Monday, April 27, 2009

When I Knew

Last Thursday, the Survivor boys came around to my place for some yummies and mindless reality television. Is there any other kind? The usual hostess gift is spirits of some description but Kitkat broke with tradition and brought a book. And I am glad he did.

“When I Knew” is a collection of short stories, memories and anecdotes about people recollecting “that” moment and knew they were gay. Our Survivor guest that night was CJ and she giggled with delight as she turned the pages.

“I knew I was gay when the most exciting part of my Bar Mitzvah was meeting with the party planner” and “On my twelfth birthday my parents took me to Manhattan. We went to Macy’s. They gave me five dollars and told me I could buy any toy I wanted. I took the money, went to housewares, and bought a Fornasetti dinner plate” are two of the shorter ones that made me giggle.

There is also a very touchy story about a man coming out to his grandmother. Something I always wish I had done. At first she didn’t understand, accept or approve of “it”. In the end, after her grandson gave her some books, answered her questions and stayed the course, she found it disgusting ~ that some parents don’t love their children anymore.

Of course this got me thinking about my definitive moment. Like many in the book, I had no reference for what gay was when I was growing up. I had no uncle who had a “special friend” (although I do now) and grew up on a street where it was husbands and wives and happy families. So when did it happen?

There was the time mom took us all to get t-shirts made at one of those iron-on stores. My brother got Farah Fawcett, IronGirl got a kitty and I walked “out” proudly wearing Shaun Cassidy. That however could be linked to my love of the macabre, murder and mayhem ~ he was a Hardy Boy you know.

Then there was the time we were at dinner and my brother was telling us about getting ready for his first job interview. “Oh, make sure you get a manicure, your hands say a lot about you” I said. He called me a fag.

My adoration for fur should have been a warning sign of things to come. When I found that fur coat in Ms. Rae’s closet (my dad was the executor of her estate) I thought I died and went to heaven. When he suggested we give it to the Fergus museum, I thought I’d die. Tears really do help you get what you want.

Momo’s mother was planning a birthday party for my best friend and I told her to make sure to change all the light bulbs in the house and put out a fresh roll of toilet paper in each bathroom. You wouldn’t want to be embarrassed by having to change a bulb mid-party or worse, have someone have to use the powder room in darkness. Tsk tsk.

Even at school it seems to have come naturally. In junior high, I won home economics awards for sewing my name in pillows and for making a stuffed harp seal. Not in the taxidermy sense, rather the faux animal kind. I also insisted on having tails and white gloves when I graduated from high school. That was one place everyone seemed to have figured it out. I got called “queer”, “fag”, “homo” etc. in the halls enough. They were jealous I am sure, of my Nick Rhodes highlights and pirate boots.

Clearly, I knew before I ‘knew’. Or cared to admit it anyway.


Blogger Blair said...

My sister caught me kissing my Shaun Cassidy poster when I was six, and I did write more than one fan letter to the kid from Battlestar Galactica. Little bitch never wrote back. Go figure.

6:39 PM  

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