My dad has never been backward in coming forward, and it turns
out he's not backward in coming out either - on my behalf.
I've been known to hesitate, when introducing my girlfriend to his
friends. I open my mouth, "My girlfriend" is on the tip of my
tongue, but like the words, I don't always come out.
Sometimes I decide that my being with a woman is need-to-know
information. (In my opinion, a bloke named Sven from my dad's golf
club doesn't need to know). Other times it's down to cowardice; the
desire to avoid what I anticipate will be an awkward silence.
But far from preventing awkwardness, my reticence is generally the
cause of it, because it sets the wrong tone. Instead of being up
front and coming out on my own terms, I'm either dragged out
(through a series of questions), or worse, I accidently fall out
mid conversation - a lesbian malfunction.
This is possibly why my dad has assumed the 'coming out' duties
when I'm with him. It's as if he's appointed himself the closet
door bouncer - stopping me from entering. If he senses I'm not
going to go through with it, he steps in and says with authority,
"This is my daughter AND HER PARTNER."
There's no pause. No hesitation. He's in and 'outed' me before
they've even got their coat off. I might hang back, stutter up a
storm, or sound apologetic, but my dad is bristling with
confidence. He removes any ambiguity from the situation and
immediately puts everyone at ease.
Last week, however, his skills were put to the test when he
invited my girlfriend and I to dinner with a very charming
octogenarian friend his who's a little deaf.
"This is my daughter Sarah AND HER PARTNER." No reaction. "This is
my daughter Sarah (little louder) AND HER PARTNER." Nothing from
his friend, but other diners were looking over at us. I would have
been dying of embarrassment by this stage and probably bottled it,
but my dad was completely unperturbed. He tried again, "I
said my daughter (very loud) AND HER PARTNER". Thankfully, this
time his friend heard it - as did the diners in the restaurant next
I've learnt a lot from my old man over the years: how to drive in
snow, how to blag my way into a nightclub, and now how to come out
I have to take my hat off to him, because when it comes to coming
out he's definitely the daddy!