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?
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.
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."