Ask Amy

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 11:45pm

DEAR AMY: I'm a 24-year-old gay male. I have been "out" to my immediate family for about five years now.

My family is very supportive and open about my sexual orientation when it's just the four of us, but I haven't told everyone in my extended family.

My sister always tells me, "Your sexuality is none of their business," but to me, it's a lot more than that. It's part of my story.

They don't understand what it's like to feel like you're hiding something from people.

It affects my behavior and my relatives' behavior too.

My cousin told me that everyone already knows and that everyone loves and accepts me. But can I still officially come out to everyone, or is it not appropriate?

— Lucky Gay

DEAR LUCKY: Thanksgiving is coming up. Surely, your family will be gathering for dinner.

You could handle this quickly and give everyone a memorable holiday experience by saying, "Please pass the cranberry relish, and by the way I'm officially gay!"

I'm kidding, of course.

I'm with your sister, that (except for people you are sexual with) your sexuality — anyone's sexuality — is no one's business. However, you sound very eager to disclose this, and I can understand your desire to be completely authentic with your family.

I give you permission to "officially come out" and then get on with your life.

I'd love to hear from readers with suggestions about the best way to do this.

DEAR AMY: My mother recently died, and as her 70-year-old son, I gave my grandnephew's new wife about $1,500 worth of good jewelry that belonged to my mother.

Five months have passed without a written thank you.

She did thank me verbally when I gave the jewelry to her.

I text-messaged her and said, "If you're still enjoying Mom's jewelry, I would like you to send me a thank-you note."

She got very angry and involved her husband, who mixed in other issues with his anger at this.

I feel I did nothing wrong and told them so, saying, "When someone gifts you with expensive jewelry, it is appropriate to write a thank-you note."

Please tell me I wasn't wrong?

— Tom

DEAR TOM: I agree that your grandnephew's wife should have thanked you for your generosity by sending you a note. Absolutely.

However, your demand via text message to receive a written note was a tad harsh and inappropriate.

It sounds as if you don't have much of a relationship with this couple outside of this issue. Their immaturity combined with your prickliness brought on more rudeness. If you want to try to mentor these people into being more considerate, you could dig deep and instead of instructing them about etiquette, you could explain how their lapse makes you feel.

DEAR AMY: Is the day coming when we can quit excusing the behavior of men by saying, "Boys will be boys?"

"Diligent" wrote to you because her husband didn't put thank-you notes on his co-workers' desks after their housewarming party.

I can understand her husband wasn't comfortable handing out the thank-you notes at work; but what I find inexcusable is that he hid it for two years!

I find it equally appalling that you apparently are comfortable blaming the wife for expecting her husband to act like an adult.

Obviously, I have two or three fifth-grade men in my life (all my employees), as do most women I know.

I think it's time for them to step up, which they'll never do unless someone holds them to an adult standard of behavior. Sadly, that's our job as women; maybe the day will arrive when they can tie their own shoelaces and wipe their own bottoms.

— Chagrined

DEAR CHAGRINED: I agree with you that this husband behaved terribly, however, my point was that the wife's placing written cards into his hands and asking him to place them on colleagues' desks was treating him like a fifth-grader, and he responded by acting like one.

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Filed under: Lifestyles

3 Comments on this post:

By: NewYorker1 on 11/5/09 at 8:11

Dear Chagrined, thanks for reminding me why I DON'T do fish.

By: sidneyames on 11/5/09 at 4:53

My sister always tells me, "Your sexuality is none of their business," but to me, it's a lot more than that. It's part of my story.

Dear Lucky Gay: If you even have to ask this question of Amy, your sister, and God only knows who else, then you are not emotionally ready to handle a task this large. Your sister is correct. And your cousin is correct. Your family probably already "knows" as much as they care to know.

Why don't you just not talk so much and just invite your significant other to a function, preferably one in the summer, in case you get the cold shoulder. Seriously, if people love you, then why do you have to "announce" anything? Why don't you give them some credit for being "in tune"?

And you know, you don't always have to "tell your story". Sometimess it's written all over your face and in your actions and behavior.

By: sidneyames on 11/5/09 at 5:01

Dear Chagrinned, my husband and I have been married 23 years. If I asked him to just toss those thank you notes on the desk, he would have been ever so happy to accommodate me. He'd love the "save money on stamps" angle. As well, he'd know that he's man enough to handle a littlte "honey do" even at the office. And his company would have been pleasantly surprised to have the notes. Hiding it from you for 2 years ..... sounds like a communication problem to me.