AS ANDY GENTLE WEEPS

Dear Abby:

My wife and I have a problem that we simply cannot talk about with our family or friends so we are turning to you for advice.
I should begin by telling you that my wife and I live in a
medium-sized city in the Midwest. We are both teachers in our local high school: I teach English and am the head of our drama department; she teaches art and runs the dance program. The subject of our concern is Dylan, our only child, who is a senior in our school.

Let me emphasize that no parents have ever done as much for a child as we have done for Dylan. As soon as my wife knew she was pregnant, she never went to bed without placing a speaker on her belly so Dylan could hear classical music at the earliest possible time. As soon as he was born, his crib had a mobile of great works of art. As soon as he began to show his remarkable talent for art in kindergarten, we gave up vacations so he could have private lessons. While other children received toys and video games, we were careful to choose only those things that would advance his aesthetic education.

Perhaps we could be criticized by others less interested in their childrens’ development but, based upon our attempt to “make it” in New York when we graduated from our local colleges, we knew that there was little chance for Dylan unless he had an orientation consistent with his talent. Therefore, unlike other parents, we were willing to ignore our normal predilections for his ultimate benefit. Despite my deepest desire to bond with my first born, I refused to play baseball or football or any sport with him, pretending that a bad back would not allow such activities. Instead of such manly activities, Dylan was sent to ballet class. At home, he was asked to help with the cooking and taught to sew.

As Dylan approached his adolescent years we made what I thought was the ultimate sacrifice: despite a lifetime of the philosophic smugness that comes with advanced agnosticism, we joined a local born-again church which believed that the ultimate sin was homosexuality. We knew that children eventually rebelled against their parents’ beliefs and we wanted to give Dylan a specific target.

Notwithstanding our sacrifices, we noticed certain alarming trends as he grew older. Last month we caught him with binoculars peeking in the bedroom of the girl next door. Yesterday, he announced that he was asking that slut to his Senior Prom. I guess by now you have realized our dark and terrible secret: our son, our beloved son, has chosen a life style antithetical to our hopes for his future as a great artist- Dylan is straight. Despite the art lessons, the ballet lessons, the cooking classes and the other hundred things we did and refrained from doing, he seems to be decidedly heterosexual.

We are at our wit’s end. Do we confront him? Do we try to persuade him that our hopes and dreams will come to naught if he persists in his normality? Please write as soon as possible. The prom is in one week.

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