Adam Polaski

Awkward Parents, Films, and Gay Sex

Filed By Adam Polaski | December 11, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: AfterEllen, Brokeback Mountain, Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Queer as Folk

Brokeback.jpgI just came across this post on After Ellen about movies that you'd never want to see with your parents. Most of the entries include movies with R-rated sex scenes or lesbian themes, including The L Word, Bound and The Kids Are All Right.

The post made me think about some of my own experiences where my parents and my film choices have coincided and resulted in hugely awkward, sometimes sad memories.

I remember, for example, seeing Brokeback Mountain for the first time in the company of my entire family. I was 16 years old, didn't yet identify as gay, and certainly wasn't out yet, but I had some feelings of same-sex attraction and definitely felt butterflies in my stomach whenever Jake Gyllenhaal appeared on screen. Of course, these were secret feelings. When Gyllenhaal and on-screen lover Heath Ledger started going at it in the tent, I found myself nervously looking at the faces of my mom, dad, brother, and sisters, which ranged from confused to concerned to apathetic. And at this clip, where Jack and Ennis reunite, when Ennis' wife catches them kissing (below), I projected onto my parents a sense of accusation while my heart ached, wondering if I too would have to keep my affection for men a secret.

Two and a half years later, a few months after I came out, my mom bought me the first season of Queer as Folk, knowing that I'd like it. We had both grown a lot since Brokeback Mountain. I was more comfortable with myself, confident enough to watch two men kissing (or touching or having sex) knowing that my family members were in the next room over. My mom even sat down and watched some of it with me, becoming particularly engaged with Justin's coming-out storyline. We didn't talk about it, but we both liked the show in our own way, and to see her go from being visible discomfort at seeing Jack and Ennis kissing to being pretty much OK with Justin and Brian having sex was a huge step in our relationship.

What about you, Projectors? What are some of the most awkward (or enlightening, or revelatory) movie or TV scenes you've watched with your parents?

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