J.K. Rowling's announcement last week that Harry Potter's mentor, the deceased former headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, was no fan of the lady-folk, came as one very big surprise to my family. You see, Papa D was my grandma's longtime boyfriend.
And, let me just tell you, in addition to many tender moments, Papa D and Grandma shared a love of the Red Sox, books from the Oprah Book Club list and weekend cruises to Nova Scotia. And, no, they weren't gay cruises. I don't think Papa D was gay at all. Nothing he ever did screamed "gay" to me. Well, OK, there was this one time when I accidentally went into the men's bathroom at Logan Airport. I was in the second to last stall, when all of a sudden these hands appeared from under the wall next to me. At first I thought the person needed toilet paper but then there were these signals. Something told me it wasn't paper the person was after. I panicked. Finished up. Left the stall. And when I opened the door, there was Papa D waiting for me with a big smile, a bottle of Boone's and two plastic wine glasses. When he saw it was me, he looked a little shocked. Again, I was in the wrong restroom. I was relieved to see him, though: "Oh good. It's just you. I thought I was getting in the middle of a gay airport tryst." He laughed heartily and reassured me with his kind voice and wise stare, "No. No. That back there? I uh ... I have to take a wide stance when I go. I don't want my warlock robes to get wet."
The interesting part about this is that, much like Dumbledore, my grandmother doesn't exist. I don't have one. She's complete and total fiction. The nice thing about fiction is there's no limit to what you can make up and, usually, anything you make up is pretty irrelevant to the real world (lies are a different story). For instance, I heard that, just like former 'NSync star Lance Bass, Dumbledore came out of the closet to Britney Spears to make her feel better about her Las Vegas quickie wedding to a childhood friend. See? Not real. And, if it were, so what? Britney needs a Dumbledore in her life.
Honestly, who cares that a fake person is fake gay? And what is J.K. Rowling's problem? I don't think she was just throwing out another post-Harry fun fact for the fans. She was trying to shock us, or worse, she was gloating that she tricked the world into liking, OMG, a gay man! [I know the trick well. I often make dinner with ingredients my husband says he doesn't like and will never eat. Then I'll be like, "How did you like that casserole, honey?" And when he says "It was delicious." I laugh and point and say, "Ha ha, that means you like sour cream!"] At this point, I think Rowling's just waiting for parents to start pulling their children from Hogwarts so she can jump on "society" for judging a dead, gay, 126-year-old magic genius. Or maybe it's not that sinister. Maybe it's the real world equivalent of growing up and finding out your cousin Jimmy's steadfast friend Larry is more than just a steadfast friend. We're all older now, we can take it.
At any rate, I've decided that my life's calling is to write the Harry Potter spin-off series, "Dumbledore and the Chamber of Gay Secrets." I think there's money to be made there. Also, I know it would make my grandma really, really proud.