My fourteen-year-old son just came out to me. He has a slightly
older boyfriend, and they’re going to the school dance on Saturday
night. I am adjusting to a truth I had long suspected. I am worried,
though, that my son will get hurt. We live in the South — North
Carolina — but our town has a gay community and an annual pride
parade. When I asked him if the other students at school would be cool
with him bringing a boy, he said, “Who cares?” Bullying is not a huge
problem at his school.
We have had the sex talk several times, but I have always assumed
a hetero approach. I think my son is too young for sleepovers with his
boyfriend, and I would really like him to wait a couple more years
before he gets seriously sexually active, though I expect petting and
kissing are givens. Any advice?
Still My Son
Treat your son to some of that equal treatment we gay people are
always going on about, SMS, and treat him just like you’d treat your
fourteen-year-old straight kid. No responsible parent would allow his
fourteen-year-old daughter — and that’s how you should think of
him for now (more on that in a moment) — to have sleepovers with
her slightly older boyfriend, right? So no sleepovers for your gay kid.
Remember: You can be supportive and be his advocate without signing off
on stuff you wouldn’t sign off on for a straight child — indeed,
it’s the best way to show your support.
What else can you do? You can hover, scrutinize, interfere —
all the crap that parents typically do when their children begin to
date. For instance, SMS, this boy your son is seeing? Have you met him?
Meet him. How much older is he? Find out. Are they messing around? Ask
them. Make sure your son understands that he doesn’t have to engage in
anal intercourse to be authentically gay, or all grown-up, or out. He
can take things slow — he should take things slow. Encourage your
son to date, to hold hands, to make out. And you should, as awkward as
it’s going to feel to say so aloud, encourage your son, when he does
become sexually active, to stick with mutual masturbation and oral sex
for a good, long time — until he’s sure he’s ready for
intercourse, not just anxious for it.
Getting back to the daughter business: You should also regard your
son, at least through his adolescence, as more of a daughter to you
than a son. We tend to be more protective of our daughters — our
straight daughters — than we are of our sons. Why? A sexist
desire to keep our daughters “pure”? That’s a part of it, sure, but
there’s also this: Men are pigs, and people on the receiving end of
male sexual desire/attention are in more danger than people on the
receiving end of female sexual desire/attention. (In general —
individual results may vary.) Testosterone is the crystal meth of
hormones, a badass drug, and men are more likely to be abusive and
violent. The prevalence of HIV among gay men makes the stakes higher
for your son. So don’t allow him to date anyone you don’t get to meet
and approve of, and don’t confuse “being supportive” with “letting him
do whatever/whomever he wants.” Be active, be engaged, and never stop
being his meddling, interfering, hypersuspicious dad.
Good luck, SMS. It sounds like your son lucked out having you as a
I’ve been seeing this guy for about two years in August. We’ve
been living together for six months now, and it’s been REALLY bumpy. We
fight a lot, I cry a lot, and it just gets really messy. To tell you
the truth, I’m tired of it. I work two jobs, and I never get any time
to myself because he’s moody and insecure. He always wants to know
where I’m going or who I’m with. He doesn’t like to do the same things
I do, and I’m beginning to think this is all one big mistake. The
problem is every time I try to leave, it always gets ugly. Ugly to the
point that he’s thrown my stuff in the front yard, broken things of
mine, and even called me names. He’s abusive.
As sad as this sounds, and as ridiculous as I feel, I want to
make this work. I want us to be happy. And the thing is, I know that we
can be. When we’re mad, it’s like World War III over here. But when
we’re happy, it’s so blissful that I know in my heart with him is the
only place I want to be. What can I do? People tell me it’s time to
sever ties, but the people who usually tell me this are the ones who
can’t stand him. How can I make a completely unbiased decision? Am I
stupid for believing in a love that feels destined to fail?
Hopelessly Devoted To Him
This is not a relationship, HDTH, it’s a hostage situation. He’s a
controlling, abusive piece of shit — listen to your fucking
friends, HDTH. When your boyfriend breaks your shit, he’s making an
implicit threat: I can break your face just as easily as I’m breaking
your shit, bitch, so don’t even think about leaving me. And of course
things are great when they’re great — that’s part of an abuser’s
MO. If abusers were abusive 24/7 — if they weren’t capable of
doling out a little bliss now and then — no abusive relationship
would last longer than one date. Like all abusers, he parcels out the
good times, doping you up with a little bliss now and then, because he
knows that these glimpses of how great things could be convince you to
stick around against your better judgment.
The bliss is a con, HDTH, a weapon that he uses against you, just as
much a part of the cycle of abuse as his tantrums, fits, and threats of
violence are. Think of the good times as rainbow sprinkles on a
dog-shit sundae — sprinkles or no sprinkles, you’re still
standing there with a bowl full of dog shit in your hands.
Get a couple of friends to come over when he’s at work or out of
town, box up your shit, and leave. You can’t change him. Go.
Apropos of nothing, Savage, you fucking suck ass.
You And Your Column Both Suck
Have I ever claimed otherwise?
And apropos of nothing, YAYCBS, I’m totally grooving on Garfunkel
& Oates right now (www.garfunkelandoates.com), and
everyone has to check them out; Perez Hilton was absolutely right about
Miss California (she is a dumb bitch); Seattle-based artist Kim Graham
getting centaur fetishists halfway there; and I recently visited the
University of Georgia in Athens, where the kids asked me to come up
with a dirty meaning for “between the hedges,” which is their football
stadium’s nickname. Off the top of my head, I said, “The boy in a
girl-boy-girl three-way could be described as being between the
hedges.” But upon further reflection, I think the term is a better
description of going down on a woman with a particularly hairy bush
— and the tongue, not the boy/girl doing the tonguing, is
“between the hedges.”