Let’s face it. Neither parents nor kids enjoy the ‘sex talk’. Some parents try to avoid it like the plague. Especially immigrant parents and as an only child of two immigrant parents, I can confirm this. I learned about periods, sex and the inner mechanics of a vagina via picture books and sex ed classes in primary/high school.
Heck, my dad is still very uncomfortable with sex scenes on T.V and the discussion of women’s reproductive issues that in the event that this topic of conversation pops up on T.V. He will change the channel and ask me about school and/or start discussing the stock market with me.
Two things to note here:
After I finished high school he changed the channel and started asking me how my university classes were going; and
After I finished university and told him that I have absolutely zero interest in the stock market. He panicked and started switching-off the T.V. completely when a tampon commercial came on.
One particularly warm Saturday evening I decided to take some time away from the usual booze fest and indulge in some quality family time. As a family with a particularly large generation gap, our main bonding activity consists of going to the movies or sitting at home and watching T.V. Basically anything involving food and a damn screen.
As someone who is not particularly too fond of Bollywood movies (due to their lack of creative plots as of late) I figured I’d give it another chance and went to watch ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’ which roughly translates to ‘When I Saw This One Girl I Felt Like’ in English. I had little to no expectations of the movie and quite honestly only went there for the popcorn. The theatre that I go to always mixes the right amount of butter and salt to clog a few arteries.
What I did not expect was to find myself sobbing quietly into my bowl of popcorn and blaming it on the toddler next to me. Approximately halfway through the movie.
The reason being was because I am a sucker for sappy romances and the fact that this movie explored the notion of a lesbian relationship in the purest of forms. For Indian T.V. this was a big deal and probably gave a few aunties something to complain about for months to come.
The coming-of-age film explored the delicate bond between a father and his daughter in a small town in rural Punjab, with a conservative brother and the mental issues that stem from hiding your sexual preferences in a conventional town. During the scene when the main actress (Sweety Chaudhary) finally steps out of the closet and confesses her love for Kuhu (Sweety’s love interest) I peeled my eyes away from the screen and watched my parents reaction.
My mum’s jaw was a few inches from the ground and my dad’s expression was neutral. I was convinced that he fell asleep at this point but he reached for the Coke so I guess that assumption went out the window.
After the movie ended I asked them how they’d feel if I came out as a lesbian, because god knows I’ve been single long enough. To my surprise, my dad said he’d struggle initially but he’d come to terms with it and my mum just laughed because she knows I drool over Bradley Cooper far too much for me to ever even consider switching teams.
I guess we were one inch closer to closing that generation gap.
But this got me to question how many parents actually sat down and discussed sexuality and sexual preferences with their kids? I’m sure a lot of us remember having the Birds and the Bees talk with our parents but how many of us got the sexual preferences talk?
Growing up, how many of us were told that it’s okay to fall in love with someone of the same sex? How many of us were told that its okay to date people from the same gender if you’re curious? I’d place my bets and say slim to none.
If you grew up with conventional Asian parents I bet your love arrangement was already decided for you from birth. Along with your degree. I’m joking please don’t start tweeting out hate threats.
In all honesty, during a period where everything from politics to religion seems to be volatile I think its important that parents have that conversation with their kids, along with the Birds and the Bees chat because its important for kids to know that they will be loved even if their love interests fall outside of the conventional romantic ideals. Its alright if a boy prefers another male touch over the femininity of a girl. And most of all its alright to walk into your identity with confidence because unlike society that may not always agree with you, your parents will always be on your side. No matter which team you bat for.