Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul worries that his niece’s Christmas gift might turn her gay.
It’s becoming clear that I hope my niece Hannah will turn into a Gay Man. Mind you, not in a sex change Chaz Bono kind of way. But more in terms of her aesthetic. I blame her mother, my sister Paige, for continually casting me in the role of Uber Gay Uncle—a part I happily play on holidays and birthdays.
This Christmas, Paige encouraged me to burn a CD of some of mine and Chef’s favorite tunes for Hannah’s iPod that we gave her (in pink) a couple of years ago. Seemed simple and fun at first, until I had to wrest control of the project away from my partner.
“This’ll be fun. I know exactly what Hannah will like. I’m thinking music from Harry Potter, and maybe that cute new song from Taylor Swift,” Chef said.
“I appreciate that you and Hannah share the same pre-teen sensibility in movies and music, but I think my sister was hoping for something more classic,” I huffed.
I’ll admit that I have a tinge of jealousy about Chef’s relationship with Hannah. When together, they are inseparable like best girlfriends at a pajama party, gossiping about boys, and movies and books they love, and rolling their eyes at me when I ask for clarification on some mysterious plot point at Hogwarts.
So, when I sat down to collect our gifts of song, I wanted the resulting CD to be educational, and reflective of my taste. So I set some parameters. I wanted classic songs that meant something to me, and preferred it be from female vocalists—young girls like Hannah need positive female role models. After a few hours of serious deliberations, I raced downstairs to share with Chef the results—intent on listening to every song one more time to make sure none of the lyrics were too suggestive. By the second song, Chef turned to me wide eyed.
“You’re kidding me, right? Half-Breed? How is Paige going to explain that to Hannah?” he questioned.
“Half Breed is one of Cher’s seminal songs. And racial discrimination is very much alive and well in this country, mister.”
“What about Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves?”
“A personal favorite. More of a historical lesson, I’d say.”
“Alright, just balance it out with a little more Madonna.”
“You’re right. I’m thinking Express Yourself would be good for a girl just developing crushes on boys.”
As we sat listening to the rest of the songs, I began to crack up in hysterics. Among the highlights were Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out, Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, ABBA’s Dancing Queen, Gloria Estefan’s Turn the Beat Around, Whitney’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody, and Kylie’s Better the Devil You Know. 37 of the gayest dance songs around.
“I think I’ll title this mix DivaNTrainingMegaMix,” I said.
When I called and told my sister laughed how much fun I was having putting together the CD, she laughed.
“This sounds just like you. Remember the lesson you taught Hannah when you gave her a Barbie?”
Do I? Hannah and I excitedly played dolls together that Christmas. I took Barbie’s spectacular sparkly pink chiffon gown and put it on Ken. Hannah nearly went apoplectic.
“Uncle Paul, boys don’t wear girl’s dresses!”
“Oh Hannah, just wait.”