Have a friend who’s on the cusp of bursting out of the closet–or one who should be celebrating an anniversary of the milestone? Well, that perfect gift can prove awfully elusive — and stakes are high. While not everybody can orchestrate a way to make their friends’ coming out experience a viral smash, we can at least present gifts that are a slight step above the requisite handful of confetti and obligatory Diana Ross single.
Below, five gifts that will make his coming out party the stunning success it deserves to be.
Think outside the box, and right on the wrist. A thought that truly counts, this kicky bracelet offers a (somewhat) subtle way to commemorate the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage ruling — all while giving his ensemble the inviting burst of color it desperately needs. (Hey, it also now comes in stylish black, too, and can be shipped in time for the holiday.) Finished in soft silicone and featuring a silvertone metal clasp with commemorative date and logo, it’s a Freedom Ring for the next generation. As he makes his first tentative steps into his new community, he’ll always be armed — quite literally — with the ideal icebreaker.
We’ll be frank: Finding quality gay literature amid the aimless drifts of vampire erotica and tepid coming-of-age stories can be an uphill battle. In fact, the writing in most gay literature is so overwrought, it’s enough to make you stay in the closet for another year. Rookies are strongly advised to stick with the classics — and few gay-themed novels come as classic as Dancer from the Dance, Andrew Holleran’s alternately hilarious and heartbreaking ode to New York in the 1970s. Haunting, lyrical, confounding, and rife with jet-black humor, it’s a richly literary treat — and eminently re-readable. (Plus, it’s being turned into a feature film by director Alan Poul — which is bound to be galaxies above Stonewall.)
Yes, it’s a coffee mug — but nevertheless, we strongly advise that you keep reading. Why? Because the “Great Guys” coffee mug is graced with a delirious, diabolically clever design that features fourteen firmly closed closet doors at first glance. But wait — whoa! — each of those doors ceremoniously opens as you pour in your hot beverage — to reveal fourteen of the world’s most accomplished homosexuals: Michelangelo, Michel Foucault, Freddie Mercury, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Andy Warhol, on and on. As your friend sips airily at his Caffé macchiato, he’ll give warm thanks to all those visionaries who came before him. Then he’ll put on a Miley Cyrus album.
Subtly is overrated. Coming out should be a broad, sweeping statement that dramatically impacts every aspect of your life — including your iPad. (Right?) Designed for Apple’s iPad Mini, this lightweight, hard-shell plastic case clips to the back of your most fabulous piece of gadgetry, adding protection without the bulk — and loudly trumpeting to the world that you are, in fact, of the homosexual persuasion. “Closets are for clothes,” it boasts. “Fabulous, fabulous clothes.” Hilarity? Heh, definitely! Blithely take it out at the library, in the elevator, on the park bench, inside the burger joint, behind the clothes rack, among the dunes… and let everyone within a five-mile radius know — in no uncertain terms — that you are, once and for all, as gay as friggin’ Easter.
“Ice cream can’t be gay,” he’ll say, mildly offended (he’s in that phase). But he’s bound to shut up once you shove a spoonful of The Salty Pimp down his throat. Written by Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint (with a forward by inimitable gastronomical grump Anthony Bourdain), the founders and owners of the legendary Big Gay Ice Cream shop patiently school you on the ins-and-outs of tasty sauces, crunchy toppings, superior floats and sundaes, succulent sorbets, and outrageously flamboyant ice cream flavors. Soon enough, your pal will be feverishly at work on insouciant dessert recipes that will elevate his coming out party to the very stuff of legend. Bon appetit, imaginary coming-out-of-the-closet dude.
But, if you were a true friend, you’d give him this:
The T-shirt, of course.