I got my chance to tell my parents about my work sooner than I expected. They invited me over for dinner, and something kept saying to me, “this is time.” So I bought a tiny bottle of Absolut Citron, made a playlist for my iPod, set up my ancient phone so I could send texts to Twitter, and drove. I felt oddly at ease. I had expected my mind to race with the myriad ways of explaining to my parents that I have a sex blog, but I didn’t obsess.
I only had time for seven songs, but it was a good mix — “Here, Here, and Here” by Meg & Dia, “Independence” by The Band Perry, “Leave” by R.E.M., “Raise Your Glass” by Pink, “Travelin’ Thru” by Dolly Parton, “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson, and “Hair” by Lady Gaga.
It took a while to find the moment to tell them. Mom was being her usual self, running around, then she had to show me pictures from their recent vacation. But I knew it was time when my parents had settled down on the loveseat. I sneaked into the bathroom and somehow managed to down my vodka. I had to add water to it to make it less painful. Then, in the kitchen, I poured myself a glass of wine and sat down in the living room.
“Can you mute the TV?” I asked dad.
Oh, dads. This just made the segue even more awkward. “I have to talk to you guys about something.”
“You’re pregnant,” my mom stated, clearly not believing it.
I explained that I was not doing copywriting anymore, but that I was working for a local sex shop and for Tristan Taormino. When I mentioned that Tristan was based in New York, my mom said, “you’re moving to New York?!” and was relieved that I wasn’t. I mentioned that Tristan makes porn, and my mom turned to my dad and said, “Netflix it.” (I told them they could borrow some of mine. Oops, is that weird?)
I eventually explained that I got these jobs because I have a sex toy review blog. They seemed far more intrigued by the idea of a blog generating money than they did with the idea of reviewing sex toys (although my mom did say, “DO YOU GET TO KEEP THEM?”). I explained affiliate programs and text links and told them that, depending on the month, 50-70% of my income is from the blog. That was when my dad said, “so the blog can only grow from here, right?”
And I kind of lost it.
My dad wants my blog to grow.
When I explained that I held information back for two years because I was afraid my mom would snoop, she made a face like she was disturbed I would even think that. “I would like to read what you write,” she said, “but I understand.” I reassured her that she could read what I write for the sex shop to get her fix. I also told her she could ask me anything she wanted to know. Meanwhile, dad reassured me that he has “no interest” in reading my blog. I’d hope not, dad!
It was obvious that they didn’t quite realize how much the moment meant to me, but I think they understood when I teared up at one point. I told them I was sorry for lying to them, and that I felt really stupid for waiting so long. I don’t want to discount my previous feelings and fears about telling them, because they were valid, but it did feel good to just be honest.
They eventually went to bed, and I stayed up eating cereal, tweeting, and reading all my @ replies with a goofy-ass smile on my face (thank you to everyone who sent them; I couldn’t respond, but I felt so loved), before crashing in the guest room.
The next morning, dad and I went out to breakfast and I found that I could still say “anal toys” in the light of day without the buzz of alcohol. He may or may not have been a little taken aback by that, but he’ll get used to it. We bonded over stupid people emailing us with stupid requests (he has his own at-home business), and all was good with the world.
Before I left, he reiterated what he’s always said — he only wants his kids to be happy. He hates how some parents think they know what’s best for their kids, and how some parents favor finances over their kids’ happiness. He also seemed totally pumped about being able to give people an exciting story when they ask what his daughter does for a living.
I knew it would all be okay. I just needed to wait until the right time. And this, I know, was the right time. Because I feel fucking fantastic. So free, so genuine. The wall has been torn down and it will never have to go up again. Now I can tell my parents about all my successes, small and strange as they may be.
And a few nights ago, I had a dream my mom was cleaning up my kitchen, casually putting away my dildos.
This is joy.