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Homosexuality explained
July 27, 2011 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Homosexuality explained...

...by a German schoolbook.
posted by mudpuppie (104 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's so nice to see Tobias finally found someone.
posted by The Whelk at 1:25 PM on July 27, 2011 [47 favorites]


Thanks for sharing this. Beautiful.
posted by koinonia at 1:25 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


My favorite part was where they went to the zoo to see the gay camels.
posted by mannequito at 1:26 PM on July 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Is "schwul" a noun for "homosexuals" or an adjective for "gay"?
posted by Trurl at 1:27 PM on July 27, 2011


This was originally an American children's book called Daddy's Roommate. My favorite part is when they go to the Ingmar Bergmann film festival.
posted by Jon_Evil at 1:27 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


It all seems innocent until you realize they are taking that poor kid to a Bergman Festival in the last panel.
posted by shothotbot at 1:28 PM on July 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


(in my version they drop the final 'n' as a cost cutting measure)
posted by shothotbot at 1:29 PM on July 27, 2011


*sorry, Bergman
posted by Jon_Evil at 1:29 PM on July 27, 2011


And if you click on it you get Conan O'Brian showing Tom Felton Slash pics! Win/Win!
posted by The Whelk at 1:29 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think this is the best illustrated example of coming to terms with homosexuality.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:30 PM on July 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


That was pretty much my childhood. My dad was great back then, in a sort of F. Scott Ftizgerald way, but between being hilarious and taking me to lunch at Manhattan's very best bars and teaching me the hallmarks of quality shoes, someone has to pack your lunch for school and figure out how to bath you without drowning you and actually get the shoes on your feet with socks and everything. Thanks, Uncle Leo!
posted by DarlingBri at 1:30 PM on July 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


That's great...but when is someone going to explain heterosexuality to me?
posted by Fizz at 1:31 PM on July 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


Pedantic German correction: it's actually "dad's boyfriend", not "dad's friend".
posted by bitteschoen at 1:31 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is going to teach an entire generation of German children that all gay men own grand pianos when it's really only like 39%
posted by The Whelk at 1:33 PM on July 27, 2011 [61 favorites]


he said with his back to a spinet piano
posted by The Whelk at 1:33 PM on July 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Uh, und Liebe ist der schoenste Art, glucklich zu sein does not mean but love is the only way to achieve happiness.
posted by King Bee at 1:34 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was completely prepared for another Bachmann thread and subsequent fabulous firestorm.

This was a wonderful surprise.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:35 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Love is our only fleeting respite from despair
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:36 PM on July 27, 2011 [20 favorites]


Yeah, I remember this book from two decades ago when it was in English. Still a good book. Glad to see the Germans have translated it.
posted by koeselitz at 1:36 PM on July 27, 2011


Also, the boyfriend looks a lot like a cross between Freddie Mercury and Tom of Finland, which—while awesome—may not necessarily be a dude mainstream audiences would feel comfortable promoting to children.
posted by Jon_Evil at 1:37 PM on July 27, 2011


Yeah, does anyone who has seen a copy of Daddy's Roommate (and remember it better than me -- because it has been HOW MANY years since that came out?) know if the line "but love is the only way to achieve happiness" is in the original version? Because, that's weird.

Not "taking a kid to an Ingmar Bergman festival" weird, but weird nonetheless.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:37 PM on July 27, 2011


Also, the boyfriend looks a lot like a cross between Freddie Mercury and Tom of Finland, which—while awesome—may not necessarily be a dude mainstream audiences would feel comfortable promoting to children.

Well, the book is 20 years old. Which means that gay guys were only 10 years or so past looking like.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:39 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Trurl: German nouns are always capitalized, so if it's "schwul" then it's not a noun.
posted by jemfinch at 1:39 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mom said that Frank and dad are Germans.
At first I didn't understand, but then Mom explained it to me.
Being German is just another type of nationality
And Nationalism has the potential to unify society and support a strong economy with robust social welfare programs.

posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:40 PM on July 27, 2011 [25 favorites]


How do you know it isn't an Ingrid Bergman film festival?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:41 PM on July 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Frank".

Heh.

Heh heh heh.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:41 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, the boyfriend looks a lot like a cross between Freddie Mercury and Tom of Finland

If this is from the early-mid 80s then that is what a lot of gay dudes looked like. contemporary sources called it the clone look.
posted by The Whelk at 1:42 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


gay jinx MC
posted by The Whelk at 1:42 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Our fucked-up Judaeo-Christian civilization has never considered love important, much less the defining trait of a committed relationship, so this is beautiful. Maybe we can eventually get to a point where an entire generation of kids thinks that love is important.
posted by clockzero at 1:42 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is "schwul" a noun for "homosexuals" or an adjective for "gay"?

"schwul", lowercase, is an adjective, but adjectives in German (as indeed in English!) can be made nouns, so "die Schwule" would be "the gay ones".

"on holidays" is not a great translation for "am Wochenende" ("on the weekend").
posted by kenko at 1:43 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Love is the only way to happiness? Shit, I guess a lot of people are never going to be happy, then.
posted by asnider at 1:46 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]




Love is the best way to be happy.
posted by found missing at 1:47 PM on July 27, 2011


In the "We go to stadium" panel the two Dads are wearing Boston Red Sox sweatshirts!

Yay!
posted by ericb at 1:47 PM on July 27, 2011


Those are ß's
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:48 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks for sharing this. Beautiful.
posted by koinonia at 4:25 PM on July 27 [+] [!]


Whoa. At first I misread the username and was ready to say: 'Congrats ... and thanks!"
posted by ericb at 1:48 PM on July 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I believe "schwul" should be translated into English as "gay" rather than "homosexual", which shouldn't matter but does.
posted by lesli212 at 1:50 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, the boyfriend looks a lot like a cross between Freddie Mercury and Tom of Finland, which—while awesome—may not necessarily be a dude mainstream audiences would feel comfortable promoting to children.

Wow, I was thinking of 'Tom's of Maine' when I clicked that link. I think the 'record scratch' noise played from my brain and out of my ear when I clicked that link.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:51 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sure looks like the Boston Red Sox logo to me.
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on July 27, 2011


I am going to post for a "room mate" on craigslist now. Only "Frank's" need apply. Hubba hubba!
posted by helmutdog at 1:53 PM on July 27, 2011


I was thinking of 'Tom's Of Maine"

Not the first person, not by a long shot
posted by The Whelk at 1:54 PM on July 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think this is the best illustrated example of coming to terms with homosexuality.

Not illustrated, but I prefer this one.
posted by PlusDistance at 1:55 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Plus ... in the 'Frank loves me too' panel they are playing baseball. My wager is still on Red Sox logo.
posted by ericb at 1:57 PM on July 27, 2011


They fight just like my partner and I. Ruined clothing and desk scratch graffiti are truly the great equalizers.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:59 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


asnider: it means something more like "Love is the best way to achieve happiness".
posted by King Bee at 1:59 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


also holy shit no wonder that kid has bad dreams there is a giant OGRE TROLL in his CLOSET
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:00 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


In the "We go to stadium" panel the two Dads are wearing Boston Red Sox sweatshirts!

Well, that ruined it for me. I keed, I keed.
posted by ob at 2:02 PM on July 27, 2011


I believe "schwul" should be translated into English as "gay" rather than "homosexual", which shouldn't matter but does.

I'm going to hazard the person who did the translating made a specific choice to use 'homosexual' rather than 'gay' for some reason. (I don't think they were a native English speaker--see the 'friend' v 'boyfriend' thing. English speakers who learn German learn about that early.) I think the register of homosexuell in German is different than in English (at least to English speaker me). I wouldn't say 'homosexual' in an American context (I might in a British) because it's pathologising. But I would say 'homosexuell' and perhaps even 'homo' in German. (Interchangeably with 'schwul'? I don't know.)
posted by hoyland at 2:03 PM on July 27, 2011


This was originally an American children's book called Daddy's Roommate.

Other children's books by Michael Willhoite published by Boston-based Alyson Books.
posted by ericb at 2:06 PM on July 27, 2011


Ah, and memories of V.P. candidate Sarah Palin:
Witnesses and contemporary news accounts say Ms. Palin asked the librarian about removing books from the shelves. The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”
posted by ericb at 2:12 PM on July 27, 2011 [4 favorites]




I have a few issues with the translation, the main one being, that a Marmeladebrot is NOT A SANDWICH!!
posted by chillmost at 2:16 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]



Hey, they got married! Good job, Massachusetts!

And mustache-boyfriend has not aged a due to his vigorous skin care regimen.
posted by The Whelk at 2:17 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


*ahem*, marmeladenbrot
posted by chillmost at 2:18 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


and they failed to mention that the mameladenbrot was delicious!!

otherwise, it's lovely. I've never actually read it before so it's nice to see it's so sweet.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:24 PM on July 27, 2011


1992 TV news coverage of the controversy surrounding gay-themed children's books including Daddy's Roommate in a North Carolina library.

Also ...

Sund v. City of Wichita Falls, Texas
This case involves the censorship of two acclaimed books, Heather Has Two Mommies, by Leslea Newman (Alyson Wonderland Publications 1989) and Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite (Alyson Wonderland Publications 1990). Both are children's picture books--Heather is a 46-page black and white book, and Daddy's Roommate is 32 pages in color--written for very young children about the subject of children who have gay and lesbian parents.

The two Books have been endorsed by educators, psychologists, and librarians. Indeed, Linda Hughes--the Library Administrator of the Wichita Falls Public Library--feels strongly that Heather and Daddy's Roommate are "a wonderful way to explain to children that you may live in a different lifestyle, but the important thing is people love you."

As discussed below, the City Council of Wichita Falls--by a four to three vote--passed a Resolution which gave 300 people with library cards the right to censor Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate, by having these Books removed from the children's section of the Library and placed in the adult book section. This opinion holds that this unique Resolution is unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 8 of the Texas Constitution.
FINAL JUDGMENT
For the reasons stated in this Court's Memorandum Opinion, judgment is entered in favor of the Plaintiffs, enjoining the Defendants from enforcing City Council Resolution No. 16-99 (the "Altman Resolution") because it is unconstitutional. Costs are taxes against the Defendant City of Wichita Falls, Texas.
posted by ericb at 2:25 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, the boyfriend looks a lot like a cross between Freddie Mercury and Tom of Finland

I'll have you know that that look is au courant, thank you.

Now where's my goddamn mustache comb disappeared to this time?
posted by sonascope at 2:39 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we talk about Mom for a minute now, she seems awfully well-adjusted to Dad's 'new' life...
posted by ennui.bz at 2:40 PM on July 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Mommy's Cabana Boy
posted by The Whelk at 2:46 PM on July 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Now where's my goddamn mustache comb disappeared to this time?

It's in the drawer with the coke spoon.

(And thanks to King Bee for disputing the translation to "love is the only way to achieve happiness".)
posted by Nelson at 2:51 PM on July 27, 2011


It's so nice to see Tobias finally found someone.
Him?
posted by PapaLobo at 3:13 PM on July 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I will have you know that camels are disgustingly straight.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:17 PM on July 27, 2011


Frank is hot
posted by mikehipp at 3:51 PM on July 27, 2011


Also, the boyfriend looks a lot like a cross between Freddie Mercury and Tom of Finland, which—while awesome—may not necessarily be a dude mainstream audiences would feel comfortable promoting to children.

If they're uncomfortable with promoting acceptance of homosexuality, I kinda get the feeling that for "mainstream audiences," Frank looking like Tom of Finland will be the least of their objections to the dude.
posted by blucevalo at 3:58 PM on July 27, 2011


Love is the only way to happiness? Shit, I guess a lot of people are never going to be happy, then.

"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love." - Carl Sagan, Contact
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:59 PM on July 27, 2011


Is "schwul" a noun for "homosexuals" or an adjective for "gay"?

It's an adjective for gay, but I don't sense the kind of negative use of "homosexual" here that you'd otherwise see in the US. Seeing "homosexual" instead of "gay" kind of bothered me too, but it's probably just the consequence of a rough translation of a translation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:09 PM on July 27, 2011


Homosexuals are Germans. That explains everything.

But seriously, I think I remember shelving and English language version of this book (or something similar) years ago at a soon to be deceased bookstore and thinking that it was apretty good explanation of things for kids.
posted by jonmc at 4:31 PM on July 27, 2011


also holy shit no wonder that kid has bad dreams there is a giant OGRE TROLL in his CLOSET


Someday, the Ogre Troll will come out of that closet to find love, too. Everybody wins!
posted by louche mustachio at 4:36 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dad's hot.
posted by Twang at 4:45 PM on July 27, 2011


the young rope-rider: "also holy shit no wonder that kid has bad dreams there is a giant OGRE TROLL in his CLOSET"

Holy shit. How on earth did I miss that?
posted by brundlefly at 4:45 PM on July 27, 2011


Holy shit. How on earth did I miss that?
posted by brundlefly at 7:45 PM on July 27 [+] [!]


Honestly, in addition to the "Aw, how sweet!" reaction I got from reading, I'm surprised that more people here aren't beanplating the fact that the bad dream of the child of a homosexual couple is depicted as a monster that is literally in the closet.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 4:49 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I knew about this book, but I hadn't actually seen it before. It's really cute, and I love the little details - like the monster in the closet and the rainbow+star shirt the little boy is wearing.
posted by gemmy at 4:56 PM on July 27, 2011


King Bee: "Uh, und Liebe ist der schoenste Art, glucklich zu sein does not mean but love is the only way to achieve happiness."

Just out of curiousity, does anybody have a better sense of the translation? It's not that I disagree with the idea per se, but this seems a pretty strange value choice for a book preaching tolerance.
posted by Apropos of Something at 5:02 PM on July 27, 2011


I was hoping that the link would just be a picture of Alyson Hannigan. She's worth a thousand words of explanation of my homosexual tendencies.
posted by NoraReed at 5:03 PM on July 27, 2011


well google translate throws up "and love is the most beautiful way to be happy" which is very different from "only"
posted by The Whelk at 5:04 PM on July 27, 2011


I was hoping that the link would just be a picture of Alyson Hannigan. She's worth a thousand words of explanation of my homosexual tendencies.

and my heterosexual ones.
posted by jonmc at 5:06 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


One thing I do think is commendable about this is the honest schlumpiness of the characters. Dad and Frank aren't glamorous, heart-stoppingly handsome magical negroes packed with preternatural wisdom and refined tastes that would embarrass Stephen Fry's Jeeves. They're just everyday people. Frank's even got male pattern baldness, which would rule him out of a Hollywood adaptation of the book.

We queer folk love to reach for our big important exemplars—the titans of literature, arts, and letters, our (always retired) sports icons, our movie stars—but for the long run, there's really nothing that'll change the world for the next homo generation more efficiently than those boring guys/gals down the street who mow their lawn, attend your church, shop at your grocery store, and otherwise just paint a shocking, shocking picture of people who aren't really different from the rest of the neighborhood.

That's why this book is powerful. Like the calm, gentle, and reassuring voice of Fred Rogers, you could easily dismiss them as bland and assimilationist characters, but for those of us in the Schlump's Union, it's just a sweet, simple tale told well.
posted by sonascope at 5:09 PM on July 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Love transcends all space and time
And love can make a little child smile
Can't you see this won't go wrong
But we got to be strong
We can't do it alone

We got to let love rule
Let love rule
posted by bwg at 5:22 PM on July 27, 2011


Why oh why did you have to drag that hack into this?
posted by jonmc at 5:39 PM on July 27, 2011


McMikeNamara: the original English text says "And love is the best kind of happiness."
posted by johnofjack at 5:48 PM on July 27, 2011


Someone let me know when "Mommy & Daddy Have a Girlfriend" comes out.
posted by _paegan_ at 5:50 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


on DVD.
posted by jonmc at 6:06 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


We've secretly replaced American homeschooler's German textbook with the untranslated German version of this story. Let's see if they notice the difference.
posted by Leezie at 6:17 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone let me know when "Mommy & Daddy Have a Girlfriend" comes out.

That's not the best title for a book of that sort, but I guess "The Last Unicorn" was already taken.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 6:18 PM on July 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


jonmc: "Why oh why did you have to drag that hack into this?"

I happen to like that song, so there.
posted by bwg at 6:19 PM on July 27, 2011


Can we talk about Mom for a minute now, she seems awfully well-adjusted to Dad's 'new' life...

I'm not sure how you'd describe the expression on the mother's face, but it's not one I remember seeing on my mom.
posted by nickmark at 6:45 PM on July 27, 2011


I can't get over how Mom is so completely unfazed.
posted by 2N2222 at 6:59 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


FWIW my mother was essentially unfazed also. Being a single mother was hard and in no way do I discount that with rose coloured restrospective glasses, but my dad being gay was not what made it hard for her. She has always maintained that if your husband is going to leave you, it is way, way easier if he leaves you for another man than another woman because there is literally nothing you can do or could have done. It is absolutely not about you or your failure or trying harder or anything else. It essentially, to her way of thinking, absolves you of blame and guilt and what-ifs and allows you to simply move on with the way things are.

My mom had a good relationship with my dad and a very, very friendly relationship with my Uncle Leo, who was my favourite person for a big chunk of my childhood - he was great with kids. As far as I was concerned, everyone liked everyone else with genuine warmth, my family was inclusive and super-stable, and everybody only ever said nice things about each other. Things were not perfect and regardless of how your folks re-couple, it's hard to have divorced parents, but the gay part was genuinely not the hard part for, well, any of us.

Granted, my mother is an extraordinary woman and in many ways that have stood me in good stead as an adult, an extraordinary mother. But all I can tell you is that there really are families that look like this, right down to my dad and his partner being the ones who took me to baseball games as my mother merrily waved us off.

Sorry to go on but I had never seen this comic and it really does feel like someone wrote it exactly for me. My inner 7 year old is super happy today.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:56 PM on July 27, 2011 [18 favorites]


Can we talk about Mom for a minute now, she seems awfully well-adjusted to Dad's 'new' life...

Thank you. I spent the whole thing being thoroughly bitter on her behalf. I mean, really, they couldn't even pencil in some hot young gentleman friend to make up for it a little? Ink too expensive?

there is literally nothing you can do or could have done.

I'm glad for your mother, but I'm pretty sure I would be furious for exactly that reason.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:03 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm, that sounds dismissive. I didn't mean it that way, I just meant, that's actually the part that sounds the hardest to me when I imagine it. I really am glad your family worked everything out so well.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:11 PM on July 27, 2011



Can we talk about Mom for a minute now, she seems awfully well-adjusted to Dad's 'new' life...


Yeah, this was sweet, but I was hoping Mom found someone too.

Also,

I was hoping that the link would just be a picture of Alyson Hannigan. She's worth a thousand words of explanation of my homosexual tendencies.


I know a lot of bi/lesbian women who say this! What is it about her? I'm a straight woman, and think she's pretty, but seriously, this is like a huge thing with my bi/lesbian women friends. (is it just the Buffy character or more?)
posted by sweetkid at 9:49 PM on July 27, 2011


I know someone whose husband decided he was gay and left her with two young kids. He had all the money and lawyer friends, so she never got much in alimony. She moved back home, got her MBA and a job in a bank, was offered a position in management so she moved up to NY with said kids. They got pretty good at taking care of themselves, too. Eventually she was able to move back home where she saved enough to send her kids to college. They adjusted pretty well: one of them is OK with visiting their father as long as other people are around.

So I guess life can be like a storybook sometimes.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:01 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm bi and I don't get the Alyson Hannigan thing either! I could write a book about my bafflement. She looks like Richie Rich. And she does these goofy things with her face. Sometimes it's adorable, as in her audition tape for American Pie, and sometimes it's just off-putting, as in the actual scene from the movie. But it's never sexy, at least not to me. It would feel like lusting after a bunny rabbit or something. Sarah Michelle Gellar is where it's at for me, Buffywise. (I won't hear a word against her nose.)
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:40 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seriously? "Decided he was gay"? I don't even know how to read the rest of that comment...
posted by This Guy at 4:47 AM on July 28, 2011


Knock it off with the "story ended well even though the dude who decided he was gay was a real heartless bastard" crap. Or else just come out and say that the gays are ripping apart the social fabric and be done with it instead of being all coy about it. Because I know plenty of someones whose lives were not turned upside down and ruined by the revelation that someone in their family "decided" he was gay.
posted by blucevalo at 6:08 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


one of them is OK with visiting their father as long as other people are around.

Because dads who 'decide' they're gay will try -anything-, right? OR you're projecting your own value set....
posted by Twang at 6:21 AM on July 28, 2011


Blucevalo wrote: I know plenty of someones whose lives were not turned upside down and ruined by the revelation that someone in their family "decided" he was gay.

I don't think it was the gay bit as much as the abandonment. Was I not sufficiently clear? My apologies. After presenting himself as an heterosexual suitor; after wooing her and fathering two children upon her; he left her for a succession of boyfriends. I don't know why you seem to take exception to the word "decided"; surely there was some moral or intellectual reasoning that led to him leaving a housewife to support a couple of young kids.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:35 AM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


my mother was essentially unfazed also.

My mom... thought she would be. At first things were OK, but it turns out it's been really rough. I think a lot of the difference has to do with 1) having gotten married at 19, and spent over thirty years married, it's hard to know who you are all of sudden; and 2) it's weird because Dad had no idea he was gay up until the last couple of years. He didn't leave her for a man, he left because he discovered he was gay and they tried having "an understanding" but that didn't work. Looking back, there were plenty of stereotypical warning signs, but it never occurred to anyone - even him - to wonder if he was gay. Yeah, pretty sheltered upbringing, but there it is.

My dad, meanwhile, is racked with guilt about having ruined my mother's life - about how if he had just realized sooner, he could have spared her all this pain, she could have found someone else, etc.

But hey, they got me and my brother out of the deal, so those thirty years aren't a total write-off, right?
posted by nickmark at 7:40 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nickmark, I'm sorry this has been so rough for your mom (and your dad. And you.) I was not trying to imply the narrative in that story was typical; I know it isn't. I just wanted to illustrate that it does exist, there are families where it is like that. As a family, we were just lucky in a lot of ways; in other ways, my father was an utter disaster with a hardcore drinking problem, who later became abusive to his partner, and who I have not spoken to in six years. It was not a fairytale by any means.

I don't know if you or she is aware of this, but there is support for your mum. The Straight Spouse Network is a great resource with a bad website. This book is often and highly recommended as well. Feel free to MeMail me - I really do understand that it isn't all cute comic books.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:53 AM on July 28, 2011


I have several gay men friends in their 50s who were married for 20+ years, then divorced to come out. It's a hard situation for everyone. One thing that helps a lot is recognizing those 20+ years of marriage weren't a "sham", particularly when kids are involved.

Sexuality is a lot more fluid than we generally acknowledge. I'm thinking in particular of one friend of mine who describes himself as 100% gay now, not bisexual, but also was very erotically happy with women (his wife) for many years while married.
posted by Nelson at 9:36 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was not trying to imply the narrative in that story was typical; I know it isn't. I just wanted to illustrate that it does exist, there are families where it is like that.

No, I get you. There are families where it's like - well, whatever you can imagine, I guess.

For me, I just get frustrated when, in our enthusiasm about love and happiness and family for one set of folks, we forget about what can happen to another set. I didn't feel a need to see Brokeback Mountain, but my wife saw it, and told me about some pretty awful comments being made by the (mostly gay) audience, directed at the wife in the movie. That's the kind of thing I mean. Not saying that's what was going on in this thread, just that it put me in mind of it.

And of course, how much do you want a children's book like this to get into? If the point is "your family setup is OK even if it's different from a lot of your friends'" then how closely can we really afford to look at the possible affect on Mom?
posted by nickmark at 9:54 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]




I'm bi and I don't get the Alyson Hannigan thing either!

I think everyone has a few of these-- the supposedly super attractive people of their preferred gender(s) that just totally don't do it for them. (For me, it's Scarlett Johansson. I like her as an actress okay, but I just don't find her attractive.)
posted by NoraReed at 6:24 PM on July 29, 2011


I was working in a public library during the first hoo-ha about Daddy's Roommate. More than once we found the empty cover on the shelf, as offended people would tear all the pages out to stop innocent children from seeing the smut.

So the library would buy yet another copy, thus spending a few more dollars supporting the homosexual agenda... Silly, silly book burners.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:17 AM on July 31, 2011


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