Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Invite your "Friend"

As far as coming out goes, it's almost a non-issue...more and more of my co-workers are starting to find out as I fill them in on my weekends and share little tidbits of my life. It's getting easier and easier each time, and there's a pretty large audience that knows. Despite that, there's still times that I get reminded that I'm a SEMI-out gay guy. Case in point: my grandparents.

My actual birthday was on a weekday this year, so I saved my celebrating and partying for a weekend. To celebrate the day of, my mom made a nice dinner and invited my grandparents over to join us. Not wanting to celebrate alone with just my family, I invited my dear confidante Britney over too. We sit around the table, me next to Britney and her next my grandparents. And of course, being the polite, cordial, sweetheart that she is, Britney offered to serve my grandparents, talked with them when she could and was just her usual awesome self. We all finish dinner, and my grandparents leave so my grandfather can catch the end of the Canucks game, and Britney and I make our way to play the new Tomb Raider (which is awesome BTW).

Fast forward a week or so later, and I come home from work to my mom who reminds me in an unusually serious voice that we have a large family dinner this coming weekend. I could already tell by the tone of her voice where this was going. She continues on..."We might have given your grandparents the wrong impression the other night. They asked for you to invite your 'friend' along".  I just laughed in my head, of course they would make that assumption; everybody does when they see Britney and I together. My mom's tone lightens a little and she tells me that they thought Britney was very sweet and polite, and that she's a good girl.

Now sure, maybe they were just being polite by praising Britney and inviting her to dinner, but in my mom's side of the family, bringing a "friend" to a large family gathering sets a precedent. Every single one of my cousins' "friends" that got invited dinner are still coming to dinner. My sister's "friend"? She's living with him. My oldest cousin's "friend"? Father of her kids. Second oldest cousin's "friend"? Married him then got divorced (she's the only "friend" that doesn't show up to family dinners anymore...). So naturally, I had my mom graciously turn down the invite for Britney, or otherwise risk giving my grandparents a complex down the road.

I found the whole situation pretty funny, it feels like a huge inside joke now when somebody isn't aware, but maybe not so much for my mom. I know she'll do it, but I don't think she's exactly counting down the days to when she has to explain things to my grandparents. It'll happen sooner or later, two of my single, older cousins catch flak from my grandmother as to why they aren't married yet, I'm probably immune because I'm still in school, but give it a couple years...I'll get it too. I almost wish I could do it myself, but unfortunately I don't speak Taishanese or Cantonese, it's on her. I could make out with a dude in front of my grandparents, but since I don't speak the language, I won't understand anything that come my way; all the questions/concerns/fallout will have to be taken by her. I remember my mom and I had a brief conversation in the days following me coming out to her. She thinks that my grandparents may not understand and will be concerned (for my mom, of all people...), but they'll accept it. They like tradition, but they're not about to let that get in the way of the family's happiness. They've accepted the fact that my aforementioned cousin with kids will not get married after being together for 20 years and the fact that my other cousin got divorced and the fact that my sister is living with her boyfriend. So what's a gay grandson? If there's a reason to be worried, it's about the stress coming out is going to bring on my mom. And even that, she'll live =P

But don't let me get ahead of myself, I still need to find a boyfriend to bring to family dinners first...

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