Coming Out

Various forms of same-sex sexual activity have been recorded in more than 450 different species of animals … from flamingos … to warthogs. 

     –from “Can Animals be Gay?” by Jon Mooallem in the New York Times Magazine
Dear Mom and Dad,

It was really great to be home over Spring Break! To see Grandpa Willy still rooting for rhizomes with the best of us. Amazing! And the two of you in such fine form–Dad even in middle age grunting the mating call like like a young boar and mounting you, Mom, while you were doing the dishes, as if you were the youthful sow that you’ll always be in spirit, even though you’re eleven years old! Unbelievable!  And I’m already three and just about to graduate from Witwasersrand.  Time goes by like a cheetah (hopefully)!

I wanted to tell you this while I was there, in that chic abandoned aardvark burrow you’ve made into such a comfortable home, but I couldn’t find the right time, what with Aunt Wanda visiting and poking her tusks into everyone’s business.  So here it is: I’m gay. I didn’t even know it myself  for sure until I met Warren a few months ago here at the university. Warren is an Eritrean warthog–a little different from us–but he is extremely handsome and gifted. He will finish in June with a First in  Stochastic Processes and can also stare down a hyena pack as if they were so many short-eared savanna mice. He’s nothing like the stereotyped gay bristle-salon stylist, I asssure you.

This revelation of mine probably won’t come as a surprise to you–and at least it isn’t hitting you up for more money. (Yet. Ha ha. I don’t have to tell you how tough the foraging scene is for graduates these days.)  You must have noticed that I’ve never shown any interest in estrus sows, and don’t think I don’t appreciate your not talking about that subject. Unlike Aunt Wanda, who keeps on asking me about when she’d get to allosuckle some grand-nephews and grand-nieces.

And I’ve heard you discussing completely nonjudgmentally my Cousin Woodrow’s  proclivities.  Still, I thought I should make it official, so that’s why I’m writing. I’d like to bring Warren home after graduation for a week or so–he’s eager to meet my enlightened parents, so different from his own stuck-in-the-mud family.  I hope that’s OK with you.  Warren and I will then try to find an abandoned aardvark burrow near yours, so that we can stay close and find you some succulent tubers in your old age.

Love, your farrow Winston

Daniel Menaker is the Editor of Grin & Tonic and the author of a new book, “A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation.”