On just his dad’s side, Frank has 7 aunts and uncles. The one that I always heard the most about was Uncle Paul. “He’s the gay one,” Frank would say with a reminiscent smirk as he recalled childhood week-long visits with him in San Francisco.
I finally got the chance to meet Paul the weekend of Frank’s grandfather’s funeral.
Before the service, the family met up at Ma’dea’s (Frank’s grandmother’s) house so that we could arrive at the church together. Of the forty or so people milling around the yard, I knew who Paul was the moment I laid eyes on him. He wore black palazzo pants and a black, shoulder-padded blazer a la Milli-Vanilli . He accessorized with a huge straw sunhat (think Sunday church lady) and was dripping with diamonds.
“Oh! Lil’ Frank! I haven’t seen you in years, daaaahling. Ain’t you just as handsome and manly as evah? Lookin’ all cahYOOT in your suit.” He spoke with a tempo so rapid that I practically had to read his glossed lips to keep up with what he was saying. And you,” he said as he swirled to me,” are just the cutest lil’ wifey for my Lil’ Frank.”
Paul looked around at everyone exchanging greetings. He heaved a dramatic sigh and lit a cigarette. “Come on, let’s get this funeral on the road. I have compassion, but I don’t have patience.” Then he gave two snaps up and a little “mmmhmmm” neck roll.
I liked him instantly.
Later at the repast, he had changed into a dashiki and was drinking his beer from a wine goblet. Uncle Paul kept me entertained.
BEHOLD: shit Uncle Paul said —
Frank: You going to Dad’s house when you leave here?
Paul: What’s going on at your Dad’s house tonight?
Frank: Dad’s grilling. We’re going to watch the game.
Paul: You mean basketball? (whines) Why can’t we watch Lifetiiiime?
Me: I’ll watch Lifetime with you.
Paul: OK good, girlfriend. A woman, a gay man, and Lifetime is all we need.
Me: They still treat you like a baby, don’t they?
Paul: You are SO feelin’ me, girl. But wait ’til I get my sex change; Imma come back here and fuck ’em all up.
Paul: I just LOVE being the only gay man in the family.
Me: Why’s that?
Paul: ‘Cause there’s only room for one drag queen to be this fabulous.
Paul: You know what my drag name is?
Me: I just love drag queens. What’s your name?
Paul: (sweeps his non-existent hair from his shoulder and snaps) It’s “Sweet Pussy Pauline.”
I think he needs to run a confidence clinic for Club Awkward.
Tell me about your most eccentric or funniest family member.