Dear Annie: I am a gay divorced father of three. I divorced the mother of my children after almost 30 very difficult years of psychological and physical abuse. When we first separated, my eldest daughter pulled me aside and offered to testify on my behalf if the divorce proceedings warranted it.
This daughter is soon to marry a wonderful young man, whose family happens to be from a country with a more conservative society. She claims that divorce is almost unheard of there, let alone homosexuality. She informed me that my fiance, "Ray," is not welcome at her wedding and reception because her future mother-in-law would "freak out," as she isn't used to such things. Mind you, Ray and I are quite modest and reserved people, and we are not demonstrative of our love and affection in front of others. Unless she or her fiance has already told her future mother-in-law, it is reasonable to assume she would not even suspect us of being anything other than good buddies.
I am really struggling with this, even though Ray is fine about it and doesn't want to be where he isn't wanted. My problem with this decision, which I feel is unreasonable, is twofold. First, though my future son-in-law's mother is flying in for the wedding here in the U.S., they are having a second ceremony in her country at a later date. I feel they should be sensitive to my needs here and sensitive to his mother at the second ceremony overseas. Second, the reception will be populated with all of my ex-wife's friends, who were my friends but have been turned against me. These people have never once sent a note or phoned me to see how I've been doing over the past five years. I strongly feel that I need Ray there. He is my rock. I am feeling more and more insecure and uncomfortable as the time approaches. Any advice? — Gay When I Give Her Away
Dear Gay When I Give Her Away: To me, the most important word in your letter is in your signature line — the word "her." This is 100 percent about your daughter and her day. You are there to celebrate and support her on her very special wedding day. I would simply ask her again for her thoughts and feelings about your bringing Ray. Be honest with her about how you are afraid your old friends will judge you and you really need Ray's support. It sounds as if you raised wonderful children, so your daughter will probably be understanding. But if not, let her have the final say.
Dear Annie: You publish quite a few letters from women complaining about men. Recently, you published one about men spitting. I won't even attempt to defend that. However, I would like to point out that many women also have some bad habits. So let me put it in the form of a question: Why do so many women gather in groups talking to one another and clogging the aisles of the grocery? Often when I go to a grocery, I'll run into three or four chatting women with shopping carts blocking an aisle. When I gently ask them to let me through, they give me dirty looks. All women? No. But neither do all men spit in public. Some men, some women. Let's be fair. — Male Reader for Gender Fairness
Dear Male Reader for Gender Fairness: I'm printing your letter in the name of balance and more navigable grocery aisles.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]