Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Wacky Taffy that Resulted in the Formation of my Inner Homophobe-Part 2

Let me preface this post by saying a few things: First, I do know wonderful LGBT people. Second, I think this is, in an odd way, part of my grieving process for my Drama Mama. And, Third, part of the reason why I'd rather see my kids not involved in some of this activity (including the heterosexual equivalents)-let's face it, it IS downright weird.

The Professor Prefers Men

When I returned from my sojourn in the city of my grandmother, I briefly went to a four year college for two quarters. I didn't have enough money, Drama Mama would call me every Friday morning weeping because her marriage to wicked stepfather was falling apart (appropriately so) and I just didn't know how to solve certain problems I was having. I can't remember what I did then-I am getting so old. This had to have been when I worked in a garment factory-that too, is a tale for another blog. By this time Drama Mama had moved to another state.

I decided to go to community college. DH was there, we were not publicly engaged, but very obviously a couple. The final semester I was taking a science class from a very old, but very GQ professor who had never married. DH had been his lab assistant at some time in the past. Anyway, he and DH were friends. The professor asked a question in class and I raised my hand and gave an answer based on what I had learned the previous year at the four year university.

He then started ridiculing me in front of the full class and when I asked him what he believed the answer to be, he told me to leave physically threatened me and came toward me like he was going to throw me out of the class. At the doorway, I turned around and told the professor that I thought his behavior was very unprofessional and that I would be reporting it. I went immediately to counseling where they told me that this professor had a long history of being unable to deal with women and harassing his female students.

Believe it or not, I did go onto finish the course in this man's class and did get a suitable grade from him. He retired that June, under pressure, I understand. His then current lab assistant explained it to me, the professor was gay, he was jealous of the relationship that DH had formed with me. I heard this over and over in the community. And, then I remembered, the professor lived down the street from me and I HAD seen a constant stream of young men going to his house when I lived there, but never thought much about it. DH claimed the professor never approached him or did anything inappropriate, but the then current lab assistant said that he had had a talk with the professor about ceasing inappropriate and too frequent butt patting.

My Dearly Beloved Brother in Law the Early Years

When my Brother in Law (BIL) came out, I tried to be especially supportive. Remember, I was a card carrying Mormon with two young children. BIL was a social maladroit before coming out and although DH loved him (he died young of a heart attack), and he was a good person at the core, he had issues. Anyway, BIL lived in the same town we did, and we spent a lot of time with BIL. BIL was with us when our first child was born taking pictures.

One day BIL, DH and I were sitting in my living room, my children were napping and we all comfortably settled in just to relax. DH stretched out on the couch, I was sitting in the chair on the opposite side of the room, and BIL was leaning up against the couch while sitting on the floor right in front of DH's knees. DH fell asleep while BIL and I were having a conversation. I can't remember the topic, but it must have had something to do with gay issues, because BIL suddenly got on all fours and crawled up close to DH's face and said, "Poor DH he has never been kissed by a man, shall I kiss him now?"

Somehow, I managed to croak "No." Lucky was BIL that I was both young and so shocked as to be nearly speechless. BIL was not joking, nor was he drunk or on any kind of drug. Had this happened any time in the last twenty years, I would have so torn his sorry fanny to pieces over that it would be unrecognizable. Needless to say, in spite of my youth, that incident began a vast distancing for me in trying to be supportive of BIL's issues surrounding his coming out. Luckily for BIL and for us, he soon met the love of his life, Cervantes, and that gave BIL someone else to fantasize about kissing other than my DH.

La Conquistadora

DH's first job out of college involved route work. He was trained by La Conquistadora who was a butch lesbian who was very good at what she did. She also took pains to educate DH about her prowess with females. She was especially proud of her "conversion" stories. These were straight women that she had shown the way to happy lesbianism. It was interesting to hear of the Harley riding La Conquistadora and when I met her, she wasn't quite as Butch as one might have expected.

But, La Conquistadora wasn't just about the stories. No, she was determined to show DH the results of her handiwork, so she made a lunch appointment with one of her conquests for her and DH to have lunch at this woman's house. DH went and had lunch. La Conquistadora told him all about how she had persuaded this woman to start dating her, the woman left her husband, and although she and La Conquistadora were not a couple, they were still good friends.

At the time I thought this was quite weird. DH was both fascinated and weirded out. In retrospect, I wonder if this wasn't a serious recruitment attempt of DH for fun and games. Thank God for DH's commitment to our relationship is all I can say looking back. DH changed jobs shortly after that.

Oh, the Things You Can Do With a Salami

We were living in the Bay Area by this time and DH was in managment. One of his sales people became a good friend of the family. George had originally moved to San Francisco from the East Coast because he thought he might be gay following the break up of his long time marriage. After unloading the U haul and settling down into a garden apartment in the Mission District, George ventured out onto the gay scene. He was quietly sitting in a gay bar, hoping to strike up a conversation, when a man in a superman suit jumped up on the bar and started dancing. Stuffed down the leg and strategically positioned was one of the long rolls of salami that can be bought in most Bay Area supermarkets.

George said he knew without a doubt that he was NOT gay after this incident. By the time we met him, he was a happy promiscuous lad with a rash . . . This being the Bay Area, we also met the lovely lady who gave him the rash . . . Ah, the eighties, so memorable for their excesses in every way: Joe Montana, Huey Lewis and big hair.

My Dearly Beloved Brother in Law the Later Years

After several years in a relationship with Cervantes, a bout with cancer, and a failed attempt to launch a career, BIL became obsessed with a new social movement and became a part of the childfree subculture. Yep, these are the people who basically demean breeders, those of us who reproduce. BIL and Cervantes were not interested in having a family of their own. As BIL put it in a letter to me, Gay men could not have children together (this was only twelve years ago and I was expecting my fourth child, baby song-my how times have changed). He was pretty darn nasty about the whole thing and asked not to be named our children's guardian. Yes, we card carrying Mormons had at one time named the weird gay uncle to be the financial guardian of our children with my Drama Mama as the guardian they would stay with. I digress, but as you might expect BIL and Drama Mama actually got along quite well.

Cervantes was the one bright light in all this. I think BIL was spiralling downward into the pits of despair. BIL was lucky to find him. To this day Cervantes is our friend and he and DH still correspond. Thankfully, Cervantes is a good counterpoint to what BIL was.


So these are the highlights of the baggage that I carry around even as a person who has been attracted to both sexes and these are the things that spark the fears I have as a parent of a child who will be going out shortly into the rainbow world of gaydom. Will he go for the Wacky Taffy or will he choose something more substantive? Let's get real it's scary for any parent's inner homophobe, even for one who is "something more than straight" and not from the most traditional LDS family origins.

No comments:

Post a Comment