Peter Comes Home with a Secret: A Story of Christmas, Coffee and Coming Out

Back in the days of only three broadcast networks, no one was in as big a rush as they are today. Commercials seemed epically long and some of them were like mini serials. Remember the Taster’s Choice saga with Anthony Head? Clearly, coffee was as valuable as crude oil, inundating us with each’s own message: Drink me.

But the coffee commercial I was obsessed with this time of year was the Folger’s ad where Peter comes home fresh from college in his letter jacket and surprises everyone. Peter was good looking in his yuppie WASPy amazingness. He cared about other people and was looking forward to surprising his whole family. Plus, he brought presents for everyone. Thoughtful!

Peter was to become my husband. So, I did what any young imaginative gay would do. I wrote a continuation of the commercial in my head.


So, what Peter’s mother didn’t know was that not only did I gift him the cable-knit sweater he was wearing (and suggested he bundle up in something other than his moth-eaten letter jacket), but Peter was about to come out to family by ushering me from outside. (I was driving the Beetle, and parked it around the corner–in case we needed to make quick get away from the Jensen’s.)

They’d be surprised, but they loved Peter so much they wouldn’t be able to resist enveloping me into their New England family fold. Plus, I would charm them with all the gifts Peter and I picked out together and that little sister would idolize me to everyone’s annoyance–including mine. We’d laugh, sing carols, drink eggnog and bask in the togetherness of family. Until it was time to go to bed. Peter’s folks would tell Peter his room his ready for him and I’d be comfy in the guest room.

That’s when I’d smile and say “thank you, but we’ve got a room at the Four Seasons. Merry Christmas!”

Peter and I would tool off in his Beetle (well, I paid for half of it) and drive to downtown Anytown, USA and snuggle in the 1200 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets that night and wake up to room service in the morning. We’d stop by the Jensen’s on the way out of town to go skiing before heading back to campus. The Jensen’s would hate to see us go. His mom would hug me warmly as we said good bye, and I’d thank her for her hospitality before asking for gift a gift receipt for the riding boots she’d given me (riding boots? really?).

We’d spend next Christmas with my family.



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