It Was the 1960s…

Alright, since you all seem to really like stories about my mom, I thought I’d give you one of my favorite ones.  Like I’ve said before, I had gone back and forth across the sexuality fence from about 19 until I met Wifesy around 35.  I do believe sexuality in women is a bit more fluid, or society is a bit more accepting, or gives less of a sh*t when it comes to female sexuality.  It’s one of those.  So, I never found this back and forth to be much of a problem.


My mom was aware that there were women in my life.  I don’t think she liked it, for god’s sake, but she was aware.


At the time, I had been waiting tables at this very waiter-centered restaurant.  I say “waiter-centered” because it was probably the best place to work – ever – if you were a waiter/ performer/ creative type.  The schedule was flexible, the staff was hilarious (some of them even made it to broadway.  seriously.), and the money was great.  The waiters basically ran the place.  I liked the gig – while it was run in the waiter’s favor, anyway – because I could be as crazy as I wanted with the customers.  Not rude or anything like that, but I could be funny without holding back.  This particular place actually saw that quality as a plus.  One time the restaurant ran a contest for the waiters.  The contest was whoever sold the most “souvenir” glasses would get a free dinner for two at the joint’s fancier, sister restaurant.  I worked my section, each and everyday, and over the course of the week, I won the damn thing.


I decided to take my mom to my prize dinner.  It was a fancy french place with a roast chicken specialty.  I knew mom would like it.  I thought after the dinner, we could go to a broadway show.  Oddly, my mom kept saying to me that she wanted to see, “The Vagina Chronicles.”  Now, of course, the name of this show was the “Vagina MONOLOGUES,” but Mom still has a touch of her Spanish accent from time to time and there are words that just won’t quite click.  For some reason, “monologues” was one of them.  I kept saying, “It’s not the Vagina Chronicles.  We don’t come back the next week and the week after to see what happens to the Vaginas.  It’s a one time only, Vagina performance.  Women get up and tell MONOLOGUES about their lady parts.”  And she would respond with, “That sounds wonderful.  Get tickets to the Vagina Chronicles.”


The fact that my mother wanted to see the “Vagina Chronicles” at all was interesting to me.  She’s not much of a feminist.  I watched a Gloria Steinem video recently and was amazed by the very forward thinking and activist women of that time frame.  My mom was definitely not one of them.  In fact, whenever I brought up something related to feminism, my mom would say something like, “Why do you hate men?”  I’m not kidding.  That’s what she would say.  And I would have to respond, “This isn’t really about men at all.  It’s about supporting women.”  The conversation would die there.  So, my mom requesting the “Vagina Chronicles” was very intriguing to me.


The awesome Gloria in her 60s glory.


I scored tickets and off we went.  First, was the dinner.  At that time, mom was a drinker.  I liked my booze too and it was New York city, so no one was driving.  We had a few with dinner and then a coffee-liquor-treat at the end.  It was nothing crazy, but enough to  feel a little buzzy.  At one point, mom seemed weepy.  Literally, weepy.  I asked her if everything was alright and she said yes.  But, the weepiness wasn’t going away, so I pressed on.


“Are you sure you’re alright?”  I asked.


“Yes,” she said.


“What is it?  Is it your health?”  I asked.


“No, I’m fine.”


“Dad’s health?”


“No, he’s fine.”


“Is it my brother?  Is my brother okay?”


“He’s fine.”


“Okay, what is this about?  Wait, a minute.  Is this about the gay thing?  Are you having a moment about that right now?  Is this about me having been with women?”


“Yes, yes,” she said trying to hold it together.


“Don’t worry, Mom.  I can handle it and it’s all going to be alright,” I said.


“I don’t know.  I don’t know,” she said.  “I don’t know if it’s right – two women living together with a Jeep and a dog!”


And at that moment, I had to keep it together and not laugh because the image was just SO specific and at the same time SO right when it comes to a lot of lesbians.  I mean she even got the Jeep part!  Mom was close to 66 years old at the time.


I tried to reassure her.


“I’m telling you, Mom, it’s fine.  Don’t even worry about it.  I have that under control.”


By that I meant, simply – I’m going to be me.  I’m strong enough to be me – regardless of what the world thinks.  It’s okay, you’ve done well by me.  I thought I was putting the matter to bed, so we could have a good time.  Then Mom said something I totally wasn’t expecting…


She put her drink down and bellowed:


“Alright!  It was the 1960s.  It was San Francisco.  There was one woman.  Maybe I loved her.  But, she was cutting herself.  THEY ALL CUT THEMSELVES.”


I paused.  I sucked all the air deep into my lungs as I do right before I’m about to spin off into another orbit.  I looked around the room to make sure I was the only one who had heard Mom’s declaration.  I let my brain digest it.  Did my mom just make an admission to an affair with a lesbian cutter!!!!!  Like Jenny from the L Word for god feckin’ sakes!!!!!  Yes, yes, indeed, she did.


“YOU WHAAAAATTT?!!”  I yelled back.


Mom began to repeat her statement.  I stopped her.


“Oh no, no, no.”  I said.  “I don’t even care if that’s true.  I never want to hear that again.  It’s hard enough to picture you with Dad and as far as I’m concerned, that’s only ever happened twice.”


Mom loosened up after I said that and started to calm down.  Me, I’ve never forgotten that moment.  It was hilarious and touching.  It was Mom trying to tell me she’s human too and it was her way of trying to understand.  It also grossed me out in that way kids always get grossed out by the sexual lives of their parents.  It proved to me – in one hilarious moment – that everything was going to be just fine.



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Photo creds:  Gloria, women’s march

46 thoughts on “It Was the 1960s…

  1. Your mom is awesome. Hilarious story. I love love love that she got the Jeep and the dog part right! If it isn’t a Subaru and some cats, it’s a Jeep and a dog!

    Meanwhile I still laugh at the bit you did about your mom’s reaction to your new ear piercing.

    1. aaaahhhh, weebles! you have access to the secret archives since you know about the earring bit… bwaaaahhhhaaa. wonderful! thank you for stopping by and commenting here. you’re a wonderful cat. or so says your icon. 😉 xo, sm

  2. hahaha

    That’s hilarious. And touching. And hilarious.

    I wouldn’t have been able to hold it together and not pee in my pants.

    Did you really say “as far as I’m concerned, that’s only ever happened twice” to her?

    1. yes, i said that to her. the truth is…i like to tell her that her and my father do not have a sex life in my eyes. and she likes to tell me how they do, oh they do…and she’ll tell my brother and i just to drive us bonkers because she thinks it’s hilarious. she’s a character. xo, sm

      1. Yes!!!
        Derwood is pals with Ty Burrell, I’ll see if he can’t hook you up with Sofia to play you in the story of Becks.

  3. Ha ha! I’ve never experienced this “fluidity” of which you speak–I’ve always been a fan of chest hair–but I think it’s hilarious that your mother shared that tidbit. 🙂

    1. i think my mother is a pretty big fan of chest hair too…she just probably had one drink too many one evening…lol. anyway, so glad you read it, rubes. much love, sm

  4. Your mom sounds amazing! Love the story! Boy, there sure is a lot of gayness in your family, isn’t there? 🙂 I’m not judging, I’m jealous!

    P.S. We don’t have a dog or a jeep. We have a Toyota Corrolla, a Ford Focus and a cat. Are we still lesbians?

    1. lots of gayishness. i feel we PROVE that it’s at least somewhat genetic. but, that’s another thing entirely. and i resist the urge to answer the phone, ‘house of homos’ at my parents, even though i want to. i feel it would be rude… looooooll. much love, my lez friend, much love. sm

  5. This is hilarious. I had to come out to my mother five times in college. Each time we’d have this big, emotional, high-drama Scene, and then I’d go back to school, and somehow by the time I visited again, she’d have forgotten. No matter how big the Scene, she could not seem to hold this bit of information in her alcohol fogged brain. Now that I have a wife and gayby, Mom’s finally grasped the concept, but I’ve always been bitter. Thinking about how I might have reacted if the shoe had been on the other foot helps me let go of some of that anger.

    1. ok, clio, THAT is just hilarious. and i mean, she’d better get it now with a gayby and all….LOOOOOLLL. so funny. i have one coming out story of a friend of mine that tops all of ours. it’s insane. she comes out to her mom and her moms sort of goes, ‘that’s okay, i’ve been sleeping with father mcbain!!!!’ she was sleeping with the local catholic priest!!!!!! i mean, what in the feck. glorious. glorious. lol. xoxo, sm

      1. Ouch! To unburden your Big Secret to Mom only to find out she’s got her own Dirty Tarts and Vicars thing going on… I can’t imagine. Glorious indeed.

    1. the play was fun…and there’s a sort of fun part two to the story, but i thought it would anti-climactic after mom’s declaration. don’t know. maybe i’ll write it one day…lol. thanks for the kind words, jules. i REALLY appreciate it. xoxo, sm

  6. I was about to say that we should get our moms together, but then in such context I thought I should clarify that it’s because they both seem to be such characters! I am just waiting for my mom to drop some similar bombshell someday.

  7. Fantastic tale, and am amazed that you were able to access the part of your brain that stores things never to be thought of again. Of course this post made me think of my parent’s sex life and now will need to do my meditative exercises to push that way way back into the recesses of my subconscious.

  8. I kept hearing your version of your Mum’s Columbian accent the whole way through 😀 Very funny. I’m sure the Catholic rule about ‘no sex except for procreation’ came from a young pope.

  9. Ahh, Sweet Mother. Thank you for being so fecking (may I use that word?) hilarious. You’ve put me in a much better mood, and I didn’t even need the Schnapps that I’ve hidden in my bedroom! Awesomesauce.

  10. Oh this is inspiring. Maybe I ought to write about my mom and the time she had and affair with a woman left my dad and moved to europe with her but is not gay. good times.

  11. Your mother is great…and real. I’m not sure how my mother would have reacted to my having been with women but something tells me she’d have been cool because she believed in accepting people for who they are. My daughter isn’t afraid to find women attractive also and I make sure that she knows that whoever she is, is fine with me. 🙂

  12. This is the best post!! That’s really cool that your mom shared that with you! She sounds hilarious! I saw that story so clearly in my mind I just busted out laughing when I read “Alright! It was the 1960s. It was San Francisco. There was one woman. Maybe I loved her. But, she was cutting herself. THEY ALL CUT THEMSELVES.” PERFECT!
    I know my mom wouldn’t share something like that with me! That was a grade A anecdote! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  13. My favorite post so far!!!

    I love those moments when you realize your parent is a person like you…even if it means having to find out she was experimenting in the 60’s.

  14. I’ve always thought it so unfair that gay kids need to come out to their fams, not just for all the normal, dramatic reason, but because it means *you have to talk about sex with your parents*!

    I’m keeping an eye on your mom tonight in case she’s feeling nostalgic!

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