There were lesbians in the cottage yesterday. A delightful collection of them. Eight or nine in all. I lost count. There were also gay men there. Five, if you don’t count yours truly and my so-called husband.

These were the bearded, Taliban-like gay people who seem to have left the set of a revival 1970s porn film. Think Ron Jeremy appreciating a wild growth of hair, rather than the smooth members of the current glitterati. Even the clothes were second-hand things with faded top branding.

Somewhere, even twenty-somethings have decided that Karl Marx had it right, and are growing wild bushy beards. I do not understand where this fashion comes from. It is just fascinating to see people who would previously wax and trim everything, even unmentionables, suddenly cosplay as Gandalf. This alarms me because it points to a serious investment in time to develop this hairiness. It takes me two-three days to get a barely visible stubble.

***

We stayed up until two AM. At one point, my cousin’s wife produced a guitar. I had left mine at home, so she took a cue from my cousin and gave me the guitar. Instead of sitting quiet in a corner, admiring the wild beards of my compatriot men, stage-Colin could take over for a while. I sang a few songs, thumbed a few chords, led a couple of singalongs.

I managed to forget that I was surrounded by wannabe Che Guevaras for a while, and we enjoyed some more or less enjoyable mass-produced pop covers from the likes of Adele and Amy Winehouse.

At least, the Adele cover can be properly attributed to Bob Dylan. Yeah, we’ll go with that. Although it would be totally untrue. I don’t think I’ve even heard the Bob Dylan original, and by now I’ve pretty much heard everything.

***

I’m not sure if it was being surrounded by beards, or my singing, but for once Mark drank more than me and became, um, lively. He usually sits on the edge of everyone, ready to flee when he’s had enough of people for one night. But he happily talked to the beards, and the lesbians, and had a great time.

This is why we stayed up so late. I felt the urge to up and leave, but Mark had such a good time that I didn’t want to ruin it for him. Our relationship is always a tug-of-war of compromises. Sometimes I want something, and he’ll have to relent. Sometimes he wants something, and it’s my turn to yield. It felt like the latter yesterday. And, truth be told, it didn’t feel like a big submission.

The down-side to being a guest in someone else’s house, particularly one as small as this one, is that the first who awakes will drag everyone else up with them. That’s why we were up at nine, even though Mark and I could have slept past twelve if we’d been at home.

We don’t want to expose how lazy and negligent we are to the others, do we? That’s also why we spent so much effort cleaning the house if we know someone else is coming. We can’t let a towel hang unfolded in the bathroom, or they’ll think we’re terrible slobs. Okay, now I’m exaggerating. We’re not that bad. Only a little bad.