Everyone has been there. You can avoid it all you want to, but in every new relationship, the holidays eventually roll around and it becomes a necessity to meet your new ladyfriend’s family and for them to meet yours, as well.
Depending on the situation, this can cause a lot of stress.
If one of you is still in the closet, it turns into a big awkward lie that needs to be artfully crafted. This leads you to say, “This is my … er … ROOMMATE.” Or new best friend. Or some stranger you picked up on the way that needed a place to crash.
Anything other than what is true.
When I was newly out, my family was definitely hesitant to the whole idea. It was a bit of a foreign concept for them.
On the other hand, my girlfriend at the time had family that was more open, but it was one of those Carmen situations from "The L Word," where everyone knows what’s going on, but it’s never really verbalized.
I decided to seek out some outside stories to get a better, broader picture of the holiday season for us.
- Amanda Gossard: "During my girlfriend (Laura Atchison) and I's first holiday season together, we went to her parent’s house just after Christmas. They live in Northern California, so the time spent getting there was used to talk out all the anxious feelings I was having about staying at their house. At this point, my girlfriend hadn't come out to her parents, so the magnitude of our relationship was blurred and undefined in their eyes.
Her parents were welcoming and open and I had a great time, which made our secret that much more difficult. I didn't know how much they were catching on (if at all), and I didn't want to do anything that might jeopardize the familial warmth that filled the house, nor did I want to be the one to out my girlfriend by appearing more than platonic. When it came time for bed, I chose the couch even after her mom offered to set me up in my girlfriend’s room. This was perhaps the most awkward moment of the trip, which was much less severe than I was anticipating.
It was a great trip and my original trepidations fell by the wayside, as I became increasingly comfortable with the situation. If I had to do it again, I would, because it was really fun getting to see where my girlfriend grew up and meeting the people that mean the most to her.”
Hiba "DJ heabnasty" Qadri: The only story I can think of is from two Christmases ago. I spent it with my girlfriend and her Mexican family singing karaoke ... Spanish karaoke. I'm pretty excited for this holiday though. The anxiety I have is I'm the brown girl who doesn't celebrate Christmas and I'm going to my girlfriend’s family in Lakeside to celebrate ... yeehaw!"
Jen Bogart: "Our first Christmas we had just been an official couple for two weeks (dating for four months) and we decided to stay in Salt Lake City (mostly because the University of Utah went to a bowl game and we got back Christmas Eve). Her mom came out to SLC and not only did she not know that we were dating, but she didn't know that my girlfriend was gay. It was extremely stressful to act like this friend ... but know that I still needed to give an amazing impression because when Regan was ready to come out to her mom, it would be with an attachment of a girlfriend. She eventually came out to her mom that summer and the next Christmas I ended up traveling to her family's house in Virginia. That was stressful because I was meeting the rest of the family, which, in itself is scary, but you can't help but feel like you are this outsider intruding into their holiday traditions. Especially when they don't know exactly what to make of you.
It's a stressful decision every year ... but mostly for me and not for her. I told her I would never ask her to go to my family's Christmas as long as her 90 year old Grandmother was still around because I know that's precious time to be spent with family. But she wants me to be with her every Christmas because it's the holidays and she wants to be together. So I usually go to Christmas with my family when all the nieces and brothers are around ... but I don't always make it. But I make it work. I guess it helps that I like her family more than I like mine."
Rae Nester: "Parents love me! I have a habit of making a good impression on them, so it's never really been an issue. In fact, I have ex's whose parents still ask about me."
Sometimes, it's entirely nerve wracking. Sometimes you have to hide your true relationship. And other times, family is warm, open, and accepting. I hope we are, as a society, gradually swinging to the latter, because the holidays just aren't the same unless you're surrounded by people you love.
The Weekly To-Do
The best bet for tonight is definitely Holiday of Lights at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Go get some coffee beforehand and peruse the Yuletide eye candy!
Or, you can check out the 20th Annual Tree of Life tree lighting ceremony in Village Hillcrest at 3965 Fifth Ave. Sponsored by Mama’s Kitchen, this event is held every year in honor World AIDS Day. There will also be a candlelight vigil and holiday music provided by San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus. Admission is free.
Are you missing San Diego Beer Week already? On Friday and Saturday, check out the San Diego Strong Ale Festival at Pizza Port Carlsbad. All the beers will be over 8% ABV, that’s sure to get you filled with some Christmas cheer in no time!
Also happening on Friday and Saturday, check out the holiday tradition December Nights at Balboa Park. I don’t care what anyone says, this event will always be called Christmas on the Prado to this local girl, and it will always be amazing. Where else can you get Hungarian mulled wine this time of year? Wait, don’t answer that.
I’m kind of an old soul. I like a lot of old and funky stuff, it just speaks to me. If you’re like that too, I suggest you check out Tower of Power at Sycuan Casino on Saturday night. They’re fantastic musicians and it’s sure to be a great show.
Have a eco-freak hippie friend that can sometimes be tricky to shop for this time of year? Look no further than Wabisabi Green Form & Function Holiday Fest. There will be locally-sourced food by Alchemy and a plethora of Earth-conscious gifts to gander.
At Lestat’s on Saturday night, check out Kelsea Little’s solo CD release show. Some of you might know Little as the harpist and singer for The Wrong Trousers. I suggest you find their cover of Joanna Newsom’s “Peach, Plum, Pear” on YouTube. It’s pretty dang awesome.
On Sunday, check out the fiery ladies of Girl in a Coma at The Casbah. Two-thirds of the band bats for our team, but more importantly, they put on a kickin’ rock show that is definitely worth your time.
On Wednesday, check out local ladies of Runhoney playing a benefit show at Ruby Room. Their set time is 8 pm, so don’t be late!
The Venue Menu
Peruse this list at your leisure—These are the hottest lesbian nights around town.
Thursdays - Repent at Rich’s Nightclub.
Fridays – Soul Kiss at The Flame.
Saturdays – Femme Fatale at Numbers.
Sundays – Ladies Night at Bourbon Street.
All Day, Every Day – Check out the action at Gossip Grill.