Coming out is a bitch and a half even in 2016. So many people struggle with the complexities of their sexuality. I know I did for 22 years, particularly in a Boston, Irish-Catholic family. Woe is me. Why do I have to be gay? Maybe I’m straight. Am I going to hell? How bad are vaginas? Would viagra work well enough to fool a woman for the duration of our marriage? How often are you expected to have sex in a marriage anyway? Why does Ryan Reynolds have to look like that? Do I get gayer each time I watch Les Miserables’s 10th anniversary edition? These are the confused questions I asked myself through the years.
So unsurprisingly, dropping the bombshell on others in one swift motion can illicit some fantastic responses. In my case, taken aback by the moment, many of my friends and family had spontaneously honest reactions—both laughable and cringeworthy.
- “So…do you wanna be a priest?”- My mom
Dating back generations, the eternal question for Irish Catholic parents has always been: which of our sons—of course there are multiple, because birth control pshhh—will become the priest? Once one of them turns out to be a homo, you gotta double down on that bet.
2. “Actually you know John, your friend growing up, I think he’s gay. I don’t know…is there a way to give him a signal?”-My mom two minutes later
This is when I broke it to her that in all my research on my people I had not heard of anything resembling the gay bat signal—“Gays of the world: swarm, swarm!”
3. “When are you gonna go to gay clubs? I want grandchildren.”-My mom five minutes after that
It’s amazing how the grieving process works. Logic is lost in a frenzy of emotional processes. While gays can have children, we don’t need another man to do it.
4. “So are you gonna be a top or a bottom—what’s the situation here?”
Let’s get to the raw, am I right? Lube it up.
5. “Yeah. Shocker. So do you wanna split some garlic parm wings?”
Ah, this was the best.
6. “Okay, I understand you’re not ready for full-on gay sex yet…but like what about casual blow jobs?”-Coworker
As much as the answer to this question was a hard “no,” I loved that at least someone was trying to figure out the logistics of pimping me out.
7. “Wait, you’re gay? Seriously?…Whatever. I’m excited. I need a gay friend.”
The underlying tone here was indifference. Just wanted to underscore that.
8. “I just want you to have as intimate a relationship as your mom and I have.”-My dad
9. “I hope it’s more intimate than that.”-My mom when I told her about dad’s reaction
Ugh. Too much, mom. Too much.
10. “I feel like you didn’t consult anyone else about this”
Oh my gosh. So accurate. I forgot that we’re doing sexual orientation by committee now. It’s like a combination of the Hogwarts sorting hat and those death panels.
11. “I mean I can’t support this and if you got married I couldn’t go to that, but I don’t understand why we can’t stay best friends?”
It literally took another two hours to explain why this was an untenable situation. Still not sure it took.
11. “I mean after death, I’m concerned where your soul is going to go.”
This is a fair concern. So often I’m in church Sunday morning praying that God ignored the night before.
12. “Ugh I hate this. My girlfriend was right. Now I have to tell her I was wrong. That’s the worst part.”
At least he know what the worst part was.
13. “Good thing you waited until after college cause that’s when friends just drift apart anyway.”
Inspirational quotes from a former roommate. Thanks for the pep talk.
14. “You’re so used to people making fun of you, this probably wasn’t hard for you then.”
Yeahhhhhh, not the same thing.
16. “Do you want me to do the whole we love you no matter what, it doesn’t matter to me thing?”-My Autistic older brother
Nah, we good homeboy.
17. “So…can I still make gay jokes?”-My Autistic younger brother
Duh. “He’s almost too gay to function.”