Family Reactions Can Be Fluid

, , , , , , , | Related | July 26, 2019

(I am a transgender teen and have just started living openly as a male. My mother’s side of the family is very open and accepting. My father’s side is full of very conservative, hyper-religious types who are a lot less positive. While he supports me, extended family gatherings can be painful. At this particular family dinner, I’m sitting with [Cousin #1], who I’ve always liked. Although she’s using my preferred name, she hasn’t directly mentioned my transition. [Cousin #2] walks over to talk to me.)

Cousin #2: “My husband says what you’re doing is evil. Don’t you dare talk to my kids about it! They are good Christians!”

Cousin #1: “That’s enough, [Cousin #2]!” *to me* “Are you okay?”

Me: *shrugs*

Cousin #1: *to [Cousin #2]* “I think your baby is crying. You should go check on him.” *to me, after she leaves* “I have to go do something. I’ll be back, okay?”

(I watch her leave, disappointed that she seems uncomfortable talking to me, but figuring she must be more like the rest of the family than I thought. She comes back a while later, holding something.)

Cousin #1: “Sorry, I’m still new at this stuff. I needed to talk to my husband and get his permission before I could talk to you. See, he’s not public about it and I don’t think I should tell anyone without checking with him first, but he sometimes lives as [Female Name]. I think it’s called being gender fluid? Anyway, I love her, and I love him, and I just want you to know that all that matters to me is that you keep your awesome personality. Also… I had to swap your Christmas gift. I got you a necklace, but this seems more appropriate.” *hands me a necktie* “Merry Christmas!”

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Banishing The Birthday Blues

, , , , | Hopeless | July 13, 2019

(Birthdays have always been a struggle for me. No matter how many people I invite, only the usual close relatives show up, and sometimes my best friend who I’ve known for 23 years. Besides that, I never had many friends. Somehow my “BFF” has managed to excuse herself out of it for five years now. So, my birthday goes by with just my mom, my brother, his girlfriend, my grandma, and my uncle coming in the afternoon. My friend calls to say that her car broke down and she can’t make it… again. Surprise. In the evening, I expect two of my bandmates — whom I have known for less than a year — and they don’t exactly live nearby. They have been traveling by train for two and a half hours to get to me, so I invite them to stay the night. They arrive, congratulate me, shove two bottles of wine and a homemade cake in my hands, and look around.)

Bandmate #1: “Where are all the guests? I brought my guitar and everything. I thought there was a party?”

Bandmate #2: “Yeah, we were excited to meet all your friends! Where are they?”

Me: “Well… it’s just us three now. Some family came this afternoon, but they went already. And my one friend cancelled… again.”

Bandmate #1: “Well, that’s not fair!”

Bandmate #2: “Your best friend cancelled… and your other friends?”

Me: “I don’t really have any… Not nearby at least.”

Bandmate #1: “Well, that’s just stupid! We don’t live nearby, either, and yet we are here. What trouble is it to just come over?”

Bandmate #2: “Don’t worry. We’ll get you wasted enough to not be sad about the bad turn up!”

(And they did. They conjured up another bottle of rum from their bags and we drank — I never even drink, but screw it just this once — sang songs, played games, laughed, and chatted until 4:00 am, and I can’t recall having a happier birthday ever!)

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Oh, Dear…

, , , , , , | Romantic | July 10, 2019

(One of my coworkers got married, and a few weeks later he is still very much in his honeymoon phase. Everyone in the office has heard about when he met her, when they started dating, and when they got engaged through passing comments during casual conversations, but none of us has ever met her. He decides to attend a work party and bring his wife along. The running gag all night long is his overuse of terms of endearment.)

Coworker: “Darling, can you come here?”

Coworker: “Love, come meet my manager!”

Coworker: “Did you find your phone, sweetheart?’

Coworker: “I’m just going to run to the car, babe.”

Coworker: “Honey, have you seen my keys?”

Coworker: “Sweetie, can I borrow your phone?”

Coworker: “I can’t find my wallet, dear.”

Coworker: “Sugar, can you hand me that glass?”

Coworker: “Oh, angel! Come meet [Other Coworker]!”

Coworker: “Hey, lover, what time do you want to head out?”

(Eventually…)

Wife: “[Coworker]! Do you even know my name?!”

(I feel like I have to mention that she said it jokingly. They’ve been married for about seven years now, and he still prefers pet names. I wish them the best!)

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Thinking Outside The Box By Leaving Them Outside

, , , , , , | Right | July 1, 2019

(I work at an entertainment facility that often hosts kids’ birthday parties. We offer party rooms and activities, but we do not provide childcare and never have. Whenever a customer makes a reservation, it’s clearly stated on the form they sign that children under 13 must be accompanied by at least one adult at all times. One Friday afternoon when we are slammed with customers, a mother comes up to me in our lobby area with her son who’s nine or ten years old.)

Mother: “We’re here for [Child]’s birthday party.”

Me: “Welcome! That’s great! That party actually starts in about one hour, so—”

Mother: “Oh, I know. I still have to go pick up my daughter, so I’ll just leave my son here for now.”

(I gesture to our lobby, which is open to the public and currently full of people coming and going every which way, trying to help her notice. When that doesn’t work, I try to think of the most professional way to make this woman realize that she would be crazy to leave her son there alone.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, but all of our employees are busy helping other customers right now. There would be no one available to watch your son.”

Mother: “Oh, that’s fine!”

Me: *thinking she finally came to her senses*

Mother: “He doesn’t need watching!”

Me: *shocked, and wondering how I can make this more obvious without offending her* “Uh… well, it’s really up to your discretion, ma’am, but we are not certified to provide childcare and none of us are trained to—”

Mother: *angrily* “You don’t get it! You don’t have to do anything! I’ll just leave him here and he’ll be fine!”

Me: “Ultimately, the decision is yours, but we care very much about everyone’s safety at [Company], and I just don’t feel it would be a good idea.”

Mother: “Ugh! FINE!”

(She grabs her embarrassed son by the hand and literally drags him out the door. Thinking the problem has been resolved, I go back to helping our many other customers, until my coworker arrives for the start of her shift about twenty minutes later. Keep in mind it is January and literally freezing outside.)

Coworker: “Hey, did you know there is a little boy standing in front of our building?”

Me: “What?! Oh, no!”

Coworker: “Yeah, I just let him borrow my phone, because he wanted to call his mom and ask her why she hadn’t come back yet.”

Me: “Oh, my gosh! Is he okay?”

Coworker: “Yeah, I asked him if he wanted to come and wait inside, and he said he wasn’t allowed to! What’s going on? What should I do?”

Me: “You’re not going to believe this.” *relates the story to her* “So, I guess when I told the mom she shouldn’t leave her son inside, she took me literally and left him outside!”

(My coworker kept an eye on the boy and made sure he was okay, despite our being short-staffed and not technically allowed to watch other people’s children. His mom finally came back, another THIRTY MINUTES later! She glared daggers at all of us and continued to shoot us dirty looks all afternoon every time we had to walk past where she was sitting. Fortunately, the little boy did have a fun time at his friend’s birthday party! I hope things got better for him. Since then, we have put up more signs to notify customers that adult supervision is required at all times.)

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I Feel Good, I Hear Not So Much

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 28, 2019

My friend’s boyfriend is deaf but prefers to read lips rather than sign. I was at his graduation party, and he was reading the cards and opening the gifts in front of a few of us. He came across one card from one of my friend’s relatives.

When he opened the card, James Brown’s “I Feel Good” started playing. Some of us chuckled, some of us danced and sang. The boyfriend asked what was going on. We explained that it was a singing card, and he politely chuckled and thanked the relative, who wasn’t present that day.

Another friend turned to me and said, “Did they really give a music card to a deaf guy?”

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