Father's Day.... at Home Depot

Straight Guy,

Father's Day, of course, requires a Gay Guy post. Like almost all gay men I know, and probably all the straight men I know, too, I have a somewhat complicated relationship with my dad. It turns up in lots of different ways, including about my sexual orientation. As much of a cliche as it is, I think my dad feels guilty about what he might have prevented if he managed to really teach me how to throw a baseball.

I don't know if my dad understands what it means to be gay. Heck, I don't know if he understands me. But, we love each other and he's been very supportive.

We don't talk much about my sexual/emotional life, Dad and I; but, I doubt any men talk about that too much with their dads. The few times I've spoken with some passion about topics that matter to me, like gays in church and gay marriage, he's been a good listener. If he judges, he manages to keep it to himself.

My dad keeps everything to himself. He's very self-contained emotionally and physically. Very contained. Growing up, my brother and I invented a game to amuse ourselves when we were clothes shopping with our parents. It was called, "Is it Dad.... or is it a Mannequin?"

For about a decade, I worried about telling my dad about me being gay. I wasn't sure if he could accept it. In my mid-20s, I finally managed to stop him in the kitchen to tell him I had something important to talk with him about. I managed to blurt it all out in about 15 seconds. He paused, and told me he loved me and that nothing could change that. Then, about three seconds later, "Well, if you're done now, I was just on my way to the hardware store to look for some new screens for the side porch, and I think I'll just keep going."

--Gay Guy


Straight Guy said...

If I don't talk to my dad for a few weeks (or months), we can catch up on the phone in about 30 seconds. You can't look for value in the details... only the big picture. And, to this straight guy anyway, "emotionally self-contained" sounds like a compliment.

Gay Guy said...

Dad made things pretty drama-free around our house. Probably he's the source of my love/hate relationship with drama..... the nontheatrical kind.

Kathleen Lawton-Trask said...

The more complicated my life is, the more I appreciate my father's extreme brevity on the phone. "Hey...how's it going...need your address...talk later..." is about where it's at.

Over e-mail, this is taken to a new and dangerous extreme. Conversation between my father, my sister, and me about the death of Tim Russert:

Dad: wonder what sunday morning 1030 will look like
Me: retrospective, presumably
Steph: depressing

The family that stays contained together, stays together?