Tuesday, 22 May 2012

I do not care about your hypothetical grandchildren

Entertaining conversations to have with your gentleman friend on the Picadilly line:
"Why is it that all my friends are gay ladies and straight dudes? WILL NO ONE TALK TO ME ABOUT COCK?"


So, your kid has just come out! Congratulations. Maybe you're feeling a little confused, surprised, uncertain; not quite sure how this will affect your relationship; wondering how you can best be supportive. So. Here is your handy six-point guide to being not awful when your child informs you that s/he is into diddling members of the same gender.

1. This is really not about your fucking grandchildren.
Okay, I lied. It's a one-point guide, and that's it. This is about many things - about love and respect and sex and honesty and kindness and all of those other things that make life suck a little less - but one thing it is not about is whether or not you get to teach little Jimmy to play football without having to clean up his puke.

For one thing: we breed too! Modern technology is a wonderful thing, and embryos can get inside uteri in all manner of exciting ways. Plus, if your kid has just announced she's bi, then rest assured - she still has half a chance of accidentally getting knocked up.

For another: I appreciate we all have that biological urge to see our genes get passed on and everything, but we also have great big brains which are hopefully capable of grasping the concept that our children's lives... are their lives, not ours. And their reproductive capacities? Similarly theirs. Even if your kid was as straight as a straight guy who really likes having straight sex with straight ladies, you still don't get to guilt-trip him into providing you with grandchildren.

You might want to learn from the mistakes of others, and so I have generously compiled a list of things that might run through your head but really shouldn't run out of your mouth at this crucial time.

When your son or daughter says they're getting married to the love of their life, you should not say, "What does that mean?" True story! When your son or daughter mentions that they might actually want to have kids one day, hysterical laughter is not the appropriate response. True story! If you're worrying that your darling's life is going to be so much harder than it would if he were straight? You're probably right, because of The Homophobia. So now is a really good time to not add to that homophobia.

If, at this point, you're fumbling for an excuse along the lines of "I am an older person from a time and a place where gaying was universally frowned upon", I would like to introduce you to my mother. She too is an older person! She even has her pensioner's bus pass! She too is from a tiny, crappy little town, with Small Town Values and Small Town Prejudices, and yet? She is the nicest and most open-minded person you will ever meet. It has never even occurred to her to care that neither of her daughters is entirely cock-oriented and she's never let slip a single word implying that we somehow owe her grandchildren. She was, in fact, so outraged at the lack of giddy marriage-related excitement my GBF's parents displayed when hearing about their daughter's engagement that she is single-handedly determined to be four times as excited to make up for it. She's already picked out her outfit for the wedding. And she doesn't even like weddings. Yeah, she's an exceptional lady, but if she can rise above the fears and prejudices of her generation, what's your excuse?


  1. Excellent post! There are people I wish had read this before their respective children came out.

    1. Thank you! Your comments always make me smile :)

  2. Christ, I really needed to read this today. Thank you.

  3. De nada. Hope your wedding plans are going well! (If you're the Mary Ellen that I think you are...) x