Saturday, 27 June 2015

I’m Coming Out by Naomi Elana Zener

“SURPRISE!” the gang of revelers shouted. My mother and grandmother practically barreled me over with tackle-like defensive hugs, forgetting that I’m a slight man without any athletic ability. I’d barely made it through the front door of my childhood home, to have my weekly Sunday night early-bird special dinner with my mom and grandma, when I was accosted by a group of casually dressed well-wishers, some of whom were already three sheets to the wind.
My watch read 4:30p.m. Clearly, for some of the guests—for as long as I’d ever known them—it was always cocktail hour somewhere in the world.  

“Um, hi everyone. What are y’all doing here?“ I continued to fend off hugs. I’d never been a hugger, even as a child. “I’m still thirty-six you know. Nothing’s changed since we celebrated my birthday together four months ago.”

The entire group laughed me off, as though I was the drunken elephant in the room. I liked a good party. And, my mother and grandmother never needed an excuse to throw an event—after all, my mother had me at twenty, raised me as a single mother holding down three jobs to make ends meet, while my grandma helped to raise me. I decided to get my freak on with them. If they wanted to party, who was I to stop them?

The dining room table was brimming with food. Loud music blared from my grandma’s ancient record player she’d refused to throw away. My mom’s bar on wheels, nearly tipping over from the grabby hands trying to pull bottles off of it to refresh half-empty drinks, was making its rounds. The middle-aged to nearing geriatric crowd of my family members, and some very cute men who looked to be near my age, were even wearing party hats. Everything seemed to be in order, until my gaze stopped upon the banner hanging above the living room fireplace mantle.

‘I’M COMING OUT,’ it screamed in neon bright colours of the rainbow. Frozen in horror, like a Beverly Hills ageing doyenne who’d overdosed on Botox, I couldn’t escape. I quickly scanned the room searching out my grandmother and mother.

“Mom? Grandma?” I called out to no answer. The music was overbearing. “Ma? I need to talk to you.”

I maneuvered my way through the crowd, finally spotting my matriarchs near the roving bar.

“Yoo hoo honey, over here!” my grandma chimed, waving me over.

“So, how do you like the party?” my mother asked.

“It’s nice. I even like the cute gay boys as party favors, but I’m a bit confused. Why are you throwing me a coming out party when I came out twenty years ago to you both when I was still in high school?” s

“Who the hell said that this was your coming out party?” my grandma retorted, waving her martini-glass filled hand around.

“Grandma, are you telling me you’re loving the ladies these days?”

“Don’t be such an ass,” In one giant swig, she downed the four ounces of her Grey Goose medicine.

“Mom?”

“Yes, you got me. I only buy cereal to munch on the box,” she shouted. The loud buzz of the room stopped cold. Everyone was staring at us thanks to my mother’s genetic predilection for screaming rather than whispering.

“So, then who’s gay?”

“No one, but you,” my mother retorted. “Coming out doesn’t have to mean just announcing to the world that you’re gay.”

“Okay, what then?”

“We, your mother and I, are coming out publicly to say that it’s about damn time you hitched your ride to a handsome fella, and give us babies,” my grandmother announced. “We have marriage equality now thanks to the Supreme Court.”

“Excuse me?” I stammered.

“You’re a thirty-six year old healthy, handsome, brilliant plastic surgeon, but you’re still single,” my mother advised as though she was telling me something I didn’t know. “We’ve watched men swim in and out of your life for the last twenty years, leaving us less and less hopeful as each failed relationship enjoyed a burial in the proverbial sea full of fish you’ve dated. We want you married already, and called daddy before the year is out.”

“What your mother means is that we want your kid calling you daddy, not your spouse.” My grandmother was not shy. “Honey, what you do in the privacy of the bedroom is non of our concern.”

My relatives nodded their heads in agreement, while the gaggle of gays lined up eagerly to get down on their collective bended knees to propose, upon hearing that I was single and ready to mingle according to my motherly pimps. And, it didn’t hurt that I was flush with cash. Enhancing boobs paid the bills.

“You’re both so cute, but you’re extremely deluded.” I glared at them, forcing my veneers to give them the most genuine fake smile I could muster. My relatives and the queue of wannabe suitors looked at me expectantly. I laughed uncomfortably. “I’m so happy that I can legally get married, but I’m not ready to settle down. Can we just talk about this privately?” I tried to usher them into the kitchen, but those two small immovable Moai had dug their heels in so deep into the shag carpeting, they weren’t going anywhere.

“Whatever you have to say, you can say in front of your family and potential future husband!” my mother stated.

I hung my head, my cheeks flaming with embarrassment.

“This party is as much a coming out for us as it is for you—you get to play debutante while we fix you up with our future son and grandson-in-law. It’s a win-win for all of us,” my grandma added. “You owe us grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Now get flirting!”

“Shall we start the dating show portion of the party?” my mother asked, pointing to the eager puppy-like participants waiting to self-promote their attributes to me.

“What makes you think any of them will make suitable partners?” I asked.

“Since you can’t seem to find Mr. Right on your own, we found several options for you through GayChristianMingle.com,” my grandma added. “They all believe in God, country, marriage, and their mothers. What more do you want?”

“But, we’re Jewish,” I interrupted.

“What, they can’t convert? Jesus was a Jew—they know that,” my grandma retorted. The chorus of pretty boys nodded their heads eagerly.

“Since you’ve got everything figured out, why don’t you pick the groom for me? Hell, pick out the egg donor, or kid that we’re going to adopt. My vote doesn’t count?”

“No, it doesn’t. The vote was cast for you by the five learned Supremes who know what’s best for you and us. We’ve waited over twenty years to give you away in holy matrimony. We’ve had it up to here with you Grinderella. No more Mr. Right Nows,” my grandma ordered. “Thanks to the highest court of this land we’ve earned the right to see you get married, and hear the pitter patter of little chubby feet before we’re dead because you’ve got the right to get married. So, get a move on it!”



© 2015. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

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