A Gentleman's Guide





The holidays can be a joyous occasion for many as they allow us the chance to reconnect with our family, eat all the things we normally wouldn’t eat and let’s not forget the gifts! The holidays bring us those the opportunities to take that long “trip to the store” with our weed smoking relative, to taste aunt Ruby's sweet potato pie, to feign admiration for cousin Rhonda’s mac and cheese while secretly plotting on how we’ll manage to throw it away without her noticing, and to marvel at how much our nieces and nephews have grown since last year.

However, this isn’t always the case as the arrival of the holiday season, for some, is met with deep sighs, anxiousness and a desire to be anywhere else but on Earth from November through the end of December. There’s the shopping we’re guilted into doing for people we don’t like, annoying ass office holiday parties filled with coworkers who we don’t like, obligatory family time with people we don’t like, and intrusive lines of questions- all coming from people we (clap) don’t (clap) like ( clap)!

Those of us who don’t like the holidays aren’t without reason, as some of our heterosexual family members often use this time to make us feel things that we could honestly go the rest of our lives without feeling. Some of you reading this won’t know what we mean, but those of us who have experienced it can relate in real time to the discrimination, homophobia and rejection that enters the room ten seconds before we do; where if we don’t know what's been said about us in our absence, we can definitely feel it in our presence.

We totally understand the mixed bag of emotions some of us morph into during the holiday season, which is why we’re using this month’s Front Page to offer you a survival guide, of sorts, to aid you in enduring what some may call the most unwonderful time of the year.


Let’s start with some considerations that can make the holidays a bit more bearable; the “do’s”. The very first thing we suggest is that you go into the season with a positive mindset. We’ve already established that we don’t like any of these people, we may love them, but we don’t like them. We can overcome this by assuming that they all possess good intent, even if we have concrete evidence that proves otherwise. We do this for two reasons, reason one is that no one can control our peace and happiness but us. Such, we’ll let aunt Margaret’s use of the word ‘sissy’, slide, but we’ll only do it once as a holiday courtesy.  We’ll attribute her use of the term as a form of ignorance that she’s been incapable of relieving herself from for the past twenty years; that, and because now’s not the time to tell her about how we discovered her live-in boyfriend’s account on Jack’d or that he unlocked his private pictures after reading our faceless account. He ought to be more careful.  

Assuming good intention takes a lot of energy and is easier to type than to actually do, but it's totally worth it. When we assume good intent we allow ourselves to see things from a more positive perspective, and that’s going to play a key role in dealing with these people. This doesn’t mean that we have to dim our light as much as it means that aunt Margaret gets one fucking chance before she incurs a holiday read of epic proportions.

Our next suggestion is to have a buffer. Our buffer might be a friend or another family member but never (and we do mean never) should we use our Beaux as our buffer. Our buffer is going to serve as a touchstone of sorts and can be used in the event that things start to go awry. He (or she) will more than likely be the person with the blunt, which will come in handy when uncle Allen starts asking about what ever happened to that nice girl we used to date in college despite-DESPITE- the fact that he knows that the last piece of vagina we had was the one we came out of, and that we only dated Alicia because we didn’t know how to come out during sophomore year. Again, we should work to assume good intent while we, along with our buffer excuse ourselves to “go to the store”.


Our last “do” is to bring a wingman. Now, before you get all confused, give a moment to explain the difference between a wingman and a buffer..The buffer knows the family dynamic either because they are family or because we’ve been friends for so long that they’ve become an adjacent relative. Maybe we went to the same school, lived in the same neighborhood or have a deeply rooted history which makes them the perfect tool for keeping us from cussing Aunt Margaret the fuck out, because by now she’s used her free pass and is its going to take nothing short of the hand of God to keep our tongues in cheek.

A wingman is someone who accompanies us to the holiday shit show and is someone with little, if any, ties to the family. Maybe he was our college roommate or someone we’re building a friendship with after our escape…er…”move” to D.C. who either can’t or doesn’t want to spend time with his own family for the holiday. The wingman is our eject button, and before we bring him home we should let him know that he, if all else fails, is the escape plan. The benefit of having a wingman as opposed to a buffer is that you can make him the base of whatever preconceived lie the we’ve agree upon telling in the event that things with our family start to go south. Maybe his apartment gets broken into during the middle of dinner or he gets an emergency text about the sudden death of his toy poodle. Whatever the instance may be, we can use him and the situation to effect the quickest of escapes as uncle Allen is on his fourth beer which signals his impending inquiries about Alicia.

Our last “do” is for you to get away as gracefully as possible. Last minute Christmas shopping is a thing, and because we’ll conveniently be buying the gift of whomever asks to accompany us, we can always go alone. We can actually use this excuse during Thanksgiving as well since  that’s when the Black Friday sales start. So no, our annoying ass cousin can’t accompany us to the Target because then she’ll know what her gift (which we’ll inevitably pick up from Dollar Tree hours before the gift exchange) will be. The excuse we use to get away from our family doesn’t really matter as much as the time we’ll get to spend alone. This time will be especially important in the event that we’re actually staying with them for the holidays and not in a hotel-we’ll start our list of “don’ts” with that.


If these people really get on our nerves then rule number one is to not stay with them- period! There’s nothing like wanting to get away from family but having no other option but to stay with them. If we can’t afford to stay in a hotel we suggest that staying with a friend or another family member who we can at least tolerate. Listen, we know cousin John has roaches but if a night of bug-swatting and the smell of Raid can offer us a reprieve from our more annoying relatives, then what the hell is the problem?

Discussion about religion and politics should be always be avoided at all costs because they are divisive. While the likelihood of us having political differences with our families in this political climate may be low, we still want to avoid poking the bear. Religion is a beast of a different nature because many of us have become all-too-familiar with how many of God’s “Christians” treat us in His name. We can engage in the traditional prayer over the food if we must, but what we don’t want to do is to tangle ourselves in a debate with aunt Rhonda about the glory of her homophobic lord and savior. We’re going to just say our ‘amen’ and figure out the quickest way to cast whatever spell we’re going to need in order to make that nasty ass mac and cheese disappear.


Our last two suggestions are the most important! The first of these two suggestions is to not use this time to come out of the closet. Listen, we’ve been playing in the back of the closet for this long, one more week won’t make much of a difference. Using this time to disclose our sexual preferences might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Yes, we know we started this off with telling you to assume the best, and we still stand by that, but we also stand by avoiding things that could change the entire flow of the holiday. And, while we’re here let’s go ahead and talk about whether or not we should bring our Beaux home for the holidays. Unless your family is totally accepting, and expresses some excitement in having him around, its going to be a strong and solid no. However, you can check out this month’s Love & Relationships for tips on how this can be done.  


And lastly, if you’re having that much anxiety about going home for the holiday, just don’t go. It's not worth putting yourself through the stress and emotional trauma just to be around people you don’t really want to be around.  Yes, the holidays are associated with togetherness, and family for some, but they’re associated with the complete opposite for others. While some are fortunate enough to be members of families that offer their unwavering love, support and acceptance, others aren’t so fortunate. Our ultimate hope is that if you are one of the many who dread a return home for the holidays that our suggestions come in handy to ensure that you and everyone else makes it out alive!

Jeremy Carter