(Originally published in “Reno Tahoe Tonight” Magazine)
I love being a dad. It’s one of the few things at which I’m good. Maybe good is too strong a word. Let’s go with adequate. Marginally adequate. Occasionally.
My daughter is 17 years old. She’s an A student, she wants to be a cop, and she’s cute as hell. AND YES, she is MINE. I’d question it too if she didn’t bear a striking resemblance to me. At least I know I’d be cute if I were a teenage girl.
Oh yeah, she’s a lesbian too.
She came out three weeks before she started her freshman year of high school. I’d love to tell you it was this beautiful, touching, emotional moment but as is usual in our family – it was kinda funny AND it was not wholly unexpected.
We were in the car with my wife – my daughter’s stepmom – and a One Direction song came on the radio. Obviously, I let the girls pick the radio station when we ride together. My wife has an unnatural attraction to Harry from 1D (that’s how the kids write it). I mentioned that she was creepy because she probably wanted to make out with him. My daughter agreed that yes, that WAS creepy and I saw an opportunity. I asked her if she would make out with anyone from One Direction. Nope, she said. I asked were there ANY boys she would make out with. Again, nope. I started to ask were there any GIRLS she’d make out with and before I could finish the question she interrupted with a firm “Jennifer Lawrence.”
And that was it.
I said, “Well I guess it’s official then huh?”
And it was.
My daughter is incredibly comfortable in her own skin. That’s impressive for anyone, much less a teenager. That, along with a wonderful sense of humor has made the whole thing pretty painless for her. She’s gotten zero judgment from the family and her friends were maybe less surprised than us.
I’ve been proud of my daughter for a cornucopia of things. Her work ethic, her kindness, and her maturity are just a few. She wears her hair short and dresses the part of lesbian. Many times she’s mistaken for a boy. She has never once tried to make anyone feel bad for making that mistake. In fact, she goes out of her way to let them know it doesn’t bother her. Once at a restaurant the server asked her “Can I take your plate sir?” and rather than get indignant, she lowered her voice as much as she could and said a gruff “sure” so the waitress wouldn’t be embarrassed.
See what I mean about her kindness and maturity?
One of the best things about her coming out are the jokes she’s inadvertently given me for my stand-up act. There have been many, but my favorite was when she asked me to send to her a camp to pray away the gay. I was upset and told her “Seriously? Those camps are bullshit, and I thought you were ok with this?” She replied, “Oh I know they’re bullshit and I’m fine, I just think it would be a great place to meet chicks.”
She’s a chip off the old block.