We went to this seafood restaurant, and since I was determined to get there first, Kurt and I got there a little bit earlier than we said we’d be meeting. When my dad showed up, my younger sister Angie was wrapped around his arm, so I’m pretty sure he was kind of nervous too. Not sure how to feel about that. Anyway, Angie broke away from him and attacked Kurt with a loud squeal and giant hug before punching me in the arm. “For daring to move out of the country,” she explained.
Then I kind of had to deal with the man of the hour.
I was all, “Hi Dad, Happy Father’s Day,” and gave him the bag of candy that was Kurt’s idea. He said, “Hi, son. Thanks.” And then we sat down.
Kurt and Angie kept conversation alive. Angie asked a lot of questions, demanded to see Kurt’s ring (“Oh, Blaine, that’s lovely! I’m impressed!”), and tried to tell us that we should have our wedding in Scotland because she really wanted to go there. I really don’t think my dad was expecting the very first topic of discussion to be his gay son’s engagement to another gay man, but he managed to stay afloat. He looked at the ring and asked if we wanted to have a DJ and only cleared his throat uncomfortably once.
We got around to mentioning Kurt’s deal with H&M, and things loosened up. My dad’s a businessman so he was interested in talking about the details of the deal with Kurt. See, I’ve never gotten the impression that my father dislikes Kurt. He’s been mildly troubled by the idea of him as my romantic partner, but as a person I think my dad is impressed by him. Kurt is a hard-working, goal-oriented person. That scores major points with my dad. I’ve always wanted to ask him what he really thinks of Kurt, because though I don’t often admit it, his opinion means a lot to me. He’s my father. Of course, nothing he says could ever change how I feel about Kurt, but I am still his earnest-faced, bright-eyed son looking for approval.
My being gay is not the only roadblock in our relationship. I feel like this is necessary to mention. Even if I were straight as a board, engaged to some pretty young girl, we would have our issues. He’s about old-fashioned stability, working nine to five to bring in a steady income. I’m more about taking the latest pop hit and arranging it to my own personal style, jumping on stage and not caring how much I make so long as the audience is having as much fun as I am. We don’t even have football in common. He’s all about baseball, and baseball bores me to tears.
Anyway, by the end of lunch, we’d nailed down a time for him to come visit me in New York like we’d planned. He’s going to come the first weekend in July. He’ll see my show (again) and I’ll take him to some places he might like around town and we’ll…I dunno, attempt to “bond” or whatever it is fathers and sons are supposed to do before one leaves the country.
When it came time to leave, we shook hands. I could tell Angie was disappointed in both of us for that, but a hug just wasn’t happening. I was still a little annoyed from his dogged insistence that I start auditioning for shows in London now, now, now so that I’m not left jobless, and presumably he was still a little annoyed by my complete lack of initiative in ensuring that I’m employed in the future. So things were kind of strained when we parted, but before she left Angie threw her arms around my neck and whispered, “He loves you just as much as I do. Don’t ever doubt it.” And I was all, “Yeah, I know, yeah.”
When Kurt was driving us back to his house, I kind of hunched up in the passenger seat and found myself fighting one of those horrible moods where you want to just cry because crying will feel good even though you’re not really sure what you’re crying about. Kurt put his hand on my knee and said that I was amazing and he was proud of me and things were going to be okay. And I believed him.
Back at his house, I didn’t even need to say anything. Burt came to greet us and he just said, “C’mere,” and gave me a big hug, something he only does when he’s knocked a few back. But I totally get now why Kurt loves hugging his dad when he feels crappy because, I don’t know, something about the way Burt wrapped his arms around me and said gruffly, “Hey, you’re fine, it’s all right,” made me feel like I had a father again, something I haven’t really felt since I was ten. And then I felt awful for disregarding my own father like that, but later Kurt told me that sometimes it’s okay to lean on other people, which I’d always known about him, of course, I can always lean on Kurt and would be dead in a ditch somewhere without his guidance, but I often forget that emotionally opening myself up to others doesn’t mean they’re going to reach in and rip out my heart just because I’ve given them the opportunity.
The rest of today’s been great. Maybe Father’s Day will always remind me of hammocks and pinot noir. And new beginnings with new fathers-in-law, warm summer storms, and chicken grilled to perfection. The sense of unease may disappear with time, and that’ll take work. Though it scares me, I’m willing to work, and if my sister is right, my father is willing to work, too.