My gay best friend is the greatest “Gunkle” you’ll ever meet

Guest post by JodyE

Onesie from Riverstone Goods
Onesie from Riverstone Goods

Every morning when my nearly two-year-old boy wakes up he goes though a list of everyone in his life that is important to him. “Amy?” he’ll ask and I’ll say, “She’s still in bed sleeping.” She’s the homestay student who has stolen his heart. “Butch? Emma?” “They’re outside — we’ll let them in!” They’re our puppies. Then without doubt will come “Gunkle?” Yes, Gunkle. He’s a whole other story!

Gunkle (our joke — stands for Gay Uncle) is one of my best friends, and I probably have my son to thank for that. He’s a gay guy I met when I was busy being a crazy lesbian stand-up comedian. We’d only known each other a few months when I decided to go exploring men. He stuck by me. Then the shock — like some middle-aged Juno, I’d gone and got myself knocked up the first time I’d had sex without a condom.

The pregnancy wasn’t planned, and I wasn’t aiming to be “some sperm stealin’ dyke” like some had only half-jokingly claimed. I had just got carried away with lust. The father didn’t want to know anything about it, but I thought it sublimely ridiculous that after two long-term lesbian relationships had ended just before children (one ended four days before IVF) that maybe this was meant to be. My child was finally demanding to enter the world.

I didn’t expect someone I had just met to become involved, when even the biological father wanted nothing to do with us! But Gunkle started turning up with nappies and chocolate for me while I was pregnant. Ridiculous sequinned onesies and fake leather pants for babies. Tattooed dolls to play with for the bub-to-be, who he would refer to as either Coco or Magnus, depending on if he thought girl or boy that particular day.

It seemed natural then to invite him to the twenty week ultrasound to find out. From there it wasn’t a big step to ask him to the parenting and birth classes where he insisted on signing in as Roger for the fun of it. Every time the teacher called his name out we’d both fall about in hysterics.

As birth day approached I decided to ask him along as birth partner. And Gunkle, who’d never seen a naked woman, endured a 58 hour labour with me every second of the way (although there were times I later learned when he’d needed to have a bit of a lie down and a Bex to cope with it all). Thus he was the first person to hold my son other than me, and even cut the cord. Afterwards when I was in the shower, too exhausted to stand, blood still pouring out, he dressed me and helped me into a wheelchair.

I get nights out to date while the boys do what boys do. Dance, eat gourmet sandwiches for lunch, and have tickle fights, I’m guessing.

Those few weeks after birth he cooked and cleaned, shopped, and changed nappies. Even if it took him an hour or more in peak hour traffic to reach my house. As time went by and sleep deprivation took a toll he did overnights with bottles of expressed milk while I collapsed sobbing in other parts of the house wondering how on earth I’d manage to raise a child alone.

Now… two years down the track, my son goes on coffee dates with Gunkle and his gaggle of other gay boys in the coolest streets in town. We get invited to beachside retreats. I get nights out to date while the boys do what boys do. Dance, eat gourmet sandwiches for lunch, and have tickle fights, I’m guessing. We go to roller derby in rainbow colours and for Pride we had a onesie made that says “My Gunkle is single.”

Of course I’m scared. Especially now my son calls him by name. What if Gunkle moves countries? Disappears for good from our lives? Settles down in a relationship with no time for a single mama and her kid?

But as everyone knows, blood ties are no guarantee of family or commitment either and so I can only be eternally grateful that at the time of my greatest need in life, the universe delivered me a red-haired, freckled, go-go dancing guy with fabulous hair and blue sparkly sneakers to love me and my boy.

Comments on My gay best friend is the greatest “Gunkle” you’ll ever meet

  1. This is one of the best stories I’ve read so far on Offbeat Mama! It’s the first one I have ever commented on too, because it is such a great reminder of the power of friends, and how someone can come out of the woodwork when you never expect it and be so important to you. Your kid’s lucky he has such a good mama and Gunkle! Good luck to all of you 🙂

  2. Sometimes, just sometimes, the universe gives us wonderful people like your Gunkle. We are lucky to have these people for however long we do. What an awesome guy to have around your little guy… love and light to all of you!

  3. That is an awesome story. I have learned growing up that the people in our lives matter, no matter how long they’re around. I’m adopted and have a small immediate family, but quite a few of my mom’s friends are my “aunts” and “uncles.” My husband was a stand-in dad for a while for the daughter of a friend. Family does not have to be about blood, it’s about the bonds we make. Congratulations on having such a wonderful friend! Sounds like your little guy is going to have some fantastic experiences and great stories to hear and share!

  4. Great article. I have been tied to the hip of my gay best friend for over 16 years now. There was no question of whether he would be apart of my family’s life since he is more family to me than family. My son adores him and my husband acts like he is a brother from another mother.

  5. I could about cry! That is one darn awesome man, there! <3 I severely doubt he'll leave you, after suffering through all that with you. Some friends really are for life.

  6. I LOVED this story. So sweet and really shows the power of friendships. I have to admit though, I’m a little jealous. I also have a gay best friend, and would LOVE for him to be around for any kids I have, but he “doesn’t do” babies, and even the thought of lady parts or pregnancy/birth makes him gag. Haha

  7. Oh gosh, this nearly moved me to tears. It’s so wonderful you have someone like Gunkle in your and your son’s life. I’m heartbroken right now because I’ve recently lost my gay best friend – the man I envisioned my future children calling uncle. Unfortunately, he joined the Army and become a completely different person, not someone I’d ever want around my kids.

  8. I had a Gunkle growing up! He was a family friend who would join us for so many family get-togethers, Christmas and other things. We don’t see him anymore as he moved away a long time ago…but I remember some awesome childhood moments with him. He was the only adult we called by his first name.

    Gunkles are awesome. And you and your son are so lucky to have one as amazing as yours…no matter how long he’s in your life for (hopefully a long long long time!)

  9. I also grew up with a gunkle, though I didn’t realise he was gay until I was in my teens. I just thought he and his partner Tony were great friends 😛 Gunkles rock! Maybe someone should make t-shirts to that effect.

  10. Now I’m curious what my son should call my best friend – his Lunt? Auesbian? Or he can just keep calling her MUWH (which is the kissing sound he associates with her!)

  11. I absolutely love this story. One of my favorites I’ve read on OBM! Especially the last sentence. It’s wonderful that you and your son have such a loving person in your life…this really just warms my heart 🙂

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