Your Father….

“You’re father….”

I get a sick feeling in my stomach to this day when I read those words. Two words shouldn’t do that, should they? But it’s all about context, especially in this case. And for some reason, the words were seriously bothering me this past Sunday night. I’ve met some colorful people over the years, many of who I continue to be in contact with. Others? No. I’d also asked many of them to contribute to the Face of Gay blog series back in 2012 and 2013, including the person who said the aforementioned words.

I met this person at a convention and I can’t say we really hit it off. I’m no prude, but in all honesty, I felt he was sleazy. Some of the things he said… Other folks didn’t find him that way, so I just chalked it up to our personalities being very different. This sort of thing happens, right? I say things people don’t like. We also don’t always get along with everyone, and folks we don’t seem to get along with end up getting along just fine with others. It’s weird, but it happens.

So, I extended an invitation to this person to write a Face of Gay post. Why do that if I felt he was sleazy? I felt I was being judgmental, he’s an industry professional, and I was trying very hard to expand the readership of the series. Every bit of diversity helps, and that became my way of thinking.

He wrote the post and I published it. This happened during my time helping take care of my father during his years suffering from Alzheimer’s. I stopped writing books during that time and could only knock out a single short story each year for an anthology series I was part of. Taking care of dad was an emotional rollercoaster. We had more bad days than good, and it was just draining. I let a lot slide I shouldn’t have during this time both personally and professionally.

His Face of Gay post went live—no, I’m not mentioning his name or the post number—and I didn’t realize his responses weren’t going live. I had to go in and approve them. He let me know via Facebook, only he decided to push the conversation with me in a direction I felt crossed a line and tried to push off without feeding the fire. Again, I didn’t want to be judgmental.

Keep in mind reading this he knew my father had Alzheimer’s, knew I was helping take care of him, knew it was a stressful situation, etc.

Him: Hey, bucko. I’m commenting, as requested. But you gotta approve ’em for people to see ’em. I’ve already shot my load for the morning. Still working on yours? Ahem.

Me: Just got in with dad and saw it was requesting approvals. I love when it does that. All have been approved. Glad you are getting some feedback! Took care of business at 6 a.m. this morning.

Him: Well, then it must be time for the afternoon release…

Me: Nope. Dad is here until 6.

Him: Oh, the agony of waiting. Unless, how do you feel about incest?

Me: I don’t have any siblings.

Him: Your father…. oh never mind.

My reaction to what he says in the beginning of the conversation is to address the problem being fixed, be positive about the post, then be somewhat vague about the rest. Try not to offend, but don’t be as graphic in return. I try to get off the subject by telling him nothing is going to happen at home because my father is there. In retrospect, I shouldn’t even have done that. And when he suggests incest, I have a feeling of where he’s going with that, only I push it off by telling him I have no siblings. Yes, I’m playing stupid in the conversation at that point, which is when he types “Your father….”

I thought quite a bit about this conversation during the 24 hours that followed. Why would somebody say something like that? And even if they didn’t mean it, why would they joke about it? I eventually e-mailed and told him my feelings about the conversation. I’m sure he apologized, but, honestly? The damage was done. I wanted nothing more than to distance myself from him after this, and I did. I didn’t friend him either when I created the Facebook account under my real name. The thought of doing so left a horrible taste in my mouth, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I didn’t. No regrets about this decision either.

Like I mentioned, I’ve said some things people didn’t like, but on that scale? I don’t think so. Not like that. I’m far from perfect—far from—but at least I’ve never suggested to someone what he did.

And I cannot help but wonder, have any of you ever found yourself in a similar situation where a conversation just left you reeling?

Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, and the upcoming Falling Awake II: Revenant.

6 Responses to “Your Father….”

  1. Angela says:

    I am so sorry you had to deal with such an inconsiderate person. You handled it well.

    • Kristoffer says:

      Funny thing is I don’t feel I handled it particularly well at all. I should have addressed it right then and there, but I was too shocked. It still bothers me to this day.

  2. Katherine Trick says:

    One word for that awful person—- ASSHAT. Ugh! I wouldn’t have wanted to have anything else to do with that person, either. Sorry you had to deal with that ugliness.

  3. Brent says:

    As Angela said, you handled that well. Very well. I would have gone straight to full erasure

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