December 2, 2009

Coming Out Story #3

[Ed. Note: Every Wednesday, we collect a coming out story and post it here, anonymously. They can be long or short, devastating or hilarious or boring or somewhere in between. The stories can be gathered in person or digitally - even using our "submit anonymously" link on the sidebar! If you'd like to send one in, email us at If you don't feel like writing, we can meet in person, too, (ignore this PSA) and I'll transcribe your story here. Just let us know.]

It was finals week in tenth grade, so we got to leave school right after our test. I went to my friend's house down the street with a bunch of people to hang out for the rest of the day. Everything was going great until my mother called the house I was at (this was before we all had cellphones) and just said "I'm coming to pick you up."


From her tone of voice and withholding of any reason why I had to leave early, I suspected that someone had died. I have old grandparents, and thought the worst. But I was assured that everyone was "okay" and everything was "fine" (though we all know what that means). I hung up, and almost immediately realized what was up. I ran to my friend's computer and confirmed the worst: that I was not idle on Instant Messenger.

I had stayed logged into my Windows account on our family computer and furthermore had left up all of my AIM conversations. Including the one I had with [Shannon] the night before where, uh, I said some pretty explicit things about one of our straight friends, [John]. I basically outlined some pretty violent sex that I wanted to have with him and frequently used the words "fuck" and "brains out." This has happened to the best of us, right? ...Right?

Okay, so I was a horny kid. Sue me.

So at this point I knew that my mother had read this (mortifying, in case you couldn't figure that out), and she was on her way to confront me over it. Awesome! This is exactly how I always saw my coming out unfolding.

She picked me up and we went back to my house in silence, and I was led to our computer room. We sat.


"I don't like the language you use on the internet. It's inappropriate."

Wait, really? Phew. I could handle a lecture on swearing. I'd done this a thousand times before, as I am a big fan of curse words. I simply sat there and absently agreed to never say these things again. Ever again. Can I go now?

"Are you gay?" she blurted.

Fuck. Shit.

There was really no way out (it's Puns Week on Our Lives) of this one, as the evidence was stacked up against me quite a bit. Straight guys do NOT say the things that I said. I had to come out. So many grandiose, articulate ways to do this! I could turn this into a real Lifetime movie. A Glee moment before there even was such a thing. Instead, because obviously I hate myself, I went with


Yup. "Duh." That's the best I could do. That's what I came up with. Instead of Kurt from Glee I went with George from Seinfeld ("Jerkstore!"). I think I blacked out after that because I don't remember too many details (I was busy starting years of regretting my diction in that moment). I do know, though, that mom was more than accepting. Thrilled, actually. Probably because her years of having me lip-sync and dance Mariah Carey songs had paid off.

* * *
I guess looking back I don't entirely hate that that's how things went down. It forced me to come out, which had to happen at some point. It actually saved me years of perseverating and agonizing over how best to go about it. Mom knew then, but it took years until I was comfortable enough to talk about it. Which wasn't that bad. It was a pretty good arrangement where I knew she knew, and that she was The Best about it, but I was allowed to really come out on my own time.

But fuck, what an embarrassing, messy way to go about it.

"I don't think you should be sleeping over [John]'s house this weekend."


  1. Not to be callous, but I'm glad someone's life is as comedic as mine, especially in the "Mom and big, important moments" category.

    Although I never had to come out to my mom as being straight, other conversations, such as the "I'm having sex" talk, just get thrown at you, completely unexpectedly in the doctor's office when your doctor asks you if your mother knows you are sexually active...while she is still in the room. Well, she does now, Doc!

    And, after a mortifying 5 minutes of your mother dancing in her seat at this new piece of gossip, jokingly reminding your doctor (who is as completely mortified as you are) that she could sue him, you are left in the tiny, secluded room alone with her. You stare at the posters on the wall's that you've read a million times, still mortified, and doing anything to avoid eye contact with her...but you feel her looking at you. Your eyes connect for a brief moment, and in that moment, proceeds to ask " was it!?"

    Now, not all situations go down exactly like the one above; however, I think we all have had similar experiences. The first time is rarely magical, and even the most romantic moments have bits of awkwardness embedded(pun-ish?) in them.

    It is disappointing to dwell on, since we've been brainwashed to believe that all of our life-changing experiences are supposed to occur with perfect articulation and slow, meaningful music playing in the background, but in reality, life is awkward, unscripted, often mortifying, and occasionally funny. Each moment surprises us, and we are just forced to embrace it. Life happens.

    Luckily for us, our moms accepted the situations as they were, and were completely supportive. Not everyone has the opportunity to say that, and for this I am incredibly grateful.

    Until the next horrifyingly awkward moment...

  2. hahaha, thanks. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Clearly the GSAA (the first A's for Awkward) is alive and well.

    You're actually not the first person I've heard this happen to! The doctor asked my girlfriend if she was sexually active and her mother responded "no" for her. Haha, angrily more than embarrassed, actually, my friend corrected her mom to the physician.

    "in reality, life is awkward, unscripted, often mortifying, and occasionally funny. Each moment surprises us, and we are just forced to embrace it. Life happens."

    Wow. Amen, Sister. That actually really hits home for me this past month (the other 245 before it, too, but especially this one) and I feel comforted by the assessment even though it portrays me as completely out of control. Helpless almost. But it's a helplessness that I can take solace in. Mom was always a fan of telling me to "not perseverate on things that [I] couldn't change" and it's true, I guess. Cliche, maybe, but life's a ride, right?

    Thanks again for the smile :)