TheHideousTruth

TheHideousTruth
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The Hideous Truth
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A blog by a regular josephine-shmo type o' gal who desires to share various hideous truths with the world.... and to hear readers' points of view re said hideous truths. Perhaps I am just a bitter, loopy 30 something with a chip on my shoulder. Or perhaps not. We shall see, shan't we?

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NOVEMBER 10, 2009 10:54AM

Bisexuality at 70: Not Your Mother’s… Mother

Rate: 24 Flag

My revelation that my mom was dabbling in sexual relations with women all started when my mom was telling me about her psycho friend who was stalking her.  We were in the backseat of the car and my husband was driving, with my grandmother in the front passenger seat.  My mother started telling me how her church friend, Gladys, was stalking her.  Calling her all the time, bothering her, showing up unannounced and barging in, following her.  As the description went on, I started getting the feeling this was more like a jilted psycho lover than a platonic psycho friend.  Me, being me, I blurted out: 

“Mom, Gladys is in love with you!”

My mom shifted in her seat and looked very uncomfortable.  Me, being me, went on:

“Were you, like, dating her or something?”  I looked at her face and did not need an answer.

“Oh my God mom!  Oh my God!” I screamed.

My mom squirmed in her seat, clearly uneasy with the direction of the conversation.  She, no doubt, had forgotten about my ability to read into things.  Of course, my sister being bisexual (first she was a lesbian in college, then she got married to a man and had two kids, then she divorced him and is back to being with a woman) definitely has something to do with this possibility even being on the table.  Despite this, it is truly shocking to me.  I had never, in my wildest dreams, imagined that my mother had this running through her veins.  She had been married to my father for twenty-five years and then serially dated a bunch of male duds for about another twenty years.  I have always felt bad for her that she never found Mr. Right.  Her knight in shining armor.  I always felt there was still hope for her to find him.  And then this happened. 

I was deeply disturbed by this revelation, and also a bit miffed at her utter silence over the whole thing after I’d figured it out.  I mean, bring it up in conversation and then suddenly banish it from discussable topics??  Jesus.  I had only one route to take: I told my sister over drinks.  She laughed and seemed to be supportive of the idea.  Of course, said sister is bisexual so it perhaps doesn’t freak her out as much. 

For me, I feel like the only straight woman left in my family.  What am I saying – I am the only straight woman left in my family.  And now I have to deal with my husband accusing me of harboring secret lesbian plans for the future, after he has become too fat to find another wife. 

I wondered how this could happen.  I surmised that my mom had become so desperate for companionship that she capitulated and had turned to women as a last resort.  I started searching match.com for her and finding her potential guys and mailing them to her.  She did not respond.  Over time, I had bigger fish to fry and let the whole Gladys thing go. 

Now my mom has another “friend,” who is absolutely fantastic.  She lives in another city but they travel a lot together and go to each other’s homes to help each other with household chores that you would ordinarily do with your spouse if you were married.  Yard work.  Cleaning gutters.  Putting up holiday decorations.  Cooking meals.  Shopping.  Bike rides.  It’s all very cute actually.

My mom has never come out with the fact that she and Cynthia are lovers.  But I can tell and it is obvious from the few times I have seen them together.  I tried talking with her about it, I even proclaimed, “Mom, I don’t care if you’re a couple, it’s no big deal!” but she won’t budge.  She also does not invite Cynthia to family gatherings, even though we want her to.  I get the feeling she wants Cynthia all to herself. 

Which is kind of sad, because it is like she is compartmentalizing her life: family vs. personal.  I mean, gosh – my sister’s female partner comes to all the gatherings (my 80 year-old father refers to her as “he”), not to mention their cadre of transvestite and sex-changed friends who have all been rejected by their families.  (Did I mention that my family is really accepting?) 

Anyway, for now she does not feel comfortable sharing that side of her life with her family.  And I have to accept that I just do not have that close relationship with my mother that you always see in the movies.  The mother daughter relationships, like in “Because I Told You So,” where the mother and daughters are all warm and fuzzy with each other and sing and bake and gossip together.  Damn those movies, anyway!  They totally screw your head.  They make guys think that there is no effort to having great sex (for both participants), and they make women think there are perfect relationships where everyone is happy and shares and feels good about each other.  Such fiction.

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After you made it clear that you were freaked out about your mother's relationship with Gladys, she probably decided it wasn't safe to be honest with you. I don't get the impression that you inteneded to be hard on your mother about it; you were just dealing with your own difficult feelings. Still, the result (as far as I can tell, based on what you've written here) was that your mother felt judged, somewhat harshly, by you. You seem to have made peace with the fact that your mother is bisexual, and made sincere attempts to welcome Cynthia, but your mother isn't hearing that (yet.) Keep doing your best to make your feelings clear. Eventually, your mother will realize that you really do accept her, and honor her relationship with Cynthia. Because you got off "on the wrong foot" where Gladys was concerned, this might take a while. You'll both be blessed for it, though.
I guess it will keep your husband slim and trim, eh?
Maybe it is just that she isn't ready to go public, or for that matter, it could be that Cynthia is the one who is not ready to come out. Give it time, understanding and love.
The best thing to do may be to back off. Let your mother come to you and the rest of the family in her own time. SHE may not be as comfortable with the situation herself, even if the rest of the family is comfortable with it and accepting of it. When she is ready, when it is important enough, she will come (out) to you and the family then you can deal with things up front. But, until then, the best thing to do is to respect her privacy, and be there for her in her apparently new adventures. She may eventually need a shoulder to cry on, but you can't be that shoulder if you've scared her into silence, when she may not be able to cope with the changing situation
Fascinating article. Damn those movies indeed.
You probably need to have a heart to heart with mom, but face to face.
Thank you for the advice and feedback, Eva, Janelle, Bob, Studman, Kathy & Sheepdog. My mom's friend is really really awesome and I guess I just want to hang out with her more often and get to know her better. I know she has been wonderful for my mom and I send her holiday gifts etc so she knows how grateful I am that she is in my mother's life. Bob, I think you may have hit on it. I think Cynthia might not be ready, very good observation.
Thank you for the advice and feedback, Eva, Janelle, Bob, Studman, Kathy & Sheepdog. My mom's friend is really really awesome and I guess I just want to hang out with her more often and get to know her better. I know she has been wonderful for my mom and I send her holiday gifts etc so she knows how grateful I am that she is in my mother's life. Bob, I think you may have hit on it. I think Cynthia might not be ready, very good observation.
Any time we have to confront our parents sexuality it's difficult no matter which side of the street it is. Yeoch! I myself prefer to believe in storks and cabbage patches despite being a father of five.
Interesting; this is sorta similar to the way my middle sister has chosen to hide her lesbianism. She brought her girlfriend to all the family functions and everyone knew. But I was the only one in the family she was open about it with. My parents hinted around, but she refused to bring it up.
Isn't it weird when we realize, all over again, that our moms are real people?
Funny and ironic that your mother is in a same-sex relationship but won't talk comfortably about it.
I love how your family is so open-minded and accepting!
well, you know she told you. she's not a kid. she doesn't want any histrionics. I'm not suggesting you would have them, only that she doesn't want any. she's happy in her little world of no explanations.

when I decided to explore an alternate lifestyle, I made damn sure my kids were kept in the dark even though they were grown. one told me "I DON"T WANT TO KNOW", although he wanted to know all the details of where I was going and stuff like that but I wouldn't tell him squat.

the other one badgered me until I told him and then he and his then girlfriend went and checked it out to be sure it was safe (it was). I'm not a jerky person, but it's cute how the younger kid always checks on me to make sure I'm not out hotrodding without a helmet or stuff like that.

you gotta keep asking but with a positive slant to it, if you want her to share. no nothing negative. and when you meet cynthia you be extra nice and make her a nice cake (or buy one). cynthia's like cake. (I'm a cynthia. I speak for all of us)
oh lookit you with your EP!

I'm very proud of you.
What a great story! And told with such heart and humor.

Does your mom know all of these wonderful feelings you have about her and her new partner? I think you should print out this post and hand it to her! Very, very sweet.

Rated!
Your husband should get some points for first thinking about being old and fat rather than asking if you're inclined to threesomes.
Great story! I've always been a firm believer in being with the person who fits you best, regardless of gender. Life's too short to be pigeonholed anyway...
How nice for your mother that she found a partner. When my sister came out to our family many years ago, my mother found it disturbing, though my sister was dating a delightful woman. My other sister at the time was dating a guy with the manners of a troglodyte. One night over drinks, I asked Mom, "who do you like better, this sister's girlfriend or that sister's boyfriend?" That settled the matter.
Love is wonderful in any form, especially when you're older. Good for her! That generation took longer to find itself and come out.
I know this story well. I think it may be less unique than we think it is.
How do you know your mother wasn't exploring from before? You might have discovered when she's 70, but this could have been going on for a while.

Learning Stuff
All great comments, all. Thanks so much for your insights and thoughts.
Ewww. No, in all seriousness...nope, can't do it, sorry. Ewww.
oh, let her be... no one is really that close to anyone. It's all lies. And if you are is called co dependency and it is unhealthy.
Great writing, btw!
Although I really don't want to think about my 72 year old Mother's sex life (eyes blinded by a hot poker) I would love to know that she was capable in finding love in her life no matter what gender.

I've done my own dabbling in love and relationships and it's not anything I'd discuss with my kids...but I embrace it and if ever anything happened in my current marriage I'd be open to explore it all over again....it was WONDERFUL!
a) The idea that you have any say whatsoever in your mother's love life is ridiculous.

b) "I wondered how this could happen. I surmised that my mom had become so desperate for companionship that she capitulated and had turned to women as a last resort."

and

"I had never, in my wildest dreams, imagined that my mother had this running through her veins"

and

"Of course, said sister is bisexual so it perhaps doesn’t freak her out as much"

followed by

"Which is kind of sad, because it is like she is compartmentalizing her life: family vs. personal. "

and

(Did I mention that my family is really accepting?)

Is this all tongue-in-cheek? Did I miss something here? Is it all supposed to be OK because you *like* her *new* girlfriend? 'Cause it sure seems to me that based on your response to the initial revelations I wouldn't talk to you about my personal life either.