I’m From The Bronx, NY.

by Teri Yoshiuchi

Satellite overhead image of New York State from Google Earth 2022

One Saturday my mom and I went downtown to Scandinavia House to see a movie. My mom is a member there (she’s Swedish on her mother’s side, which makes me a quarter Swede) and with her light hair and eyes she fits in rather well. Since my dad is Japanese, my dark hair, dark eyes and Asian features are quite a contrast. I’m sure we make for an odd looking pair. As it happens, Scandinavia House is next door to the Kitano Hotel so there were a number of Japanese tourists having lunch in the dining room, but I digress.

The main floor has a dining area and a gift shop, but they have an auditorium downstairs that regularly shows imported films from Scandinavian countries. To date we have gone to see three fantastic films, but this story is about one in particular. My mom asked me if I wanted to go see “The Man Who Loved Yngve” (“Mannen som elsket Yngve”) which is an award-winning film from Norway. It is about a boy… and the boy he falls in love with. The potential for awkwardness was off the charts, but how could I possibly say no?

The movie is set in 1989 and follows 17-year-old Jarle who seems to have a pretty awesome life. He has a great girlfriend, a loving mother and is the lead singer in a punk band called Mattias Rust Band that he started with his best friend. However, everything starts to change when a new boy joins their school and Jarle finds himself inexplicably attracted to him. Although he cannot understand the feelings he has, all he can do is try to get closer to Yngve, which means listening to pop music and trying to learn how to play tennis. Eventually things come to a head and Jarle is forced to make a choice between his budding relationship with Yngve and his girlfriend.

I was a little afraid that I might have to sit through some boy-on-boy love scenes while sitting next to my mom (awkward!), but fortunately the only love scenes were boy-on-girl, which was something of a relief. Quite frankly I never thought I would ever say such a thing.

It was an amazing movie and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I have no idea when it might be released in the US (if ever), but I would love to own it on DVD. The music throughout the movie was mostly 80’s hits which is another automatic plus in my book. My mom liked it a lot as well and we talked about it at length over a late lunch at Smorgas Chef, the restaurant at Scandinavia House. I always get their seafood chowder, A+.

When we left, my mom asked:

“Was our waiter gay?”

“Uhhh… yes, I’m pretty sure he was… why?”

“Yeah, I thought so. Especially after the way I saw him checking you out when we left.”

I love my mom. She’s awesome. I don’t think I could ask for better parents.

I’m From Sulphur, LA. “After picking up my 72-year-young mother at LAX, we arrived at my apartment in West Hollywood. Walking up the steps to my building, me carrying her huge luggage (bigger than her 5’2” frame I think) and her struggling with her large carry-on, a handsome, shirtless young man approaches us and offers his help to her as he opens the door to the building.

I’m From Donora, PA. “My mother recently came to visit me in Indianapolis, where I currently live. I have always been close with my mother as most gay guys are. I did not know it at the beginning of the visit, but this one would be different than the others and would make me appreciate our relationship in a way I never did before. And it all started with a movie.”

I’m From Rockford, IL. “Despite the fact that I grew up in a conservative household — my mother was raised Irish Catholic, my father Lutheran — my parents always taught me to be accepting and tolerant of other human beings. I never heard any racism come from their lips.”

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