Elliot’s Secret

After graduating from business school, twenty-four year old Elliot decided he wanted to be a hairdresser instead of a stockbroker like his father wanted him to be. He hightailed it out of town because he heard that his father was after him with a fist raised over his head for refusing the job he offered him at his trading firm.

Elliot took a ten-hour train to San Francisco and instantly got a job at the salon in Macys. He had never cut hair before, but he knew for certain he would be good at it. He boasted, “I started out as the shampoo boy. I felt at home with my fingers in a beautiful woman’s hair.” It wasn’t long before he had scissors in his hand. He had an innate talent that surprised and delighted everybody. Within six months, there was a long waiting list for his services. With great passion he said, “I loved to dress women.” His career successfully grew to wardrobe consulting for “wealthy ladies.” He smirked, “The mayor’s wife was my best client. Her husband was my best lover.”

With a silent grin, he waited for my reaction. A loud snortle accidentally came out me. We burst into laughter together. With spirited resolve he said, “I’m ninety-four years old, I’m dying, I’m supposed to confess something on my deathbed right?” With a smile and a nod, I offered him the opportunity to share more. He said, “I’ve known I was gay since I was fourteen and my family doesn’t know. My wife never had a clue. I have a feeling one of my sons is gay. You can tell them all after I die if you want.”

Elliot died this week. Should I tell?

To learn more about hospice portraits, my new book, or my speaking availability, please visit:


  1. Ann
    AnnNovember 29,14

    No….I’m sure the wife knew and accepted it…respect her privacy

  2. Mary Landberg
    Mary LandbergNovember 30,14

    Thank you Ann, this is exactly what I did. I respected her privacy and didn’t discuss Elliot’s comments with her.

Leave a Reply