14-year-old son just came out to me. He has a slightly older
boyfriend, and they’re going to the school dance on Saturday
night. I am adjusting to a truth I had long suspected. I am
worried, though, that my son will get hurt. We live in the
South—North Carolina—but our town has a gay community and
an annual pride parade. When I asked him if the other students
at school would be cool with him bringing a boy, he said,
“Who cares?” Bullying is not a huge problem at his school.
We have had the sex talk several times, but I have always
assumed a hetero approach. I think my son is too young for
sleepovers with his boyfriend, and I would really like him
to wait a couple more years before he gets seriously sexually
active, though I expect petting and kissing are givens. Any
your son to some of that equal treatment we gay people are
always going on about, SMS, and treat him just like you’d
treat your 14-year-old straight kid. No responsible parent
would allow his 14-year-old daughter—and that’s how you should
think of him for now (more on that in a moment)—to have sleepovers
with her slightly older boyfriend, right? So no sleepovers
for your gay kid. Remember: You can be supportive and be his
advocate without signing off on stuff you wouldn’t sign off
on for a straight child—indeed, it’s the best way to show
What else can you do? You can hover, scrutinize, interfere—all
the crap that parents typically do when their children begin
to date. For instance, SMS, this boy your son is seeing? Have
you met him? Meet him. How much older is he? Find out. Are
they messing around? Ask them. Make sure your son understands
that he doesn’t have to engage in anal intercourse to be authentically
gay, or all grown-up, or out. He can take things slow—he should
take things slow. Encourage your son to date, to hold hands,
to make out. And you should, as awkward as it’s going to feel
to say so aloud, encourage your son, when he does become sexually
active, to stick with mutual masturbation and oral sex for
a good, long time—until he’s sure he’s ready for intercourse,
not just anxious for it.
Getting back to the daughter business: You should also regard
your son, at least through his adolescence, as more of a daughter
to you than a son. We tend to be more protective of our daughters—our
straight daughters—than we are of our sons. Why? A sexist
desire to keep our daughters “pure”? That’s a part of it,
sure, but there’s also this: Men are pigs, and people on the
receiving end of male sexual desire/attention are in more
danger than people on the receiving end of female sexual desire/attention.
(In general—individual results may vary.) Testosterone is
the crystal meth of hormones, a badass drug, and men are more
likely to be abusive and violent. The prevalence of HIV among
gay men makes the stakes higher for your son. So don’t allow
him to date anyone you don’t get to meet and approve of, and
don’t confuse “being supportive” with “letting him do whatever/whomever
he wants.” Be active, be engaged, and never stop being his
meddling, interfering, hypersuspicious dad.
Good luck, SMS. It sounds like your son lucked out having
you as a parent.
I’ve been seeing this guy for about two years in August.
We’ve been living together for six months now, and it’s been
really bumpy. We fight a lot, I cry a lot, and it just gets
really messy. To tell you the truth, I’m tired of it. I work
two jobs, and I never get any time to myself because he’s
moody and insecure. He always wants to know where I’m going
or who I’m with. He doesn’t like to do the same things I do,
and I’m beginning to think this is all one big mistake. The
problem is every time I try to leave, it always gets ugly.
Ugly to the point that he’s thrown my stuff in the front yard,
broken things of mine, and even called me names. He’s abusive.
As sad as this sounds, and as ridiculous as I feel, I want
to make this work. I want us to be happy. And the thing is,
I know that we can be. When we’re mad, it’s like World War
III over here. But when we’re happy, it’s so blissful that
I know in my heart with him is the only place I want to be.
What can I do? People tell me it’s time to sever ties, but
the people who usually tell me this are the ones who can’t
stand him. How can I make a completely unbiased decision?
Am I stupid for believing in a love that feels destined to
Devoted To Him
is not a relationship, HDTH, it’s a hostage situation. He’s
a controlling, abusive piece of shit—listen to your fucking
friends, HDTH. When your boyfriend breaks your
shit, he’s making an implicit threat: I can break your
face just as easily as I’m breaking your shit, bitch, so don’t
even think about leaving me. And of course things
are great when they’re great—that’s part of an abuser’s MO.
If abusers were abusive 24/7—if they weren’t capable of doling
out a little bliss now and then—no abusive relationship would
last longer than one date. Like all abusers, he parcels out
the good times, doping you up with a little bliss now and
then, because he knows that these glimpses of how great things
could be convince you to stick around against your
The bliss is a con, HDTH, a weapon that he uses against you,
just as much a part of the cycle of abuse as his tantrums,
fits, and threats of violence are. Think of the good times
as rainbow sprinkles on a dog-shit sundae—sprinkles or no
sprinkles, you’re still standing there with a bowl full of
dog shit in your hands.
Get a couple of friends to come over when he’s at work or
out of town, box up your shit, and leave. You can’t change
Apropos of nothing, Savage, you fucking suck ass.
And Your Column Both Suck
I ever claimed otherwise?
And apropos of nothing, YAYCBS, I’m totally grooving on Garfunkel
& Oates right now (www.garfunkelandoates.com), and everyone
has to check them out; Perez Hilton was absolutely right about
Miss California (she is a dumb bitch); Seattle-based
artist Kim Graham (www.kimgrahamstudios.com) is getting centaur
fetishists halfway there; and I recently visited the University
of Georgia in Athens, where the kids asked me to come up with
a dirty meaning for “between the hedges,” which is their football
stadium’s nickname. Off the top of my head, I said, “The boy
in a girl-boy-girl three-way could be described as being between
the hedges.” But upon further reflection, I think the term
is a better description of going down on a woman with a particularly
hairy bush—and the tongue, not the boy/girl doing the tonguing,
is “between the hedges.”
a new Savage Love podcast every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage.