When I was baptized I knew it was a bad idea. I figured I’d try to stump them, so I asked where all the black people were. They immediately said Gladys Knight was Mormon. I know, I was shocked by that too, I had no idea the midnight train stopped in Salt Lake City.
I’m originally from a small town in Missouri, Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis. Very quaint, simple little town centered around the train station and high school football team. We’re famous for the local pizza guy kidnapping a kid and keeping him in the basement for 4 years. But he made great pizza!
Watching the “It Gets Better” videos has left me feeling like somehow I missed out on something. Where’s my agony? My heartache? I was so painfully well adjusted with liberal parents (sure we’re Mormon, but we were like the affirmative action family for the Mormons, they kept us around because we made them seem populist). Instead of wearing black or a trench-coat or some other hate crime inspiring apparel, I wore khaki’s, sweater vests and pastels. Finding out I was gay was about as shocking as running into Newt Gingrich at a buffet.
Not once was there ever a time when anyone thought I was anything but gay. I’m a gold star gay, I’ve never been with a woman. I just recently learned women don’t pee through that little “man in the boat” situation downstairs. My mother would even say, “When you kids grow up an have children,” and then to look to me and say, “… or adopt.” There was always an alternative for me.
Every gay guy has that one special gal, in my case, I had an entire family. They were the Whites (that’s their last name, not just white people in general, however the Whites are in fact white).
There was Judy, the Mom, whose creativity and unique point of view showed me that I could say anything I wanted if I just owned it. Meredith, the universal baby sister to us all, whose warmth and kindness is masked by a fierce determination to accomplish anything (picture Hillary Clinton talking Osama bin Laden down while wearing pearls). Finally Lori (L-O-R-I, thank you very much), who had this boldness and awesome sense of self (and just a flat out genius). Over the years we spent together, these three women became my second family. Together the three of them made what would be like a super hero gay man.
We had a tendency to dress in themes for dances (I know!). I dressed as Elvis Costello once for Lori. My real last name is Hoeninger, but is often mispronounced as “Ho-Nigger.” Which is just another reason why it was destiny for us to join forces. Together we became a collective White Ho-Nigger.
As a comedian, you take adversity and turn it into comedy. I’d probably be more successful if I were to have, I dunno, a mini-bout with being bipolar, some sort of bullying, maybe a pathetic attempt at suicide involving a broken Madonna cd, I-don’t-know. Instead all I got is that, because of the Whites, my awesome parents, and some strange element of “I-don’t-give-a fuck” attitude, I went to a high school dance dressed as Elton John in a pink boa (you read that right), and be crowned King! To quote my friend Sharon Spell, it never really could get better for me, it’s more like “It plateaued.”
I am so grateful for my family. Of course for all the obvious reasons, but mainly because they offer me so much amazing material for comedy. They are gold mine for hilarity.
Just a couple little comedic diddies from my last visit with them:
- We are Mormon. At one point, we were talking in the kitchen, and the Osmonds came on TV. Everybody fell silent. The Osmonds are to Mormons are what Sarah Palin is to batshit crazy people (aka the Conservative wing of the Republican party) – they our are leaders, our inspiration, our Buddha.
- My mother has lost weight. I quote, “Getting a Lupus diagnosis was hard, but also a blessing. It’s a great diet!”
- For Thanksgiving dinner, we went to the casino buffet.
- Side note on this one: While waiting in the long line to enter the buffet, a man fainted. But rather than be concerned about the man, people in line were more concerned with how he was holding up the line.
- There was a moment of high drama late a night. Yelling occurred, tears flowed, your typical Thanksgiving family moment. What’s funny about this? After all is well again, I check my Twitter updates. My brother’s girlfriends most recent update: “Praying everything will be alright.” I don’t know what’s funnier, that in a moment of disaster she turned to Twitter or the passive/vague nature of her Twitter update.
- My brother deep friend a turkey. As he was snacking on the bird while carving it, he said, “Oh, wow, that part is cold.” Turns out the middle of the bird not only wasn’t cooked, but was partially frozen.
- During the course of my visit, the following question was asked, “In your gay relationships, do you play the male or female role?”
There’s nothing like being with family during the holiday season.
“Ok! See you there. I’ll text again when I’m close. Yay, so exciting,” said the text.
I got to the bar early. (waiting. waiting. waiting. phone rings, it’s mom)
“Scott, I had trouble getting a hold of you earlier so I wrote the message on your Facebook wall.” (do they make a facebook for dummies book? they should!) “But I just wanted to let you know that your father has had a mini heart attack.” (what?! this is such bad timing! and you wrote that on my facebook page?!)
Turns out he’s fine, needs rest, can’t exert much energy on anything. Bed rest, best medicine.
Then he appeared.
“So nice to see you.”
“I know, it’s so good to see you too.” (he’s cute. should I tell him about the heart attack? no, don’t be a debbie downer.) “So my mom just told me my dad had a heart attack.” (i’m a fool.)
We pushed through, got a drink. Conversation going well. (wow, he’s really cute.)
“Yeah, so I try to stay healthy, I’m an avid runner, work out a lot, eat right.” (except for those 2 massive slices of pizza i had earlier in the evening. do not mention this, it is not attractive.)
He’s looking into my eyes. He likes how blue they are. There’s silence. This guy is into me. It’s still silent. (should i say something? do i have something in my teeth?) “Engage,” I say, then laugh, awkwardly. (note to self, do not dramatically say engage to spur conversation, you’ll just wind up looking like a douche bag).
Break the tension, “Wow, I’ve got indigestion from that pizza I had earlier.” (way to not bring up the pizza from earlier!)
Awkward moments galore, but things are still going well. A kiss is on the horizon. Well, more than a kiss, good, old-fashioned making out will happen. I can feel it in the air. The silence is back. For a comic, silence is not golden, it’s when you’ve lost your audience. (kiss me already!) Bite the bullet, “If you wanna kiss me, you might as well go ahead and do it,” I say. (smooth)
Commence make out session.
More making out.
Make out some more.
(did I floss?)
Time to leave. We walk together down the street. (it’s so nice to be back in new york city. no city is better to date in than nyc.) I’m a lady, I don’t give up this jelly on the first date. mama taught me well. and by well i mean how to be a prude) But he digs my crazy Mormon influenced standards, which makes me dig him more. This guy is hot!
“Goodnight.” Makeout more. “Okay, really, goodnight.” Kiss again. ”Seriously now, I gotta go.” Kiss a little more. (i wonder if a terrorist homophobe is watching this blaent public display of affection and getting ready to lay some hate crime action on me? oh, who cares, this is fun!)
Commence walk home. Better said, commence giddy walk of joy home.