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Mom won’t let me come out
Q: Why is it whenever I start to tell my mother that I’m gay she figures out a way to change the topic or escape in someway? I swear, I have wanted to come out to her for the last six months or so. I will set up a time with her, but each time, it doesn’t happen. The first time, I called her and told her that I had something important to talk to her about and arranged for us to have lunch. (I figured telling her in a public place was good; it would cut down on the histrionics.) So, I’m sitting in the cafe waiting for her and she’s 10 minutes late when I get a call from her, canceling our lunch. It was some lame excuse that she came up with and was totally bogus.
OK, so the second time, I go over to her house when I know that she will be there. Sure enough, she’s home when I pop in. She seems a bit nervous so I wonder what’s going on, like does she have a man in her bedroom or something like that? My dad was working. Anyway, I say to her, “Why don’t we have some tea, or something.” She continues to look upset, so now I’m really thinking she’s fooling around on my dad. Then, the phone rings; it’s a friend of hers. Someone she has talked to pretty much every day of her life. She acts so happy to talk to her friend, and just blabs on and on while I sit there. (My mother is not normally rude, so I’m really confused.) I finally realize that this phone call will never end as long as I’m there, so I make my departure. (But not before I run upstairs to use the bathroom – or pretend to, rather. I take a quick glance around, but no mysterious lovers lurk there.)
The third time that I decide to dump the gay bomb on her, I find out that my mom is going to be with my aunt at her house. I decided to show up, unexpectedly. (My aunt didn’t know anything about me coming, but it’s not like it would be so out of whack for me to show up there.) My mother sees me coming from the window. The next thing I know, I knock on the door and my mother and aunt show up together at the door with purses in hand saying that they were just leaving to go shopping. (I know for a fact, that wasn’t true.)
So, I try again to deliver my true self to my mother. I had found out that my Uncle “Bernie” was in the hospital. I had gotten a voicemail from my mother telling me that he was taken in after being mugged while in a parking ramp. She said that she was going to the hospital to see how he was doing and would call and give me the details later. Now, I know that this was probably not the best of form, but I’m getting pretty desperate by now to get this mission accomplished. So, I run up to the hospital to find my mother and Uncle Bernie. I see my mother sitting in the waiting room in the emergency area – by herself. She looks up at me as I come to her and she gets this awful look on her face. I’m thinking, “Crap, my uncle died.” When I got to her, she falls over into a slump; so now I’m sure he died. But no, he was OK and was going to be discharged. However, my mother was quickly taken into one of the rooms, so I spent the time with her while she gets all these tests to see if her heart is OK. (Guess what: all tests turned out negative.) But, my coming out moment was gone again.
So now I’m thinking, “What the hell?” My mom won’t give me private time to talk to her and she must think I won’t say “it” around others; she has no problem with me as long as we are not together. My new plan is to lay it out on the table during Christmas dinner. I was even thinking about offering to say grace: “Thank you father for your son…,” well, maybe that wouldn’t be so good, but something like, “Thank you Lord for … and making me gay.”
Jody, I know that this seems pretty wild or extreme, but don’t you think mom sort of deserves it given the way she’s behaving toward me and avoiding what, I’m sure, she knows I want to talk to her about?
A: In all the years that I have written this column, I’ve discouraged using holiday time for coming out. However, your story is so compelling, and your dinner grace is so right-on, it’s hard for me not to say, “Go for it.” Especially if everyone else at the table already knows that you are gay. Obviously your mother knows as well, but doesn’t want it said out loud to her.
Or, you could just go on with your life knowing your mother knows your sexual orientation and just carry on as though you had the big talk, and all is well – like talk about your life in the same detail that any heterosexual would, and bring home a boyfriend when it suits you. That puts the ball in her court.