So Christmas and returning to my parent’s house down in the shire looms large. It’s fair to say that while I generally get along pretty well with my parents, and lord knows it’s been far worse in the past, it’s not really an experience I relish. So with eleven days to go till I go back to the house I grew up in, back ‘home’ feels very far away indeed. Mental and practical preparations need to be made for me to put on my three-day long one woman show entitled ‘I’m not a kinky, poly queer cock-dodger’. As if dealing with the big gay white elephant in the room (which as far as I know only I can see) wasn’t tiring and stressful enough I’m sure I have yet more of dad’s bad tempered snipes about my career or lack thereof to contend with.
The last proper family gathering for my mum’s 60th in October was incredibly stressful. In the middle of the countryside cut off from civilisation, and my Manchester family and going cold turkey from my mobile internet connection I knew it was going to be hard. Going out the night before with A to see Rent was simultaneously a fabulous secret life-line giving a place to drift off and daydream to, but also by relief with the conservative surroundings something of a taunting distraction, bringing a flush to my cheeks that had nothing to do with wholesome country walks.
My resolve was strong though, the previous night’s show tunes still ringing in my head I was determined to be a quiet version of myself. I didn’t wear seamed, thin or patterned hosiery (ok, they had to be stockings with a good suspender belt, but they’re quite opaque with concealed support). I wore a made to measure 40s style satin dress that I ordered because it looks smoke-grey demure, and covers my cleavage, shoulders and upper arms. The material is of a weight and cut that no matter how fast I spin it would never fly up and flash my knickers. I put on demure ivory toned (simulated) pearls and small white artificial flowers in my hair. I left my false eyelashes at home, and only put on foundation, liquid eyeliner and simple cold-toned red lipstick.
I still got from my mother ‘Hmm, dressed to kill again I see’.
From my sister in law ‘Why do you curl your fringe? You’re cutting down on drinking time’
From my other sister in law ‘Where’s that from? Very Dita!’
I had a gorgeous four-poster, high mattressed bed in a beautiful room at the top of a high hill in the Peaks. Alone I felt cosy and protected. Being gawped at by a large room of slightly too drunk people is nothing new. Sadly neither is feeling utterly alone when I’m the weird spectacle….I still missed my husbear quite painfully. I was feeling an altogether different kind of longing for A.
Being the black-sheep in my family I guess wouldn’t be hard, next to my painfully high-achieving, squeaky-clean uber-respectable sister. Ok, she’s gay but she’s very much settled with a respectable wife, pension, mortgage and career. My brother’s right-wing outlook on the world might have given Goebbels the heebie-jeebies, but he was also there with his (outwardly) blonde and ditzy wife. Choice conversation from him included scientific ‘proof’ of the gay gene, and proposing that travellers, the disabled and all long term benefits claimants undergo enforced sterilisation by the DWP.
All in all they’re people that wrapped up in their own concerns it’s really quite unlikely that they’d show enough of an interest to be ‘caught out’. I can safely let go of that insecurity. Arming myself with my laptop, some choice music and DVDs will get me through. Failing that there’s always a bountiful supply of gin at the Bona Clan residence. Once Christmas is officially over I can finally begin the process of finally doing the final reveal to my folks. Part of me feels quite scared about the disapproval and hurt that this might provoke, part of me wonders if it’s really going to be all that significant. I have no idea what few adjectives they’d put next to me. All this will do is add ‘gay’ to that limited list that describes the tiny view of my life that they have.
Bring on the New Year and a return to sanity…