NYT Writer Frank Bruni On His Father’s Journey To Acceptance

Frank BruniIn the years before Mom died, I had my first long-term relationship, and I could tell that seeing me coupled, just like my brothers and my sister were, gave him a new, less abstract way to understand me. I just wanted what they wanted. Someone special.

He welcomed the man I was with effusively. Took the two of us out to eat.

Then Mom was gone, and all the parenting fell to Dad. He tapped reserves I’d never imagined in him. When I broke up with the man he’d been so effusive toward, he must have told me six times how sorry he was about that. It was a message — that he was rooting for my happiness, no matter how that happiness came to me.”

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, discussing his 77-year-old father’s evolution on homosexuality, in a Times op-ed.

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    i broke off with my family entirely when i was 18. i was a stubborn fucker and the realistic expectation that i would be rejected because of my sexuality, or of being grudgingly tolerated — with it’s implied threat of being revoked at whim — was to me such an affront to my pride and dignity that i couldn’t countenance anyone having that kind power over me. so i rejected them first. even though it broke my heart.

    after a long ass time searching on facebook, yesterday i found my sister and brothers (one that i hadn’t even known was born) and i guess their own kids. i know i’ll never contact them, it’s waaay past too late and we’re effectively strangers now. but damn i wish things had worked out different. i really fucked up.

    the concept of creating your own family didn’t pan out for me either, probably because i had to deaden myself because of what i’d lost; i’ve kept people at a distance for fear of getting close and then losing them. i guess i’m saying family is hard to replace.

    today, this late-thirtysomething is sad that he never allowed for possibility of experiencing this kind of thawing from his father. too late i realise that people are not machines, they do change, sometimes for the better, hearts can soften, attitudes mellow. i owed them at least the opportunity to change and evolve.

    however bad things are with your family always leave a channel open however small. and if you’re lucky enough to be with loving family at this moment give them a fucking enormous hug for me. you’ve won the jackpot. you really have.

    sorry to be a downer… it’s that time of year, y’know :)

  • hudson

    @PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID: pardon my bluntness, but yer a fool. you now know how to contact your family. had you not been interested, you’d have never gone looking on Facebook. Give them a chance- its now only a few keystrokes to moving beyond lasting regret.

    They’re probably wondering about you as well. If not, you’ll know and can actually close the door.

    Its that time of year, y’know….

  • RomanHans

    @PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID: I’m pretty much in the same situation. I was out and proud from Day One, and my father didn’t like it. We haven’t spoken in thirty years. I hope he feels guilty for being such an idiot, and at some point in his karmic life he makes amends.

    Do I feel sorry for myself? Sometimes. I didn’t learn things that guys who had dads learned: like how to shave, how to play sports, how to make friends. Tough! I learned them for myself, and amused myself in the process. I’m darn proud that I ditched my idiot family, and think Mr. Bruni should too. He mentions, for instance, that his father is still Republican. Call me crazy, but I don’t care how much the man has evolved if he’s still voting to deny his son equal rights (an act that could have him fired from the Times for being gay).

    It’s not easy being gay, and people should understand that some of us aren’t going to sit around patiently while hetero idiots get their acts together. There are faaar too many of them, and too little time.

    Prince, it’s easy to be isolated. I met a lot of great new (hetero) friends three years ago, when I moved to an incredible new apartment building. It’s never too late. You are crazy smart and funny so there’s no excuse. Recognize that lots of people would like to be friends with you, but you’re choosing to be alone. Me, I’d hang with you any time.


    thanks dude, i needed that cuddle i snuggled in real deep and i wont lie i tented a little bit. but enough of this gay ass emo shit i’m back to muthafuckin soldier mode again…i don’t need ’em…fuck ’em…riiiight in the ass.

    rather than isolation i fear the inexorable pull of extreme cat-hoarding and compulsion to create my own one man grey gardens tribute act — the aroma of feral cat piss and thwarted ambition can be intoxicating.


    thanks for your words.

    you got me thinking… i drafted a note to them but was too coward to send. lol. i had to ask myself honestly can i add anything positive to their lives at this point after a 20yr gap that can never be recovered — i don’t believe so.

    i’ve concluded it would be plain selfish to contact them merely because i’m feeling a bit lonely especially since i come with baggage… cargo …fleets of fucking container ships worth. whereas they seem happy enough — without me.

    i still love them but as they were the last time i saw them — as little kids…i don’t know these hulking adults staring back from profile pics on FB. i’ll just have to live with the consequences of my stupid decisions. that’s life. : /

  • hudson

    @PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID:You make me weep. You’re selling yourself short- way short. I’ve read many of your posts on here and they’re always funny (love your humour) and insightful. How do you know what you have to offer or not? By your own admission you don’t know them or what they need. You may well have a niece or nephew in the same position you were. Maybe even your baby bro.

    Like RomanHans, I think I ‘d like to hang with you as well.

    My advice; send the note. They don’t all have to accept you and you may not like all of them, if any. But, then you’ll know. Unless, you’re content with the memories. I’m guessing you’re not though, not deep down.

    Whatever you do, good luck.



    Seriously dude you are the nicest bloke EVER! I am actually on the verge of tears … damn you for for destroying my gangsta swag!!! Lol.

    As for your points…dayum you’re persuasive… I’ll give it more thought.

    Backacha with the hugs, fella
    — Paul. :)

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