Family / Parenting

Jersey Shore Doesn’t

PHOTO CREDIT: geishaboy500 via photopin cc

When I was a boy, our Traditionally Heteronormative Middle Class Caucasian Suburban Family vacationed at the Jersey shore for two weeks every summer, where we were nestled comfortably among a plethora of other Traditionally Heteronormative Middle Class Caucasian Suburban Families. In fact, at the time, the Jersey shore was lousy with THMCCSFs. Of course, as a child, I didn’t really notice this, as I thought this was what the world actually looked like.

But times have changed, progress has marched on, barriers have broken down, minds have expanded, and the Jersey shore is still almost exactly the same. White. Straight. And White. Nonetheless, the Jersey shore is in my blood. Familiarity. Memories. History. Also, it’s close to where we live. (You really don’t want to be in an enclosed space, say, an automobile, with our boys for any longer than absolutely necessary. Trust me on this.)

Here’s our family: my husband was raised Catholic. And not only that, but he’s African-American. And I’m white. And not only that, but I was raised Jewish. And not only that, but now we’re Atheists. And not only that, but we’re gay. (I’ll give you a moment to recover. I know I need to catch my breath.) And our children are adopted. And not only that, but the younger one is African-American. With dreadlocks. And not only that, but the elder one is Biracial. With an Afro. So when it came time to select a vacation spot, Mississippi and Nebraska were off the list almost from the very start.

One summer, we elected to go to Provincetown for Family Week, which is when unfathomable numbers of Gay and Lesbian parents and their assorted rainbow of children flock to the far end of Cape Cod to revel in a relentless series of Gay activities and Gay gatherings and Gay social events run by Gay volunteers for Gay people and their Gay families in a Gay setting. Honestly, nobody – NOBODY – should have to put up with that much fucking validation. (How those Womyn go to all those no-testicles-admitted music festivals for a week is beyond me. Maybe it’s just ‘cause I’m a myn.)

After that summer, we decided to stage our much-awaited return to the Jersey shore and visited a few of the towns for a test-stroll. Have you seen those travel brochures that go on about the endless expanse of white beaches? It ain’t the sand they’re talking about. You know that feeling you get when you pull into the parking lot of a diner or a bar, and you see lots of pickup trucks with gun racks and naked lady mud flaps and “I Heart Corn Dogs” bumper stickers before you shift it into reverse and back the hell out of there? You can’t presume anything about what’s in their minds or their hearts, but still, you just don’t feel comfortable. Well, at a lot of places on the Jersey shore, it’s that feeling…without the mud flaps.

But every now and again, if you look hard enough, you can find the occasional outpost of civilization where you spot the intermittent brown face, or nose-ring, or meticulously packed Speedo – not many, but enough to take the edge off. And lucky us, we found one. And we vacationed, and we relaxed, and we never caught so much as a glimpse of Snooki.



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