I just got back from the post office–and the convenience store with fifty cent cokes–to find a flier on my desk with a note requesting I post it. It promoted a show by a local Christian singer songwriter. In his picture, his hair is spiked up and he’s gazing prayerfully at the middle distance. He’s released an instrumental album lately inspired by–and this is a quote of his quote–Francis of Assisi’s statement that we should “Spread the Gospel to everyone and use words only if nesesssary.” Yes, necessary is spelled with four inexplicable esses. And that’s a highly paraphrased version of the quotation which, I believe, had more to do with helping the poor than guitar noodling. But whatever. Did I mention the font on the flier is Papyrus? That’s so you know he’s extra holy.

Before my trip to the PO and my well-deserved diet Coke, I had what was easily the worst conversation in my life… as a church secretary anyway.

May I ask you a personal question?

I hate it when people ask me this. I always expect a question about lady parts. So far no one has actually begun a question about lady parts this way. But I live in fear that if I say yes to “may I ask you a personal question” someone will ask me about labias. You don’t? Well. Screw you.

I suppose, although I don’t like to say I’ll answer a question before knowing what it is.

Oh. Okay. You’re a heterosexual, aren’t you? This is coming from the previously discussed Mom of Handsome Gay Thirtysomething. Or, henceforth, MOHGT.

I am.

I’d been wondering.


I used to have short hair. I am a feminist. I don’t date rednecks. It confuses people around here.

But you know gay people, right?

Sure. It’s 2010. Everybody does.

Have you ever helped a gay person?

What, like carry in their groceries? Of course.

I am beginning to know what she’s gunning for, but I am hoping my willful naivete will somehow make her lose her nerve for the awkwardness to come.

That’s not exactly…

I used to take the train with an elderly drag queen. I sometimes gave her my seat if the train was full.

Him. A drag queen is a man, honey.

Right. Her name was Cherry. She preferred feminine pronouns.

This is totally untrue. I made up all of this in a desperate attempt to somehow persuade MOHGT not to ask me her terrible, terrible question.

Did you know my Handsome Gay Thirtysomething Son is gay?

Yes, ma’am.

You can actually see this boy’s gayness from outer space.

I was wondering if you’d be willing to ask him on a date.

I’m not. He’s gay. I’m a girl.

I actually pointed to my boobs here, like a model on a game show points to a prize. I regret that. I was nervous.

You see, I was thinking that if he just went out with a girl he might…


I think if you’d be willing to, you know, demonstrate that girls are–

Demonstrate? Oh. Em. Gee. What does this woman want me to demonstrate? I’m still uncertain whether she was suggesting I bake him brownies or giggle in his general direction or make passionate love to him on a bearskin rug. In any event, the answer’s the same.

I’m sorry. I’m not comfortable with this at all.

As a Christian isn’t it your duty–

I don’t believe it is, no. I think my duty is to be kind to your son and to anyone else. I think what you describe would make him feel pretty awful and me too.

I thought you’d be–

No. I’m not. I’m not going to talk about this anymore. Besides, I have a boyfriend.

That last bit isn’t true either. But it was the only way I could think of to shut her up.

She pulled tight the strings of her mouth and scowled at me. I feel really sad for her, actually, and for her son.

Quick, somebody bourbon up this diet Coke. It’s that kind of day.