Hey, older gays: remember those golden days when we were completely disenfranchised? Everyone hated us and you never had to meet your lover’s parents because they told their daughter that they’d slit your throat if you ever set foot in their home?
Well, I’m writing this while sitting on a balcony, looking out at the rocky Maine coast, and dreaming of those lovely, bygone, hate-filled times.
You see, friends, I’m in Maine with my girlfriend visiting her family. In the olden days, I’d be left in peaceful seclusion to think my big thoughts (and drink as many cocktails as my liver could handle) as my girlfriend shuttled between the hotel and the family home. But now, thanks to the goddamned sea change in people’s attitudes toward the gays, I’m now expected to show up at family functions.
“But don’t they know that we sleep together?” I whined yesterday morning, as my girlfriend ordered me off the beach to dress for the first in an interminable series of family get-togethers over the coming days. “Aren’t they repulsed by that? Doesn’t seeing the two of us together make them picture us having sex and, thus, make them want to murder us?”
“They know we have sex, and they love you anyway,” she said. “Get dressed.”
And, then, just to drive my vacation deeper into living hell, she added, “My mom and I have discussed our sex life. She’s really happy I met someone who likes sex as much as I do.”
Yes, friends, it’s true. I’m a bit randy and more than adequate at meeting my girlfriend’s rather alarming appetites. And while I take a certain pride in this skill set, it’s not one I want to be used as a topic to bridge awkward silences between my girlfriend and her mother.
I will spare you the details of the argument that broke out after this revelation. Suffice it to say, she won. And we were soon driving up the coast to see the family.
I love my girlfriend’s family. But I loathe obligations. Whenever anyone expects me to do anything, my natural response is to refuse or at least exhibit such artful passive-aggression that I’m allowed to wiggle off the hook.
One of the great things about being gay for the past two decades was the absence of family obligations. You weren’t expected at your lover’s family events (and, in fact, might be chased away if you did show up) and he/she wasn’t expected at yours. Heaven!
But now, thanks to all the straight people twisting themselves in knots to show us how open-minded and accepting they are of the gays, we’re treated like full-fledged members of the family. And, as such, we’re expected to show up and be miserable with all the other family members who are forced to attend these functions.
As we approached my girlfriend’s family home, she sighed. Deeply. And it wasn’t for comic effect. She meant it. Someone usually leaves these events in tears and I was just praying it wouldn’t be her this time.
“We only have to be here for a couple hours,” she said, trying to soothe herself as much as me. “And then we can escape to our real life.”
But this is our real life now, gays. Sure we can still fantasize that we’re footloose and madcap and that we have the freedom to spend our Thanksgivings and Christmases in exotic locales because we’re not welcome at home. But, my friends, those days are long gone. Now we’re part of the family. The party’s over.
Thanks open-minded, accepting, straight people. Thanks a lot.