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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mirror and Hourglass, Part 4: Dad on Dating and Lesbians

At 14, my Dad was completely and utterly convinced that I was a lesbian.  I have to take blame for that one, admittedly, considering my hatred for boys my age and the fact that my friend T and I had conspired to get his permission for me to go to the Christmas Ball despite the fact that Dad was Jehovah’s Witness and we didn’t celebrate conventional holidays.

It all seemed great in theory; Dad liked T and if we convinced him that I would ride with her and that it was a Winter Ball (not Christmas), we’d be home free.  But then T showed up in her typical leather jacket and biker boots (one of the reasons we were such good friends – that lack of care in either of us about what was “cool” and our mutual shunning of the whole Southern Belle epidemic), met my Dad on the porch, and shook his hand like a man.

“I was wondering if it would be okay for me to take Sandra to the Winter Ball.”


“Uh, what?”

So we explained to him about the school dance, completely oblivious to the fact that all our scheming was coming across as if we were a couple desperately seeking his blessing.  He agreed to let me go, and only mentioned to me a few days later that if I needed to tell him anything, he was there.
I still didn’t catch on.

Weeks later, we had a conversation that I don’t fully remember (and won’t try to recreate here), but consisted of him pretty much airing his suspicion and me responding with amused and embarrassed laughter.  I fessed up to the whole scheme, which made it even funnier because Dad rarely read things wrong, but it took years before he believed fully that I was straight.

When I got a boyfriend my senior year (my first and only boyfriend in high school, yet another story for another time), he asked me quietly one day if he was just a “cover.” 
Don't get me wrong - neither of us are against gays, but when you're being accused of something you aren't, it's either extremely offensive or wildly hilarious.  Men tend to go the offended route when they're straight and being called gay, but women - we own that shit.  It's funny to us (well, many of us, anyway) because we're comfortable enough with our sexuality to not be embarrassed by someone thinking we might be gay, and we'll totally play it off with our closest friends.
Of course, this was coming from a man who stood 6-foot-7 inches tall and weighed 250+ pounds, an ex-biker complete with tattoos, who would wear too-short Hanes shorts and do impressions of this guy to make us laugh:
...I'm pretty sure that if I were a lesbian, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal.

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