I know there are countless others like me out there. If, during the holidays, you’re the only one who’s wearing a sweater with a V-neck so deep it can quote Shakespeare by heart, singing along to Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” or uttering the phrase, “I love a kitchen island,” — you’re The Gay Cousin™. But fret not, we’ve compiled a handy guide to help you survive any possible uncomfortable social situation that may arise as a result of coming out of the closet to your family.
This goes without saying but: booze.
Not only does alcohol dilute the initial anxiety and/or tension you may feel upon engaging in a family gathering, it also helps take the edge off when your teenage cousin asks you if you’re the “boy or girl” in your relationship. Moreso, the time-honored phrase, “so, who needs another drink?”, is a great buffer for when Aunt Linda brings up People’s Sexiest Man Alive, brazenly declaring, “Blake Shelton is one DELICIOUS DISH, AMIRITE?” while single-handedly gesturing towards you. However, shy away from getting so inebriated you make a scene — unless your scene includes a DIY-rendition of Maleficent's horns, then by all means, go for it.
Threaten to hold your aunt’s Yankee Candles hostage if she, once again, proposes to set you up with someone she knows who also happens to be gay.
This is a hallmark of the queer experience. After you come out, your friends and family, albeit well-meaning, will try to set you up with another gay person they know, basing compatibility solely on the fact that you two share the same sexual orientation. If you kindly turn down the offer thrice, it’s acceptable to threaten the well-being of the house's coveted decor after the third time. If you’re really feeling Godfather-y, hog-tie the inflatable Santa in the front yard prior to your family gathering to send a message.
Shout “I LOVE THIS SONG”, run and turn up whatever song Spotify is playing to max volume, and then hurl yourself out the window when one of your extended family members from Florida asks you how you found out you’re gay.
After you come out to your family you may be asked a slew of questions, which is great because that means the people who love you want to understand you better. But sometimes, these questions approach the vicinity of ludicrous, and sometimes an eyeroll just isn’t enough, prompting a reaction that some may consider “extreme” or “should we call an ambulance?”
“Stop, drop and roll” is not exclusive to fire safety protocol.
It should also be utilized when:
- Someone asks you if you’ve found that “special person” in your life
-When someone consistently emphasizes the word "fabulous" near you
-When someone told you they've found your Twitter
Gently remind your Uncle Todd you're still a homosexual when he gives you a gift card to Eastern Mountain Sports for the 11th year in a row.
Just like there’s at least one Gay Cousin™ in every family, there’s also sometimes at least one family member who continues to believe it’s “just a phase” when it comes to your sexual orientation. Although they may not explicitly say this in your face, the subtext will be in small exchanges, verbal and gift.
Loudly talk about your fetish for wax play while lassoing the Bible around your head when someone uses religion as a scapegoat for their bigoted views.
This happens all year round, but it’s particularly dreadful when this happens when you’re like, “hey, can you pass the green bean casserole,” and you’re Uncle Moe replies with, “THOU SHALT NOT LIE WITH ANOTHER MAN” and “LADY GAGA IS A DEVIL-WORSHIPPER” and then slips you a get-out-of-hell-free card when you really just wanted a scoop of mac n’cheese. Remedy this situation by living your truth loud and proud! Or go out for a cig. Whatever. I have the social grace of a drunk person trying to play Jenga, I don’t know why I was allowed to write this.
Damage control: when someone casually drops a slur.
Ok, so someone slips a slur into casual conversation in the middle of dinner. This can’t go unnoticed. If you calmly explain why they can’t say what they just said and they try to defend themselves and their flagrant display of ignorance, it may be time to consider alternate options, should things go from bad to worse. If the drama escalates to the point of no return, diffuse the situation by repeatedly yelling “POTSTICKERS” while clapping for each syllable. They’ll be so confused and flustered that they’ll forget what they were even talking about and be like “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” and you’ll just keep shouting “POTSTICKERS” and clapping and continue doing so while slowly backing towards the door. Sometimes it’s best to just walk away!
If you can’t cook, stir the pot.
Just fill everyone’s stockings with PrEp and call it a day.