imagine heteros saying to their parents, "Dad and Mom, I need you to know - I sleep with people of the opposite sex." That image always makes me laugh.

Explaining my bisexuality is even more bizarre. Even some lesbians and gay men don't get it, or don't believe me, which is even weirder. Trying to explain my sexuality in which gender is not a determining factor is so complicated that I find myself getting into detailed examples which is ridiculous, embarrassing and inappropriate.

Best thoughts and hopes to you as you get closer to whatever it is you'll choose to do with your parents. It doesn't always work out like it does in the movies, though I don't know anyone who has come out to their parents who didn't feel significantly relieved when it was over with, even if it was a disaster.

Onward and upward!!

duane said...

While I am out to my parents, I honestly think they could care less. I don't mean in a "we still love you no matter what" kind of way. They NEVER ask me about my partner of 2 and a half years, and NEVER NEVER NEVER call me. It is just like, hey you coming for Christmas, alright see you then.

So, I am not that close with my family. Big whoop. People give me such a hard time about it, and I just don't get it. Glad to hear that there are others out there that feel the same way. I am tired of being guilted because I don't talk to my mom once a week; if she wants to talk, she has my phone number too. Love isn't a one way street.

Oh yeah, and when I was home from college IN ONE WEEKEND, my mom hit me with these gems: (obviously pre-coming out to them)

"Duane, you don't want to have kids? That sounds like someone that doesn't like women! That's just crazy."

and my favorite,

(while watching TV, Freddie Mercury comes on, VH1 life story or some shit)
"You know how he died didn't you?" says my mom.
"No, who is that?" says my sister.
"He was a singer in a band called Queen. He died because he was a flagrant homosexual." said my mom.

I literally almost passed out. Don't you love the little signals your parents give you when "they don't want you to be gay"? Hmpf! I showed them! LOL!