My mother. 51. Blonde and big-haired, trapped still in the 80s. Pleasantly plump in the way that middle-aged women are sometimes plump. Frequent laugher. Quietly homophobic. Still blithely proud of my academic achievements, etc., yet so dreadfully unacquainted with me. It’s been nearly two years and she still doesn’t know that I’m in a relationship with a girl. Or that I’ve ever been attracted to girls for that matter. My mother does not in fact know anything about me at all.
I trust that real gays will find it objectionable that I haven’t yet found the courage to tell her. I say “real” gays because even after 5 years of experiencing various attractions to this girl with the short pink streaked hair at the party, or that girl there with the wispy, floppy bangs at the lakes, I’m still not entirely a real gay.
There are still the boys, you know, the dark continents – somewhere on the crinkled map between the rocker chicks and the nerdy girls. There’s the stubborn stupid heteronormative wiring in my blood, in my brain. I still feel the silent thrilling tug when a cute guy flirts casually in the drive-thru. I imagine I’ll always refuse the image of me sitting at the end of my life, wheezy and grey in a rocking chair across from another wheezy, grey woman. It shakes me to the core, shakes all the gay right out of me. Suddenly that one memory of a cute girl “warming” my hands on the bus one winter and me feeling shocks, electric butterflies in my stomach- was only a distant fantasy and didn’t mean a damn thing. Suddenly all that means anything is the vague thrill of flirting with a boy in the drive-thru. Suddenly I have a burning desire to be boring, and predictable. Wonderfully, wonderfully predictable.
Then, ah! there’s my mother, lurking in the background of all this.
And anyway it isn’t about courage, really. It’s about convenience. It is simply more convenient to allow her to think that I’m slowly becoming some sort of weird college spinster, too ambitious to have the time or patience required to date the boys currently in the dating pool at my university. Letting her know about my lovely girlfriend on the other hand involves throwing a big fat wrench in the already defective machinery of our relationship, and would only make us hate one another. Hate is quite obviously a step down from mutual bewilderment- how did I birth you-how are you my mom.
So courage be damned; convenience wins out at this point. I’ll carry on not telling her, and she’ll no doubt carry on being proud. Remote and bewildered at our differences, but somehow proud.