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|As a young man weighs his options, his mother does the same|
|by Topher Payne|
|June 10, 2011 00:00|
My friend Barbara’s son has returned from his first year of college appreciably matured, and bearing a bit of intrigue: When asked for updates on the dating front, he announced he is “currently bisexual.”
“What the hell does he mean by currently?” she ponders. “If he’s gay he doesn’t have to dance around it. I’d be thrilled.”
I’m at the convenient midway point between Barbara’s age and her son’s, so I try to explain the current setup. Back in the day, claiming to be bi was seen as letting folks down easy. It was sort of a preview of coming same-sex attractions. For God’s sake, Boy George claimed to be bi, and he’s gay as a picnic basket.
But the generation coming of age appears to be far more open-minded about the fluidity of attraction. A teenage boy might take up dick for a while the same way he’d test out the trumpet: Give it a try, learn the basics, then get bored and set it aside when baseball season starts.
“Well I hope he doesn’t take too long to decide,” Barbara muses. “I’m not too attached to the idea of grandkids, but I’d like to be able to plan.”
“You could have grandkids either way.”
“I know,” she replies. “But if he’s gay we’ll know they’re coming. If he’s straight they could be a surprise.”
Barbara has a point. Those who oppose gay marriage (and curiously spend a good portion of every single day thinking and talking about it) are fond of saying that our unions serve no purpose because we cannot produce offspring.
Their model of marriage involves two people with complimentary genetic traits pairing off and continuing the human race, which would otherwise expire within a week. I didn’t know our continued existence was so precarious these days. The last time I went to a movie theater, there sure as hell seemed to be no shortage of babies.
The logical flaw in the “Marriage: Do It for the Kids” argument can be found at the home of my sister, who wed a very nice fellow 10 years ago. Shortly thereafter, they found out her baby-making parts were not operational. Surprisingly, her husband did not have their marriage annulled, carting this barren husk of a woman off to a nunnery.
Instead, they adopted a beautiful baby boy, and found the experience so enjoyable that they went out and got another one a few years later. Their family is made up of four people whom fate brought together, and the love in that house is fierce.
Preppy and I will not be having children. We have many plans for our future, but none involve a third person. At least, that’s what logic tells me. We thank God I don’t have the ability to grow a kid on my own, because I just don’t think I’d be able to resist. I’m too much of an impulse shopper. Stopping myself from purchasing On-Demand movies requires Herculean effort. If you can’t trust me with a remote control, you sure as shit can’t trust me with a uterus.
That’s the reason gay parents set such a beautiful standard — it’s kinda hard for us to accidentally have kids. Those of us who sign up for raising a child arrive at the decision after significant thought and planning. This does not guarantee they’ll be perfect parents — gay and lesbian couples are as achingly human as their straight counterparts. But I’ve yet to see a woman in a monogamous relationship with another woman featured on “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.”
“While he’s figuring things out, will you at least give him some dating tips?” Barbara says. “You ended up with Preppy. I want him to have a Preppy.”
“Why can’t he have a Topher? He’d be lucky to have a Topher.”
“Oh, sweetheart, no. You’re the crazy person in your marriage. It’s OK, I’m the crazy person in mine. I’d feel much more secure knowing my son is the crazy person in his.”
I cannot say for certain, but I suspect Barbara has touched on a desire every parent holds: Let their child grow to find happiness. Let them love fiercely. And in the family they assemble, whether by biology or by fate… please let their child be the crazy one.
Topher Payne is an Atlanta-based playwright, and the author of the book “Necessary Luxuries: Notes on a Semi-Fabulous Life.” Find out more at topherpayne.com.
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