Dear Ms. Behavior:
A while ago I met a guy online and it seemed like he and I might have some things in common. When we talked on the phone he just didn’t sound right (sane), but he lived far enough away, so that I felt safe talking to him without worrying about him wanting to get close to me. It turned out that he happened to know two unhappy lesbians in my area, so he started visiting. When I met him at the lesbians’ apartment, the tent from the previous summer’s trip was sprawled out in the living room. The apartment smelled like dog poop and urine. I shoveled my way through the living room to get to the sofa to sit down. I tried to smile and be polite, thinking “people live differently and I should accept it,” which I didn’t.
Anyway, my “date” turned out to be so needy he covered me like a dense slime and I couldn’t breathe. I tried to be nice and tell him I didn’t like him “that way,” which didn’t work. I e-mailed him and I told him I didn’t want anything to do with him. I was then sent the “Fuck You” e-mail, followed by several more attempts at correspondence. I finally moved, changed my phone number and blocked his e-mail; I think I’ve finally gotten rid of him.
I wanted to share that story because I learned something valuable. I should have run to my car at the first scent of dog poop in the lesbians’ apartment.
Actually, your first hint that things wouldn’t go well was the fact that your prospective date did not sound sane on the phone. If you felt safe only because he lived far away, why did you have any further contact with him?
Ms. Behavior is alarmed by how many of her readers ignore obvious hints. They say things like, “I suspected he was psycho, unethical, and had bad hygiene on our first date. When we broke up six months later, I knew it was true because he broke into my apartment, stole all my money, and left his smelly clothing on my bed.” Hello? What happened to that first hint, 180 days earlier?
But Ms. Behavior does not actually understand why you took issue with the lesbian tent and the dog’s bodily fluids. In cool weather, plenty of lesbians secretly camp in their living rooms, and convince their dogs that they are in the great outdoors.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
Betty and I are getting hitched. She’s out to her family, but not her grandmother, whom Betty loves. The family has Betty convinced that Nana will keel over at the very words “lesbian wedding.” The problem is that Betty wants Nana to know, but is afraid to risk the consequences. Also, Nana gives all her beloved grandchildren $10,000 on their wedding day. How can I convince Betty that she is just as entitled to the ten grand as her married brother and now-divorced sister? Shouldn’t Nana be given the choice? Betty always says that Nana loves her best, anyway. Won’t Nana love her just as much, knowing she’s a lesbian? I personally never think it’s a mistake to come out, but then again, I don’t want Betty to start our happy life together with any regrets. Can you advise us?
Dear Betty’s Betrothed:
“Don’t tell Nana or she’ll die,” is effective emotional blackmail. But if old people really dropped dead every time they received “shocking” information, few people would have grey hair and we wouldn’t have to worry about the state of Medicare.
If Betty doesn’t tell her grandmother about you or the wedding, she obviously won’t be able to invite her. That seems sad. And how close can Betty and her grandmother really be, if Betty has to hide her most meaningful relationship from Nana? The sacrifice of intimacy with someone so close seems like an even bigger loss than the potential $10,000 dowry.
Coming out can be messy or volatile, but it’s never a mistake (unless there’s risk of bodily harm). Betty should risk the murder rap and introduce her beloved (you) to the old lady. Once Nana survives the initial news, Betty should invite her to come dance at your wedding.