Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Dad Called Me Gay

So I'm on the phone, commiserating with Mom and Dad about my lack of gainful employment. This was a couple of weeks ago, before I found out that I was getting hosed with a bad reference from one of my former employers. At one point, as we were speculating about what might be going wrong or what I might be saying wrong or how I might re-write my cover letter or my resume, my Dad interjected with a surprising question.

"Do you think it might be because you're gay?"

This was not a surprising question as in "Hey, I never thought of that". This was a surprising question because it was the first time since the night I came out to my father, about 25 years ago, that the words "you are gay" came out of his mouth. And as I recall, that particular conversation on that particular night ended with my father and I on the front porch, me yelling something hateful at him and him slapping me in the face.

Back to now. I tried to play it off and answered the question. "No, I seriously doubt that's an issue here in New York City. I do try and not apply for jobs where I think it could be an issue. I tend to steer clear of sports bars, beer gardens and anything with a country western theme. I have heard that gay guys do quite well as bartenders in titty bars but I've never put that one to the test. Otherwise, I seriously doubt being gay has much to do with it."

That was my verbal response. But in actuality, I almost dropped the phone. Did my Dad just acknowledge my sexuality? All casual and in conversation-like? We finished the phone call and I continued about my day. But it took me about an hour or two to process the enormity of the situation.

Nice to know at their age and mine they can still surprise me.

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