My mother is my number one fan. I know this, and she affirmed it an email yesterday afternoon–after telling me, earlier in the day, that she was horrified by my last post.
OK she didn’t say horrified, but she did say it made her “uncomfortable” and that she thought it was “too intimate.” Also that she knew I would be upset with her for telling me these things but that she had to because she was concerned.
When I got the message, I had about twenty minutes until teaching my first class–these days, around the time I start figuring out exactly what I’m going to do. I panicked. Nobody else had read the post and I feared she was right: had I revealed too much? Was it not even a little bit funny? I frantically called a couple of friends for their opinion, receiving varying degrees of assurance. Eventually, I figured out Mom didn’t understand that the Twitter message I mentioned–the one about being 24 and horny–was not one I had actually written. (I had assumed the age, off by a couple of years, would give away what tech-awareness might not.) But by then, the damage was done.
“Do you only want me to tell you when I love things?” she wrote during our confused email exchange.
“No,” I wrote back, quickly adding: “But do you really need to tell me when you don’t?”
The truth is that I am blessed with incredibly supportive parents: parents who have not only tolerated but fully cheered on my endeavors to write publicly about things most people consider extremely private.
And “most people” in this case definitely includes my mother. Unlike her offspring, she has actual boundaries. There are things–including, it would seem, my fictive “horniness”–that she simply does not feel okay reading about.
“Maybe you just shouldn’t read my blog,” I wrote at one point, quickly adding, “though I know that’s not realistic, since you are my number one fan.”
She agreed with me that I simply cannot consistently write as if my mother is my audience. There will be occasions–like, perhaps, later today–when I need tackle subjects I know will make her squirm.
Because I’m pretty sure no matter our age, most of us simply cannot handle thoughts of our parents, or our children, having sex. I’ve heard exceptions: mothers and daughters who do divulge the dirty details of their intimate lives. I cannot relate to this. I appreciate, in theory, the fact that my parents have a passionate relationship. But until my dying day I will physically recoil at the suggestion of them in bed together.
Likewise, I will assume that my mother does the same for me. She wants to know, and generally I want to tell her, about the ins and outs of my romantic adventures. But we both respect the line that comes before sex talk. I’m fairly certain the last time we spoke openly about it was when I was in high school and asked her when she lost her virginity to make myself feel better about the fact that I still held on to mine.
But unfortunately, I am prone to be more open with the general public on such matters as I am with my mother. This wasn’t a problem until my conversation with the general public began to occur openly and on a daily basis.
Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for my writing and her discomfort to collide. And I would be surprised if it doesn’t happen again soon.
Out last night with my friend S (yeah, I actually went out! and danced! with a house party full of ambiguously gay men!), I mentioned one idea for an upcoming post.
“Mom is not gonna like that,” she immediately replied.
“I know,” I said.
“It’s an important story, though,” she went on. I agreed.
I still haven’t decided whether I’m actually going to write that story. I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with my mother reading it. Or, for that matter, the general public.
Occasionally, they do overlap.