Thank You For Being A Friend (And An Amazing Uncle!)

, , , , , | Related | August 3, 2021

I don’t recall my exact age when this story happened, but I know that puberty came much earlier for me than my peers and that I was presumably in the very early stages of it at this point, as I’d just recently started to consider the idea of dating and romantic (or sexual) attraction.

This new attraction confused me a bit, mostly because I found myself as attracted, or perhaps more attracted, to other boys as I was to girls. I grew up in a more conservative area and so didn’t realize that there were people who weren’t heterosexual out there yet.

My parents had a close friend who visited semi-regularly. He would often take time to spend with me as well, to the point that he was almost like an uncle to me. One day, he was in the living room talking with me while my parents were busy doing something elsewhere in the house.

Friend: “So what about you? Do you have yourself a girlfriend or boyfriend yet?”

Me: “What did you say?”

Friend: “I asked if you were dating anyone.”

Me: “You said, ‘boyfriend’?”

Friend: “I said girlfriend or boyfriend, whichever you have.”

Me: “Boys can’t have boyfriends.”

Friend: “Sure, they can! Most boys prefer to date girls, but some boys end up preferring to date other boys, just like some girls end up dating other girls.”

Me: “Why do they date boys?”

Friend: “That’s just who they like to date. Everyone is different and likes different things, right? You like vanilla even though I know chocolate is much better. Same thing with dating — some just feel happier dating other boys instead of girls.”

Me: “How do they know?”

Friend: “What do you mean?”

Me: “How do they know they want to date other boys?”

Friend: “Oh, well, I’ve never been gay — that’s what they call boys that only date other boys — so I can’t really say for sure. I mean, can you explain how you knew you liked racing games more than other video games? It’s just something you figure out because it’s what you enjoy and like doing. Like, if you close your eyes right now and picture dating someone, are they a girl or a boy?”

This question was a little too on the nose for me. I panicked a little, not wanting to admit that I’d probably pick a boy, so I lied.

Me: “I don’t want to date anyone!”

Friend: “Oh, girls all have cooties, right? Well, just for the record, whenever you do decide to date someone, your parents and I would love to meet them, whether they were a girl or a boy.”

I remember thinking that day that he was staring at me like he saw through me and already knew I was lying. For years after that, whenever any topic about dating or sex came up, he seemed to make a point of saying, “girlfriend or boyfriend,” and generally making it clear that he would be supportive whichever I ended up dating. I never knew if he would have done that anyway or if he was doing it specifically because he suspected I was gay.

He was the first person to suggest to me that being attracted to the same sex could be okay, and his continuing to hint that he would be supportive of me even if I was gay was honestly a real help as I struggled to identify, and admit to myself, my own sexuality. It was good to know that at least one person would be my friend no matter what.

I ended up being somewhere between gay and bi; I’ve had relationships with both sexes but generally, I’m a bit more attracted to men. When I finally came out officially, the friend was right; my parents were fully supportive of me. As to their friend, his response basically boiled down to, “I knew it, and I’m glad you’re finally ready to come out to us.”

I don’t know how long it would have taken me to even realize that non-hetero people existed without him, or how difficult it would have been to come out if I didn’t know I had someone supporting me through it.

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A Good Side Scare

, , , , | Friendly | August 3, 2021

Due to renovations made by the prior owner, the front door of our house is partially blocked on the inside, so we use the side door. We have gone so far as to put a large storage cabinet on the porch directly in front of the door and have posted a sign directing people to use the side door. We’ve never really had a problem.

I am puttering around in the kitchen when I hear a sharp pounding on the front door. I quickly finish pulling food from the oven, all while the pounding continues in a firm, steady beat. Our kitchen is right by the side door, so I exit and circle around to the stairs at the end of the front porch, where I find a well-dressed lady pounding on the door. She has obviously moved our large storage cabinet away from the door, and her face is roughly six inches away from our large sign directing people to the side door, but she is just pounding away on the door.

Me: “Can I help you?”

The woman glances at me before very obviously turning away in dismissal and continuing to pound on the door.

Me: “Ma’am, that door is blocked. Like the sign says, we use the side door.”

She doesn’t even bother to look at me, just continuing to pound on the front door. I am getting a bit steamed at the incessant banging and her ignoring me.

Me: *Stepping up onto the porch* “Oi! That door isn’t—”

At that point, she spun to face me, her face shifting from boredom to looking terrified, and she dashed to and vaulted over the railing of our porch, sailing over the bushes to land on the lawn, and sprinted for her car. I honestly have no idea how she managed to stick the landing when she was wearing heels, but she made it and proceeded to peel out and speed off down the street.

For my part, I grunted and heaved to shift the storage cabinet back into position — I seriously don’t know how a woman matching my size and build was able to drag it away without making any noise — and then headed back in to finish preparing dinner.

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Extended Family Extending Your Confusion

, , , , | Related | August 2, 2021

My father is trying to get me to remember his aunt, whom I haven’t seen since I was ten. My father’s branch of the family migrated into a different country before I was born, and we only really meet up with the rest of the extended family once a year during the family reunion. And after my grandparents died, we stopped attending these get-togethers.

Father: “She’s married to [Uncle].”

Me: “I know the name, but not the face.”

Father: “The GP.”

Me: “The one with the big house?”

Father: “I don’t know if the house was big?”

Me: “Okay, the one with the exercise equipment downstairs?”

Father: “Uh, I don’t remember.”

Me: “The one with chocolates downstairs?”

Father: “That’s an even worse description! No, he was [Cousin #1]’s father.”

Me: “Who?”

Father: “[Cousin #2]’s father, as well. You went to his wedding in Greece.”

Me: “That was when I was six. I don’t remember.”

Father: “He’s [Cousin #3]’s father. You know, [Cousin #3]’s wedding was the other year.”

Me: “Wait, the twins?”

Father: *Relieved* “Yes, the twins. [Cousin #3] and [Cousin #4]. [Aunt] is their mother.”

Me: “You should have just said that from the get-go.”

Father: “How do the twins get remembered so easily and not their more successful brothers? They’re unremarkable and air-headed bimbos.”

Me: “Are you seriously asking why a ten-year-old boy found his hot twin cousins more interesting than two stuffy, nerdy men?”

Father: *Totally serious* “Yes!”

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Maybe Don’t Stop And Smell The Roses

, , , , | Related | August 1, 2021

My family is getting ready for a Fourth of July cookout. Dad is grilling chicken, Mom is running around cleaning the house before her guests get here, and I’m just waking up because I work the night shift. I’ve just gotten an allergy test, and I reacted badly to seventy of the seventy-two things they ended up testing me for. 

Mom: “I’m going to put some daylilies on the table.”

Me: “Can we use the ceramic flowers in the other room? I’m allergic to daylilies.”

Mom: “Okay, I’ll use sunflowers.”

Me: “Allergic to those, too.”

Mom: “Daffodils?”

Me: “Can we use the decorative ceramic ones?”

Mom: “I know you’re not allergic to daffodils; I put them in your room all the time!”

Me: “And it always makes me feel terrible because I have a reaction.”

She put the daffodils on the table. I spent the entire meal sneezing and went to work with a massive headache and a rash on one arm where the pollen got to me.

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Did Everything Just Taste Purple For A Second?

, , , , | Romantic | July 31, 2021

I am an elementary school teacher working with kids aged four to six. My husband graduated as a chemical scientist but never worked in the field. He never lost his inquisitive nature. One day, I come home with food dyes. My husband reads the package and goes all “oh” and “hmm” with every E-number and the likes.

Husband: “Wait, they added [ingredient]? How can this be purple, then?”

Me: “I don’t know. The package says it is.”

Husband: “Let’s see how purple this gets.”

The package says one drop is enough for a deep purple, so people should add one drop at a time. My husband adds one drop to a glass of water and, indeed, it is very deep purple.

Me: “Well, that’s purple, all right.”

Husband: “Yes, I never thought that. I wonder what it tastes like?”

Me: “I don’t think they added flavour.”

Husband: “You know what? I’m going to taste it.”

Me: “Wait, that’s a lot of pure food dye. Are you sure? I mean, they say kids get really hyper from this sort of stuff.”

Husband: “Look, there are several studies that say there is no connection between food dye and hyperactivity of children. That’s an old wives’ tale. Besides, I’m thirty-three; I’m a lot bigger than a kid.”

My husband tastes the drink and it tastes like… water. So, he empties the glass and goes about his business. About half an hour later, he complains that he can’t focus and he’s talking very fast. He describes it as having an urge to run around and even scream. He flops on the couch, turns on the TV, zaps through the channels, turns it off again, and goes around the house, agitated.

Me: “Eh, are you all right?”

Husband: “Argh! What are those horses doing in my mind?!”

Me: “I’m sorry to say this, sweetie, but you’re acting like a hyperactive four-year-old. Are you sure you are okay?”

My husband becomes silent and leaves. About ten minutes later, he crashes back onto the couch, completely exhausted, and his mind has finally calmed down. 

Husband: “Forget what those studies say. Our future child will never have chemical food colourings!”

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