Finally, more than halfway through the lunch, my father said, "You know, Steven, there's an old Arab proverb that runs, ‘When your son becomes a man, make him your brother.' You have long been a man, but I suspect that you may have some doubts just now about whether you want me for a brother. Were you surprised to learn about my — how to put this? — my latent, now manifest, proclivities?
"Stunned is more like it. How long has this been going on?"
"‘How long has this been going on?' You're too young to know it, but that happens to be the title of a June Christie torch song from the 1950s. But to answer your question: it has been going on just about all my conscious life."
"You always knew you were gay?"
"Small correction: at my age I always knew I was not gay but queer, and I wasn't at all pleased about it. I thought it a bad card dealt from a stacked deck, though who did the actual stacking I cannot say even now."
"What did you do about it?"
"What could I do? Two possibilities: give into it or fight it. I chose the latter. Marrying your mother was of course part of the fight. You have to remember, Steven, that in my day, before victimhood was a happy state, being homosexual was thought a major affliction–a thing that could, and if it got out usually did, crush a man, also a boy, in every way. I chose to avoid being crushed."
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