My Mom calls me on the phone once a week.
Every Saturday morning, at exactly 10am, the phone rings. It’s always Saturday morning, always 10am, always my Mom. It’s the one time all week I don’t check the caller ID. My Mom knows I like to sleep late on weekends, and she knows there’s a three-hour time difference between Ohio and California, so she clearly decided at some point that 1pm Ohio time was a good, safe time to try me and hopefully get in touch with me before I left my apartment for the day.
Or maybe one time she called at 8am and I yelled at her. I don’t remember.
We don’t always have a lot to talk about. “How was your week?” “Good. Yours?” “What’s been going on?” “Oh, not much. You?” That kind of thing.
This week, I figured I’d tell her about Drew.
I only came out to my Mom a few months ago, around the holidays. She told me she wasn’t surprised, and she seemed to handle it pretty well. Years ago, my Mom taught math at my high school. The first thing she did after I told her I was gay was to out about half the faculty. “Remember Mr. Tremain, the guidance counselor? He was gay. We all knew about it.” “Did you ever take Mr. Maciello’s class? Oh, you should’ve. He would’ve loved you.” I assume the reason she did this was to prove to me that there were homosexuals in her past. Or maybe she just finally felt free to gossip. I realized that when I was a teenager, my Mom told me all about which teachers were on drugs and who was dating whom, but this wealth of knowledge she had on her colleagues’ sexuality was always hush-hush.
My Mom wanted me to know she was “comfortable” with me being gay. She then asked me a few questions, one of which was whether I had a “partner”.
When I talked to her this weekend, I didn’t use the word “partner”, for many reasons. It kinda went like this:
JERRY: So, I’ve kind of been seeing this guy.
MY MOM: Oh. Okay.
SILENCE: About five seconds.
JERRY (changing the subject): Yeah, but other than that, not much has been going o–
MY MOM: Is he your age?
JERRY: Yeah, he’s 31. In fact, he’s about two weeks younger than I am.
SILENCE: About three seconds.
JERRY: He’s a nice guy. I really like him. But anyway —
MY MOM: So, is he, like, into the same things as you, like the writing and stuff?
JERRY: Well, yeah, but he’s not a writer. He works at MTV.
MY MOM: Oh, he works at MTV?
JERRY: Yeah, he’s kind of like a TV executive.
SILENCE: About eight seconds.
JERRY: So have you talked to Kathy lately?
And that’s when I successfully changed the subject. I know there’s a big difference between being comfortable with something in theory and being comfortable with something that has an age and an occupation and who’s dating your son, so I’m not surprised the conversation got a little awkward. (And as a man who waited 31 years to come out to his mother, I certainly share the blame for the awkwardness.)
I know my Mom will get used to the idea of Drew over time. I’ll just have to dish out the details — like, say, for example, maybe his name next time — in small doses.
After all, I’m sure I’ll be speaking to her next Saturday morning at 10am.