The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

My Gay Cousin

I can't stop thinking about an encounter I had with my gay cousin at my grandmother's funeral. I had never met her before. She's actually my first cousin once removed (for those who haven't memorized the cousin tangle, that means that she is my mother's first cousin [in this case, the daughter of my mother's aunt] and therefore one generation removed from me).

As far as I know, she's my only gay relative. Again, as far as I know. Her name is Carrie and she lives in Florida. My mother mentioned Carrie to me shortly after I came out, but as I had never ever seen Carrie, the news of a gay relative meant very little to me at the time.

Fast forward ten years to now. We were at the part of the funeral process where we were at the cemetary. Regular people were leaving, but family members were hanging back before returning to the church for the reception (or whatever you call the food portion of the day that follows a funeral). I was standing around when Carrie and her mother, my grandmother's sister Alison, started some small talk with me. They mentioned that they were the rarely seen relatives who lived in Florida. This tickled my memory, and as I looked at Carrie, I thought, She's my gay counsin.

So let me go ahead and describe Carrie to you. She's somewhere in her 50's and somewhere around 100 pounds overweight--your basic standard for 50-something year old lesbians. Her skin was dark, dark tan, and her hair was bleached very, very blond. Personally, I can't stand that look, and I don't understand why people (generally from Florida) choose it. If you're curious about what I'm referring to, think about the old, neighbor lady of Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary.

I was curious about why I found the dark skin/light hair combination so disturbing until I figured out that it goes against nature. Look around. The lighter a person's hair is naturally, the fairer their skin. Think about the Scandinavians. They have blond hair and pale skin that fries like an egg in the sun. If you have darker skin, like let's say most Italians, you usually have darker hair. What I'm getting at is that nature never intended for one's hair to be lighter than one's skin. So when you are confronted with this combination, your first response might be (I know mine is), "What the fuck?"

Now, getting one's skin so dark that's it's orange is not an easy task, and there are penalties to pay. Cousin Carrie's skin looked dry and leathery. Also, getting one's hair so blond that it's florescent makes it look brittle and like it is in pain. In other words, even though both Carrie and I are gay, I had the feeling that she wasn't my kind of people.

Later back at the church for food, I was busy socializing with various friends and relatives. I wasn't avoiding Carrie, per se, but I certainly wasn't going out of my way to talk to her either. So what happened? Lo and behold, she came over to the table where the Bread Winner and I were sitting, a miniature photo album in her hand. She sits down and says, "I thought I'd show you some pictures of my family." Okay, there's a room full of people she's probably never seen before, but she's singled us out, and I knew why before she even opened the album. This was going to be her way of outing herself to me.

So we go through the little album of about ten pictures, and when she gets to the money shot (so to speak) she introduces her significant other as her "lover." Ick. I hate that term. I rarely hear anyone use it anymore--it's so 80's--and if someone does use it, it's almost always a gay man. Every time she said something like, "My lover and I...." whatever, I cringed a little bit inside. It was almost as bad as looking at her white blond hair and orange skin.

So that was my gay cousin. She invited me and the Bread Winner down to visit her and her "lover" anytime we wanted. Something tells me I won't be taking her up on the offer...but then again, a free place to stay in Florida in January might just be worth it.


  • I've always thought there was something wrong with hair lighter than skin too. But you see so many tan blonds that it's almost become normal. What bothers me a bit more are women who have hair that is the same color as their skin. I'm thinking Jennifer Lopez. Brownish hair and brownish eyes against brownish skin. I just don't see the appeal.

    By Blogger Whimsy Chick, at 9:20 PM, August 05, 2004  

  • Lol. I am seriously loving your blog. It's always nice to find a blog worth reading.

    By Blogger Trillian, at 2:10 PM, August 06, 2004  

  • Kerrie, good point about the same color hair, skin, eyes thing. Also freaky.

    Trillian, glad you're enjoying yourself here at the Bean Blog. We're happy to have you. :)

    By Blogger Oz, at 9:06 PM, August 06, 2004  

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