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New book details mother-son outing of another sort

by Joel Bahr
There are few bonds tighter than those shared between a mother and her son. For many, it is a solid, unbreakable bond that no person, place or thing could ever tear asunder. It is a love unconditional.

Or is it?

“Conversations and Cosmopolitans: How to Give Your Mother a Hangover” is the hilarious true story of Robert Rave and his mom Jane Rave as they experience getting to know each other all over again after Robert reveals that he is gay. In poignant and oftentimes laugh-out-loud conversations and letters, readers witness the sometimes bizarre, always entertaining, codependent relationship between the two from each of their perspectives.
“Coming out is such a personal journey,” explains Robert, who specifically asked his publisher to hold the release of the book to coincide with National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11). “I truly believe that each individual should be allowed to come out in their own way. However, the more visible we are the more we’re able to eradicate fear and misconceptions. Not to get all Oprah, but I believe one of our biggest challenges is to live an authentic life and be honest with ourselves and the people in our lives.”

His mom agrees. “I, too, will avoid quoting the gospel according to Oprah, but I will tell you what I’ve learned in the years since my son first told me he was gay. It’s important to instill a strong sense of self-worth in everyone whether gay or straight. We should all feel equal and be treated accordingly.”

Robert Rave: ‘I’m so proud that my mother (right) has allowed me to show her the real me.’
In “Conversations and Cosmopolitans,” mother and son weather one of the hardest and most confusing times in both of their lives. They tackle compelling issues such as love, dating, sexuality, body image and identity. And they do so in a way that not only tugs at the heartstrings but also kicks at the funny bone.

Like when Robert teaches Jane the gay glossary, including terms that may not be part of the gay vernacular but should be. For example, “point-if-ication”: counting everything you eat and putting it into a calorie point system. A “M’Lynn moment”: based on Sally Field’s character in “Steel Magnolias” who lashes out at her friends in a fit of despair. And, perhaps the most relevant of all, “me but Latin”: what many gay men are looking for in a potential mate. (Amen to that!)

Through laughter and tears, mother and son learn the power of living in the truth — even truth that might be hard to swallow.

“I have learned about all the hatred and discrimination that the GLBT community faces,” says Jane. “To be honest, it’s still something that I worry about, and I’m sure a majority of parents of gay children do as well.

“The underlying message of the book may be bookmarked by funny stories, but make no mistake, our goal was to get families talking so that they may eventually embrace one another’s differences.”

“Writing this book with my mom was daunting,” Robert says. “In many ways, it was like coming out all over again. But it gave me an even more honest and close relationship with my mother so it was certainly well worth it.

“I’m so proud that my mother has allowed me to show her the real me. I know I’m extremely blessed. I’ve heard so many stories that are quite the opposite as mine. My mother truly is the real deal.”

“Conversations and Cosmopolitans: How to Give Your Mother a Hangover” is in bookstores everywhere. For more information, go to www.convosandcosmos.com.

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