At 18 years old, I was out to most of my friends but not my parents, and still living at home. I was extremely busy and had no time to hold my parents' hands through a Life Changing Moment™. I was working full time at a downtown restaurant, which was short-staffed and actually had me working overtime in the bar (illegally, I'm pretty sure), and also working with a theater company (that was a big clue, mom and dad).

My mom announced one morning that she intended to clean my bedroom while I was at work. I told her no—don't clean my room. But she insisted. I plead, "If you must, and, again, please don't don't clean my room while I'm at work, just don't clean my desk, okay?" She agreed. Of course, I got home from work after the bar closed one night and opened the door to my room.

The room was spic and span: The carpet vacuumed. The sheets pressed. The desk sparklingly clean. Oh, lord. I opened the the second drawer on the left—and there they were. My porn magazines were organized like notes in an English bank. (This was back in the era of yore when we printed pornography onto pieces of paper.) The glossy magazines, the smutty notes, the other things of which I cannot speak... there they were. Neatly arranged like every other object in my room, including my bongs. I vaguely recall the magazines alphabetized from Blueboy to Thrust.

I woke up the next morning to the sound of my mother's footsteps as she thundered out the door to work. I slunk out of my room, fixed breakfast, and encountered my dear father who had been given, apparently, a dreadful task. "We need to talk," he said. We went and sat in the guest bedroom (painted pink, incidentally, a room we actually called "the pink room").

"Son," he began, "I think we need to talk about the birds and the bees."

"Don't you mean the birds and the birds, dad?"


At least, that's how I remember my zinger reply. I probably stuttered like a mo-ped running on leaded. I moved out that day. I didn't trust my parents to respect my privacy. And frankly, at 18 and with a new job, I could afford to move out, living in your parents house entails sacrificing your privacy, and it was time to leave the nest.

Fly, fledgling faggot, fly!

My dad co-signed an apartment lease a few weeks later. My mom held a grudge against me for ages. She was convinced that I'd left the porn there to, I don't really know, shock her or something. ("How could you leave your bongs out and still have something to hide?" she asked her gay hippie son a few months later.) One of my two older older brothers, David, is also gay, so maybe realizing that she was batting two-for-three with turdpounder boys devastated her grandmotherly dreams.

But she got over it. My mom is one of my best friends in the world. So's my dad. And me? I'm still a pot-smoking fag who thinks he says clever things while I'm actually just stuttering like a mo-ped running on leaded.