I took a date to my Mom's wedding in July. That is, I brought Rachel with me--which seemed like a normal enough thing to do. She's my friend. We wanted to go on vacation. She's never been to Portland. And I didn't think I could survive my family by myself. All good. But when I brought her to the ceremony I could tell by the curious glances of my mother's friends--all of whom I've known since childhood--that they wanted to know who she was, exactly, to me. It didn't help, I suppose, that I was wearing a silver band that Veronika had brought back to me from Russia. My sister bluntly asked, "What's that ring about?" My mom's friends were more polite, but there was a subtext: Why in God's name are you still living in New York, do you have a boyfriend, and why do you bring beautiful redheads to your mom's wedding? The confusion made the whole ordeal more interesting. And no one ever asked why I'd brought Rachel, which was just as well. Keep them guessing.
Yesterday I decided I should tell my mom I have a boyfriend. It had become a task that needed to be faced sooner rather than later, since everyone else in my family already knew. I know my dating life seems mysterious to my family: I date non-American men whose names my Mom cannot pronounce, or non-Christian philosophers who cause my father heartache, or weirdos of whom my brother is generally skeptical. My sister, for her part, is merely convinced that everyone I date smells like onions.
So I decided to tell my newly-remarried Mom I had a boyfriend. I thought I should be ruthlessly honest about the situation, as it's foolish to gush too much about men you date to your Mom. "We're perfect for each other" or any such crap sounds silly when we break up four months later. And besides, my boyfriend isn't perfect and we argue a good deal. I believe I mentioned in a previous post that I went on a date with a man I wished the ground would open and swallow whole? Well, that's him. And I genuinely like him even if I sometimes wish he'd stop talking.
So, well, my Mom was suspicious, "But does he make you happy, dear?" she asked. I paused, "Well," I said, "it depends on what you mean by happy. I don't know if any one really makes me happy, I mean, besides my girlfriends. Jenny, Rachel, and Veronika make me happy. "Ohhh!" my mom replied in a worried screech, "You're a lesbian!"
Well she's got me there. I'm a lesbian because my girlfriends make me happy. "If only I was a lesbian," I said, "my life would be so much simpler." Clearly it was not only my Mom's friends who'd been worrying about me and Rachel at the wedding.
I repeated this story to Jenny this morning, during which she repeatedly put down the phone to complete various tasks--tasks of great importance like scratching her head. I lamented the fact that she wasn't listening, and she agreed, "Oh, it's true, I don't know how my friends put up with me!" "It's because I love you," I replied. And then I added, "After all, I'm a lesbian." And she said, "I appreciate that."