Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When I Knew

When I Knew is a charming coffee table book of various gays and lesbians recounting when they/their parents/other folk first realised that they were that sort of person. Most are short and pithy, many are very funny, some are poignant.
I knew I was gay when the most exciting part of my Bar Mitzah was meeting with the party planner.

… On the way back home, our class went to a diner for lunch. There were twenty-five kids who ordered twenty-four burger and fry combos … and one fruit plate with cottage cheese. What can I say? It was what I wanted.

I knew in my twenties when I kept waking up with women.

… she knew right away what I was about to tell her, and immediately shouted “ … Oh no, but you watch football!”

… they gave me five dollars and told me I could buy any toy I wanted. I took the money, went to housewares and bought a Fornasetti dinner plate.

… After this traumatic realization I tried for the next year and a half to cure myself of this curse, turning off the TV during Olympic diving competitions, looking at the floor of the locker room, etc. etc. These were terrible sacrifices which I regret to this day.
My favourite is a longer piece about coming out to his much loved elderly grandmother. His mother, a member of PFLAG, had recommended buying grandmother a copy of Now That You Know.
“Hey Granny, did you read that book?”
The crochet hook stops, she looks up and says point blank.
“Yes, and it’s disgusting!”
My heart sinks and my guard goes up. “Disgusting?”
“Yes, it’s disgusting! It says that some of the parents don’t love their children anymore”
She makes me cry.

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