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18 January 2016

Why the world needs more “coming out” marshmallows

It’s ok, Kate Middleton’s brother is here for all your pointless confectionary needs.

By Eleanor Margolis

You know that thing where you want to come out to your family or colleagues but you can’t find the right marshmallows? You can’t shut your drawers or cupboards for all the “Happy Samhain”, “Good luck with your first rimjob” and “I’m sorry your baby looks like Michael Gove” marshmallows, but there’s not a single “I am a gay” one in sight.

But, proudly presenting the weirdest sentence I’ve ever written:

In a world where everything must be said in twee, ironic confectionery, Kate Middleton’s brother is the self-appointed saviour of the homosexual race. So thank you, posh straight person James Middleton, for bringing the struggle for gay equality to ever such a scrumptiously whimsical close, with your “coming out” marshmallows. Middleton, who runs a customised marshmallow business (which is definitely a thing, because the world is fucked) has suggested that gay people should come out by presenting, say, Donna from HR, with a marshmallow that literally says “[I’m] too cute to be straight”.

How would that exchange even go?

Closeted gay: [nervously] Hi Donna, would you like a marshmallow?

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Donna: Is it low-sugar?

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Closeted gay: Um, I don’t think so…

Donna: No thanks then, I’m doing 5:2. Today is one of the twos and I’ve already had eight chocolate digestives.  

Closeted gay: OK, but would you like to just read the marshmallow?

Donna: No.

Explaining this entire gay marshmallow situation, by the way, has made my vagina retreat even further up inside itself to create a kind of mega-vagina. Let’s just call this “headdesk” for people whose genitals are affected by the naivety of liberal straight men who think they can solve homophobia with sweets.

And it had to be marshmallows, didn’t it? Because gay men, at least, are so daft and fluffy, aren’t they? Lesbian though? Slightly different kettle of fish (HAA at both kettles and fish in reference to lesbians, by the way. Good one, me). We’re a sterner folk. I’m thinking, in lieu of marshmallows, hard mints that you throw at your colleagues’ heads until they recognise your struggle. So, if you see someone covered in mint-sized bruises, you’ll know that a lesbian recently came out to them. And GOOD FOR HER.

And maybe trans people could come out with gobstoppers, which transition from one colour to another. And maybe bisexuals could come out with chocolate raisins, which are both chocolate and raisin. And, while we’re at it, let’s drop “play nicely” Drumstick lollies on Isis-held parts of Syria and send Kim Jong-un a crate of “enough of this silliness” Haribo Starmix.

Really and truly though, coming out via marshmallows seems like the next logical step for the whole “coming out” narrative; something which “people can be adorable, if they try” sites like Upworthy have been quickly turning into ultra-saccharine performance art.  These days, if your coming out story doesn’t involve a Frozen-themed flashmob and an elderly relative leaking tears of joy, you’re doing it painfully, painfully wrong and someone out there is going to start a petition to have you banned.  

Take gay Scottish Tory (and the human equivalent of the 52-hertz Whale), David Mundell. When he came out last week, he did so – I put it to you – without a sufficiently meaningless fanfare. A brief message on a personal website? How boringly dignified. There should have been pyrotechnics. There should have been seven hundred tap dancing swans. There definitely should have been marshmallows.