Posts Tagged: Family

The Book I Didn't Write

I didn’t write the book because the thought of it made me feel vaguely ill at all times. Even when I wasn’t thinking about it directly I was thinking about it. None of the thoughts were good.

I didn’t write the book because it was a book about betrayal that could only be facilitated by my betrayal of other people, many of whom had already been betrayed. This wouldn’t have been a clever metatextual commentary on the nature of betrayal; it would have just been really quite mean of me, and sad.

I didn’t write the book because I thought that in the end it would not [...]


Ask Polly: My Mom Keeps Guilting Me About Visiting For Christmas!

Dear Polly,

So it's the Holidays again, which means everyone's going to come at you bitchin' about family. Let me throw my hat in the ring as a member of that (sizable) contingent. My mother and her husband live near where I grew up, about a seven-hour drive from where I live now. My father and his wife live out of state; I only see them twice a year or so. My two younger sisters both moved far out of state (to the same town no less) with their children within the past year and a half. The reason for this background—I'm the "only one left" close to visit my [...]


Ask Polly: How Do You Handle The Death of a Facebook Friend?

Dear Polly,

What do you do when a Facebook friend who you vaguely know dies suddenly? What's the most sanity-inducing route of dealing with the fact that you have weird online links to their internet presence? A childhood friend passed away this week at the age of 32. It was a surprise. I had not talked to her in about five years, after a fairly disastrous night at a bar that ended with her drinking too much and haranguing me for an hour. But we were childhood friends, and played sports together, and I played at her house, and I enjoyed talking to her when I knew her from ages [...]


Embrace Your Prairie Looks And Make Some Applesauce

When I was a sophomore in college I was an incredibly cool and awesome girl, so my two best friends and I did what cool and awesome kids do in college and spent our spring break at Colonial Williamsburg. Don't get me wrong: it was awesome. We were the only people there over 16 and under 40; one of us danced the minuet in a dance-styles demonstration, one of us caught the blacksmith's eye, and all three of us got strange, bemused looks from the employees/waiters/reenactors who were the only people there around our own age. “What are you doing here?” the waiter in one tavern asked. We answered cheerily, [...]


Public Apology: Dear Step-Nephew

Dear step-nephew,

I'm sorry for telling you to suck my dick at Thanksgiving three years ago.


Ask Polly: Will Our Class Differences Tear Us Apart?

Hi Polly.

I've been with my current boyfriend for three years. We're really great together—similar interests, senses of humor, great sex. I love him so much—the only issue is that of our respective backgrounds. He grew up in a tony suburb, went to prep school, then to a very prestigious college, and finally the very prestigious graduate school where we met. I went to public school in a bad neighborhood, put myself through a not-so-prestigious college, made a name for myself in my field, then got into that same prestigious grad school. Our families could not be more different. I didn't think it would matter so much, but something happened [...]


How To Save Thanksgiving: It's Fingo!

Every family has its fair share of lunatics, alcoholics, weirdos, smug hippies, right wingers, racists and garden variety assholes (to paraphrase Tolstoy). And nothing exacerbates everybody’s awfulness and passive aggressive—and aggressive aggressive—behavior like a family gathering. With Thanksgiving just a few Xanax away, and in the the spirit of the holiday season, I’d like to share a secret family recipe that has nothing to do with food.

Fingo—that’s Family Bingo, of course—is a game that’ll save your next family function. Or, at the very least, it will make things a lot more interesting. Here’s what you’ll need in order to play it.

1. At least two other members of your [...]

The Great Nobel Prize Cash-In Begins With A Big Bang

What is the current market value of a Nobel Prize? Until yesterday, that question would have been virtually impossible to answer, which proved to be advantageous to the family of Francis Crick. Heritage Auctions, the entity that conducted the sale of Crick’s 23-carat gold medal in New York this week, declared it a "historic moment."

As such, bidding started at $250,000.

1 Niels Bohr offered his own Nobel Prize to benefit the Finland Relief in 1940. It was purchased by an anonymous bidder who donated it to the Frederiksborg Museum. Son Aage Niels Bohr, a nuclear physicist, also won the prize. The younger Bohr died in 2009, and whoever [...]

When Barbie Came To Live With Us

As happens with many gay men, my childhood was rendered infinitely brighter and more flamboyant by the presence of Barbie. But the biggest Barbie moment of my life centers around not me, but my parents.

As long as I can remember, my mother has had a fascination with Barbie dolls. As an Indian immigrant, she viewed them as flawless examples of Americana. Once, when our young next-door neighbor added an Indian Barbie to her fledgling Barbies of the World Collection, I thought that my mother’s tiny head would pop off at this conflagration of East-meets-West madness. Another time I remarked on her excitement as she was gift-wrapping a Malibu [...]


How To Get Owned By Your Grandma

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, New York magazine online producer Jazmine Hughes tells us more about an email she received after not calling her grandmother to say happy new year.


Nepotism, Slavery And Inheritance: The Tale Of Bushrod Washington

President George Washington’s favorite nephew would go on to make his uncle proud. But at the age of sixteen, rumor had it that Bushrod Washington was bringing shame upon the family.

His mother, Hannah Washington, was the wife of George Washington’s brother—and the gossip had it that her son was attracting unfavorable attention in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Apparently he was getting a reputation.

We don't know now what she wrote to her son, but on November 23, Swann Auction Galleries will place Bushrod’s response up for sale.1 With a steady quill penning careful script, the future Supreme Court justice steadfastly denied the allegation:

The uneasiness I have suffered since the reception [...]


Dear Mom

(This letter is an excerpt from the new memoir Public Apology, out today!)

Sorry for choosing Hannah and Her Sisters when you asked me to go out and rent some movies for our family to watch to get our minds off the fact that Dad had been diagnosed with cancer.

You remember, I'm sure, that this was just a couple weeks before I graduated from high school. It must have been a weekend, because we were all at home in the afternoon. Dad walked in to the TV room with his friend David Landy. You could tell that David Landy had been crying.

"The doctor just hit me [...]


Homosexuals Almost As Acceptable As Animals

"People are taking a more expansive view of what a family is. But for any family that doesn't fit the 1960s Ozzie and Harriet mold, slow and steady doesn't feel fast enough." -Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council, reacting to a study conducted by Indiana University sociologist Brian Powell that found that 68 percent of respondents believed that same-sex couples with children counted as "family"-up from 54 percent in 2003. Powell's team surveyed more 2,300 people over seven years. The bad news is: as recently as 2006, 30 percent of respondents counted pets as family but not gay couples. Powell said, "The sheer idea that [...]