The Bottom Whisperer: Papa Don’t Preach
If you have a burning question (not that kind of burning!) shoot me an email at [email protected]! Let’s do this!
I’m a new follower of your column and I think it has been fantastic so far!
My problem is that my body image and self-esteem issues make me extremely self-conscious around other gay guys. I’ve come to terms with my sexuality six months ago and have been dating an amazing person for three months, so I would expect to be pretty confident, despite the images issues. However, I cannot seem to convince myself that other gays don’t see me as a weirdo, or a lunatic and most importantly a fatty therefore I see myself in the same light whenever I’m around them. You see, I’m skinny but pudgy at places so I can’t really be considered either and either way I hate the way I look. Every time I go out, I immediately rush for the bar, and drink at least four mixed drinks so that I won’t notice when other guys make fun of my figure or my awkwardness. It’s a problem that I expect to be made fun of whenever I’m around these kinds of people.
My boyfriend is probably tired of hearing about my insecurities and whenever we go out together my awkwardness/alcohol chugging confuses him (he says for instance, “out of all the places you can be, you should be most comfortable in a gay club.”). My questions for you are as follows: do you think that losing weight and getting into shape will change everything, or just the surface? Do you think that self-esteem issues on the part of one person can make or break a relationship?
Going About Yet Being Absolutely Ridiculous
Thanks for being a reader of the column! I’m glad it has been good for you because it has been AMAZING for me!
Congrats on coming out of the closet and accepting who you are. It sounds like it has been pretty smooth sailing so far and you are even enjoying some success in the romantic department. Your self-esteem issues do raise some red flags, especially if you feel the need to drink in order to deal with some of your concerns about how other perceive you.
Contrary to what your boyfriends says, I think a gay bar is one of the least comfortable places to hang out. I mean, you are in a bar full of gay men who are in varying degrees of intoxication. Some guys in gay bars can be real jerks! Add to this that there are a good number of guys in gay bars who are looking for their next conquest, gay bars are not the ideal spot to meet friends.
Look, I know you don’t feel great about your body GAYBAR, but if you are so uncomfortable that you have to binge drink, you need to stay out of the gay bar for a while and work through some of these issues. They are not going to go away by themselves so you have to be proactive in dealing with them. You might consider seeing a counselor who specializes in GLBT issues to help get to the root of some of your self-esteem issues. Most importantly, realize we all have our hang ups from stuff that happened to us in our younger years. There is no reason you can’t work through these things and put them behind you. It all really just boils down to how bad you want to be free of them and whether or not you feel you deserve to be happy. But as I said earlier, don’t expect them to take care of themselves. Best of luck!
Dear Bottom Whisperer,
I am a single mother of 3 wonderful young men ages 12, 14 and 17. My husband is deployed overseas so much of the parenting responsibilities fall on me while he is away. My boys mean the world to me and I do my best to give them the guidance they need to be upstanding young men. This year my 14 year old came out as bisexual. His father doesn’t know because he does not want to tell him on the phone. I told him I would let him tell his father in person as soon as he came home.
I have never had any problem talking to my children about the birds and the bees but now that my middle son has come out to me I don’t know how to talk to him about making good life decisions. It is a crazy world and I just want to make sure he is informed and aware of what is out in the world. I want to protect all of my boys and give them the world but I am having trouble finding a way to bring things up. Help!
Meddling Or Mothering
My first bit of advice for you is to get out of this mindset that your son who came out is any different than your other two boys. If him coming out to you suddenly has created a rift where you aren’t even comfortable enough to talk to him about making good life decisions, I wonder what other ways you might be treating him differently now that he has come out to you. I’m going to cut you some slack here MOM because I understand you feel like you are in a bit of a rough spot with the recent coming out of your middle son. If there were ever a time that your son needs you to be honest and loving and accepting, it is right now. Don’t withdraw from him because you don’t understand or can’t relate to what he is going through. Coming out is a very difficult time for many GLBT people. We go through life seeing this one way of life emulated at home, at school and in the media only to discover that we don’t fit into that box. Put yourself in his shoes for a minute. Your son needs his mother, the same mother he has known his entire life, not one who isn’t quite sure how to act now that he has made the decision to be honest about who he really is.
As for dad, I’m sure your son has a lot of anxiety about him coming home and finding out the news. You have to take the time and put effort into reaching common ground with your boy. Just imagine how beneficial a positive coming out experience is going to be in the long run of your son’s life. Trust me, my inbox is full of questions from people who were rejected, beaten, kicked out of their house, kicked out of their church for coming out. Don’t make this about you and your lack of comfort with your son coming out. Please try and make your son’s coming out experience as positive as possible, I am running out of room in my inbox. Best of luck!