Author and columnist Nikki Gemmell described her friend’s confession like this:
“A declaration as risky, difficult and defining as an admission to church-going, or loving a book you wouldn’t be caught dead reading on a train but have secretly downloaded on your e-reader.
Just three simple words, setting off a little explosion of shock within the collected school gate psyche. “I adore Julia.” Dead silence. The perpetrator added, emboldened, “I’m coming out.” Another mum piped up, “I adore her, too.”
They looked at each other, amazed; it was like stumbling across some secret society of disparate females expressing deeply unfashionable, unspoken sentiments. Why? I ventured. “Because if I had a dinner party she’d be the one who’d stay back and help me do the dishes at the end.” Unlocked, the mum added, “We’re all scared of saying we love her – in front of men, especially.”
There are some things we would never admit in public – not because they’re risqué or offensive but because we fear we will be judged. Or ridiculed. When you feel almost intimidated by the seemingly mass movement against something or someone.
For instance I hardly ever tell people that sometimes on the way to work I listen to Kyle and Jackie O – just for the music. And that occasionally I feed my child McDonalds and always order myself a small fries so that he doesn’t have to eat alone.
It’s actually liberating to get there and admit something that you have been hiding. It’s amazing how many people will agree with you.