My Speedo stayed on but my secrets came out.
Our Maui travel plans hadn’t included a nude beach. The bohemian escapade happened by accident, when, after a stroll down Big Beach and nary a shell for my mother to collect, she asked which beach I liked best.
I decided to be honest. “Little Beach. Quaint and clothing optional.”
t was the spring of 1998, four years into the Clinton administration’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. At the time, my sexual orientation was subject to a similar self-imposed policy within my family.
I was 36, and for over 20 years I’d scrubbed gay life from our conversations — boyfriends, drag parties, the gay swim team, the law firm homophobia — all nonexistent. Even the two mentors lost to AIDS, a painful awakening to the fragility of life, omitted. I’d created a social distance I hated and now wanted to close with this vacation, pitched as a parent-son bonding experience — no siblings, the three of us, alone.
“Any shells?” my mother asked. Not the response I expected. We didn’t lead ascetic lives, but prudish attitudes had invaded our psyches. Body exploration was private; porn, proscribed; sex, kept secret. My inner teenager, that prone-to-shock kid, dangled visions of shells and fun lava pools. Her eyes lit up. “We should go tomorrow.”
Source: New York Times
Original publication 24 January, 2020
Posted on NatCorn 19th February 2020
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