So I was sitting on the sofa drinking a soda and overall ignorant of what was about to happen.
"Sam, could I talk to you" my dad called from the table so I got up and sat opposite him.
His expression was uncomfortable and almost squirming, the sort of face you might expect to find on a penguin that's just spent a couple of hours in a sauna.
"Not so long ago you came out to me and your mother…as gay."
"Yes…" I nodded, not really knowing where this was going.
"You don't…have a boyfriend, do you?"
"Ah, yes…er…good." My dad's eyes roamed the empty table, failing to meet my own. "I want to talk to you about sex."
Ah, so that's what this was about. Immediately the situation became ten times more awkward.
"Now I understand that sex education at school doesn't really cover gay sex, but I want you to feel like you can come to talk to me about any problems or with any questions you have." This isn't happening. "I picked up some pamphlets from a clinic that cover the…er… mechanics of the situation." Oh god, he's probably going to start talking about anal sex. "And I want you to remember to always use a condom, even though there's no chance of getting someone pregnant, because there is still a chance that you can catch an STI, especially…the way some gay men do it."
"Do you have any questions?"
I looked up from my attempts to force the ground to swallow me whole. I'm not an idiot; I do have some idea of how gay people have sex. "Dad, as much as I appreciate the sentiment, and I really do, I don't want to talk about sex," I paused for a moment, "I want to know about love."
My dad's expression softened slightly and certainly became more relaxed.
"Listen, I understand when you're a teenager the dating world can seem confusing, so feel free to ask me any questions you like."
I took a deep breath. "How do I know if I love someone, how do I know if I like someone, how do I know if I'm taking a relationship too quickly, should I ignore dating and focus on schoolwork or will I get to college and find out everyone has a boyfriend but me, what do I do if I don't have a clue whether someone likes me or even notices me and is it normal for me to have these really bizarre thoughts about other boys in my class."
My dad's expression visibly blanched. "What was that first one?"
"How do I know if I love someone?"
"To be honest I don't subscribe to the whole 'love at first sight' idea. You know when you become friends with a person with a really nice personality, and they like all the same things as you, and you want to spend all your time with them but that makes them think you're weird."
"Yes, I know exactly what you're talking about."
"Well dating is like that but with crazy teenage hormones thrown in. As you date a person you become more comfortable with them and get to know them and enjoy spending time with them, then pretty soon you don't really want to be without them. Just remember not to get too serious about relationships; you're likely to go through a lot of them through life. When you're a teenager you think you're going to be with someone forever and then you break up and there's ridiculous amounts of drama. You don't need to worry too much about it at the moment. If you do go out with someone remember, it's important to compromise in a relationship, but be yourself."
He looked into my eyes. "I hope that answered some of your questions." I smiled back. "Thanks dad."