FAMILIES

Drew and I met each other’s families last week. We didn’t plan it originally. It’s kind of soon in the relationship, and ordinarily, we probably would’ve waited. It just kind of worked out that we were both going to be back East at the same time. I was going to New Jersey to see my sister’s new baby, and he was going to New York for a company retreat, after which he was going to spend a few days at his parents’ house upstate. The timing just made sense. He came out a weekend early to stay with my family, and then I stayed a weekend late to see his.

Our families couldn’t be more different. My family was never very familiar with homosexuality. It wasn’t some right-wing hate house where people cursed “those damn perverts and their special rights”; homosexuality was just something nobody ever talked about. Ever. I only came out to my mother six months ago, and this was going to be the first boyfriend I’d ever brought home to meet her or my sister’s family.

Drew’s family is not only comfortable with homosexuality, it’s practically exploding with it. Drew’s younger brother is also gay, and so is his mother, who lives in the house with her partner of many years. Drew had brought his ex-boyfriend Gregg back home with him countless times for family gatherings, and Drew’s been out to his family since he was a teenager.

Bringing Drew to meet my family was like watching a suspense film. You could hear the creepy, tingly score music crescendoing with every introduction, every question they asked him leading to a stinging atonal clang from the soundtrack.

“So, Drew, what do you do for a living?”

BWAH!

“How did you and Jerry meet?”

BWAH!

“How serious is this?”

BWAH! BWAH! BWAH!

When I met Drew’s family, it was more like a sitcom. His family is comically nontraditional, everyone’s constantly cracking jokes, and everybody always enters the house through the kitchen door. There were scads of storylines going on — from the loopy shenanigans of the dogs to Drew’s sister Susie bringing her boyfriend home (his name was also Drew — just imagine the possibilites for wacky mixups!). When I was feeling overwhelmed, I could just blend into the background and let the family’s usual activity play out around me. I was in a world where a son bringing his boyfriend home wasn’t even an A-story. All weekend long, I felt like the special guest star. I was desperate to get some laughs in hopes of scoring a recurring role with this motley crew.

Overall, everything went about as well as could be expected on both fronts. After Drew left my sister’s house, I got comments like, “Drew’s really nice” and “Drew’s good with kids” and (three times) “He was so personable! It was like he’d known us forever!” And Drew’s family seemed to like me as well — well, that’s what Drew says, at least. The suspense proved anti-climactic, and the comedy had no big payoff. Now that it’s over, it’s just kind of a relief and it’s good to know that next time one of us goes home with the other one, we won’t have to worry about first impressions again.

And all I can think about now is what will happen someday when our two families meet each other. That’s when the real suspense — and the real laughs — will begin.

BWAH! BWAH! BWAH!

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